British Blues Awards 2014 HofnerRotosound
Jan 162015

Following the success of our mini tour in August 2014, I’ll be hitting the road again with Jon Amor in a couple of weeks.

This time we’ll be playing more gigs in the south of England, as well as a home town gig for both of us – Devizes for Jon, and Colchester for me.

The songs will no doubt be a little different from last time, but the format will remain the same – we’ll be playing a stripped back, electro-acoustic set of our own songs, as well as some of our favourite covers by artists we share a mutual admiration for.

I’ll also be brushing up on my Alan Partridge quotes over the coming weeks, as, to be honest, I fell short of the mark during the last tour – “Stop getting Partridge wrong!”

It would be great to see a few familiar faces at one (or more) of the shows.

Here are the dates for your diaries:

  • Fri 30th Jan – Platform Tavern, Southampton
  • Sat 31st Jan – The Lamb, Devizes
  • Sun 1st Feb – The Beehive, Swindon
  • Mon 2nd Feb – Haven Club, Oxford
  • Fri 6th Feb – Trent Navigation, Nottingham
  • Sat 7th Feb – Guisborough R’n’B Club
  • Sat 21st Feb – Blues At The Farm, Billericay (2pm)
  • Sat 21st Feb – The Soundhouse, The Bull, Colchester (9pm)
  • Sun 22nd Feb – Broadstairs Blues Bash

I’ll also have copies of “The Well” by Joel Fisk & The Breakdown, which features Jon on a couple of tracks, so this will be your first opportunity to pick one up. Maybe we’ll sign it for you too…

See you on the other side – “Aha!”

 Posted by at 10:13 am
Nov 032014

Apologies for being a bit quiet over here recently, but I’ve been working behind the scenes on mixing the full debut LaVendore Rogue album.  We’ve assigned the expertise of Chris West, an experienced engineer/producer who has worked with the likes of Nick Cave, Richard Ashcroft and Status Quo to name but a few.

As always, mixing an album takes longer than one initially hopes, but I’m confident in saying the results will be worth the wait.  We’re hoping to put the album out early next year to tie in with some high profile gigs on the British Blues Scene, but we’ll keep you posted in the mean time.

Keep an eye out on for news and updates.

As I write this, I’m looking at my diary for November, and it looks to be a busy one.  I’m off to Farnham Maltings with Tim Aves & Wolfpack on Thursday, then I’m back at Blues At The Farm, Barleylands on Saturday 8th, with the same band. This is my third appearance there in as many months, so once we’ve moved my bed and TV out of the way, there’ll be room for the band on stage.

I always love playing this club. Ever since the first time I played there with Hokie Joint, 6 or 7 years ago, its one of those places I love going back to. A 2pm start, blacked out windows and cheap drinks means the Saturday night crowd generally make an early start, and have always been very accepting of anything I’ve been involved in, whether that’s Hokie Joint, Tim Aves & Wolfpack, LaVendore Rogue or The Struck Bats. There may even be a special treat down there next year, so keep your eyes peeled…

Saturday night I’ll be returning to The Red Lion, Manningtree; a lovely intimate upstairs venue where I supported the wonderful Stephen Fearing last year.  This year I’ll be supporting legendary Boogie Woogie pianist, Ben Waters. I’ve seen Ben a couple of times before, most memorably when he joined Charlie Watts’ “The A, B, C and D of Boogie Woogie” at The High Barn, Gt Bardfield a few years back. Having met all of the band, I can vouch for the fact they’re a wonderful bunch.

I’m really looking forward to unleashing what will hopefully be a well-crafted set of acoustic Blues on Saturday.
Unfortunately, for those who don’t have a ticket, the gig is sold out, so you’ll have to take my word for how well it goes!

In between performing these gigs, and working on the LVR album, I’ve been recording with Struck Bat and Swamp Cat, Geoff Johnson. We’ve put together what was originally intended to be a showcase reel of material, but we like it so much we may even release it as a special edition (only available on tour) CD. It includes some originals, some Delta Blues and some of our favourite covers.

The weekend of the 14th. 15th and 16th November will see me playing 3 gigs with 3 different bands…always a test for the memory! Friday 14th is a special gig for us, in at Jardines, Braintree, Essex, where LaVendore Rogue are sharing the bill with Blues Rock band Roadhouse. This is one of the few gigs we do this close to home, and tickets are still available, so please continue to support live music in this venue, which is organized by Nick Garner. Ticket info can be found here.

Saturday 15th will see The Struck Bats hit the stage at The Spread Eagle, Ipswich. A great little pub with a receptive audience, and one we always look forward to. We’ll be kicking off at 9pm.

Finally, Sunday 16th I’ll be playing at The Skinner’s Arms in Manningtree, at 4pm. Looking forward to playing this venue, as it’s a new one for me. An intimate afternoon/evening gig of acoustic Blues, Country and some of my favourite covers.

I’ll keep you updated with what else is going on later in the month.

Thanks for reading!

 Posted by at 12:23 pm
Aug 132014

The Engine RoomAs I write this latest blog entry, I’m surrounded by microphones, lyrics, chord charts and cups of tea. This is all down to the fact I’m embarking on my busiest period as a musician yet. Starting this weekend, I’ll be playing nine gigs in ten days with 4 different bands. To say I’m looking forward to this is a bit of an understatement.

Joel Fisk & Jon Amor Electro Acoustic DuoSo, here’s what’s happening: On Saturday night, I’ll be playing a solo gig at the wonderful Alehouse in Chelmsford. Sunday lunchtime, I am expecting the arrival of one of my favorite guitarists to ever emerge from the British Blues scene, in the form of Jon Amor. Jon and I have arranged to do some gigs together after taking part in the world famous jam session at Scarborough Top Secret Blues Festival earlier this year. We’ve known each other for a few years, but our paths have only crossed a couple of times. It appears we share the same interests in music, food and television, and I have been warned by Jon that this mini-tour may end up being a re-write of Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon’s “The Trip”, only slightly less glamorous than Italy. Suits me!

We kick off of 6pm on Sunday 17th at The Pub in Braintree. A new venue to me, despite the fact it’s only 20 minutes down the road. Monday we’re off to one of my favorite local pubs, The Spread Eagle, Ipswich, where we’ll be making some noise from 9pm. I’m hoping to see some familiar faces at this gig, supporting the pub and live music in general.

Tuesday we’re off up north to Guisborough, where we’re playing the RnB Club. I played there a few years ago with Hokie Joint, so I’m looking forward to returning to what I remember being a great venue.

Then we’re on to Carlisle to play The Kings Head on the Wednesday. This wraps up the mini-tour – I don’t think either of us know what’s going to happen, except that we’ll have a great time!

If you can call a six hour drive a day off, then that’s what Thursday is.

Never Saw ChesterFriday I’ll be at Round Midnight Jazz & Blues, Islington for the album launch of Tim Aves & Wolfpack. Having spent over a year recording and mixing our second album, “Never Saw Chester”, it’s going to be great to release it, and where better to do it than at one of the best London venues.

I can’t tell you much about Saturday, other than The Struck Bats are playing a private party. Our first gig with new recruit Geoff Johnson.

Sunday I’ll be returning to my local, The Fat Cat, Colchester, where I’ll be playing a solo set at 5pm. I love playing at this pub – great atmosphere, great beer, and walking distance (it’d be rude not to pick the car up in the morning…).

Finally, Monday I’m making a rare appearance near my home town, at The Star, Wenhaston – there’s a beer festival going on, and I’m the entertainment!

If you can make it to any of these gigs, it’d be great to see you – no doubt I’ll be detailing the events as they unfold, so watch this space!

See you on the other side!

 Posted by at 5:38 pm
Aug 042014

LaVendore Rogue, Maryport Blues Festival,­ Saturday 26th July 2014So, Maryport…it’s been a while.

Saturday 26th July saw us head up to Maryport in Cumbria for the first time since we played there with Hokie Joint 3 years ago.

A lot has changed for both the festival and ourselves since the day we warmed the crowd up for Canned Heat and Robert Cray, then were interviewed for BBC Radio 2.

I was slightly nervous about this one. Will the audience “get it”? Will they be expecting something similar to Hokie Joint? Are we even “Blues” any more? The answer to the latter is no.

We set off at 9am, heading from South East to North West. I’d forgotten quite how far Maryport is from Essex.

Nevertheless, after smooth journey, with highlights including 7 hours of moaning about the heat from Warren, seeing a camel and some ostriches next to the A1 and everyone being pleasantly positive about the mixes I’d done of the new album, we arrived.

The site has changed since we played there last, but the faces were the same. A great team runs Maryport Blues Festival, and that’s something that has always been the case. Debra and her crew were absolute stars.

First things first, we were shown where the beer was, and told to pour our own, which mean the first 3 or 4 ended p as 90% froth and 10% beer. Practice makes perfect though, and by the 5th, we’d nailed it. I must add, they were only in half-pint measures!

Our set was preceded by The Deluxe and Laurence Jones. Both went down well.

We hit the stage at 6:45pm, opening with “The Maze”, “Honey Murder” and “Come Over”. These three have fallen into place as a good opening trio.

The crowd were appreciative, but not as “wild” as we’d have hoped initially. There was a feeling of “come on then, impress us”. After the fourth song, “Dead Man’s Chest”, which we’d moved to earlier in the set, the crowd seemed suitably impressed, and a lot more relaxed, which had the same effect on us. From there on, it was one of those shows where everything went right. JoJo was on top form at his front man duties: “’Ow ya doin? Oright?!”

Cupsey, Warren and Tank played a blinder, and things just seemed to go to plan. The more we played, the louder the crowd became, and all of a sudden, our 80 minute set was over. Time flies when you’re having fun.

From my point of view, this was the first gig we’ve done where the crowd properly “got it”. They knew where we were coming from, and what we were trying to achieve. It’s certainly not Blues, and almost impossible to label, which is why we’ve heard “Indie”, “Southern Rock” and even “Soft Rock” (ahem) thrown at the band. Whatever it was, Maryport enjoyed it, and this was confirmed when the queue for CDs after the gig stretched almost the length of the tent.

The rest of the evening was spend perfecting our beer pouring technique whilst enjoying the wonderful voice of Layla Zoe, followed by the great CoCo Montoya.

On behalf of the band, I’d like to say a big thank to everyone involved in the festival, from the organizers, stage crew, sound guys and chef, to the fantastic audience. It was great to be back, and great to be “good” again!

See you next time!

Photos by Jan Fialkowsk

Videos by Christine Moore:
Gangsters, Thieves & Villains
Come Over

Review by Rosy Greer from the Lancashire Blues Archive:

LaVendore Rogue – Now for something completely different!  Some old faces under a new name, from the Colchester area, ‘LaVendore Rogue’ have emerged from the ashes of a Maryport favourite, ‘Hokie Joint’, with three of the previous members holding court. What a brilliantly put together set, certainly not a traditional blues band, they have opted for a more melodic approach leaning towards soft rock… but you really can’t put these guys in any ‘box’ as their music is LaVendore Rogue and speaks for its self. They went down a storm in the marquee with people queuing halfway to the back to buy their current EP. A new album is soon to be released so I’m looking forward to that. They gave a flamboyant performance with JoJo Burgess strutting his stuff and giving out fantastic vocal arrangements, aided by Joel Fisk who also played some ‘mean’ guitar. Stephen ‘Cupsey’ Cutmore continued to keep the rhythm in check on drums along with new boys Rob ‘Tank’ Barry on bass and Warren Lynn on keys. A brilliant band and if you like something a bit different, catch them if you can! *Recommended

 Posted by at 9:59 am
Jul 252014

Tim Aves & Wolfpack @ Ealing Blues Festival - 20/07/14Following on from LaVendore Rogue’s gig at Chiddfest on Saturday, it was a quick get-up-and-go on Sunday.

After a healthy breakfast (I’m sure) I hit the road.

Arrived in Ealing at 3pm after a surprisingly smooth ride into London, I began unloading the gear (3 trips from the road to the venue with a sack barrow).

Once again, it was a HOT day. We arrived in time to catch “Hat Fitz & Cara”, who I’m ashamed to admit I hadn’t heard of before, but will be hearing a lot more of them in the future. A great duo with a unique take on the blues. Check them out.

We were on stage at 5pm. Pumped up, for what was probably the biggest gig we’ve done in this line up. So pumped up in fact,  during my first guitar solo of the set in “Robert Johnson’s Shoes”, Tim managed to fall backwards over a monitor, yet somehow remain unscathed and avoid destroying the drum kit, bass rig, Gibson Firebird round his neck, and his 2 new hips. A lucky (yet utterly hysterical) escape!

We composed ourselves, shared the odd joke about it throughout the set, and carried on with our business.

We played well. Paul Lester and Tank kept the whole thing under control (one of the best rhythm sections in the country), Tim prowled the stage like something possessed, and I was taken back to the days of big festivals in Europe with Hokie Joint a few years ago, so the on-stage movements were plenty.

The crowd were fantastic – I specifically remember during the slow blues in the set (“Fulltime Lover” by The Fabulous Thunderbirds), that a group of young folks in the audience cheers, whooped and hollered after every phrase I played. Great stuff.

The show was a great success. Plenty of CDs sold, and a chance to do a couple of radio interviews afterwards to talk about the gig and drum up publicity for the release of our second album, “Never Saw Chester” next month (watch this space for more details).

Luckily, someone filmed the whole of the gig, in 3 parts, which you can see here:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

As well as some of fantastic photos from Ken Ansted and Chris Cooper.

 Posted by at 12:42 pm
Jul 252014

LaVendore Rogue @ Bures Music FestivalSo…Bures Music Festival has been like a home to me for the last 3 years – In 2012 I played there with Hokie Joint, and was interviewed for BBC regional news. 2013 I performed with The Struck Bats (Cupsey , Tank and myself), which included a guest spot from JoJo Burgess, and a debut of 3 LaVendore Rogue tracks.

This year, it was the turn of LaVendore Rogue in its entirety. An hour of new material, warming the crowd up for Henry Padovani and The Pretty Things. Yes, The Pretty Things. You know, the band that were around when The Rolling Stones were first starting out, all those years ago.

To say I was excited about performing before them was an understatement.

Cupsey, on the other hand, was like a kid in a sweet shop. A great thing to witness!

We kicked of at 7:30pm for an hour. Having finally sorted our “festival” setlist out (which roughly translated means ‘let’s drop most of the miserable songs and allow people to enjoy themselves), we received a great reaction from the crowd. Many said it was the best performance we’d done during our 3 year stint at Bures Music Festival.

After missing the majority of Henry Padovani’s set due to clearing away our gear and stuffing our faces with free burgers and chilli, we settled in for The Pretty Things.

In all honesty, I had no idea what to expect. Would they be a group of has-beens who would be wheeled on and wheeled off? Nope. They still had it.

Dick Taylor was a force of nature, and Phil May still had all the moves.

The highlight of the evening for me was when we sat around drinking with them all after the gig, hearing Phil tell tales from Carnaby Street and Tin Pan Alley in the early 60s. Names flying everywhere – Eric Clapton this, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards that. Fantastic stuff.

I also got talking to Dick, who was playing the same light blue Hofner Verythin as I do. Great to meet another Hofner artist on the road and share our love of this great guitar manufacturer.

What a thoroughly nice bunch of chaps, and a wonderful evening to boot.

Thanks to Tom Moore, James Payze, Claire Ashby and Nigel Woodmason for the hospitality, and here’s to many more Bures Music Festivals!

 Posted by at 10:48 am
Jul 252014

Joel Fisk & Jon Amor Electro Acoustic DuoIt is a great pleasure to announce I’ll be doing some gigs with the fantastic Jon Amor in August.

I’ve known Jon for a couple of years, with our paths crossing at various gigs on the Blues circuit, as well as seeing him many times with The Hoax.

Having jammed with Jon and Ian Siegal at Scarborough Blues Festival earlier this year, we got talking, and decided to get together for some gigs.

We share the same tastes in music, comedy and alcohol, so this promises to be a fantastic few days on the road.

Firstly, we’ll be playing The Spread Eagle, Ipswich on Monday 18th August, then off to Guisborough RnB Club on Tuesday 19th, finishing up in Carlisle at the King’s Head on Wednesday 20th.

We’re hoping to have an extra date for Sunday 17th too, so watch this space.

All I know is that it’ll be great fun for everyone involved!

 Posted by at 10:37 am
Jun 242014
Blues on the Farm © Roy Cano 2014
Blues on the Farm © Roy Cano 2014

Joel © Roy Cano 2014

It’s been a while since JoJo, Cupsey and I have done a big festival on the Blues scene. Not since the days of Hokie Joint have we been able to drink, eat and sleep for free, so I was greatly looking forward to Blues On The Farm near Chichester.

We made a fleeting visit during the last world cup, between a gig in Belgium and Linton Festival, so it was nice to be back and catch up with Julian, the fantastic organizer.

After what seems like an eternity since we played last, and just concentrating on the album, we had a rehearsal on Tuesday night, brushed up on a few things and put a setlist together. I always enter gigs on the Blues scene with a slight edge of trepidation with LaVendore Rogue, as what we’re playing isn’t technically “Blues”. JoJo, Cupsey, Tank and myself are all primarily Blues musicians, but have always wanted to put a different twist on it.

We hit the road at 11am, and arrived at Appledram Farm around 2:30pm. Greeted by Mark Ede at the gates, we unloaded our gear and had a quick refreshment in the form of a couple of cans of Carlsberg, courtesy of the festival.

I managed to catch up with a new pal in Ian Jennings, double bass player-extraordinaire with Lisa Mills and Mud Morganfield, who I had the privilege of supporting a few months ago with Tim Aves & Wolfpack.

Anyway, we took to the stage at 5pm, opening with “The Maze” – not a Blues track by any stretch of the imagination, but was warmly received. The deeper we got into our set, the more the crowd were behind us. From what I can remember, the standout applause was for songs such as “Tattoo”, “Siesta Resistance” and our last minute encore, “Goodnight Irene”. Always a popular song with the Blues crowd.

Blues on the Farm © Ken Ansted 2014

Cupsy © Ken Ansted 2014

We left the stage feeling confident about what we’d achieved. Continued to pack away our gear, then tuck into our dinner. I opted for a hog roast as quiche just doesn’t cut it after a gig.

As the night went on, more refreshments were consumed, resulting in Cupsey purchasing a Native American head dress, me purchasing ANOTHER pair of sunglasses, and JoJo asking Kate Winslet (yes, Kate Winslet), whether she was Kate Middleton. Nothing out of the ordinary there then.

We arrived safely back in Colchester at 3am, thanks to some splendid driving by Tank, unloaded the gear, and slumped into approximately an 11 hour sleep.

Not bad for LaVendore Rogue’s first festival. We’ve got a few more lined up over the next few weeks, including Kelvedon, Bures, Chidfest and Maryport; check the gig guide for the full list

Here are some great photos by Sarah Reeve, Ken Ansted and Roy Cano


 Posted by at 10:24 am