DJ Tips Part One | The Journey

“Your job starts in the record store, not on the decks. Your worth as a DJ begins and ends with what’s on your shelves and in your bag. For every hour on the deck, a good DJ spends days, months and years picking out tunes and learning about music.”

– Frank Broughton and Bill Brewster


My first DJ set was less of a set and more of a playlist and I was absolutely terrified. Lucky for me it got people dancing with a smile on their face and sent me home with one too.

From that day I knew I was on a journey. I wasn’t entirely sure of my destination but that didn’t matter. I set off without a map but trusted the universe to send me guides and sign-posts whenever I needed them.

Continue reading

Blues heroes | Junior Wells

“As a boy I was listening to Sonny Williamson records and I would close my eyes and visualize myself playing the harp.”

– Junior Wells

jr wells002

Photo by Brett Littlehales

One of the best-loved harp players in Chicago blues was Junior Wells. He took inspiration from the top living harmonica players and brought a passion and fire that was all his own.

Born and raised in West Memphis Arkansas, Wells learned from local blues hero Junior Parker. He was a skillful harmonica player by the time he was seven.

Continue reading

Sidemen – The Road to Glory

Sideman (n) — a supporting musician in a band or group

Sometime earlier this year I saw a Facebook post from my friend Ross Woods that really grabbed my attention.

It was an advertisement for a new film, Sidemen – Long Road to Glory.

Sidemen - Long road to glory


I did a little research and found that ‘Sidemen’ was a film about 3 bluesmen who played ‘in the shadows’ of the big name band leaders Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf.

I was intrigued.

Who were these men?

Continue reading

Fancy Footwork | Dancin’ the blues

Guest post by Greg Dyke

As a dancer (in the blues partner dance scene), trying to understand blues music can be challenging. The variety is huge and the set of music that gets DJed or is played by live bands is not always representative of this variety, or can include songs from various blues-adjacent genres.

Tallmusicguidetotheblueshe way blues music is often described and categorized has never seemed directly relevant to me as a dancer. If you take the All Music Guide to Blues, for example, various subgenres of blues are described by period, history, geographical area and instrumentation.

If you take the different blues idiom dances, many of them are also attached to a period and geographical area, and to specific types of music.

Knowing this history and how things relate *is* important if we want to develop a meaningful practice that is respectful of where the music and dance come from. [^1]

However, coming from a “I just want to have fun and dance nicely to whatever music is playing” perspective, there is just too much information to assimilate over a short period of time, and too little that is directly (or obviously) relevant to dancing.

Continue reading