ONE of the most eagerly anticipated sets at this year’s Great British Rhythm and Blues Festival is undoubtedly that of Dave Edmunds on the opening Friday night.

The Welsh guitarist, songwriter and producer will be making a rare live appearance with his band offering his own mix of classic rock and roll and blues numbers.

Edmunds, perhaps best known in the UK for his hits such as I Knew the Bride and I Here You Knocking, was a member of Ringo Starr’s All-Star Band as well as leading his own hugely popular outfit Rockpile.

His current band of mainly Swedish musicians includes saxophone player Micke Finell who is not surprised at the excitement Dave’s visit to Colne has caused.

“No, I’m not surprised at all that Dave’s name on the bill is causing such excitement,” he said. “He is an extremely influential figure.”

Micke has played with Dave with over 20 years including with his former band The Refreshments.

“We’ve done quite a few gigs and live recordings together over the years, but we’ve also spent plenty of time together on days off so he has become a good friend too,” said Micke.

“Dave has always been a very private individual throughout his career preferring to let his music speak for itself.

“His music is at the heart of what he does,” said Micke. “He feels very good when he’s on stage but he’s not a guy that wants to go to fancy parties - he’s a very private, shy person.”

Micke, who is also a successful promoter in his native Sweden, added: “I’ve worked with quite a few people with big egos without mentioning any names but Dave’s definitely not one of them.”

Being part of Dave’s band can occasionally lead to a few surprises.

“Dave always puts his setlists together for a show and it’s not unknown for him to come up with something at a soundcheck and decide that’s what we’ll be playing that night,” said Micke.

“We’ve never played a completely new song but certainly they may be songs we haven’t really played very often before. I hope that shows his confidence in us.”

Colne’s reputation as one of the finest rhythm and blues festivals in Europe has got Micke and the rest of the band very excited to come to perform next week.

“If possible we’d love to have a look around and take in some of the artists,” he said. “We’re all really looking forward to it.”

n Dave Edmunds, International Stage, Friday, August 26, 9.30pm