By TERRI LEE FATOUROS
It’s bound to be a good fit when a left-handed lead guitarist finds a lefty bassist. Enter the Sammy Owen Blues Band. Owen, lead vocalist, met Michael Landells – a left handed Fender Precision 1978 bass player – over six months ago, hitting it off and gigging together since.
Being younger musicians, both men endevour to keep the blues tradition alive by expressing the music with their unique bent.
Liam Kealy adds magic to the mix with his Hammond B3 and has been with Owens since 2012. They perform along traditional blues lines but add huge amounts of improvisation and literally play “in the moment.”
Drummer Jessie Bates adds his fills amongst spontaneous wah-wah riffs and although loud at times, it actually works. Bates reckons they are a cohesive band, listening to each other while jamming and loves bringing his Latin and reggae tunes into the blues.
The original material Owen writes is based on everyday Melbourne life, infused with comical experience and influenced by the likes of Albert King, Buddy Guy, and Albert Collins.
Interestingly, Owen feels “you’re not getting it” if you have to rehearse.
“The songs are our Melbourne style blues,” claims Owen, who feels he is the “punk” of the Melbourne blues scene. “I write original songs and try to make them a little bit out of box… the traditional influences are there, but we’re writing something a bit more urban, a bit cheeky.
“Although my main influence is Buddy Guy, I’m not trying to sing lyrics like I’ve been working all day in steel mills in Chicago. I keep it original… we’re very modern and we are not trying to sound like anyone else – it’s our interpretation of the blues.”
Owen enjoys gigging with musicians exuding positive energy, digging a dynamic with “loud, very quiet and everything in between,” which he feels works with any rhythm.
“I look for musicians who can play this style. If we have to rehearse then they’re probably not going to be in the band. Our new song, called Busted, has a jazz-type swing feel to it.”
Sammy Owen Blues Band gigs regularly at Double G in Mornington (8 Octavia St, Mornington), where Glen Bryant runs the music operation at the Double G, making bookings, researching bands, and ensuring the venue has top-notch blues & rock every weekend. For all correspondence regarding music, give him a call on 0414 496 654.
Glenn Pain looks after the restaurant side of what used to be a little Italian Trattoria, so if you dig well-crafted food & music, the buzz of electric guitars, and perhaps a frosty Budweiser after hours, the Double G is your next stop.