Firstly, apologies for the website being static for a while - I had a huge PC crash and I'm only just recovering!
I've got some bad news, some good news and some very good news, and then some more very good news..
Another Sinnerboy drummer bites the dust - Dave Burgess has joined a Kate Bush tribute band.
'Wow' and 'Unbelievable' I hear you cry, however I know from personal experience that DB won't even walk up a hill let alone run up one! (He knows lots of words for snow though, as he lives on a hill in Sheffield!!)
OK Kate inspired quips aside please join me in wishing Dave all the best for the future - I'm sure the Kate girl will be much better to look at from the drum stool than me and Smylie!
Anyway, I've got to let him off cos I've been in love with the real Kate for the past 35 years, And she's one of the best musicians we've ever had.
The good news is I've got a replacement.
The Very good news is that it's Sinnerboy's original drummer Steve Richardson.
I am delighted to welcome Steve back into the band, he's a great drummer and he knows Rory's stuff inside out (He's a big fan) and he doesen't drool (much) very unusual for a Sinnerboy drummer!
Steve's first gig will be last band on the Saturday night at The Dutch Rory Tribute at Wijk aan Zee on March 7th with no rehearsal after playing his last Sinnerboy gig nine years ago - no pressure then!!
UPDATE: I've had a lot of computer trouble and this message did't get out on time and Wijk Aan Zee has come and gone....and Steve rocked like the old days, it's great to have him back!!
The more very good news is that after some great Rorygigs at the Cavern, the 20th Annual British Rory Gallagher Tribute concert is returning to Manchester on the 17th October, at The Ruby Lounge on High Street slap bang in the Northern quarter of the city. The hotels seem better priced than Liverpool and they've got aircon (Or so they tell me) If you were at the Cavern last year you'll know why that's important! The gig is from 4PM - 11PM.
Rory Gallagher was the People's Guitarist. Unassuming but tenacious, the Irish blues man devoted his life to touring and playing his beloved Fender Stratocaster to adoring audiences. He never stopped working, and could always command a crowd, but resolutely eschewed the trappings of superstardom.
Born in Ballyshannon, Donegal and raised in Cork, Rory Gallagher fused Celtic influences, Country Blues and Rock and Roll into a burst of on-stage energy that could go on for three or four hours – Rory never disappointed his fans, they all came out of the theatre (Which in Manchester included the Free Trade Hall, Apollo, Palace, and International) tired, sweaty and happy!
His followers were (and still are) devoted to him, so much so that there are tribute concerts and festivals in honour of him across Europe, Scandinavia and America. But it all started in Manchester! - June 14th1996 was the date and 'The Pomona' was the venue – a famous Gorton music venue now, sadly in a bad state of repair.
Don't look for any famous names at this gig, the musicians on stage are all devoted fans that have studied the feel and technique of Rory's playing and singing. Nobody can be Rory, that is a fact, but these guys put on a fantastic show, and you will be as hooked as the rest of the audience at the end of the night! The organisers work tirelessly to bring you the best of Rory's music from the best in the world!
The venue this year 'The Ruby Lounge' is located in Manchester's trendy Northern Quarter. There are hotels to suit all budgets, great restaurants (including the best Sunday afternoon Nehari curry this side of Lahore at the cafe Marhaba on Back Piccadilly) and the best pubs in the city (In case you want to limber up before the gig!)
Doors open at 4PM and we will have the music rocking by 4:30 so don't hang about, and make sure to stuff your faces full of food before you come in because you won't be able to leave the gig at any point - the acts are just too good!!
After the gig there will be a soul and R&B (Our type of R&B) disco so you can carry on revelling, drinking and dancing into the wee small hours!
The train service from Manchester Airport to Piccadilly Station is cheap and runs every 10 minutes and the station is 10 minutes walk from the venue – dead easy!
If you are flying into my home city for the first time, Manchester is a vibrant metropolis and full of the wonders of the world – well a statue of Queen Victoria anyway!
Tickets £15 www.ticketweb.co.uk/event/173937
Appearing this year will be:
'The Aiden Pryor Band' aiden.jpg
Aiden Pryor fronts his band of the same name (or APB to his dedicated followers) as the singer and lead guitarist. Having been around live music his whole life in a family of musicians he found at 21 his love of playing guitar. Listening to the CDs and vinyl lying around home he soon appreciated the style and technique of Albert Collins, Buddy Guy and Stevie Ray Vaughn. But his real turning point was when he put Rory Gallagher through his speakers and something came alive in him.
Going to a local jam and still very raw he attempted his first complete song singing and playing Tattooed Lady. He went down a storm and never looked back.
He performed locally with just a bass player and drummer and recreated the sound of an era that not only drew in the over 50s who appreciated the return to their youth but introduced the wonderful vibe of blues rock guitar to a new generation.
Still a young guy at 26 Aiden is starting to get known by Rory fans who travel to his gigs to feel his passion for his hero. Performing covers by Rory and others such as Kenny Wayne Shepherd and Philip Sayce interspersed with his own songs APB gigs are exciting, driven and Roryfied.
Jaques Stotzem jacques-stotzem-ay-hinckley-act.jpg
In the acoustic guitar world today, Jacques Stotzem is one of the “fingerstyle” guitarists with the most diversified style. Born in 1959 in Verviers, the Belgian guitarist has recorded 13 CDs and is high up on the list for fans of the acoustic guitar. Readers of the influential German acoustic guitar magazine «Akustik Gitarre» have likened Stotzem to artists such as Leo Kottke, Paco De Lucia, Neil Young and Keb’ Mo’.
That’s not really astonishing. His unique and highly refined playing style combines a well-developed melodic sense with a rare dynamic approach to the instrument that speaks directly to the listener. Jacques, unlike many guitar players today, possesses an in-depth sense of harmonic knowledge, which is evident throughout his compositions. All of this is cemented together by his perfect command of the instrument and by his optimistic personality.
Jacques Stotzem has become a regular guest at European and American festivals and is often invited for tours in Japan, China or Taiwan. Since 2006, the famous American guitar company “Martin Guitar”, produces an “OMC Jacques Stotzem Custom Signature Model”, a dream for every guitar player, a consecration for Jacques.
The two volumes of his CD “Catch the Spirit” (Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, Rory Gallagher, Nirvana, Neil Young arranged on acoustic guitar) have been a big success and stayed respectively 41 and 23 weeks in the Belgian Pop Charts.
In 2015, Jacques Stotzem releases a new CD “Fingerstyle Tribute to Rory Gallagher” to celebrate the sad passing 20 years ago of the Irish Blues-Rock player who has always been one of Jacques’ favorite guitar players.
'Fall Apart' volkhard.jpg
Not for no reason is Volkhard Schuster known as 'The Professor' on the Rory tribute scene. Volkhard's technique, flair and taste on the guitar is remarkable. He's joined onstage by our old chum Stefan 'Kugie' Kugler from 'Remember Rory' on bass and Markus Vorderer on drums. More information on this band to follow.
Sinnerboy, named after one of Rory's best loved songs, keep Gallagher's music alive and kicking.
Gallagher's songs are often complex, with subtle passages seamlessly blended with pounding, rocking sections and difficult chord and rhythm changes. It takes a hugely talented band to pull off a fitting tribute - Sinnerboy are that band. I have seen some great bands courtesy of Newbury Rock & Blues but this was the first time I witnessed the audience spontaneously get to their feet to give a
standing ovation then refuse to allow the band off stage.
Sinnerboy captured the live sound of Rory Gallagher and their love for the music they play was clear to see. This was quite simply an evening of great musicians playing great music to a highly appreciative audience.
OK so this year was the 17th annual Dutch Rory Tribute weekend, and I'm trying to work out hoiw many of them I have played in. It was the 17th gig this year which must make the first one 1999 (I think!) and I reckon Sinnerboy's first time was 2003? (It was the first time I'd ever played abroad and I was so excited!) but I'd been the year before as a punter with my pal Jimmy. Since then I think that there's only been two other years when we've not been invited to play and I've shown up anyway (Well I can't miss it can I?) These facts, of course, could be totally wrong and need to be substantiated by somebody sober!
Anyway 2015 was as awesome as usual, great bands, wonderful organisers, late nights in the late bars (I got whinged at by one bar owner for saying his bar was the whisky bar in my report last year, and it isn't so he told me what his bar was called at 4AM so of course I've forgotten, I'll try again next time!)
The highlight was a young man offering me the chance to play 'Wheels within Wheels' on the very guitar that Rory recorded it on (He'd bought it of Donal) there wasn't a dry eye in the house, including mine! Can someone remind me of the young man's name here please?Thumbs (Steve Richardson) rocked, and I'm really happy with the new Sinnerboy line up!
Another super tribute to our hero this weekend in Fürth, Germany. Great hospitality, damn good music and excellent friends is what these Rory do's are all about.
Our host Stefan Kugie Kugler picked us up from Nuremberg airport on Friday and took us to the usual and lovely hotel (But how narrow are German single beds? my big fat arse hung off both sides!) Then a huge Greek lunch at a local restaurant (They were from Thessaloniki but not a Trigona in sight Saloniki people!)
Then sound checked my acoustics - more food, lots of (excellent) beer and then a great set from 'Fall Apart' (Kugie, Anselm, and my old pal Volkhard)
They last played together in March but you would have thought it was the night before! They call Herr Schuster 'The Professor' and not for nothing - a true virtuoso, I had a quick go on his Strat afterwards hoping it was dead easy to play, explaining why he's so good - it wasn't, it was harder than mine, oh well...
I then played a half hour acoustic set with the whole of the sold out crowd singing along - awesome!
Then my first look at the excellent 'The taste of Rory' a rocking four piece who did Rory proud, sorry I didn't catch their names but they were really good, and the drummer knows as many jokes as me!
More beer, more food, more jokes then a good kip (Despite my dangly arse) slept through breakfast (In the words of that great seer Jed Thomas 'you can buy breakfast, you can't buy sleep') and met everybody at the Christmas Market for Gluehwein and pressie buying, then Sinnerboy sound check, beer, etc etc......
'The Factory' band impressed with some particularly throaty slide playing, then I had to introduce 'Kugler and Waloschik' (Try saying that after all that Gluehwein) fantastic acoustic duo (Stef and Marcus) Marcus had me green with envy just warming up backstage!
Then we finally got onstage to play a very understated and laid back set - completely obeying the club owners request to keep the volume well down.....shhh!
Mass 'Bullfrog Blues Jam.
Beer beer beer etc.
On Sunday (yesterday) our hosts took us to see the Zeppelin field - where the Nuremberg rallies were held, and the huge unfinished Coliseum - all astonishing and very chilling (and bloody freezing) I reckon old AH would have been a lot less of a pain in the arse if he'd have just chilled out and listened to a bit of Rory instead of all that bloody Wagner.
An honourable mention for Heike's Lasagna, Budgie was still talking about it in the van this morning!
Back to the airport for a short hop to Munich, a taxi ride that would have had Lewis Hamilton eating our dust to a hotel in the middle of nowhere, a perishing cold route march to the nearest Italian restaurant which was shut, but after Herr Smylie pleading with them in very impressive German - they opened up and gave us beer and Pizza!
This morning we just about made it home before a Pilot strike at Lufthansa (who seem to go out of their way to make life hard for their customers, but I won't whinge here)
Thanks a million to our hosts Stef, Heike and Ines, the great staff at Koffurfabrik, but most of all to the German Rory fans who sold out the gig and kept my faith in the fact that Rory fans are the best there is - and Rory Gallagher was the best that ever was.
Once again I'm sitting at my laptop looking back on a wonderful weekend with so many Rory friends.
I don't know if other artists inspire such bonding friendships, but I cherish the Rory ones!
Firstly many apologies for the heat, I think it must have been the combination of the gig being a month earlier than usual and a sell out crowd, Lots of people had to leave before Sinnerboy's set - well they said it was because of the heat and not that we were crap!!! I am taking it into consideration for next year.......
Weren't the Jim Kirkpatrick band good? Actually they are called 'Jim Kirkpatrick and Heavy Weather" so apologies to Chris and Neil..
They won the audience over with the first chord of 'Continental Op", and Jim was wearing a shirt that Rory gave to Richard Newman and yes, I tried it on, and yes, it fitted and no, I didn't nick it!!
Laundromat were superb of course, Danny, Fred, Joeke and Martin. A great choice of numbers brilliantly played - 'Edged in Blue stood out for me, The companionship of them and their Dutch pals was great, we had a lovely Sunday afternoon mooching around New Brighton which, as they pointed out looked just like Ijmuiden!
It was big Dave's fourth gig and first tribute with Sinnerboy so he's now well and truly broken in, and Budgie rocked as usual. I couldn't believe how quickly our hour passed and we had to rush Bullfrog at the end unfortunately - but give me a break, I've only been doing this for 19 years!
All these musicians are wonderful, they do it for just expenses for the love of the music, but for me it has always been the people that are most important, all of us are Rory Gallagher fans, it's just that some of us are on the stage and some of us are in the audience. There were tributes going on in Maynooth, Ireland and Japan on the same night, and Band Of friends the day after in the Cavern I hope they had a great time too (Bet Rory's ears were burning!)
Finally I'd like to make a special mention of my old friend Paul Westwell, Paul has quietly worked his nuts off for 19 years helping me with this gig, and at the same time showing he's one of the best harp players in the land, he certainly impressed Bernie Marsden when he played with him and Jim's lads last week in Macc!
Next tribute is Furth, Germany, where we'll do it all again!!
It's been a tough couple of months for Sinnerboy.
Rob's leaving the band was a bitter pill to swallow but we got through the tours with help from some special friends, Thank you to Nick Skelson, Bri Chambers and Pat Cannon for your musicianship and companionship, we're not out of the woods yet as new Dave has prior committments but you will definately see him in Liverpool, Chislehurst, Derby, and Germany.
I've fallen on my feet AGAIN with Dave, he's a great guy and a truly great musician!
Catch him soon!