FRINGE 2019 – A History of Early Blues

Cal Williams Jr + Friends
The Tin Shed at The Wheatsheaf Hotel
Sunday 17th Feb 2019 5:30pm

4.5 ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ?

Do you like The Blues? Well these guys LOVE The Blues..and it shows! Cal Williams Jr’s lyrical vocals and deftly crafted finger-picking blues guitar were complemented by Will Kallinderis soulful blues harp bedded beautifully against Kory Horwood’s driving, rhythmic double bass. Together this tight knit trio pumped out a lively 90 minute set of early blues numbers that epitomise the genre…. And they did it in style.!

Both Saturday night’s and tonight’s performances were sold out on the back of a highly acclaimed debut in 2017 and the sold out shows last Fringe. Not only that but this year, immediately prior to tonight’s show, it seems Williams had arranged and performed in the extraordinary Ukelele Blues Explosion !

After queuing in the passage next to the stairs in the humid conditions for half an hour it was a relief to finally gain entry to The Tin Shed at The Wheaty and pull up a stool next to the mixing desk.

Williams made it look effortless as he flicked out some of the finest acoustic blues guitar picking around. Kallinderis at one stage took over on vocals, and harp, prompting the audience to get in on the fun. And they did ! Kory Horwood had his bass singing so eloquently it was a delight when he hooked into an impressive solo.

Cal informed us early on that we have a “special guest” in our midst who will be joining the band at some point. I had noticed a diminutive grey haired gentleman bopping along in the front row and when it came time he began to move toward the stage, leaning on his walking stick. As he took his position in the band we realised it was non other than the iconic Aussie blues legend Chris Finnen and the appreciative audience gave him a hearty welcome.

Chris and the band ran through a few numbers and clearly Mr Finnen was enjoying himself immensely as this artful bunch of musos jammed themselves into a frenzy. Chris was clearly inspired and in his element carving up guitar solos ….His voice never being his strong point seemed to take on a timbre and pitch I have not really heard from him before.. This man in his seventies was hitting and sustaining high notes like a young diva !…beautiful!

If you love the blues you’ll love this.  If you like the blues, check these guys out. A love affair beckons..

Review by Gary Clarke…                4.5 stars

P.S. Cal Williams Jr. Band’s New Album “LUMA”  is Out Now .

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