Q&A with talented British guitarist Ben Poole -- an exciting young blues/roots artist to come out of the UK

"The blues I suppose means raw emotion to me, and I find that I can express myself through playing blues roots and blues based music."

Ben Poole: Rockin' The Blues

Twenty-five year old Ben Poole is currently being described as the most exciting young blues/roots artist to come out of the UK in a long, long time. A talented guitarist, singer and songwriter with obvious blues/rock, soul/R’n’B, country and Pop influences it’s hard to categorise the style and genre of this young man’s music. The past few years has seen Ben Poole’s profile raise far beyond expectation and a Ben Poole live show is certainly very energetic and not to be missed, giving the audience just what they want, an audience likes to be entertained and Ben and the band never fail to deliver.

Ben is no stranger to award nominations, he was nominated for three awards at the British Blues Awards in 2011, and was chosen by a respected panel of music industry aficionados to represent the UK at the 2012 European Blues Challenge held in Berlin, Ben coming third out of nineteen world class entries from nineteen different countries. Following on from the success of his EP EVERYTHING I WANT, recorded by ex Ozzy Osbourne/Ian Gillan guitarist Bernie Torme, Ben has since self-released his debut studio album LET’S GO UPSTAIRS, which has over the past year has been receiving heavy airplay and rave reviews from across the globe. The album was produced by producer Isaac Nossel and marks a move towards Ben Poole being known not just a superb guitarist but also a great singer and song writer and this is what producer Isaac has really bought out in him. On the album, seven of the songs are Ben Poole originals, two are co-writes with producer Isaac and three are covers including the Otis Redding/Steve Cropper song "Mr. Pitiful" and the Anne Peebles original "I’m Gonna Tear Your Playhouse Down". The last few years have seen Ben touring regularly across Europe and he has appeared at some of the biggest festivals. Latest Ben's album is the LIVE AT THE ALBERT HALL (2014).

Interview by Michael Limnios

What do you learn about yourself from the blues and what does the blues mean to you?

I was drawn to the blues from an early age, I think because it is a very honest style of music. There is no faking it, and it was always clear from watching my favourite blues and blues/rock artists that they were all playing and singing from the heart at all times. The blues I suppose means raw emotion to me, and I find that I can express myself through playing blues roots and blues based music.

How do you describe Ben Poole sound and songbook? What characterize your music philosophy?

I find it difficult to describe exactly what style of music I play. I don’t think I fall perfectly into any one box….but I wouldn’t want to anyway. If I had to try I would say it’s essentially blues/rock music, with elements of soul, a slight funkiness in the rhythm section, and a pop sensibility when it comes to the song writing. I try not to write just to satisfy a particular stylistic preference…this wouldn’t be honest and like I said before that is the key to music rooted in blues and soul, as well as to artistic integrity.

"I was drawn to the blues from an early age, I think because it is a very honest style of music. There is no faking it, and it was always clear from watching my favourite blues and blues/rock artists that they were all playing and singing from the heart at all times."

Which meetings have been the most important experiences for you? What is the best advice ever given you?

I always remember the advice Gary Moore gave to me after we first jammed together, shortly before he passed away. He told me that the space in a song or guitar solo is more important than the notes played…he meant that it is important to leave space and let a song breathe. He also told me to go back to my favourite albums by Eric Clapton and Peter Green and to listen to the “gaps” in their guitar playing, not the “licks”. I always admired him for his continued admiration of his heroes.

Are there any memories from gigs, jams, open acts and studio which you’d like to share with us?

One highlight was jamming with Jeff Beck. I was only 21 years old I think. I played AND sang Blues Deluxe which is an old Rod Stewart song which Jeff recorded with Rod for the infamous “Truth” album in around 1966. After my first guitar solo Jeff stopped and initiated a round of applause…this was one of the coolest moments ever!

What do you miss most nowadays from the music of past? What are your hopes and fears for the future of?

A lack of LIVE in both studio and LIVE environments. Everything is becoming more and more electronically reliant…and this is losing the vibe, energy and excitement of hearing real, live instruments.

What are the lines that connect the legacy of British Blues Boom of the 60s with your generation?

Purely the countless numbers of people across the globe who continue to share and love the music, and continue to be inspired by it.

"I always remember the advice Gary Moore gave to me after we first jammed together, shortly before he passed away. He told me that the space in a song or guitar solo is more important than the notes played…he meant that it is important to leave space and let a song breathe."

Let’s take a trip with a time machine, so where and why would you really wanna go for a whole day..?

I’d go to 1983, to the El Mocambo in Toronto on 11th July and be witness to the incredible performance of Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble.

Ben Poole - Official website

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