AYNSLEY Lister is looking to put his troubles behind him when he heads to next month’s Great British Rhythm and Blues Festival in Colne.

“It’s been a bit of a rough year,” admitted one of the leading lights of the UK blues rock scene. “I wasn’t very well earlier in the year and ended up in hospital with pneumonia. Three days before I was admitted, I’d done a festival in Switzerland which wasn’t the easiest thing I’ve ever done.

“But I’m fine now - I’m back on form again and can’t wait to come to Colne.”

Aynsley’s lyrical abilities combined with some blistering guitar work have seen him pick up numerous awards at the British Blues Awards over the years and his most recent album, Eyes Wide Open, was widely acclaimed as being on of the finest of his career.

“Apparently I write really good, depressing, sad songs songs so with what happened to me earlier this year, I’ve got plenty of fuel for the next album,” he joked.

“Colne has always been a special place for me, it was one of the first big festivals I did and it’s been a while since I’ve been there.”

Aynsley said that he enjoys the challenge of playing on a festival stage.

“For our normal gigs we’d play for two hours or more but with a festival you are always restricted with time,” he said.

“Festivals are good because you can put all your best bits in there, it allows you to be a bit more intense. For us festival sets just go so quickly. “

For Colne, Aynsley said fans can look forward to a fair helping of songs from Eyes Wide Open.

“I don’t think we’ve worn it out yet” he said. “The tracks from it are going down really well but there are also some favourites which we won’t be taking out of the set for a while.”

Aynsley is hoping to be in Colne over the August Bank Holiday weekend to see some of the other artists at the festival.

“If possible I like to get there early and check out some of the other stages,” he said.

With so many great artists on the bill, does he ever feel under added pressure to perform?

“I always check out who is on but I tend to not think about it too much,” he said. “My approach has always been ‘just do your thing and do it to the best of your ability’.

“Some people do get really competitive at festivals and turn up with the attitude ‘we are going to be the best band and blow everyone else off stage’. I’ve never been like that - that’s not my style.

“I don’t see the point of trying to out-do the band before or after you. As long as you are comfortable in your own ability and put it across with conviction, you are going to be OK.

“I have experienced people being competitive though,

“It’s like when you have someone to jam with you, I’d never get someone up and then try to out-play them, that’s just not right.

“But I have been invited to play with people when it’s been clear from the first note that they just want to try and out-play me and make themselves look good.

“I’m not into that at all. To me music is music. I just want to go out there and enjoy it.”

Aynsley Lister plays the Hippodrome Theatre stage on Saturday, August 26, The Great British Rhythm and Blues Festival runs from Friday, August 25 to Sunday, August 27 and artists appearing include King King, Joanne Shaw Taylor, Janiva Magness and Ian Siegal. Details from the box office on 01282 861888 or www.bluesfestival.co.uk