The Dirt Road Blues Band at the Musician, Leicester
by Pete Clemons
When you have a band made up of Warwickshire based musicians and you go and cross a border to play a gig in a different county, it is possibly a surprise when you get a healthy audience.
However, on the last Thursday before the festive season began, that’s exactly what the Dirt Road Blues Band as namely, Steve Walwyn guitar, Horace Panter bass and drummer Ted Duggan did when they played the Musician pub in Leicester. And that’s exactly what happened, a sizeable crowd attended.
Yes, admittedly, those musicians are a bit more than just well known locally. But they didn’t use that on the advertising. Only the band name was used.
The band opened with a tune called ‘Sweet Louise’ and followed that up with Canned Heat’s ‘World in a Jug’. They were then joined on stage by ace harmonica player Sam Powell who added his considerable talents to the next few numbers.
For the tune ‘You Got Me’, and indeed for the next few tunes, Maxx Manning of local favourites The Della Grants entered the fray. Now for those who have not heard The Della Grants, you really ought to, as that particular blues band are beginning starting to turn an awful lot of heads.
Given that this was only the DRBB second ever gig, they had not settled on their laurels and played the exact same set as previously at their debut in Leamington. They surprised by dropping in some new numbers.
And for the first of these Horace swapped bass. The change of sound was quite extraordinary. Even to noticeable to a non muso such as myself.
So I asked Horace about it: ‘I took the BEAD strings from a 5 string bass set and fitted them to a 4 string bass guitar. I needed it to get that down and dirty sound on some of the tunes’.
The second half began as the first had finished. The band gave the impression they were comfortable and had really settling into a groove. Plus, they were clearly enjoying the whole experience. For this set, and In addition to the previous guests, they were joined by Holly Hewitt. Delicate in stature, Holly can sure dive straight in and belt out a powerful vocal.
After a final finale an incredibly hyped up and passionate crowd went home very happy. The chatter and the buzz afterwards was the knowing that they had just witnessed something very special.
I appreciate that all these guys have ‘day jobs’, so to speak, and that The Dirt Road Blues Band may be a part time thing, but it has to be said they appear to have bonded wonderfully well. Their gigs bring excitement, energy and diversity. And a few surprises. Let’s hope that they find the time for more of this. It really was truly a memorable evening.