Stormy Blues at Broom Hill

Clarkesvill Mountain Band

The 4th Broom Hill Blues Festival took place amid heavy early rain and then stormy winds, but this didn’t stop the crowds from enjoying the great music on offer. The bands on stage covered a wide spectrum of related music including Ska, Blues, Country, Soul, Folk, Roots, Bluegrass, and Southern Blues.

The festival a brainchild of local music promoter Tim Porter (who is also the Shipston Proms chair) who uses his wide range of music/band contacts to put together a great line-up, including the headliners Debbie Bond Band all the way Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA.

First on stage was local Shipston blues guitarist Greg Brice, who had shown his playing talents during the recent Shipston Proms, with some great and powerful blues playing. He was followed by Barney and Jerv with their selection of songs from their wide repertoire. Jerv aka Mark Jervis is a part of the Jervis family whose field the festival is kindly hosted on.

Barney and Jerv headlined the recent Shipston Proms last night as part of Wired, and are regularly seen performing at the Wasps Rugby club in Coventry.
Then on stage, all the way from Birmingham (but not Alabama!) were the Clarksville Mountain Band with their selection of songs with a Bluegrass twist. The band is Richard Heath (mandolin and vocals), Pete Dunn (bass) and Steve Layton (guitar).

They gave their renditions of songs such as U2’s “I still haven’t found what I am looking for”, the Beatles “Lady Madonna” with Richard on the washboard, the Ronnie Lane/Small Faces song “Superstitious Fellow” and finished with The Monkeys 60s hit “The Last Train to Clarksdale”.

Mark Harrison

After a short break singer/guitarist Mark Harrison took to the stage for some classic blues guitar and vocals including “Easy does it now”, and “In the dark” which Mark told the audience that it was the cheeriest song he did!.

His unique mix of blues and folk were shown in some of the songs performed from his new album Crooked Smile, including “Hell of a Story” (on a 12-string guitar) and “Crematorium Blues.

He played his best hit to date “Your Second Line” which refers to the cortege behind a New Orleans funeral procession. From a recent appearance on the BBC Radio 2 Paul Jones Show the listeners were told he was one who “Makes you think”.

After the stage was then reset local Birmingham band Hannah Johnson and the Broken Hearts took to the stage. The band line-up was Hannah Johnson (mandolin/guitar and vocals), Stewart Johnson (steel guitar), Simon Smith (bass), and guest guitarist (and family friend) Jonny Caswell.

The group has formed out of the earlier Toy Hearts and continues with their blend of Honky Tonk, Classic Country, blues, and swing music. They kicked off with a Wayne Hancock song “Thunderstorms and Neon Signs”.

As Hannah told the audience she is just back from Austin, Texas, and is working hard to finish the band's 1st album, with 8 songs laid down to date.
They then played a very new song (written 3 days before) called “Every Town” which is about where you are from.

Hannah has a very powerful and passionate voice and backs this up with her mandolin and guitar playing brilliantly backed up by her Dad Stu on steel guitar. They finished their set off with a Jonny Cash song “Hear that train coming”,

Hannah Johnson

‘Too late to dream” and “Me and my Gin”.Then we had a change of style with the Meanies with their mix of ska, soul, and blues with songs such as The Miracles “Tears of a Clown”, Soft Cell’s “Tainted Love” and the Blues Brothers classic “Sweet Home Chicago”.

Led by pocket-sized lead singer Richard White the group got the crowd on the dancefloor with further numbers from The Beat's “Hands off she’s Mine”, Madness’s “Baggy Trousers”, the Rolling Stones's anthem “Brown Sugar” and “Gino” from Dexys Midnight Runners.

Debbie Bond

Then we had the headliner for the night with the 3 piece Debbie Bond Band, with Debbie Bond (guitar & vocals), “Radiator” Rick Asherson (keyboards & vocals), and Mick Barker (drums).

Debbie Bond kicked off with Solomon Burke’s “You’re the kind of trouble” with Debbie’s blues guitar, Rick’s great keyboard, and strong drumming from Mick.

As Debbie explained she met Rick in a similar field to the festival, in the middle of nowhere in Alabama listening to Willie King.

They then played “I got the Blues” which is based on a 1920s song influenced by Pinetop Smith, with a great boogie-woogie sound.

The set continued, with the stormy wind still blowing including “Just One Kiss” and “Blue Anyway”

The event was supported by the generator from Fosseway Hire, a bar from Chris Mair, food from Richard Walker from Moreton, and coffee and cakes from Buzzy Beans.

Stormy Blues at Broom Hill
WiderView Visual Media, Chris Roberts 21 August 2016
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