Band’s Amer­i­can dream comes true

Central Leader - - NEWS - By DANIELLE STREET

Singing the blues just got a lit­tle bit harder for The Flam­ing Mud­cats.

Fol­low­ing a raft of rave re­views the Auck­land fourpiece has been in­vited to play at the in­au­gu­ral Field of Blues Fes­ti­val in Rock­ford, Illi­nois – a dream come true for the band.

Since form­ing four years ago, the Mud­cats have be­come firm favourites in the Auck­land blues scene.

Drum­mer Ian Thomp­son says he al­ways wanted to put to­gether a band to play ‘‘au­then­tic blues’’.

The four sea­soned mu­si­cians gath­ered in a re­hearsal room and found they be­longed to­gether.

‘‘The first song we played – it was like ‘whoa, this is go­ing to fly’. It just gelled,’’ Thomp­son says.

The band’s har­mon­ic­a­heavy jumped-up blues sound is des­tined to make the au­di­ence dance.

‘‘There’s an old quote that goes ‘if no­body’s danc­ing then you ain’t play­ing mu­sic’, and that’s what we try and do,’’ bassist Sean McCarthy says.

‘‘We try and play stuff that will get peo­ple hav­ing a good time.’’

While their name has a dis­tinctly Amer­i­can twang the Mud­cats in­sist they steer away from play­ing stan­dard blues jams.

‘‘We try not to talk about Amer­i­can land­marks like driv­ing down to Mem­phis or any­thing like that,’’ Thomp­son says.

McCarthy adds:

‘‘It just wouldn’t be au­then­tic, whereas some of the other themes about our re­la­tion­ships, or al­co­hol, we’ve all been through that, so it lends an air of au­then­tic­ity to the mu­sic.’’

Stick­ing to what know has paid off.

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Their 2011 de­but al­bum found its way to the United States where it was re­viewed for Blues Blast mag­a­zine, with author Steve Jones not­ing: ‘‘Th­ese guys are the real deal and you should check them out.’’

McCarthy tracked down Jones via the in­ter­net to thank him for the re­view and a trans-Pa­cific friend­ship was formed.

‘‘I hap­pened to men­tioned one of our goals was to get out and play in Amer­ica and he said he was putting on a fes­ti­val in Rock­ford, and that he’d love to have us McCarthy says.

Be­fore the band de­parts for the Field of Blues Fes­ti­val they are play­ing a cou­ple of farewell gigs.

You can catch them on Fri­day from 8pm at Dairy Flat Hall or on Satur­day from 8.30pm at One 2 One on Pon­sonby Rd.

En­try is $10.

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Photo: TRE­FOR WARD

Blues broth­ers: The Flam­ing Mud­cats, from left, Bassist Sean McCarthy, drum­mer Ian Thomp­son from Hills­bor­ough, vo­cal­ist and har­mon­ica player Craig Bracken from One Tree Hill and gui­tarist Doug By­grave.

Crowd pleasers: Doug By­grave, left, and Craig Bracken.

Visit cen­tral­leader.co.nz and click Lat­est Edi­tion to watch a video of The Flam­ing Mud­cats per­form­ing

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