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Shooter fast on the draw

Living up to expectations can be a real incentive or it can prove the most onerous of responsibilities.

Living up to expectations can be a real incentive or it can prove the most onerous of responsibilities.

A couple of the coming week's visitors to the region know all about that double-edged sword!

First up, next Tuesday night at The Cluny, is a UK tour debut for 28-year-old Shooter Jennings. Shooter - the epithet, bestowed at birth by his father, has nothing to do with guns, drinks or astrology as he will, no doubt, explain on the night - is the son of Waylon Jennings and Jessi Colter, both huge stars on the country scene and both prime movers in that genre's "outlaw" fraternity - a reaction to the Nashville Sound - alongside Willie Nelson and Billy Joe Shaver.

Shooter was effectively raised on the parental tour bus. When old enough, he headed out of Nashville for Los Angeles and put together a rock band, Stargunn, basing their sound on the Southern rock of Lynyrd Skynyrd.

After the band broke up Shooter decided to try his luck in New York.

But after tiring of the rock thing he was soon back in the City of Angels putting together the upbeat, country-orientated 357s, the band he will bring with him.

Also at The Cluny, a couple of days later on the Thursday, a young man with the weight of history - blues guitar history to be exact - on his shoulders is Matt Schofield.

He brings his world-class trio, dubbed "the Cream of their generation" according to one critic.

In the recently-published Penguin Book of Blues Recordings, only two living British artists are rated excellent with four stars. Matt gains the accolade for his albums The Trio, Live and Siftin' Thru Ashes (Nugene Records).

The great thing is that Schofield is no clone of anyone. He has absorbed the work of Albert, Freddie and BB King but the work of Larry Carlton, Robben Ford and John Schofield also informs his playing, with groove and funk always at the core.

He saw a video of Stevie Ray Vaughan, Albert Collins and BB King when he was 13 and from that moment he knew what he wanted to be.

With his A-levels out of the way the young Matt headed for London and gigged, seeking out the best players to learn from. As he put it: "Stevie Ray was a big influence on me, but right from the beginning I always wanted my own sound. You're never going to be as good as someone if you sound just like them.

"When I heard Robben Ford, I realised, OK you can really do something else with this."

He has done just that and is not intimidated in any company. The BBC's Paul Jones was quick to see the young man's potential after the trio appeared on his show. He told his listeners: "I could be in America listening to a world famous band and I think they possibly will be."

Schofield has a new album, his fourth, just about ready for release and his recent Bath International Guitar Festival workshop sold out in record time.

The Cluny contact number is (0191) 230 4474.

A couple of other acts with absolutely nothing to live up to, reputations apart, are due a few days later.

The funky soul band Nicole Willis & The Soul Investigators, make a return to the city when they strike up at the Other Rooms, Digital, in Newcastle's Times Square - beside the Centre for Life - next Friday.

Northern Soul fans will be out in numbers to see this exciting act who made a real impact with last year's Keep Reachin' Up album.

Tickets available from RPM on High Bridge, Newcastle. Soul fans are spoiled for choice that night because the Snake Davis Band, Burdon of Paradise, with new female vocalist, is at The Cluny!

On Sunday April 29, and once again at The Cluny, you can hear Happy Songs From Rattlesnake Gulch (Rock `Em Records).

The man bearing those gifts from that inhospitable place is none other than the Texas icon, Joe Ely. Joe started life in Amarillo (he obviously knew the way there) before moving to Buddy Holly-town, Lubbock.

There, he formed the Flatlanders with pals Butch Hancock and Jimmie Dale Gilmore, mixing country, folk and rock material.

Ely issued his debut solo album in 1977 and the following year, while playing in London with his own band, he met The Clash and started a mutual admiration society which saw them tour together on both sides of The Pond.

His career has crossed several stylistic boundaries leading to performances with Bruce Springsteen, Lyle Lovett and John Hiatt in a long and diverse list.

Joe wrote songs for the Robert Redford film, The Horse Whisperer, and it led to the reformation of the Flatlanders and a couple of new albums by the trio.

The Cluny gig is one of only six UK dates.

Rosin-up that bow in readiness, because next week the focus is on The Sage Gateshead's Fiddles on Fire extravaganza!

Gigs, workshops, internationally renowned performers, dance and children's activities.


David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer