April – Henry Yates writes of ‘The new Blues boom’ in Classic Rock magazine, talking with numerous artists about the rise in popularity of the Blues. Musician Stephen Dale Petit is quoted as saying, “I think the 60s Blues boom was ****ing magnificent, powerful and magical – and I think we can have that again. I want to see the Blues become mainstream. I want to see it become common currency in the discourse of modern popular culture. I want to see it become Blues city. We are all born, we all die, we all have misfortune. Some of us have good fortune. Some of us have both, in heavy measure. We get diseases. We live healthily. The Blues is all of that, and sex. It’s like an infinite well, because it’s based on human truths.”
14th June – a new Blues print title is published. The Blues magazine is big, glossy, and always has a covermount CD of new music. Henry Yates (see April) is one of the writers.
13th February – The Independent British Blues Broadcasters Association is launched. The body brings together most of the growing band of independent Blues shows across the UK.
That night, touring American artist Michael Katon (of Hell, Michigan) brings his fierce brand of Blues-Boogie to the Beaverwood Club in Chislehurst, London, although he is suffering from “the God-damned lurgy, caught in Holland”. He is supported by The Dave Jackson Band, with their own pulsating hard Blues and tracks such as Seven, and Done Me Wrong. Review here.
6th March – Guitarist Alvin Lee, of Ten Years After, passes away. Obituary here. The British Blues Exhibition brand includes a Gibson guitar in his honour.
4th May – Ron Sayer Jr with Charlotte Joyce, Katie Bradley, Marcus Bonfanti, Stuart Dixon with Dani and Will Wilde, The Brothers Groove and other charitably-minded acts play a charity event for Radio Wey and Martin Clarke’s Blues Session in Chertsey, Surrey.
14th May – American guitarist Ryan McGarvey is on his first UK tour, something South London promoter Pete Feenstra says he has been working towards for over three years. He is supported by Planet Graffitti on his gig at the Beaverwood Club in Chiselhurst, London.
9th September – London’s Troubador Club hosts an Indian-British slide guitar duo, Michael Messer and Manish Pingle, with Gurdain Rayatt, video here). Manish says of his instrument, comparing it to the regular guitar, “I have a lot of strings!” This comes not long after another double night of Eire’s Grainne Duffy and Kirsten Thien from the US, on 13th August.
22nd October – a new Blues broadcaster hits the airwaves, on Croydon Radio. DJ Richard Dunning is a member of the Independent British Blues Broadcasters Association.
24th November – Ronnie Scott’s Blues Explosion, the resident Blues band at the famous London venue, play their regular night. The band consists of some of British Blues leading lights, including Marcus Bonfanti and Paddy Milner. Video of the band here.
26th November – Radio Caroline, the station which broke many R n B groups in the 60’s, rocks again as US Blues-Rock act The Billy Walton Band plays on deck of the Ross Revenge – becoming the first US act to play a Caroline ship in 48 years. The event can be seen in videos here (interview by Billy Walton of DJ Steve Anthony) and here (the band playing and Steve interviewing the band). Also present – but not playing – were members of UK Rock-Blues band, Albany Down.
8th January – The Blues Club broadcast and podcast on Switch Dunmow makes its debut. Host Jim McNeill commented, “I remember it well as nothing worked properly in the studios. Still doesn’t.”
18th March – the Ruf Records Blues Caravan comes to the Beaverwood Club in Chislehurst, Kent, during its 20th anniversary year. Here is an interview from the night with Laurence Jones (UK), Albert Castiglia (US) and Christina Skjolberg (Norway).
28th March – Radio Caroline celebrates 50 years as a broadcaster, and carries on….
26th July – The Great Central Blues Club in Northamptonshire hosts its first gig in its new identity.
October – the Royal Albert Hall hosts Blues Fest 2014 and Mud Morganfield and Paul Lamb and the Kingsnakes make their debuts at the Hall. Paul is also presented with a 24ct gold Dannecker harmonica by fellow harmonica man, and BBC DJ, Paul Jones, video here.
25th October – Former Cream bassist Jack Bruce passes away, RIP.
26th November – British Blues legend John Mayall appears at Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club to wrap up his latest tour, just a year after his first appearance there. A brief interview with his hugely experienced bass player, Greg Rzab, recorded on the night, can be heard here. John plays the first Exhibition anthem, Blues For The Lost Days, as he says,”Dedicated to the people who can remember the Flamingo Club” and new track A Special Life, the title track from his new album. His band is Greg Rzab (bass), Jay Devenport (drums) and Rocky Athas (guitar), with John on vocals, keys, harmonica and guitar.
28th November – respected London music promoter Pete Feenstra celebrates his 1000th show at the Boom Boom Club in Sutton. On the bill are Otis Grand and the Voodoo Sheikhs and guests including young Blues-Rock artist Laurence Jones. Profits go to the fund helping to meet costs of Walter Trout’s medical care. The book ‘An Evening For Walter Trout’ celebrates an earlier memorable fundraiser.
7th December – British Blues podcaster Kevin Black clocks up his 200th episode of Black On Blues, listen here.
23rd-26th January. The Great British Rock and Blues Festival in Skegness opens the years British Blues festivals.
20th-22nd February. The Broadstairs Blues Bash in Kent takes place.
16th March. Former Free bassist Andy Fraser passes away, RIP.
25th April. Nottingham Blues Society and British Blues Awards co-founder, Barry Middleton, passes away, RIP.
14th May. American Blues Man BB King passes away aged 89. The British music community mourns.
30th May – Jeremy Rees of Radio Cardiff branches out with a new Country and Blues show on Saturday’s on West Yorkshire’s Pennine 235 from 7- 9pm – on Tune In here. http://tunein.com/radio/Pennine235-s116527/
28th June – Katie Bradley and Dave Ferra perform at the Sevenoaks Summer Festival and are joined by the first ever appearance of a live British Blues Exhibition showcase as the ‘suitcase’ edition is on display.
29th June – British legends Georgie Fame and the Blue Flames appear in Sevenoaks, Kent, and Georgie signs the first British Blues Exhibition banner.
17th March – first ever live British Blues Exhibition event in Camden, London, with Laura Holland, Saiichi Sugiyama Band, and Pete Brown
23rd April – Slack Alice member and Colne R & B Festival organiser Cliff Stocker passes away, and will be much missed
3rd April – Blues DJ Louise Davies passes away, who hosted her Blues show on Radio Seagull
July – 30th Ealing Blues Festival held
15 August – Blues historian and author Paul Oliver passes away
May – after years of playing and celebrating the Blues, Paul Jones steps down from BBC Radio 2’s Blues Show and is succeeded by Cerys Matthews.
7-9 September – the first ‘Secret Widget Festival’ takes place on the Isle of Wight, featuring numerous Blues acts including Chris Farlowe