British Blues Awards 2014 HofnerRotosound
Aug 112016

First of all, sorry it’s been a while, but I thought now was the time to post a little update for you!

July has seen LaVendore Rogue return to the scene after a 6-month hiatus. Lots of things went on behind the scenes, including the appointment of David Rogers as our manager, signing up with French agent, On The Road Again (, and writing songs for a potential second album. Several of the songs have been publicly aired over the last year anyway, but it’s always good to actually sit down and work these things out!

Our first gig of the summer came at Bures Music Festival. My fifth time there in six years, with five difference line-ups! I was fortunate enough to be asked to open the Friday night of the festival with a 30-minute solo slot before Stevie Nimmo, Alvin Youngblood and Dr Feelgood. All these acts just 15 minutes from my home town – of course I was thrilled to be involved!

LaVendore Rogue’s gig was on the Sunday afternoon, sandwiched between a Stax-soul band and The New Town Kings. Always a little interesting for us to be on the bill with bands people know, as we’re still a bit of an unknown quantity, but nevertheless, we put on a good show, blew away some of the cobwebs and after walking off stage at the end, thanked ourselves for organising five rehearsals leading up to the gig!

Next stop was Upton Blues Festival. JoJo, Cupsey and I played here with Hokie Joint back in 2011 (?) and had a great time then, so we were particularly looking forward to this one. Second on the bill, with just Ainsley Lister left to play after us. We’d spent a long time working out the best set for the festival season, and one of the things we realised from Bures was, we needed some songs people could relate to – especially at gigs that aren’t specifically Blues-based – where the Hokie Joint material we’re playing means nothing to the audience! In preparation for Upton, we had another rehearsal, where we went through many covers, ranging from Johnny Cash to Sam & Dave, and eventually settled for The Rolling Stones, which no member of the band had a problem with! The cover we opted for was “Get Off Of My Cloud” – and judging by the reaction at Upton, it was a good choice!

The gig at Upton was one of the best we’ve done since our formation in 2013 and really cemented the fact that all the hard work has been worth it. Big thank you to everyone who came along and for the fantastic support of this great town!

Since Upton, we’ve covered a few miles…

Jon Amor and I had been booked to play Maryport Blues Festival for almost a year and since then, LaVendore Rogue was also offered a slot (second on the bill again – could make a habit out of this!). One problem – Warren, our keys player, couldn’t make it. After much thought (5 minutes and a phone call), we drafted Jon in to play with us, and be Ronnie to my Keith.

Before we get onto that, Jon and I played at one of our favourite little venues, The Kings Head, Carlisle on the Thursday before the festival. Knowing that the 300+ mile drive is a nightmare and we’re always shattered when we arrive, we decided to stay with our good friend, Matt Briggs in Ashby-de-la-Zouch on the Wednesday night. This broke up the journey into a more manageable 2 x 3 hours, which definitely helps. Thanks to Matt for his hospitality and extensive selection of beers!

So, off to Carlisle on the Thursday lunchtime (after a much needed Wetherspoon’s All Day Brunch). We arrived at the venue, caught up with legendary landlord of The King’s Head, (or The Gaffer’s Napper) and all-round great guy, Mike Vose. Offloaded the gear then went to our accommodation. Different to the last time, which was a Travelodge; we were staying in The Crown & Mitre, in the centre of Carlisle. We were greeted by Denis, who took our bags, gave us a tour of the hotel, including the bar, restaurant and Jacuzzi (!), and then presented us with a complimentary glass of wine each!

We were slightly worried about the weather that evening, as despite the gig being under cover, it was still outside and the rain was creeping in. Turns out we didn’t need to worry – almost a sell-out and two thoroughly enjoyably 40-minute sets, doing our usual thing – some of my songs, some of Jon’s and some covers. A pleasure to share the stage with Mr Amor again. Always enjoyable.

On to the obligatory post-match analysis, which amounts to a few drinks at the bar with Vosey after the gig; we made it back to the hotel around 1am.

The Friday ended up being a day off for the both of us. We were due to play a gig in the fantastically named “Cockermouth”, about 10 minutes from Maryport, but after some discussion with the festival committee, we decided two gigs that close together on back-to-back days would have a negative effect on the gig at Maryport. No bother though, as we knew the festival line-up was strong on the Friday night, so we managed to get our backstage passes sorted for that evening too.

As we arrived at the festival, we bumped into Stevie Nimmo, who was slightly worried that his band was stuck in traffic on the M6, two hours away, and he was due on stage in an hour and a half. It all came good though and they turned up and put on a great show.

We hung out with our good friend, Ian Siegal and his band, for the majority of the evening, chewing the fat, discussing why one shouldn’t leave guitar leads around a full pint glass, when Ian inadvertently knocked over said pint with said guitar lead.

Ian took to the stage and did his thing – still one of my favourites and despite seeing him many times over the past 10 years, he still never fails to impress. His band really is one of the best out there and ask almost any guitarist who the best on the “scene” is and Dusty Ciggaar will probably be the one!

Had a great chat with Stevie Nimmo after his set too, talking guitars, amps, pedals, and generally putting the world to rights, as most musicians do, I think!

A lift back to the hotel, followed by a nightcap at the bar, and then it was on to Saturday.

Jon & I were on stage at 3pm and to be honest, neither of us was sure how the set would go down in a big marquee. The Fisk & Amor Duo is generally a hit in smaller, more intimate venues, so we’re never certain if it will transfer to the bigger stage. After a couple of numbers, we settled in and it all seemed to go to plan. We had to make some big changes to the songs I was singing, as most of them were being played by LaVendore Rogue later on in the day but fortunately with it being a shorter set, it didn’t seem any weaker than the night before.

Halfway through the set I noticed the LaVendore Rogue boys turned up, so that was reassuring, considering they’d left at 10am for the 350 mile trip!

LaVendore Rogue hit the stage at 8pm, ahead of Elkie Brooks, and despite being guitar-heavy in this line-up, everything sounded good from the off. We did our usual set, plus a couple of additional Hokie Joint numbers. Speaking of Hokie Joint, Giles King and his band “Goofa Dust” were playing “the trail”, so we thought it might be a good opportunity to get him up on stage with us for a couple of numbers. Coincidentally, our set ends with 3 Hokie Joint songs – “Back Where We Are Going”, “The Way It Goes…Sometimes” and “Mrs Jones”. We haven’t played “Back…” since Hokie Joint finished, and it was always one of my favourites. To play that with Giles and Jon was a special treat. Giles and I used to throw “Hoax” riffs into this song anyway, so to have Jon up there with us really was the icing on the cake!

The set drew to a close, we had a quick change of clothes, ran over to the merchandise stall and sold the most CDs of the weekend (I was told!)

After a much needed beer or two and a bite to eat, we settled in to watch Elkie Brooks. What a voice. Her version of “Gasoline Alley” was really something special, as well as “Pearl’s a Singer” and “Lilac Wine”.


Onto the Sunday…

The relatively early start (for musicians) of 9:30am saw us hit the road for Newark. A drive through the beautiful Lake District on the A66 certainly eased the headaches that had somehow appeared from the night before. We were on our way to another of our favourite venues, The Flying Circus. We arrived at 2:30pm, were greeted by Tony and after unloading our gear, we were quickly whisked off for a Tex-Mex meal at “Amarillo’s” before the gig. We finished our meal 15 minutes before show time, which is never ideal, but we managed to bloat our way through the set with no worries. The slow-release carbs of the fajitas, burgers and nachos must have helped things as the second half of the show certainly picked up. A real contrast to Maryport, but it’s great to play small and sweaty venues like The Flying Circus. I’m starting to believe that a gig is only as good as its audience, and these gigs never fail to disappoint!

All in all, a thoroughly enjoyable weekend, back doing what we do best.

Next stop, The Convent, Gloucestershire on Friday 12th Aug, The Bullingdon, Oxford on the 13th, and The BlueFunk Club, Poynton on the 14th.

It’s only rock n roll…

 Posted by at 12:40 pm
Sep 042015

Well, summer is officially over, the nights are drawing in and the sofa is becoming more appealing again. What is there to look forward to?

I’ll tell you what:

Jon Amor and I are back on the road as of Monday 7th September, for our biggest adventure to date. This time we’re touring in support of the first “Fisk/Amor” release, “Live At The Farm”, which was recorded by Pete Crisp at Blues At The Farm, Barleylands earlier this year. Mixed by yours truly at Hollytree Studios, we’re both really pleased with the results, and can’t wait for you to hear it!

The album will be available on our upcoming tour, which looks like this:


In addition to this, Jon & I have been nominated for Acoustic Act of the Year in the 2015 British Blues Awards.

On the subject of the British Blues Awards, I was fortunate enough to be nominated for Guitarist of the Year for the fourth time.

My band mates, Stephen “Cupsey” Cutmore and JoJo Burgess have also been nominated in the Drummer of the Year and Male Vocalist of the Year categories, respectively.

Not forgetting Tim Aves, who was nominated for Best Independent Blues Broadcaster for his show “The Blues Is Back” of SaintFM.

You can see all the finalists here.

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In other news, it’s been great to get back on the road with LaVendore Rogue of late.

The first gig was a long, hot, but thoroughly enjoyable trip to Le Buis, France. We played this festival back in 2012 with Hokie Joint and apart from the fantastic hospitality, the beautiful scenery and the parrot that sang “You Can’t Always Get What You Want”, the heat was firmly in our memories.

This year was no different. A 12 hour drive through the UK and France saw us arrive at 3pm, stepping out of the van into a scorching heat similar to that of an oven. I think most of us spent the whole gig trying to dry off, but it was worth it,

Big thanks to Laurent Bourdier and his crew for asking us back, and looking after us so well once again.

The weekend of the Colchester Free Festival we played a rare home-town
gig at a fantastic new establishment, Three Wise Monkeys. A great venue with a lot of potential to attract some serious acts to the area.

We’re off to one of our favourite venues in Essex this weekend (Sat 5th) to play Blues At The Farm, Barleylands. This has always been a great gig, ever since the fresh-faced days of Hokie Joint back in 2007 when we made our first appearance there. We’ve got a couple of new songs and a few old songs we’re looking forward to unleashing on the public.  Kick off is 2pm.

So, until next time, I’m off to refresh my memory of the Fisk/Amor tunes, restring a few guitars and generally enjoy myself!

See you on the other side!

 Posted by at 7:41 am
Jun 042015

First of all, I must apologise for the length of time since my last update, but fear not, this bumper news item should make up for that.

I’ll start with LaVendore Rogue – once again, we’ve had the pleasure of working with our favourite music video guru, Drew Cullingham. Drew was responsible for our previous two music videos, “The Way It Goes…Sometimes” with Hokie Joint, and “Gangsters, Thieves & Villains” from LaVendore Rogue’s debut EP.

He was back with us last month to film the official music video for the opening track of our new album, “Light Up With LaVendore Rogue”, which goes by the name of “Dead Man’s Chest”.

The video speaks for itself, but on a personal note, standing at the highest (yet responsible) point of the ship and playing a guitar solo with the wind blowing through my perm/afro/bird’s nest. Turns out, I’m not keen on heights.

Anyway, here it is – “Dead Man’s Chest” from “Light Up With LaVendore Rogue”; available here:

In other LaVendore Rogue news, we’re thrilled to announce that our European bookings will now be taken care of by Bepop Agency, so we’re very much looking forward to hitting the continent again and perhaps picking up where we left off with Hokie Joint all those years ago…

Secondly, Joel Fisk & The Breakdown finally hit the road in April/May, including one gig we recorded at one of our favourite clubs, Blues At The Farm, Barleylands, Essex (

Pete Crisp was the engineer for the recording, and mixing/producing/mastering was taken care of by yours truly.

We’re toying with releasing it as a limited edition album, but for now, here’s a little taster of one of the tracks, our version of The Rolling Stones’ version of The Temptations’ “Just My Imagination”. Phew.

We’d also like to say a big thank you to Elle Curran for filming three songs from the gig, which have been painstakingly sync’d up with the desk recording.

“2:19” (Tom Waits):

“Travelling Riverside Blues (Robert Johnson):

“Grinnin’ In Yo Face” (Son House):

The second two tracks are available on our album, “The Well”, which can be purchased here:

I’ll see you on the road sometime – lets not leave it so long this time.

Until then…

 Posted by at 1:45 pm
Jul 252014

LaVendore Rogue @ Chiddfest – 19/07/14Saturday 19th July we headed down to the slightly unknown quantity of Chiddfest, in Sussex, somewhere near Eastbourne (I think!)

This was the first gig for LaVendore Rogue booked through our agent, Mike Hellier, of Movin’ Music, so we knew it was going to be a good one.

We set off early, after several coffees on the doorstep with JoJo and our better halves, and arrived in good time. No traffic issues this time, and no “short cuts” through Guildford, which happened the last time we were down in Sussex.

Having assessed the situation (beer tent/burger van/stage/back stage area), introduced ourselves to Mark Prentice, the organizer, then settled down for a cold beer with Rosco Levee and Sara Ransom. Having seen Rosco Levee & The Southern Slide at Broadstairs Blues Bash earlier in the year, it was great to catch up with them and share our love of good music, and vinyl. We’ll touch upon vinyl at a later date, but all of a sudden, it seems to be the future!

We were due on stage at 5:45pm, but after a few problems with Warren’s keyboard monitor (mainly that it didn’t work), we finally opened the cage at 5:55pm. It was HOT. In more ways than one. It was noted that I wasn’t having the best time up there due to some on-stage mix problems, but after a couple of songs of trying to get the sound man’s attention, I just though “it’s only rock n roll”, and just played.

We went down well, played great, and sold plenty of CDs.

After clearing our gear away, we hit the beer tent, checked out Rosco Levee & The Southern Slide (who were fantastic – raw, groovy and great songs), then had our dinner. Cooked while we waited by a great chef (his name unfortunately escapes me). I had soup, salmon and Eton mess. Lovely stuff.

We hit the road at 10pm, discussing the show on the way back, and arrived home at approximately 1am.

For me, Chiddfest has the potential to be a fantastic festival. Considering this was the first one, I’d say it’s already there.

Mark Prentice – we look forward to seeing you again sometime!

Photos by Sarah Reeve here

LaVendore Rogue @ Chiddfest – 19/07/14

 Posted by at 11:12 am
May 232014
Joel Solo © Terry Crouch

Hello and welcome to

The aim of this site is to keep you all updated on what I’m doing in all aspects of my musical life, as well as give you a background of what I do, and how I could be of use to you.

As you can see, the menus above direct you to the relevant areas of the site.

So, what am I up to?

At present, I’m working on mixing the début LaVendore Rogue album. This is my second production for the band, using ProTools, and so far I’m very pleased with what I’m hearing. Hopefully you will think the same when the album is released later in the year. I’m very proud of what we’ve done with the album, and feel it contains the best material JoJo Burgess and I have written to date.

There’s also a new Tim Aves & WOLFPACK album on the way too. I was “just” a guitarist on this one, which was quite a pleasure. It carries on from where the last album, “The Burnham Sessions” left off, but includes a few more original tracks, as well as some more Howlin’ Wolf songs played in our own unique way.

In addition to that, the BBC’s very own Stephen Foster has kindly invited me to open the set for Gerry McAvoy & Friends next Thursday (29th May), at the Cult Café, Ipswich. Gerry & Co will be paying tribute to Rory Gallagher, which promises to be a fantastic night. I’m really looking forward to this one.

 Posted by at 10:30 am