Mold may not be a name synonymous with Blues music but it might well be in the future after hosting the unmissable North Wales Blues & Soul Festival last weekend.
Added to this was the fact that, unlike many outdoor events, the sound provided by Event Sound – the festival organisers – was of such exquisite quality each act must have felt as though they were listening to live CDs of their own work.
Rarely can there been such a mix of up and coming bands and more respected members of the Blues / Blues-Rock fraternity gathered together on a brilliantly sunny Saturday afternoon. Rarely too can there have been such a “feel good” atmosphere generated by those gathered to witness some of the hottest acts around.
Not least of these were British Blues Awards nominees Rebecca Downes, Connie Lush and Laurence Jones, the latter of whom’s fifty minute set threatened to set the field afire, such was the fervour with which his masterful guitar playing – and that of Roger Inniss on bass and Phil Wilson on drums – was received.
With tracks such as Something’s Changed from his latest and hugely impressive album, Take Me High, mixing with a masterful rendition of All Along The Watchtower and an earlier cut of Thunder in the Sky being delivered with such power, it is no wonder the likes of Joe Bonamassa are raving about Jones and his talents. A tremendous headliner if ever there was one and a worthy inclusion to the Best Blues Band nomination category.
Birmingham’s Rebecca Downes’ recently released album Believe has earned her a nomination for the Barry Middleton Award for Emerging Artist and Best Female Vocalist at the ceremony held in September. No surprise there on the performance she delivered. With a voice as strong and smooth as ice kept at -50, her delivery – especially of the album’s title track and a powerful and emotive Basement of my Heart – went no small way to underline her prowess.
Tom Attah & The Bad Man Clan were all sass, power, range and damn good entertainment. Jumping into the crowds, dancing with the kids and urging people to get up and strut their stuff, these were just so much fun to watch. They can certainly play, too, with Put On Your Red Dress Baby being almost too hot to handle.
Liverpool’s own Connie Lush – a long time crowd favourite with a firm following – recently said that she’d had to pay to be nominated for her Best Female nomination alongside Downes. Not a bit of it. With such an assured and accomplished delivery, hers is a voice that could make blood weep from a stone such is its lustre.
With songs as different as Blame (It All On Me) and Dog in her catalogue the variation is a delight. Both had the crowd up and dancing, as did I Don’t Say Goodbye, yet it is her overall ability to engage and delight that truly marks her out as one of the best these shores have produced.
With superb sets from two more talents to watch in The Liam Ward Band, whose sassy control of the harmonica gave his performance a depth and resonance that might move mountains, and Alex McKown and his brilliantly delivered, laid back style and terrific lyrics, the day was one of jam packed musical delights that can only be hoped to have cemented the Festival’s future for some considerable time.
A fantastic event superbly delivered, The North Wales Blues & Soul Festival 2017 is already in the diary for next year and beyond.
The North Wales Blues & Soul Festival, Mold:
The Liam Ward Band, The Alex McKown Band, The Rebecca Downes Band, Tom Attah & The Bad Man Clan, Connie Lush, Laurence Jones
August 6th, 2016
For More Information: http://nwbluesandsoul.co.uk