At 16 he began to roadie occasionally for his cousin’s band and one night, quite unexpectedly, he was asked to sing. The result was a blown-away audience and a delighted (and rather surprised!) young vocal talent with a long career ahead of him.
It was 2 years later that he picked up a guitar and taught himself to play, listening to the likes of Muddy, B.B King, Robert Cray and Albert Collins. At 20 he dropped out of Art college and travelled to Berlin, busking for a living. This is where he says his playing dramatically improved as, if he didn’t make money, he didn’t eat! By the time he returned to England he knew that a career in music was the only one for him.
A visit to Nottingham resulted in a 5 year stay and Ian’s first band became one of the most popular on the local music scene, with a residency at renowned venue The Running Horse attracting full houses and appearances at Colne and Burnley festivals getting rave reviews. His first album “Picture Postcards” also showed Ian to be a gifted songwriter with a deep understanding of musical traditions, but with an eye on the future.
Moving to London to further his career was inevitable and Ian became an established part of the London Blues community almost immediately. That’s where today’s Ian Siegal band was born. Many gigs followed, along with a number of appearances with American Blues acts - Phil Guy, Sugar Blue, Nappy Brown, Eddie Kirkland, Catfish Keith and Jimmie Vaughan to name but few. He has also sung with other bands, notably The Lee Sankey Group and can be heard on the album “Tell Me There’s a Sun”. All the time Siegal’s writing and playing skills developed, and appearances on larger festival stages to bigger audiences - such as Edinburgh, Lugano, Peer, North Sea Jazz - enabled him to hone his skills into becoming one of the most naturally exciting and vibrant talents on the scene today. Awareness among British Audiences of Ian’s talents grew considerably after two consecutive tours opening for Bill Wyman’s Rhythm Kings, including a performance at the Royal Albert Hall; and then in 2005 he toured playing as a duo with Big Bill Morganfield (Muddy Waters’ son). “That’s as near as I can ever get to the great man himself,” says Ian.
Ian’s first major CD release was in 2004. “Standing In The Morning” on which Ian drafted in some of the top players around to supplement his band, in particular the horns of Nick Payne, Frank Mead, Martin Winning, Sid Gauld and John Beecham, who between them have worked with The Rolling Stones, The Kinks, Van Morrison, Albert Collins and Buddy Guy. The album is an entirely original composition, with reviewers drawing comparisons with Tom Waits, Bruce Springsteen, Dr. John and Van the Man.
His “Meat & Potatoes” CD released in April 2005 sees Ian returning to his roots with an album of powerful urban Blues, which he describes as “stripped down, mean and moody and as close as you can get to our live performances”. For this recording he augmented his core trio sound with upcoming Brit guitar maestro, Matt Schofield (who also produced the album), and Jonny Henderson on Hammond organ. This album has drawn widespread praise and put Ian firmly on the map on both sides of the Atlantic.
In 2008 the album The Dust was released. Unlike the previous albums it contained mainly solo performances. In 2009, Siegal released another album together with his band members, Andy Graham (bass) and Nikolaj Bjerre (drums). This album, Broadside, was voted “Blues Album of the Year 2009” by Mojo.
His 2011 release, The Skinny, was recorded in North Mississippi with Cody Dickinson of the North Mississippi Allstars as record producer and he also played on the album. Backing Siegal were the sons of some notable Mississippi blues men, including on guitar Robert Kimbrough, on guitar and bass Garry Burnside, and on drums Rod Bland. Also guesting were Alvin Youngblood Hart and Duwayne Burnside.
Edited by LevyNagy on 26 Apr 2012, 23:55
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