Our final Sunday Session for 2009 turned out to be a scorcher both in weather and the wealth of great music! The open mic talent competition saw the solo and duo finalists giving it their all. There were some fine performances of original and cover songs including Born To Be Wild and Smoke On The Water from Alan & Paul (Two Way), Stars Go Blue and No Longer Hear Music from Tim Mathieson, Greener Grass and Pastures and When Two Star Signs Collide by Mark Harris, Flicker & Spark by Neil & Tom, Forever Free and their debut performance of You Make Everything Beautiful from Debra & Nicholas, Thinking of You and In Your Eyes from Freya Ridings plus Your Fine and Vain Display from Caroline Hoare (The Haunting A.D.). It was a difficult decision for musician/teacher Jane Rees & Adam (proprietor of Downs Sounds Rehearsal Studio) who sponsored the competition. Winners Tim, Freya and overall winner Caroline all received a prize of free time the studio.

After the competition, RoXi and the Blue Cats took the stage and kicked off their first set. It was immediately apparent that the addition of Martin Ellins on Lead Guitar had made a substantial impact, despite having joined them a few weeks prior to the event, his sensitive licks and obvious understanding of the Blues added a new dimension to an already great team. Despite the heat, folk were soon bopping along to the music - even those with picnics swaying on their rugs and seats enjoying the variety of the set and great musicianship. Rousing renditions of old favourites like Every Day I Have The Blues, Hoochie Coochie Man, Rock Me Right, Mercy and Got My Mojo Working were well matched with their sensative approach to slow blues numbers Need Your Love So Bad, Stormy Monday, Born Under A Bad Sign and As The Years Go Passing By. Few blues bands do these well and it makes a refreshing change to find one that employs dynamics and does them justice.

With over 30 mixed cover and original songs played during the afternnon, it would be impossible to comment on them all, but highlights of the day have to be Jim's solid drumming throughout, Phil's bass solo on Gimme Some Loving, Rick's rendering of his original song Wake Up Blues, Martin's solo's and RoXi's amazing vocals especially on Still Got The Blues and Ball and Chain. Rumour has it that there will be some new songs in this years set which we can't wait to hear!!

Far from being 'just another covers band' they also have several members who write some pretty mean blues numbers like the uptempo and very danceable My Baby Says, the very relevant Unemployed Blues or the quirky Wake Up Blues, all of which seem to buzz around in my head for ages after hearing them - got to be a good sign - can't wait for their album to be released!!

During the breaks, young Freya Ridings provided a great rendition of Wonderwall and her original track So Real followed by ultra talented guitarist, harmonica player, singer / songwriter Jim Dawson performing a selection of popular songs like Daydream, Island In The Sun and his own original melodic Rain On My Face always go down well with the audience.

We have since heard that Freya Ridings won the 16 and under category for her song Doubt at Brit Writers Awards 2010 and has been accepted into the prestigious Brit School in Croydon! Way to go, WELL DONE Freya!! Undoubtably one to watch and well on her way to being as successful as her dad, actor and all round nice guy Richard Ridings whose family joined RoXi and the Blue Cats on stage for a rousing rendition of Mustang Sally along with lead guitarist Martin's ultra talented daughter Jade on backing vocals!

Browse photos of RoXi and the Blue Cats, Jim Dawson and the Open Mic Final performers below - click on the image title link to view larger picture which opens in a new window (may require popups and javascript enabled depending on your browser settings). We were hoping to have a video from the day but some folk in the gazebo near the camcorder were making too much noise and the whole thing was ruined .... on the plus side though we have some great photographs thanks to Mike Barratt (marked with *). We are very thankful to our sponsors Enfield Council and to Adam from Downs Sounds Rehearsal Studio in Southgate for their support without which the annual Sunday Sessions at Broomfield Park would not be possible.


Enfield Council Downs Sounds Studios


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