For a 'baby boomer' the U.S.A held an irresistible draw. Gleaming automobiles with fantastic fins and exotic names, rock'n'roll, jazz and rhythm'n'blues, space travel, juke boxes, diners, and highways. It was the era of the 'iron curtain', the Cuban missle crisis, the U2 spy plane, the civil rights campaign and the assasination of JFK. In my home in the Thames Valley delta it seemed so close and yet so far away.
My earliest musical influences were Buddy Holly and the Everely Brothers, but in the early 60's I discovered the blues through the music of Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley. The popularity of blues based groups like the Rolling Stones and the Animals meant that you could see the likes of John Lee Hooker on TV and the American Folk Blues Festivals provided an annual introduction to a wide variety of bluesmen and women.
Like so many teenagers of the day I got a guitar, played the blues and a little pop in a few amateur groups whilst building up my collection of blues LPs, magazines and books. The need to earn a living and pursue a career and later, marriage meant that the playing, if not the collecting, went on the back burner - but it was always simmering!
My ever supportive wife brought it back to the boil with the present of a short music course at a local arts centre where I met many like minded musicians and joined a band called the Lemon Slices, with whom I recorded two CDs.
The songwriting was already operating in earnest and it was now that all those early influences from my Thames delta days and the blues came into play and it is the blues and the culture of the U.S.A that provides the inspiration for many of my songs.
So is it blues that I play? Well maybe, but in a gentle, laid back style. Is folk that I play? Well I've not been thrown out of a folk club...yet! Is it country that I play? Well I don't think so, but there is a definite country music influence to some of my songs. So is it Americana? No - it's AMERICANO.
see music page for a review of the CD Americano