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Hero. Legend. Good Bloke.
John Peel OBE, 1939 - 2004

Red Lick Records



Early Blues Interview
Oli Brown - Vocals / Guitar, The Oli Brown Band

© Copyright 2008 Alan White. All Rights Reserved.Oli, thank you for sparing the time.

How did you get started in music?
Music has always been played in the house and my Dad loves the blues and plays it all the time. Which in time made me want to pick up the guitar after hearing all that music. So just really from hearing all my Dad's blues collection as I was growing up.

Did you always want to become a musician?
Before I wanted to become a musician I never knew what I wanted to do. But when I found what music had to offer I never let go of it and kept playing. So I would say yes. From when I finally had something in mind about what I wanted to do it would be music.

What first attracted you to the blues?
The showmanship. There was always a good front man who would tell stories and really bring the crowd into the show. Of course the soul and raw passion from the songs. But there is so much to learn from people like Buddy Guyís stagecraft. 

What does the blues mean to you?
Musically it means a lot to me as I love playing it and I wouldnít want to do anything else in my life. 

Who are your favourite blues artists (both old and new)?
Right now I am constantly listening to Chris Cain who is a fantastic jazz/blues player based in California. I suggest you check him out.  

Who has influenced you the most?
Thatís too hard to say there are too many things that have influenced me to just pick one. There are all sorts of elements I try to pick up and itís not all from the same source. Someone who has taught me personally a lot is Carl Gustafson who is in a band called Blinddog Smokiní.  An incredible band which taught me a lot. 

What was the best album you ever bought?
I canít answer that. I have too many favourites and the collection is getting bigger and bigger. 

Are there any particular songs that youíve played that have special meaning to you?
The originals because they have been written to do with how I feel or how the band feels collectively, hopefully how the audience may have felt too about life experiences, good and bad. Missing You off my new album ďOpen RoadĒ is quite a personal song but it has a long story to it so I wont go on. 

What is your favourite guitar?
My Stonetree. It looks like a strat but to me it sounds and plays nicer then one, though this might change as I have another Stonetree guitar arriving in a few days which is a red semi-hollow. Scott Platts is the luthier and his guitars are all perfect. I hate going into his shop because every guitar I want, they all play and sound phenomenal. 

Tell me about the band, when did you get together?
I found Simon Dring (Drummer) at a local jam night in a long hunt for musicians to be part of this band and still needed a bass player but luckily Simon knew a great bass player who he passed me onto. When we got Fred (bass) to jam with us we clicked immediately and we knew something was right between us three so we kept the band like that. We got together at the beginning of 2007 almost 2 years have passed now and its really took us by surprise. Time has flown by. 

Tell me about your experiences in supporting Walter Trout, Jon Cleary, Johnny Winter, Robben Ford and the others?
Its fantastic I just love playing, they were all very nice and supportive and gave me some good ideas and taught me some new things. They were all really pleasant people who it was a pleasure to support. I hope to meet them again in the near future.

How did you get involved with recording your debut album Open Road for Ruf Records?
I just kept at the studio next to the engineer when not recording and watched what he was doing and giving my feedback all the time. I wanted the album to sound good to me as well as the sound engineer. He did a fantastic job at the CD and coping with me. At the end of it we were both really happy with the outcome. 

Whatís it like as a young musician in the current music business?
I donít think about it and I try and avoid it. I donít play this music because I am young so it could seem a novelty. I play because I love what I do and I love to entertain. I try and bring people into the music in the band not because of the age but because of what we do. I donít want my age to be part of the show when people see it. 

Whatís it like on tour Ė any amusing experiences?
Itís always good fun travelling with the band. We have so many amusing experiences though none are really mentionable because they are all quite rude!  

How are the plans going for the European tour in Jan/Feb 09?
Fantastic. I am really looking forward to going to Europe as I have never played there before. It should be an exciting new experience. 

A lot of music styles are fads but the blues is always with us. Why do you think that is?
I think because itís timeless and there is more to blues then just the music. Its has fantastic representatives that are still playing this music such as Buddy Guy and B.B. King. And more people keep coming such as Chris Cain who just keep developing this music. Itís hard to say, I just know that itís constantly developing and I always love to see blues shows. 

How do you see the future of blues music?
I could be wrong but I see it as it is now. I think it has a fantastic dedicated following who passionately love their music. It may get back into some sort of ďfadĒ but I donít care. I love the crowds as they are. They are dedicated to their music and really appreciative. 

Thank you, Oli.

Check out some photos of The Oli Brown Band at Ribble Valley Jazz & Blues Club

Check out Oli's debut album Open Road on Ruf Records
Available here

Return to Blues Interviews List

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For further information please email: alan.white@earlyblues.com