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Feature Article :
When we started Bluesinlondon.com in 2005 we were driven by a desire to snatch 'Blues' back from being a dirty word. It seemed to us that there was plenty of what we called blues music going on but that it was being forced to go by other names in order to avoid the negative association that 'Blues' had built up.
We dug the newer mutations of blues as well as the more traditional forms and didn't want to see this music we loved divided by inter-faction rivalry. We felt what linked, say Son House, Muddy Waters and The Black Keys was greater than the differences which separated them and we didn't see why they couldn't be considered as a whole.
So we began in the hope of bringing us all together and making it alright to say "Blues" again. We thought the best way to do so was to focus on the live scene by providing the most comprehensive gig listing we could manage. Anyone was welcome on it, as long as they were prepared to describe themselves as 'blues', and over the years we've listed some pretty loose interpretations of that, which was kind of the point.
Eventually we branched out and started doing interviews and reviews and features and we hoped it would be obvious to anyone that we were an 'equal opportunities' blues magazine - that we saw no difficulty featuring the best of the new right alongside the the more extablished ideas about what 'blues' might mean.
Not everybody got it, and even now some people think we're too 'traditional' and others too 'punk'. We've faced outright hostility occasionally, and apathy more often - it still surprises us how some venues/artists/promoters can't be bothered to tell us about their own gigs, even though we list them all for free - yet despite this we consistently get around 5000 visitors a month, our gigs pages are full with blues goings-on and we've made friends all over the world, as well as here in London, so we reckon we must be doing something right.
So now, as a logical extension of all this, we've set up Bluesinlondon Records. The idea is to put out records by artists that fall within our broad approach, to present them in the best possible light, both collectively and individually, and to recapture the notion that 'Blues' doesn't have to be monochromatic.
We've known Vulnerable Things for quiet a while now (see our very first review of them, back in 2005, here) and have always been impressed by their ablility to combine a contemporary sensibilty with an obvious affection for, and understanding of, the blues greats. Their eponomously titled debut is an impressive collection of self-penned material that puts the emphasis on songwriting with a cohesive overall sound and which goes a long way towards proving blues can exist outside of the rather small box it's all too often stuffed into.
The album has already had a rave review in Blues Matters Magazine and they recently interviewed frontman G.P. Bennett for a future issue. They're a great band live too, and you'll be able to see that for yourself if you come down to the album launch party at Madame Jo Jo's on 25th June.
Eric Gebhardt has also been a Friend of Bluesinlondon for a while - since his "Blues $1.49" CD dropped though the letterbox back in October 2005 in fact. We loved it's wonky beauty and over time Eric came to be 'Our Man in Alabama' with his occasional articles about life as a struggling bluesman in and round his home town of Florence. We've made a deal with him to distribute both 'Blues $1.49' and his more recent 'Sir Redmouth' here in Europe.