Style: Authentic, individual
Influences: Country Blues, Big Bill Broonzy, Leadbelly, Robert Johnstone, W.C. Handy, Jelly Roll Morton, Jack Bruce
The photograph was taken in The State Bar in Glasgow. In Spring 1996, I was asked to front the House Band at a new weekly Blues Jam which was starting in the State Bar. I imagined it might run for a few months and never imagined it would still be running, with the same line-up all these years later.
Editor note: At the time of writing, this is thought to be the longest running-blues jam in the UK, with virtually the same line up every Tuesday night for the last 20 years!
“I played my first proper gig in 1968 and have been active in the Glasgow music and Blues scene for decades. Although I was born in Arbroath and brought up in Aberdeen, I am really a Glaswegian. Both my parents were born and bred in Glasgow and, as a child; I spent a lot of time staying with relations in the City. I suppose it was inevitable that, when I decided to pursue an Art career, I ended up back in Glasgow at the Glasgow School of Art.
My interest in Blues first began in the mid ‘60’s in Aberdeen and I started playing guitar. My first influences were Country Blues and players like Big Bill Broonzy, Leadbelly, Robert Johnstone, etc. I was also into early Jazz Blues and the music of W.C. Handy, Jelly Roll Morton, etc. and today, I still gig “St Louis Blues” – one of the first songs that I learned. I quickly discovered that I could sing better than I could play guitar, (something my bandmates today are often quick to remind me) – so I consider myself more of a singer than an instrumentalist. When I’m singing Blues I’m in another place. I really feel it – and I really mean it! The Blues is something that I love and I can’t really believe that, after all these years, I still have that drive to perform”.
Location: The State Bar, Holland Street, Glasgow, G2 4NG
Guitar in image: 1956 Gibson LG 3/4 (As used by Robert Johnson)
the state bar