Local Talent: Foregate Street Blues
They promise ‘Blues how it used to be’ and the three members of The Foregate Street Blues Band have found plenty of people who appreciate their great performing style. They’ve reached back to the origins of blues music for inspiration – no frills, no gimmicks, just a really solid three piece band with a very authentic sound.
It won’t come as a surprise to find out they came together on Foregate Street, at a regular blues night that was held in the Cellar Bar. Darren Mather and Andy Dent used to help out and were admirers of Dave Bristow who would regularly perform there as a solo artist. ‘He has a unique style which is entirely laid back, unassuming and technically clever’ says Darren. ‘Never in a million years did we ever believe we might end up performing with him!’
That is exactly what happened. Dave asked them to play with him on a couple of tracks he was working on. They had a lot of fun during the recording session and their shared belief of leaving out musical gadgets and gimmicks helped them to gel as a three piece.
A good clean sound isn’t necessarily an easy thing to achieve. ‘Traditional blues started as a kind of hollering based around a call and a response’ says Darren, the band’s harmonica player. ‘We follow that same tradition with Dave on guitar calling and me responding on harmonica. It’s about performing around each other, leaving enough space, made even better thanks to Andy’s fantastic sense of timing.’
Their sets are a mix of some classic songs together with material they’ve written themselves. They like to think of taking the audience on a journey from music that’s fast and upbeat to more melanchony tracks. ‘We choose our music well' says Darren, ‘and our style gives the audience time and space to think.’ Darren describes the guitar skills of Andy and Dave as ‘the bookends’ which keep his harmonica playing safe in the middle! ‘They are like a safety net’ he says.
Since forming a couple of years ago they’ve played all over the place from Bristol to Nottingham, Leicester and many other places in between. It’s hard to pinpoint when and where you might be able to catch them next, but look out for them playing in north Worcestershire, Birmingham and the Upton Blues Festival this spring and summer. Search for ‘Foregate Street Blues’ on Facebook where they keep their loyal audience up to date with future gigs.
They’ve recorded an album called Shades of Blues which is a prime example of their philosophy of playing music in a style where the lyrics, the soul and the music itself is what really matters.
You can hear some selected tracks or download their album via their website which is foregatestreetblues.com