Home Page

Charlie Patton painting © Copyright 2004 Loz Arkle
Painting © 2004 Loz Arkle

Website © Copyright 2000-2011 Alan White - All Rights Reserved

Site optimised for Microsoft Internet Explorer

What is the Blues?
Background to Blues
Chronology of Blues
Artists & Bands Index
Featured Article
Blues Essays
Blues Memories
Blues Festivals UK/E10
Blues Festivals (UK) 09
Blues Festivals (UK) 08
Blues Festivals (UK) 07
Blues Festival Photos
Blues Interviews
Blues Movies
Blues DVDs
Masked Marvel CDs
Blues Internet Mags
Blues Video Clips
Streaming The Blues
Blues Masters
Blues Guitar
Blues Anthology
Blues Paintings
Blues Pilgrimage
Blues Courses
Best of British Blues
Top Twenty Blues
Blues Books
Blues Mall
Old Blues Adverts
Our Blues Links
Visitor Links
Blues Researchers
Cumbria Blues
Lancashire Blues
Lancashire Bands
Lancashire Links
North East England
The Midlands
Southern England
Hall of Fame
Resting Places
Blues Recipies
Guest Book
Blues Forum
What's New
Coming Soon
Search Me!
Search Google

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

Red Lick Records



Early Blues Interview
Robin Hoare - Vocals/Guitar, The Robin Hoare Band

© Copyright 2008 Robin Hoare. All Rights Reserved.Robin, thank you for sparing the time.

How did you get started in music?
Both my parents are musical so it was always something I knew I could try. Classical music and jazz were always around. I remember being very intrigued by hearing Benny Goodman when I was eleven or so. I heard Clapton and got into listening to blues related music before my teens. Then I heard B.B. King and Albert King at 14 and that totally turned my head. Then I wanted to play blues guitar. They made their instruments sing. Those guys made playing seem easy. Of course little did I know at the time, it’d take years to even half understand what they were doing…or sound good. 

Where did you grow up?
I’m a Sheffielder and I’ve lived here all my life apart from a year or so when I lived in Glasgow back in the 90s. 

Did you always want to become a musician?
I always liked the idea of playing even from being very young but I thought I wouldn’t be able to do it. I took the guitar up expecting to have a lot of fun being not very good. I took to it surprising well and I worked really hard. By the time I was eighteen or so I was thinking I may want to earn my living from music. I applied to study a non music degree and it just wasn’t the right thing for me. So I packed it in and started teaching the guitar to bring the money in whilst I carried on gigging.  

What kind of material were you playing in the early days?
I started off playing blues jazz in workshop bands and scratch bands when I was sixteen or so. I got a lot of early gigs playing in fairly shambolic scratch bands at the most bizarre events. It veered towards trad jazz at times and the band leader had a knack of hiring players who couldn’t keep time! Those gigs were a great laugh most of the time and to be honest just what I needed. My early mentors were all jazz musicians, guys like the drummer Peter Fairclough. Both my guitar tutors were jazz guitarists. I regard myself as blues player. I think like a jazzer in terms of the neck of the guitar. I was lucky enough to attend a couple of summer schools with the great Mike Walker who described my approach to chords as “pianistic”. I prefer to play three or four note chords rather then big barre chords.

The early blues bands played covers. There are a few songs I still play today that I started doing back then like “Killing Floor” and Albert King’s “I’ll Play the Blues for You”. The other guitarist in the band liked his funk and he got me into it. I’ve loved it ever since. He has a really open view of music which has really rubbed off on me. 

Who are your favourite blues artists (both old and new)?
Well, I’ll start with the contemporary people and work backwards; Erja Lyytinen, a great singer, guitarist and writer, Ana Popovic for the way she mixes in jazz without resorting to pointless noodling, Sean Webster for the sheer “pin you to the back of the hall” power in his voice, Clapton, Jimmie Vaughan for pure class and knowing when not to play, Albert Collins for being my number one guitar hero…that tone gets me every time, just like those horn arrangements, Buddy Guy, B.B. King,
T-Bone Walker, I love those jazzy chords, Charlie Christian, Django Reinhardt – I know he’s not blues but guitarists can’t really get away from his influence even if they don’t realise it. For acoustic blues I like Bukka White, Rev Gary Davies, Big Bill Broonzy and Robert Johnson. If you were to ask me the same question next week, some of those names may change. 

Who has influenced you the most in your music writing?
Larry Garner for writing blues that is relevant now without contriving it. I heard him and knew I could go on to write. Richard Thompson for crafty minor chords and helping me get out of the blues box. I love Tony Joe White for the story songs and his way of putting it all over. 

What first attracted you to the blues?
The honesty of the music. If it’s happy or sad it’s always direct and it’s all to make you feel better than you do. 

What was the best album you ever bought?
That’s a very tough one. For full on blues guitar I guess “Albert Collins Live 92-93”, for great songs Larry Garner’s “You’ve got to live a little.”, for music in general then Richard Thompson’s “You? Me? Us?” tied with “Fires” by Nerina Pallot. 

© Copyright 2008 Robin Hoare. All Rights Reserved.Are there any particular songs that you’ve played that have special meaning to you?
I always try to pick songs that say things I’d say. If you were to take Albert King’s “I’ll Play the Blues for You” and my song “Ain’t No Perfect Man” then you pretty much have my blues philosophy in a nutshell. 

What is your favourite guitar?
My Guild Starfire which is on the album cover [see below] closely followed by my red Guild Bluesbird. 

‘Sheffield’s favourite bluesman’ according to acclaimed British bluesman King Rollo – Tell me about the blues scene in Sheffield?
The blues scene in Sheffield has been pretty strong over the last ten years or so. The standard of the musicians is very high. There are a number of dedicated people who are willing to put events on like Bob Swift and Stu Arfield who run the Sheffield Philadelphia Blues Festival. I also promote other acts from time to time. The scene has also been helped by the city’s real ale pubs. A lot of them have regular live music and they form a walk from Hillsborough in the north west of the city most of the way into the city centre. I would say the mainstays are the New Barrack Tavern on Penistone Road and the Riverside on Mobray Street. On any given Friday or Saturday you can catch at least two or three good live bands in various pubs. There’s a good regular crowd for the bands in Sheffield. The Boardwalk also puts on some good blues from time to time and Rudi’s Blues Café in Rotherham is just one of the best venues I’ve worked in. I guess if you were looking for who to see I’d have to say check out Billy Martin Junior, who’s a very gifted writer and performer, the Steve French Band, the Hummingbirds, Grey Cooper and the musical daddy of most of us, Frank White.  

Tell me about the band, when did you get together?
I’ve been working under my own name since 2002. The backbone of the band these days is the collaboration between Danny Fox and myself. Danny’s the most gifted musician I’ve come across. We worked together for a while way back and really clicked. Then he left playing for a few years and got back in touch in 2006. He’s unique. We push each other all the time and pretty much every gig is a blast. We work a duo as well.

Tell me about making your new album ‘A Time and Place’?
It’s been the most worthwhile experience of my career so far. I could not have asked for it to have gone better. All the songs are originals and half of them were written specially for the project. I planned for it to be a proper produced album with good varied arrangements and textures. I want it to be something people will come back to. We recorded and mixed the album in five sessions, a total of about ten days. I was very fortunate to get everyone I wanted to play on the album. I’m so happy to have finally made the recording I’ve always wanted to make. 

A lot of music styles are fads but the blues is always with us. Why do you think that is?
The blues is a roots style like jazz, gospel and folk music. Without it popular music wouldn’t sound like it does. Amy Winehouse or Duffy or Leona Lewis would not sound like they do without it. And of course the language of rock music comes from the blues, gospel, country music and jazz. 

How do you see the future of blues music?
With the right promotion there are a few people who do well commercially. I’m thinking about Ana Popovic, Erja Lyytinen, Ian Parker has been bubbling under for years. I’m very surprised that Joe Louis Walker was never properly promoted as he’s as good as any of the greats. Creatively I think rock influenced blues or the kind of punk hobos like Seasick Steve have the best potential to sell. There’s always an appeal about raggedy old guys with a beat up guitar and a story to tell. To an eighteen year old Seasick Steve must seem like he’s from another universe. 

What are your future plans?
At the moment I’m not looking too far ahead. The main thing is to promote the album and start working on selling CDs and getting next years gigs together.

Robin, thank you very much.

© Copyright 2008 Robin Hoare. All Rights Reserved.

© Copyright 2008 Robin Hoare. All Rights Reserved.

The Robin Hoare Band album "A Time and Place" is a statement of intent from an artist who's held in high regard in his home city of Sheffield. After nearly two decades of building his reputation in his home city and major UK festivals including the Burnley National Blues Festival, The Great British R&B Festival and Maryport Blues Festival, he has produced the album he's capable of producing, the way it should be done. It features nine original songs and an inspired solo piece from gifted bass guitarist Danny Fox. Robin is a man for today who sings the blues of today. From the credit crunch to online gambling addictions, he's telling it how it is. But you shouldn't think that "A Time and Place" is going to be a heavy album to listen to. As respected Sheffield journalist Bill Auckland says; Robin "honours the blues tradition without being a slave to it". Robin's blues is a funky affair with biting guitar, killer grooves, uptown horn arrangements ... this is blues to help you get down, not to get you down. Robin's formative influences included Albert Collins, Eric Clapton, Buddy Guy, Larry Garner and Richard Thompson. Hearing Larry Garner, Robin decided to write blues songs about modern life; he marries them with an adventurous guitar style. The Robin Hoare Band is known for their instrumental skills and play the music with infectious enthusiasm.

The album "A Time and Place" can be purchased from:
Neil Ramsden, The Den Hi-Fi, Basement, 38 Cavendish Street, Keighley, West Yorkshire, BD21 3RG
Tel: 01535 606086
Email and sales: den.hi-fi734@amserve.com

Put 'A Time and Place' on your CD player, pick up that bottle of Jack Daniels, grab a glass, pour, sit back and enjoy!
Alan White, earlyblues.com


All photographs used with permission.

Return to Blues Interviews List

Website, Photos & Text © Copyright 2001-2008 Alan White. All Rights Reserved.
For further information please email: alan.white@earlyblues.com