Honorary Members

The Honorary Members of the UK Blues Federation are prominent people in the British Blues scene who act as our Ambassadors. They promote the activities of the UKBlues Federation and help us to achieve our goals.

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Norman Beaker

British Bluesman Norman Beaker, born Norman Hume in Manchester, England in 1950, is one of the very few who can claim to playing a role in creating the signature sound of an era when the devastation and deprivation of post-war Britain, particularly its northern cities, which found it's expression in America's most gritty musical tradition, The Blues. From the time he was a teenager Norman was at the nerve centre of the budding British Blues scene in its genesis, honing his skills with Graham Bond, Alexis Korner and other great artists of their calibre.

This set the stage for his later work playing and recording with a "Who's Who of Blues" from both sides of the Atlantic, such as Alexis Korner, Graham Bond, Jack Bruce, Tony Ashton, Paul Jones, Eric Burdon, Van Morrison, Chris Farlowe, Robert Plant, Chuck Berry, Buddy Guy, B.B. King, Jimmy Rogers, Peter Green, Lowell Fulson, Fenton Robinson, Carey Bell, Lurrie Bell, Jon Lord, James Booker, Mick Abrahams, Ruby Turner, Madeline Bell, Larry Garner ... and so many others. B.B. King said Norman was like "a white Freddie King", a compliment indeed. But though he's sometimes likened to Mr King and Peter Green, the source of his art is the wellspring of his own life and genius.

And yet, despite his distinguished history, Norman has always remained in the corner of the eye. The ultimate paradox of blues is that many of the most genuine blues musicians aren't widely known, simply because they personify the unpretentious and selfless spirit of the music itself. Though Mr Beaker never acquired a "big" name, he's the one that the most famous blues artists trusted, being as hardworking, humorous and good-natured as he is talented. His abilities as a superb frontman as well as his excellence as a backing musician is testimony to his integrity in serving the music rather than himself.

During 2017 Norman was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame®, a prestigious and richly-deserved honour becoming only the eighth British ‘21st-Century Legendary Artist’ to be officially recognised, joining ranks with John Mayall, Jack Bruce, Peter Green, Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton, Keith Richards and Mick Jagger.

Norman is either playing his homeland, or tirelessly touring the Continent, from Sweden to Belgium to Germany to the Balkans and everywhere in between, sharing the classic blues of his birthplace and earning a loyal following wherever he plays. Sadly, original British blues as it was forged in its early days has become obscured by later trends in popular music. With rare exception, those first to blend the sound of the Delta and Chicago with musical traditions of the UK are known mainly to aficionados...and each year there are less of the ones who created great art from hardship in a remarkable place and time. Those who work to keep it alive are worthy of the greatest respect.

If the heart of blues combines great talent and skill with the authority to console, Norman Hume Beaker is the genre's most dedicated acolyte.

[based on 'Blues Hall of Fame®' article by  Sally Sharp-Paulsen]

www.normanbeaker.com

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Kyla Brox

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Seven-time British Blues Awards Finalist and three-time European Blues Awards nominee Kyla Brox.

Blues and soul become inextricably entwined in the music of Kyla Brox, whose raw talent and purity of expression make her stand apart in an age of the plastic diva and conveyor-belt poppet.

Kyla Brox can be tender, urgent and gritty: she blurs the distinction between pleasure and pain like the soul greats of old. The daughter of legendary blues singer Victor Brox, Kyla started singing on-stage at the age of 12 and has several albums to her name, including the band triumph "Coming Home" (2004) and the stripped and sensitive "Grey Sky Blue" (2009). The different setting, from band to duo/trio, encourages two distinct Kylas to come to the fore - the salty blues mama in line from Bessie Smith, and the tender soul singer who sets out her hopes and fears in song. She never flinches from emotional reality in either situation.

The much anticipated new release, "Throw Away Your Blues", takes up the story seven years on. It teaches valuable lessons about the demands of the busy workday, the lack of time in the modern world, the pull of home vs the call of the road, and how to keep it real with good humour and lots of heart.

With all the songs generated by Brox, Blomeley and Farr, "Throw Away Your Blue" is soul-stirring and affirmative and explores Kyla’s multiple roles as temptress, diva, tear provoker and, as the new songs reveal (because her songs always reflect her life), mother. It also incontrovertibly proves that Kyla Brox is the greatest British female blues singer of her generation.

www.kylabrox.com

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Aynsley Lister

IMG_8322-400pWhen explosive natural ability collides with fiery, emotionally charged compositions, the result is Aynsley Lister; an incredible guitarist whose brand of blues-based rock delivers contemporary song writing fueled with the kind of heart and soul that’s missing from so much modern music.  Whether passionately writing and recording his own material or mesmerising audiences at his live shows one thing is abundantly clear: music is hard-wired to his DNA and flows from his fingertips like sonic bolts of lightning.  With over 86,000 albums sold, lashings of critical acclaim and years of high profile touring, Lister’s resumé speaks for itself and firmly secures his position as a leading light in the resurgence of British blues-infused music.

In hindsight, it's clear Aynsley was born to be a musician.  As a child he was hypnotised by his dad's old guitar and at the age of eight was finally gifted his very own.  The moment he held that first six-string the outcome was inevitable; he was going to be a guitarist.  Blessed with the coolest dad in town, regularly spinning Hendrix, Cream, Fleetwood Mac and a whole host of bewitching blues for his spellbound son, Aynsley taught himself to play with relentless dedication and a precociously attuned ear, spending hours copying his favourite records note for note.  Peter Green, Albert King, Clapton and Kossoff weren't just his heroes; they became his teachers.

Blazing a trail in a bar band from the age of 13 honed his skills.  By 18 he'd started singing and had also formed his first group, during which time he landed a dream support slot with Buddy Guy and released two low key CD's featuring his earliest original material.  In 1998 those self-penned titles caught the attention of Ruf Records owner Thomas Ruf, who immediately signed Aynsley and hooked him up with Stevie Ray Vaughan's producer Jim Gaines.  With a maturity that belied his years, the self-titled debut announced Aynsley Lister as a major new talent and kicked off a successful relationship with Ruf Records, releasing 7 albums and 2 DVD's in ten years.  Their influence, coupled with his dynamite live shows and intense touring schedule, earned high profile support slots with established artists like Walter Trout, John Mayall and Robert Cray, whilst rousing festival appearances alongside artists like the Fun Lovin' Criminals cemented his standing as an artist whose work, although rooted in blues, transcended the genre with a fiery modern sound that was eagerly embraced by fans of rock, pop, soul and acoustic music alike.  In 2007 Aynsley was the only British artist to be named in Classic Rock magazine's "Top 10 Contemporary Blues Artists", alongside John Mayer, Derek Trucks and Joe Bonamassa.

In 2008 Aynsley's huge crossover potential saw him sign to Manhaton Records, where he released the best two albums of his career to date.  Produced by Steve Darrel Smith and featuring Paul McCartney guitarist Robbie Macintosh, 2009's 'Equilibrium' exposed Lister in his best ever form, throwing all his musical influences into a delicious melting pot that delivered sultry melodies, full throttle hard rock riffage and introspective ballads.  'Equilibrium' received fantastic reviews and stormed into Classic Rock’s Top 50 Albums of 2009.  The subsequent tour saw Aynsley playing to sold out shows to over 16,000 people whilst opening for the legendary Lynyrd Skynyrd, after which he and his band relocated to the Tower Arts Centre and with the tape rolling, nailed a cracking rendition of their high-octane live set to produce the storming 'Tower Sessions' record, which was consequently voted ‘Best Live Album’ in the 2011 Blues Matters Writers Poll.

“Music is a release for me.  When I play I get lost in it and it's a very happy place to be” - Aynsley Lister

www.aynsleylister.co.uk

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Connie Lush

Connie has been recognised as one of the finest Blues singers in the UK today.  The winner of "Best Female Vocalist UK" no less than five times has earned Connie her place in the Gallery of Greats, alongside Alexis Korner and Eric Clapton to name just two.  Her incredible stage presence and powerful vocal have also been recognized overseas as she was twice voted "European Blues Vocalist of the year" by the "Blues Trophies Awards".  Pride of place is her award from the people of Liverpool for "Performing Arts"....and she is still being nominated.

Connie grew up in Liverpool and was singing in her church and school choirs from the age of 5 yrs.  Singing was never a career option, nor did Connie wish to until she met and married Bass Player Terry Harris who persuaded Connie to step on stage.  Since that first night, Connie decided she never wanted to leave.  Together they have shared that stage since.

Connie burst onto the blues scene making her debut at the "Great British R&B Festival at Colne and never looked back.

Performing in over 30 countries, Connie has wowed audiences in Europe and from Moscow to LA. Some of the more memorable occasions included: In New York at the famous "Bitter End" Recording at "Cotton Row" Studios Memphis, with the great Teenie Hodges known for his work with Al Green, whom Connie later met at his church.  And of course singing at BB Kings Club, Beale Street, not to mention singing on Hollywood Boulevard.......Then there was Glastonbury.  But most of all for Connie has to be touring UK with the late, great BB king, culminating in a show at the world famous Royal Albert Hall London. Connie herself said "Nervous? I was both nervous and ecstatic at the same time! Not only was I on stage at the Albert Hall, but BB King was listening backstage!"

Connie is also known as a songwriter, DJ and unforgettable performer. Connie continues her love affair with audiences everywhere, bringing her enormous gusto for life and music wherever she goes!  Blues is her business and business is good!

As BB King said "That woman makes my heart sing".

www.connielush.com

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Becky Tate (BabaJack)

Bec Press Pic 4 400BABAJACK – a band who is fast becoming one of the most sought after acts on the UK and European gig and Festival circuits! Their unique blend of roots/blues/folk fusion described by Classic Rock magazine as “an intoxicating brew of blues, folk and roots music” make for a scintillating show combining great musicianship, passion and energy that is guaranteed to wow any audience.

Becky Tate and Trevor Steger are the song writing core of BabaJack. The band have released four albums in the last five years with each one gaining greater media attention and sales figures from the music loving public as their reputation continues to grow.

Launched at the end of 2013, RUNNING MAN brought them attention at the top of their field and is considered one of the finest albums of its genre to be released in recent years and deservedly won coveted slots in the Top Ten Albums Of The Year in not only CLASSIC ROCK but also in CLASSIC ROCK BLUES and GUITAR & BASS magazines. Their appearance in October 2014 at The Royal Albert Hall and recorded for Radio 2 has given them ever greater attention from the media and the music loving public.

What sets BabaJack apart from others is their approach to their music – it is recognisably infused in part by early blues but is in no way bound by that. Becky brings roots/funk/African rhythms to the band’s sound. Trevor brings his own mixture of ‘Punk meets Ry Cooder’ to his slide guitar style and harmonica on his growling homemade ‘Winebox guitars’. Add to this Becky’s beautiful, lyrical vocals and the driving rhythm section of Tosh Murase and Adam Bertenshaw and you have a band destined for great success!

"BABAJACK Live" released in October 2015, showcases not only their creativity and talent, but also their passion and energy in delivering a really dynamic live show - all of which are captured in abundance on this latest album.

Looking to the future, the next studio album will be in collaboration with Pete Brown, best known for his remarkable song-writing with Cream and lifetime collaboration with Jack Bruce, as well as fronting a number of his own bands, and producing several albums. The plan is to record the album early in 2016. Exciting times ahead!

'The UK Blues Federation are true ambassadors of the genre in all its forms. The blues lives on in Britain!  I am greatly honoured to be asked to join them and do my bit to help realise this great vision for British Blues.' 
- Becky Tate

www.babajack.com

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Photo Credits

Norman Beaker Photo courtesy Norman Beaker, details courtesy Sally Sharp-Paulson
Kyla Brox photo courtesy Phil Melia

Aynsley Lister photo courtesy Alan White
Connie Lush photo courtesy Connie Lush
Becky Tate photo courtesy Becky Tate

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