Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Causeway - Doorway to a Boneshakin' Blues Day

 The Boneshakers came out to play in Hartlepool on a cold, windy Sunday Afternoon.  The venue was The Causeway, a great little pub with a music-loving audience.

Straight from the off, Russ (lead guitar and vocals) Ronnie (blues harp and backing vocals) Dave (Bass Guitar) and Gordon (drums) were on fire - and so were the crowd, whooping and whistling their appreciation of a blues harp solo, a lead guitar interlude, a bass solo or a drum fill.

The Boneshakers renditions of Dust my Broom, Pride and Joy, How Blue Can you Get - AND MORE - were second to none, with variations to the original artists' versions like you've never heard before.  These boys really know how to play the blues, putting their own inimitable slants on old blues favourites.
Ronnie's little green Boneshaker mascot waved madly to an audience who danced the afternoon away to the crystal clear, rich sounds that were a blues-lovers dream-come-true.
You just gotta LOVE this talented, innovative blues band

In the audience to cheer on the Boneshakers were all of the members of the Taylor Dixon Band.  The Boneshakers invited the guys up on stage and jammed with them to some Taylor Dixon blues favourites.
By the end of the gig, the crowd were dancing their hearts out, clapping their hands and roaring for more of the Boneshakers -
- so they gave the crowd a real treat and jammed again with the Taylor Dixon guys to a Boneshakers' brilliant rendition of 'Hip Shaker'.  And I gotta say that the Rolling Stones' version paled into insignificance in comparison.Check it out for yourselves!!

and you catch more of the BONESHAKERS renditions with these links to Youtube: Long Train Running Shotgun Blues

Ronnie ended a great afternoon by telling the crowd, I'LL BE BACK!!
Russ said, IT JUST GETS BETTER AND BETTER.  You're right Russ - the Boneshakers really do get BETTER AND BETTER
Gordon stepped down from the stage saying, I'M SWEATIN' LIKE A BULLAnd Dave, when leaving in the car said, HOW THE HELL DO I GET BACK TO TYNESIDE FROM HERE - BLIMEY, IT'S LIKE THE ANIMALS SONG 'WE GOTTA GET OUTTA THIS PLACE'

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Meet the Boneshakers' Band Members



RUSS HIRD - on vocals and lead guitar
Rockin' the night away

He plays a great blues guitar, sings the blues with gravel in a voice perfectly pitched for Kenny Wayne Shepherd and Stevie Ray Vaughan numbers and the like - it's
Russ Hird!

Probably the quirkiest member of the band, playing the busking tramp with the Ragpickers when he's not Boneshakin', Russ started playing guitar around 13 years old.  His gigging career started in working men's clubs around the North East at the tender age of 16 with a band called 'Spirit of '59'.  His claim to fame with the 'Spirit' was backing the great fifties star, Terry Dene (remember him all you golden oldies?).

After eight years of gigging with the 'Spirit', Russ joined 'Blueshouse' where his next major claim to fame was supporting Peter Green of the legendary Fleetwood Mac on his comeback tour.

His guitar heroes are his brother, Robin, Eric Clapton, Joe Bonamassa...and "whoever" - he just loves guitarists of any ilk!  He plays mainly Fenders and Gibsons, but he'll have a go with any guitar!
He's played in lots of bands over the years.  He's also fronted his own band, The Russ Hird Band and played in After Hours and The Moonlighters.

Today, as well as leading the 'Boneshakers', he plays guitar with The Scoundrels and The Ragpickers.

One of these nights, you might find yourself getting a bit of impromptu entertainment on the Metro or in the pub, from a couple of guys playing mean blues or rock-a-billy, all dressed up authentically as a pair of hobos.  Well, if that happens, it's likely it's the duo, the Ragpickers - and you can guarantee that one of them is RUSS!
Russ the Ragpicker


RONNIE SEMPLE - on harp and backing vocals
Great Scot - it's Ronnie!

With that Glaswegian sense of humour shining in spades on stage, a twinkle in his eye, great backing vocals and the ability to make that blues harp SING - it's

Ronnie Semple!

Ronnie started playing guitar at the age of fifteen.  He joined a classic rock band at 17 and moved on to some rocky blues with another band after a couple of years.  That lasted for two years or so...and then...
"For some strange reason, I stopped playing guitar" he says, "I can't remember why...oh, yeah, I remember why.  I was rubbish!"

He left the music scene as a player, but concentrated on seeing as many professional bands as he could.  And then, around 2002, he took up the blues harmonica (harp to all you blues musos out there!) and has never looked back.  Joining his first blues band in 2003, he's never enjoyed his music so much.  He plays through a HarpGear amp and has a preference for the Hohner Special 20.  His favourite harp players are William Clark, Mark Hummell, Mitch Kashmar,Dennis Gruenling, James Harman, Big and little Walter - and his best buddy, Lyndon Anderson.  He loves all types of music, from rock to rock-a-billy - but the blues always comes out on top.

Ronnie has played harp and provided backing vocals for 'Blues Essentials', 'The Visitors', 'Kill Bill' and 'The Steve Clark Band' (recently disbanded).  He currently plays in 'The Scoundrels' as well as rockin' with the Boneshakers - and he's started doing a blues duo with Bad Bob Bates of 'Bandits' fame, unnamed as yet.

Givin' it big licks with the Scoundrels!


DAVE HILDRETH - on bass guitar

You lookin' at me?

A dead-pan expression and a dead-pan sense of humour: an amazing ability on the bass guitar to play (in his own inimitable style) any type of music, with a great feel for the blues - it's
Dave Hildreth!

Dave started playing bass guitar at a very young age.  He was eleven years old when his dad, a well-known professional bass guitarist himself - and a guitar maker to boot, taught him how to play and read music.

With a lifelong interest in rock, blues and jazz, he started his gigging career when he was 16, playing heavy rock and new wave with 'Falcon', 'Mirah' and'Ice Man'.  He continued his gigging career in blues, rock and roll and soul, with, 'The Blues Cat Scoundrels', 'Counterpoint and many more than could fit on this biog.

His biggest claims to fame are three-fold.  The first memorable one was playing at a Christmas Sheffield University gig - and being introduced to the screaming crowd by the MC of the night, Edith Bowman.   The second, was being the supporting band at a Lindisfarne gig - and the third was playing support to the fabulous Commitments.

His biggest bass influences are: Jaco Pastorius, James Jamerson and Stuart Hamm.           .

He has a real crush on well-made, preferably vintage, basses.  Overwater and Fender are among his favourite makes of bass.   He's a great believer in lightweight, hi-tech amplification (He truly hates valve amps for basses!).

Dave won't sing - never sings! but he's always happy to perform with pretty much anybody!

As well as playing in the sensational 'Boneshakers', he currently plays with 'The Gatecrashers',a party pop, soul and rock band.

Dave with the Flamboyant, Gifted Gatecrashers


GORDON SMILES - on drums

Crazy Gordon with a smile for his cymbals!

They say you have to be crazy as a loon to play drums - and Gordon fits the bill nicely  With variety and versatility in playing a mean set of drums with a great blues feel - it's

Gordon Smiles!

He makes great use of his sticks, his brushes and those crashing, riding cymbals. He'll use those sticks and brushes on every available surface - including the boot of his car!

Playin' the blues in the boot of his car!

 He suits his surname, 'Smiles', because he does - smile a lot, that is! Though it's just as easy to catch him frowning with sheer sweat and concentration when he's hittin' those drums!

Gordon's biggest drumming influences are Buddy Rich, John Bonamassa, Jim Kirkpatrick, Chad Smith and Bernard 'Pretty' Purdie.
As well as playing drums in the Boneshakers, Gordon also plays drums in the North Eastern pipe band, 101

Dig that C-R-A-Z-Y Ugly Brothers shirt, man!
Though he's played in numerous bands over the past twenty five years, Gordon's major claim to fame is that he played for two years with the fabulous, entertaining Ugly Brothers, who were never seen on stage without their gaudy, in-your-face Hawaiian shirts!  They've split up now - but that's all the better for the Boneshakers who wouldn't care to be without Gordon.
Now you've met the BONESHAKERS - GO AND SEE THEM - LIVE - at a venue near you.

Monday, 9 May 2011

A Boneshakin' Sanddancin' Bank Holiday Blast!

After a balmy May Day afternoon, the evening wind whipped the sky into swirls of pink, blue and grey.
"It's bloody freezing," said Dave (bass guitar).  And how right he was.

 The Sanddancer on the South Shields coast shook with the vibrations of guitars, basses and drums in the beer tent and the Boneshakers were ready to set the place alight.
"Oh, I do like to be beside the seaside," quipped Russ (lead guitar and vocals) as the lads watched the Maverick Rejects do a plucky punk set on the makeshift stage inside the beer tent - set up especially for a night of Bank Holiday entertainment.

And once the Mavericks had left the stage, it was time for the Boneshakers to do their 45 minute magic blues mix at the 'Sanddancer Bank Holiday Bonanza'.

From the second they struck a chord, the Boneshakers had the crowd in the palm of their collective hand.  Starting with a soulful rendition of Dust my Broom, they carried straight on through Pride and Joy.  Their audience screamed and whistled with sheer appreciation of Russ's bluesy vocals; the clarity of his wild guitar interludes; the strength and musicality of Ronnie's blues harp; the deep resonance and sweet harmonics of Dave's bass guitar; the perfect beat and timing of Gordon's drums.

And with a swish of Gordon's brushes, they moved onward through an amazing version of Long Gone to a fantastic finale of Messing with the Kid.
The crowd yelled for more, more, more - but this time, with strict 45 minute sets for each of the bands playing, the Boneshakers had to wave a fond farewell to their hundreds of ardent fans.  I reckon the Boneshakers collected a stack of new fans too on this Bank Holiday evening at the Sanddancer.

"This is a perfect end to a perfect Bank Holiday weekend," said Ronnie (blues harp and vocals), arms around one of the members of 'Bessie and the Zinc Buckets', (centre) the great local band appearing on stage after the fabulous Boneshakers - and Les Routledge (right), the organiser of the Rock 4 All Festival.

Gordon (drums), chuffed to bits to have his first gig under his belt as a bone fide member of the Boneshakers, said, "Hey, this blues malarkey may just catch on....I'll get my coat..."

The Boneshakers are back in action at the Sanddancer on Saturday 14th May - but if you check out their
on this blog can catch the brilliant Boneshakers SOON - at a venue near you!

You can  see the Boneshakers in action, if you follow the links below:

Long Gone

Dust my Broom/Pride & Joy