23rd – 25th AUGUST 2019
1 GREAT FESTIVAL
BLUESMAN MIKE FRANCIS
Festival veteran Bluesman Mike Francis returns with a journey from day one… to this 30th anniversary year. Featuring some very special guests, the show will both evoke memories and set a path for the future, introducing the blues to a new generation and audience.
Here we chat with Mike about the blues festival in Colne, and his musical journey.
Q: What are your memories of the first blues festival in Colne, back in 1990?
A: General excitement on hearing first news about the festival as at the time was fairly local to the event. A very responsive audience and some superb performances on the two stages, the café roadhouse and main Municipal Hall.
Q: What can you tell us about your role in this year’s Great British Rhythm and Blues Festival?
A: To perform and be a contributing part of the anniversary by presenting ’30 Years of Colne’ at the Town Hall on the Sunday afternoon of the festival.
Q: What is your musical background?
A: Originally a touring musician I have turned full circle and gone back to my first love, the acoustic 12 string guitar.
Q: How would you describe the music you play now, who do you play with, and has your music changed much over the years?
A: Am now very much involved with a New Era Blues project aimed at introducing this wonderful genre of music to a whole new generation by treating it in a modern way. If Robert Johnson and Woody Guthrie were alive today they would probably still be playing acoustic for sure, but maybe with a looper pedal and suitable effects.
Q: Have you always known that being a musician was your chosen path and when did you first start performing live?
A: Yes very much from day one it was all I wanted to do. My late father used to curse “that guitar will never earn you a living” and I’m proud to report that very shortly afterwards it did. I have vague memories of singing in a pub with
my grandfather at an early age but first social club gigs would have been when I was about 15. I turned professional at 18.
Q: Who do you look up to as an artist?
A: Far too many to even try to mention – seriously!
Q: In terms of your own influences, what’s the one album in your own record collection you couldn’t live without?
A: We’ll be here until Christmas as that changes daily according to my mood… In terms of Blues as a said on a recent US podcast there is a Tony McPhee solo album from the 1970’s that has whole side of amazing raw acoustic blues ‘Two sides of Tony TS McPhee’ pure magic!
Q: Which one of your songs means the most to you?
A: I would have to say in recent years ‘Hope and Glory’ as was a personal experience and written from the heart.
Q: In terms of your shows, what is your favourite track to perform live and why?
A: I love playing live full stop. Very hard to single anything out but I suppose if I had to name one it would be ‘Timbuktu’ as drives along so well and has an amusing message.
Q: What kind of music were you brought up listening to?
A: American Rock n Roll, Country and British Bands from the 1960’s and 70’s
Q: What’s been the most memorable time of your musical career?
A: Meeting and playing with such wonderful people like Greg Lake, Dai Shell and backing/supporting on a number of high profile Rock, Blues and Soul tours over the years. Not forgetting playing the Colne Muni main stage in 2016 as part of a European Blues Awards showcase with Bex Marshall and Wilko Johnson.
Q: What else do you have in store for the rest of this year?
A: Some more UK and European tour dates to promoting New Era Blues. I hope to be back in the studio recording again by the end of the year.
Q: Where can people find out more about you and your music?
A: Social media is @BluesmanMikeF