The Board

 

Ashwyn Smyth - Chair

Music has always been a very big part of my life and in my time I have sung, played trumpet and piano. But now I play CDs!

A child of the ‘60s, I originally discovered the Blues listening to the Rolling Stones, the Kinks, Manfred Mann etc. which in turn led me to the likes of Snooks Eaglin, John Lee Hooker and Slim Harpo. Then life got in the way and my musical horizons burgeoned leading to a present day collection that ranges from early baroque music through big band, 60s, 70s, 80s trance, ambient, some rock and much more!

In 2001 I rediscovered the Blues by chance after attending a gig at the invitation of a work colleague of my wife and soon after started Digital Blues, initially being broadcast solely via the internet. 14 years later, there are three hours a week of Digital Blues shows being broadcast on 7 stations around the world as well as being available as podcasts.

Before I retired, I organised festivals, promoted gigs, co-produced two Essex blues compilation CDs, compered at blues festivals, weekends and national Battles of the Bands where I have also been a judge. I am an occasional contributor to Blues Matters! Blues in Britain and Blues & Co (France) as well as running my own website – www.digitalblues.co.uk

I am very much involved in the Blues, particularly in supporting and promoting the artists and the music in any way I can whether it be by taking part in crowd-funding campaigns, playing new, and established, artists on my radio shows, publicising gigs, festivals, events etc. writing about the music, putting artists and venues together and so on.

A member of the Blues Foundation, European Blues Union and France Blues, for some years I have been concerned that there was no national blues body in the UK so I set about creating the UK Blues Federation along with like minded individuals to whom many thanks for supporting and sharing my goals.

You can email Ashwyn at: [email protected]

 

Tony Hyndman - Treasurer & Membership Secretary

I was honoured to be asked to join the UK Blues Federation board. I look forward to giving back a fraction of the dedication and hard work involved in delivering live blues in the UK that I have relished over many decades.

It is difficult to pin point exactly when I ‘got into the blues’.

I guess it has been a life long journey and a love for live music, which has always been there with me.

Right from junior school I had a passion for music and at that stage performing it. Recorder, Guitar, Trumpet, Trombone, Sax and now blues harp.

What I realised in my thirties is that I preferred to listen rather than play which helped enormously; as I was working far too hard and also trying to be there for my two children as much as possible.

At that time I was travelling over 1000 miles per week and therefore I had plenty of time to listen and learn from the great masters of punk to classic rock to prog and then eventually landing at the blues.

One gloomy Monday evening I came across the Paul Jones show and he played a Parker’s Alibi track. It had not been a great day and this moved me so much I had to pull over to give it 100% of my attention. Imagine my surprise when I contacted the show to discover that Ian lived less than 50 miles from me.

Once the kids discovered I was ‘so uncool’, this gave me the opportunity for ‘me time’, but they still allowed me to fund them through Uni etc, so still had very little money ensuring that I became resourceful in going to gigs, festivals etc.

This is why you may have met me either parking your car as a traffic marshall, driving you to and from your glamping ground as a mini bus driver or simply administering first aid as a steward. I did it all. All for the love of being part of it.

These days the kids are not kids anymore and have their own income thankfully, allowing me to ease off on the festival work and becoming choosier on the gigs and festivals that I actually pay to attend. The vast majority of which are Blues based of course.

You can email Tony at: [email protected]

 

Rosy Greer

My first introduction to the blues was while I was at art college in Stourbridge in the mid 60's listening to John Mayall and the guitar work of the young Eric Clapton. I had time hanging out with Robert Plant and John Bonham and going to gigs with The Band of Joy, as my boyfriend was in the band, this cemented, my interest in electric blues, moving into the realms of progressive rock. I was an active gig goer and had contact with many bands.

On moving to London I was involved in the Students Union social scene at NELP and party to booking and promoting bands for the main college gigs into the mid 70's with my now husband. These included Captain Beefheart, ELP, Airforce, Love, Pink Floyd and many more. From the late 70's, music was put on a back burner because of family commitments and we moved to Lancashire.

My interest was rekindled in blues based music when I became involved with a local blues club in 2007. I was co-opted into the British Blues Archive as a local rep and began to write reviews which were published on Blues in the North West website. I now publish in Blues in Britain monthly magazine and on my Lancashire Blues Archive web page with news, reviews and gig information.  My festival reviews also appear on the Early Blues website along with various gig reviews.

Now retired, I am working with new and up and coming blues venues in and around Lancashire and provide help and support for emerging bands and artists who are stretching the boundaries of blues music per se.

I was honoured to be asked to join the board of the UK Blues Federation, helping to keep British Blues at the fore and 'Keeping Live Music Alive'

http://www.facebook.com/lancsbluesarchive

 

Steve Potter

“Music is my life, it is not my livelihood” pretty much sums up my passion for music. Growing up in the sixties and seventies, I was exposed to the British blues explosion including Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac, Alexis Korner, The Rolling Stones, The Kinks and many more seminal bands who shaped today’s music. My father constantly played music both at home and in his car and it has always been a road map to my life and memories.

Having spent a career as a quantity surveyor and now as a company director, I am channelling my experience to support the UKBF in its endeavours to support and raise the profile of blues in the UK.

With my company FORM sponsoring the inaugural UK Blues Awards in 2018, I achieved a life’s ambition to get positively involved with the music I love and I hope I have set a path for others to follow.

Having played guitar in a local band and dabbled with playing saxophone, I totally admire those amongst us who are gifted enough to do it for a living.

Being asked to join the board of the UKBF was a great honour and I intend to continue my support of the music and musicians that I love  through the Federation for as long as the board can put up with me!

 

Oliver Carpenter

Oliver is a musician and festival organiser. Regularly performing right across the UK with acoustic singer/songwriting trio Mumbo-Jumbo he has also previously performed widely heading The Big Blues Tribe and Stomp & Holler. Twice nominated personally in the British Blues Awards, Oliver’s range of vocal and trumpet performing styles has always been eclectic and he has been a regular performer at blues, folk and jazz festivals. Oliver has also been known on the blues scene as a festival organiser and has led  over 40 festivals with ‘blues’ in the title including eight years with the multi-award winning Upton Blues Festival (where he is still a Trustee), Blues at The Fold, Taurus Blues and, in conjunction with Tim Porter, Broom Hill Blues Festival. Oliver also performs regularly with acappella comedy wordsmiths Men in General.

www.jigsawfestivals.co.uk

www.mumbo-jumbo.biz

 

Paul Long

Music has always been in my blood. My grandfather was apparently a really good soloist in the church choir and my father was also an amateur singer, and a lot of my childhood musical memories are of watching him perform in Am Dram performances of Gilbert & Sullivan operas or Broadway musicals. After starting to learn the guitar in primary school I would accompany him, as we did cabaret appearances in the Exeter area: no old people’s home or social club was safe!

Music had become my life’s passion and my parents were very supportive of my going off to music college, with no prospects of a ‘proper job’, and I had a very avant-garde education at Dartington College of Arts followed by the more traditional Guildhall School of Music & Drama in London.

Every generation of musician who loves the blues and its emotions has their own key, an artist who sent them on the journey back. In the mid-seventies an exciting band caught my attention and they were called Little Feat. I loved the feel and groove of the band, and its mercurial genius of a singer and guitarist, Lowell George. I love them to this day and they, along with rock bands with a blues influence, such as Led Zeppelin, set me off to find where their inspiration had come from - and it was the wonderful well-spring of the Blues. For me, the emotion of the blues is always more important than a chord sequence.

I became a sound engineer and then producer at BBC Radio, specialising in live sessions and concerts, and was lucky enough to record B. B. King three times in the nineties and also did a session with Johnny Winter at this time. This sealed the deal. In 2006 I was asked to take over producing the Paul Jones Blues Show on BBC Radio 2. I had worked on the show and its sessions over many years as an engineer and this seemed like a good fit. We met up and I said I was looking forward to this, but did not want to be the curator of a museum. Paul felt the same and we had an equal passion for the current U.K. blues scene, and together with his encyclopaedic knowledge of blues history and my ability to get out in the clubs and see what new stuff was going on, we formed a successful partnership that went from 2006-2013, when the ‘beeb’ underwent one of its periodic needs to reorganise itself! Lately I’ve been enjoying producing sessions for the new Cerys Matthews Radio 2 Blues Show.

Also in 2006 I first came across a podcast from a broadcaster called Dave Raven. We met up and shot the breeze about music and radio and this started a long friendship, and it was Dave and Paul who inspired me to do my own radio show, which I started in 2014. Blues And Roots Connections is not all pure blues - my tastes are wide, but I hope the essence of heartfelt, honest music played with passion runs through it. Dave was so helpful when it came to helping me find my way in the new frontier of internet radio and podcasting, culminating in being voted Blues-based Broadcaster of the Year in the British Blues Awards. I am now Chair of the Independent Blues Broadcasters Association.

I am also a member of the British and UKBlues Award winning band, Catfish. It is my experience of being in a busy recording and touring band, plus my nearly forty years of experience in radio that I hope to bring to the board of the UKBlues Federation. I am deeply honoured to have been invited and l look forward to working with the Board and members to promote the music we love.

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'Emeritus' Board Members:

 

Alan White - Historian & Archivist

AlanWhiteBlues and gospel music researcher, historian and archivist, freelance photographer, exhibitor and websites publisher.

Originator and manager of www.earlyblues.com, probably the Internet's longest (and largest) continuously running blues site dedicated to broadening awareness and understanding of the blues and encouraging and supporting current blues music. Comprises a vast and diverse range of blues material including: the renowned  'UK and European Blues Festival Guide', blues festival photographs and reviews, tours and gigs, artist and band interviews, history of the blues in essays, articles, poetry, art and in-depth research projects, blues clubs, forums, lectures and courses, recommended blues books, magazines CDs, DVDs, and radio stations, blues travelogues, blues news, and blues 'resting places'. A myriad of blues related material!

Also originator and manager of www.earlygospel.com concentrating on the origins and early advocates of gospel music and www.undergroundrailroad.org.uk concentrating on the origins, development and work of the anti-slavery Underground Railroad movement.

Freelance photographer specialising in blues music festivals, tours and gigs across UK and USA. Curator of photographic exhibitions and related talks, many with a blues theme. Producer of blues photobooks.

European Blues Awards Lifetime Contribution Award 2014 winner.

You can email Alan at: [email protected]

 

Peter Harvie - Blues Researcher

I first heard the blues in 1963, when I was 14. There was a documentary on TV and I immediately knew this was my kind of music. Seven years later I was staying at George Melly's house and driving him to his gigs, and met so many blues artists, and this inspired me to play blues saxophone. In 2007 I tried to find out about British Blues but there was very little information, just a few stalwarts. I set up a British Blues web site and Facebook page and overnight I was swamped with British Blues enthusiasts, it turned out there are many people like me wanting to know more. I spent the early days arguing that British Blues is not just the British playing American music but a genre in its own right, now it is accepted that is the case.

 

www.britishbluesarchive.org.uk