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Mouth of the Blues

© Frank Nielsen

This month the man once described by Mean Red Spiders frontman Mark Sharpe as ‘the mouth of the blues’ looks ahead to a gig in Ipswich that no fan of the blues should miss. Foz previews Irish singer Kaz Hawkins’ show in Suffolk’s county town towards the end of this month.

Feisty, funny and fabulous. That’s enough about me! That description is far better suited to a larger-than-life vocalist who has taken the blues world by storm – Kaz Hawkins. This lady cannot stop winning awards with her latest accolade coming only recently in Denmark. Having won last year’s UK Blues Challenge, Kaz and her band travelled to Scandinavia last month to compete in the European Blues Challenge and became the first British act to win the contest.

This is turning into quite a year for Kaz. She reached the semi-finals of the International Blues Challenge in the home of the blues – Memphis, Tennessee. I’ve attended that event in the past and take it from the competition is stiff. Former Norfolk-based guitarist Oli Brown took part a few years ago and I was lucky enough to cover his first American adventure for BBC Radio Norfolk and Suffolk.

Kaz is without doubt one of the hottest properties on the UK blues scene and she’s making her Ipswich debut this month when she brings her excellent group to Venue 77 on Friday, May 26. She will be featuring tracks from her aptly titled recent album Feelin’ Good. That’s exactly how you’ll feel if you get yourself one of the hottest tickets in town this Spring.

BBC Radio 2’s Paul Jones is one of Kaz’s biggest fans and is also rather partial to the work of her guitarist Neil McConkey. Kaz is a powerhouse performer who also writes her own material. She really knows how to give an audience the feelgood factor and her two sets in Ipswich this month will, I’m sure, win her a whole army of new followers in this part of the world. Kaz has twice played the John Peel Centre in Stowmarket and since those memorable shows her reputation has grown and grown.

Tickets are just £12 in advance for her first Ipswich gig and can be purchased from the Gardeners Arms bar, the Ipswich Regent box office (online or in person), the Ipswich Tourist Information Centre and Out Of Times Records in Fore Street, Ipswich. Admission on the night is £15. There’ll be no support so get there by 8-30pm for two sets of the most sensational blues concert in Ipswich since Mud Morganfield’s appearance at the New Wolsey Theatre a couple of years back.