Blues Festival line-up announced for last weekend in August

The 2009 Shetland Blues Festival will take place this year between Friday 28th and Sunday 30th August. This will be the sixth annual Shetland Blues festival and the organisers hope it will be the most successful yet, with a line up of the best in British Blues.

Looking to build on previous years, the bands booked this year cover a broad spectrum from the traditional to the contemporary.

Headline act King King, featuring Alan Nimmo, has set the UK Blues scene alight after forming earlier this year. With a triumphant nationwide tour, one of the country’s hottest blues performers is back on stage with an exciting new project – and he’s brought some of the UK’s finest players with him, receiving rave reviews as they bring their electrifying brand of smoking hot blues to sell-out shows.

Perhaps best known for his work with the Nimmo Brothers (winners of a coveted British Blues Connection award for Best Blues/Rock Band) Alan’s impassioned vocals and dazzling guitar work are celebrated across Europe. Now they have a new chance to shine, performing straight ahead and kickass blues backed by some of the most accomplished players on the scene today.

Joining Alan are Lindsay Coulson, powerhouse of punchy, fat bass who has performed throughout Europe, and Bennett Holland on keyboard. An excitable advocate of funky low-down blues, Bennett has worked with a plethora of names including Groove Armada and the critically adored Richard Hawley and drummer Craig Blundell, recently described by Drummer magazine as “one of the UK’s most versatile and staggeringly talented players”.

With this kind of pedigree, King King could only take their inspiration from the best in the business, ranging from legendary greats such as BB King, Albert Collins and Freddie King to the shining lights of contemporary blues like the Red Devils and Joe Bonamassa.

Gwyn Ashton’s one-man-band solo show is a blend of alternative swamp blues and boogie, all played on his resonator, lap-slide, six and 12 string guitars, harmonica and a homemade foot stomp board.

His latest project is an alternative guitar and drums blues and roots/rock power duo with drummer Kev Hickman, making creative use of fuzzed-out bottleneck slide, octave dividers, delays, loops and drums, kicking the blues into the 21st century. Like a band possessed, Ashton’s fiery two-man combo pulls no punches and delivers the goods every time. These guys are Lo-Fi, analogue, wild and dangerous. The album Two-Man Blues Army is out on June 8th on Ruf Records.

From supercharged four-on-the-floor rockers to gritty blues, Ashton’s playing, songwriting and singing are in top form. Welsh-born Gwyn Ashton migrated to Adelaide, South Australia, in the 60s, picked up a guitar at 12 and from the age of 16 played every bar, festival and seedy biker show imaginable. Aussie audiences are tough and like their rock and roll loud, hard and fast.

Kevin Brown is a highly respected professional recording artist, writer and performer of over 30 years standing. Born in Lancashire, the son of a signwriter and a schoolteacher, Kevin has been inspired from an early age by the blues and its related genres. He is heralded by both the public and other artists as a leading light in the world of slide guitar and roots music.

With eight solo albums to his credit and countless international live performances from the main stage at Glastonbury to the many beer joints of Texas where he once lived, Kevin has managed to keep a fresh approach to his craft while paying his respect to the blues masters of the past.

In 1968 Kevin was introduced to Son House and spent some time learning from the great bluesman himself, to have been taught by the same man who taught Robert Johnson was a blessing few of us can lay claim too.
Mojave Dust, his first solo acoustic album, followed and blew the UK folk and blues scene apart, and with his latest release Tin Church picks up where Mojave Dust left off.

This latest batch of recordings reveal 11 original songs once more touching upon the lives of those who live and survive around us, says Brown. He will be doing workshops in local schools from the Wednesday through to the Friday before the festival.

Songwriter Bex Marshall is an explosion of acoustic/rock/blues with a hot poker twist of country, possessing guitar skills that have been likened to Stevie Ray Vaughn. A stunning young guitarist, she exudes excitement and charisma as she performs solo or with her band on stages across the globe. Her clever and imaginative lyrics invite you into her world and her mellow tones capture the imagination and captivate her audience.

Her songs, while contemporary, are destined to become timeless classics. A gregarious character, Bex commands the stage. Her cheeky rapport and obvious sex appeal couple with her brilliant talent to create an artist with presence. A class act, bring your dancing’ shoes!

The King Bees was formed in January 2008 by Marc Patching, part of Cherry Lee Mewis band at the 2008 festival. After performing in bands for 20 years he wanted to “follow his muse” and put together a quality blues band. In October 2007 he became runner up guitarist of the year in a competition run by Yamaha and Guitarist magazine. Between them the bees members have worked or appeared on the bill with: Georgie Fame and the Blue Flames, The Hamsters, Dr. Feelgood,  Paul Lamb and the King Snakes, Steve Philips and Cherry Lee Mewis.

Their style and influences encompass the blues genre. From the early known field recordings, through the 40s and 50s jump and swing, 60s psychedelia right up to and including present day artists.

The Offenders have been together since 2005 and are one of Edinburgh’s most dynamic young bands, bringing you select cuts of traditional and contemporary rhythm and blues mixed in with funk, jazz, rock, mash-ups and jams, look forward to some great dance music over the weekend.

The cream of Shetland’s local bands will also be playing alongside the visiting acts so all in all it looks like being a great weekend of great rootsy music.

The main venue will be the Lerwick Royal British Legion with gigs throughout Shetland over the weekend, with the finalised program being available at the beginning of July. All updated news and information can be found at


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