When news happens, text LT and your photos and videos to 80360. Or contact us by email or phone.
What's on: Connie Lush, Great British Rhythm and Blues Festival
Continuing a series of interviews previewing artists at this year’s Great British Rhythm and Blues Festival in Colne over the August Bank Holday weekend, JOHN ANSON meets one of the leading ladies of the British Blues scene who reveals it was in Colne where her career first started.
CONNIE Lush clearly remembers her first visit to Colne. It was the late 80s and the aspiring singer arrived with a guitarist in tow to audition for one of the famous acoustic nights being organised by Perry Fowler.
“I didn’t know it at the time but organisers from the Colne festival were in the audience and heard me. I thought I had a chance of getting a slot in one of the pubs but I ended up on one of the official stages,” she said.
“Until that point people had kept telling me that I should sing the blues but being this Scouse girl, I really didn’t think that I could.
“But from that moment in Colne I knew I had found what I really wanted to do.”
Since that audition Connie has become one of Britain’s leading blues singers having won numerous awards and a devoted fanbase all over Europe and on the other side of the Atlantic.
“I’d always done the odd blues song in my own style in my sets before then but after Colne, I just dived in and embraced it fully,” said Connie. “At the beginning I was really conscious of what I call the ‘blues police’ and tried to perhaps adapt my singing to fit what they expected.
“But that didn’t last. I can only sing my kind of blues. It’s all about how you feel and the moment. Recently a lot of younger blues artists have come through putting their own take on the music and I’m happy to see that.”
With her band, Connie will be performing on the International Stage at Colne Muni on Monday, August 27, immediately before The Blues Band.
“I’ll be having a word with Paul Jones about not playing my new album on his radio show,” she laughed.
“But that’s one reason I love festivals like Colne which I think are very much the way forward. To have a mixed line-up like they have this year with the likes of Courtney Pine and Booker T on the same bill is great. Especially in difficult economic times, you need to give audiences a wider choice and it’s something I particularly enjoy.”
At Colne, Connie will be performing songs from her new album Send Me No Flowers as well as favourites from her back catalogue.
“I hate rehearsing,” she said. “We do have a rehearsal room but it’s full of tumbleweed and dust. It’s on stage where the songs come to life and very often they will change over the course of a year as we work with them.”
Connie Lush, Great British Rhythm and Blues Festival, Colne, Monday, August 27. Details from 01282 6612234.