At 16 Hamilton loomis found himself playing on stage alongside Bo Diddley and he hasn’t looked back since.

JOHN ANSON questioned one of the rising stars of blues.

You’ve played Burnley Blues Festivals before. How excited are you to be returning? I’m extremely excited because Burnley is one of my favorite festivals to play — the production, hospitality, and of course the audiences are amazing.

Who’ll be in the band with you for the festival? This year, I have my American band with me, which is the same line-up when we tour in the States. My drummer, Ryan Cortez, bassist Kent Beatty, and saxophonist Fabian Hernandez are all virtuosos, yet great “team players” and just amazing musicians.

For newcomers to your music, can you describe the Hamilton Loomis sound? I like to call it “Modern Texas Soul Music”. It’s hard to describe — the music I write seems to be a homogenous blend of everything I listened to growing up, which was blues, soul, funk, pop, and rock…mostly.

How big an influence has Bo Diddley been? Bo was an amazing mentor because I learned so much from him. I could sit and listen to him tell stories for hours about his experiences and hardships. He also was an influence stylistically — not to duplicate or imitate his sound, but he encouraged me to be original. That’s when he told me “You got to innovate, don’t imitate”.

It’s been a while since your last CD Live in England, any chance we might see a new album soon? I’m excited because we just released a live DVD, which is a full 2-hour concert in surround sound, plus lots of bonus features where I talk about Bo and my experiences. On this tour we’re promoting the DVD, but also unveiling lots of new songs I’ve written for the next CD, which we’ll record this summer for September release.

Looking at your live schedule you don’t seem to believe in many days off. How do you keep the intensity every night? I think it’s a combination of things. The audiences really get us fired up, and we feed off their energy. Also, for me it’s just the joy of making music and sharing music with people that keeps me on my toes.

Playing fantasy festivals, which three artists/bands (living or dead) would you love to share a stage with? There are too many to name…If I had to narrow it down, I’ve always wanted to play with Stevie Wonder and Prince (from an R&B standpoint). As far as Bluesmen, I’d say Howlin’ Wolf or Freddie King maybe.

What if all of them were onstage together? What an awesome blend of old and new school styles!

*Hamilton Loomis, and his band, Burnley Mechanics, tomorrow, 7.30pm