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CW Stoneking is an enigma. His modern day spin on classical deep south blues brings the music to life for everyone. His cross-generation appeal was clear to see at this packed out gig at Bristol Trinity Centre. There were old folk embarking upon a stroll down memory lane, rockabilly types with their brill cream hair dos and young hipsters all swaying together to this compelling brand of timeless blues.

Dressed in his signature white suit, CW Stoneking, who has recently moved to Bristol, joked his way through the set with talk of squatters in a dildo farm (an old fave of his), clairvoyants telling him he’d die in an eight sided room and being lost in the jungle. Each bit of banter had some relevance to the story-telling songs he sang, from Brave Son Of America to Jungle Lullaby and Don’t Go Dancing Down The Dark Town Strutters’ Ball to Dodo Blues.

He lost his way a little during his yodelling song, Talking Lion Blues, when the whole audience decided to join in – but this just added to the warmth in the room. (See video clip below). It’s hard to tell where the on stage persona ends and the real Mr Stoneking begins – ultimately he’s an Aussie musician who’s struck gold with this faux Orleans shebang. But it totally works.

The sound in the Trinity Centre is always pretty exceptional and this gig was no different, the crystal clear twang of his steel guitar to the soaring trumpetry of his Bristol percussionist made for compelling listening. These guys looked like they were having fun and it rubbed off on the audience, all of whom had smiles on their faces throughout this gig. Who knew blues could be so much fun?!

Words, photo and video: Laura Williams