Fingers crossed for Brandon’s blues dream

The Brandon Lee Webb band
The Brandon Lee Webb band
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A WIGAN guitarist and his band are dreaming of rubbing shoulders with some of the biggest names in blues as they take their first steps towards a festival appearance across the pond.

The Brandon Lee Webb band, led by an Orrell-based musician, are hoping to make it through to the live heats of a national competition to find a band to send to a leading Canadian music festival.

The three-piece, made up of Brandon Lee Webb on vocals and acoustic guitar, Dan Bromsgrove on slide guitar and Jamie Cranny on bass, have submitted their performance of Brandon’s song Rollie Burn Scars to the organisers of the New Brunswick Battle of the Blues competition and now face an anxious wait to discover if the panel likes it enough to send them through to the national heats in January.

The winners of the entire competition will get to travel to New Brunswick, on the east coast of Canada, for the Harvest Blues and Jazz Festival, where they will perform alongside some of the biggest names in roots, jazz and world music.

The band’s efforts are all the more impressive as the trio have only been together for around a year, after Brandon had travelled to Virginia to record a solo album which is yet to be released.

Brandon, 36, said: “I recorded an album’s worth of tracks and got some American musicians from Pennsylvania, New York and South Carolina playing cello, mandolin and percussion, and when I got back to the UK I spoke to Dan to see if he would be on the photo on the album cover. We started jamming and he said we should get together, so I decided to add his parts to what I had recorded and that’s when Jamie joined us.

We’ve been gigging this year and found out about this competition. As there’s a heat in Newton le Willows we thought we would go for it, and to get to go to Canada would just be absolutely magic.”

Brandon’s take on the blues is influenced by artists such as BB King, Rory Gallagher and Kelly Joe Phelps, but his band’s music is strictly acoustic only.

However, Brandon says this does not mean they hold back from unleashing as much musical power as they can muster live in their distinctive, roots-influenced take on the music. He said: “We’re very aggressive on stage and will leave people’s ears ringing by the time we’ve finished. I just like the way our acoustic line-up can really knock people for six. I love the blues because of the history and heritage behind it. ”

The closing date for entries to the New Brunswick Battle of the Blues is November 30, with the line-up for the January heats being selected soon after.

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