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First ever Frome Blues Festival ready to rock

THE first ever Frome Blues Festival is ready to roll next weekend with performances from some of the biggest names on the blues circuit.

With acts such as Sean Webb’s Chicken Shack, Eddie Martin and Chantel McGregor all set to perform, the festival is sure to be the definitive blues event of the year when it takes place on Sunday 21st of October from 2.00pm until 10.00pm at the Cheese and Grain.

The one-day festival is the first blues event of its kind to take place in Frome and follows on from its sister event, the Bristol International Jazz and Blues Festival that took place in March of this year.

Headlining the event is Stan Webb’s Chicken Shack at 8.30pm, who have been at the forefront of the blues scene since the 1960s.

“With a hugely impressive back catalogue, Stan’s cohort have played to packed houses throughout the UK and Europe for over half a century,” explained Jan Ayres, festival organiser. Their powerful, soulful songwriting and captivating stage presence has been the talk of rave reviews aplenty. Considering they have played and recorded with legends such as Stevie Wonder, Howling Wolf, Peter Green and Canned Heat, it’s fair to say these guys are true masters of their trade. Not to be missed!”

Hailed as a child prodigy, Chantel McGregor, performing at 7.00pm, was voted Young Artist of the Year in the 2011 British Blues Awards.

“A truly exceptional musician, she received a perfect evaluation in her music degree notching up 18 distinctions – an achievement that remains unparalleled,” continued Jan Ayres. “Soon after, Chantel released her debut album ‘Like No Other’, carrying on to feature on the album ‘100 Years of the Blues’ alongside all-time greats like Eric Clapton. Aside from awarding her the opportunity to twice tour alongside legend Joe Bonamassa, her exuberant talent and effortless virtuosity has consistently de-seated audiences nationwide.

“After an inspirational trip to the US where he learnt about the history of Blues, stage performance and soloing, Oli Brown, on at 5.45pm, returned to the UK armed not only with passion but with lots of practical experience. It quickly became evident that his soul, talent, flare and songwriting ability far surpassed his years.

“Ever since then he has been making waves in the British scene, touring with the likes of Joe Bonamassa, Walter Trout, Robben Ford, Devon Allman and John Mayall, and astounding audiences with his live performances.”

A local from Frome, Eddie Martin, on at 4.30pm, has been dubbed “a Blues Master” and “the most remarkable bluesman of his generation”. This year has seen him win Blues Act of the Year in the South West Blues Awards and be nominated for Guitar and Harmonica Player of the Year in the British Blues Awards.

“Having been a resident of both Memphis, Tennessee and Clarksdale, Mississippi, this multi-instrumentalist singer-songwriter is as authentic a blues musician as you could ask for,” said Jan. “His performances are genuinely something to behold.”

In playing at the renowned 606 club, heading up a couple of BBC Introducing Sessions and working with Grammy Award winning producer Pete Smith (Sting, Joe Cocker) amongst many other luminaries of the scene, Jo Harman, performing at 3.15pm, has already built up heavyweight credentials.

“After cultivating her stagecraft and honing her distinctive, expressive voice through many exclusive projects throughout the years, 2012 sees her with a host of world class musicians in tow – ‘The Company’ – ready to grace the stage and lay claim to Blues,” adds Jan.

Labelled as “Blues Rock’s Youngest Talent” by Classic Rock Magazine, Laurence Jones, on at 2.00pm, is fast gaining popularity.  With his debut album ‘Thunder in the Sky’ recently released and nationwide gigs selling out, his modern but groovy take on rocking blues is turning heads. He has also featured on the ‘Blues Fury’ album alongside Joe Bonamassa, Kenny Wayne Shepherd and Poppy Chubby. Needless to say, this guy’s future looks extremely promising.

Tickets are £25, available by calling 01472 349222 or by visiting www.cheeseandgrain.co.uk

The festival will run from 2.00pm until 10.00pm (doors from 1.00pm) on Sunday 21st of October. Food and bar available all day.

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