Ian Siegal

Ian SiegalYou could say that Ian Siegal came to the blues via an unusual path. He didn’t grow up the son of a sharecropper on a dusty farm in the Delta of Mississippi. Indeed for a man whose music is so enthusiastically fuelled by such American idioms as folk and the blues, the British-born Siegal actually began his music career as an art school dropout busking on the streets of Germany.

The official launch of Siegal’s career began in 2003 when he served as the opening act for ex-Stone Bill Wyman’s Rhythm Kings. Next up was a tour of The United Kingdom alongside Big Bill Morganfield (son of legendary bluesman Muddy Waters).

Around the same time, his recording career got underway with, first with the release of 1998’s Hard As, then with ‘Yo’ Edjumikashun from a year later and 2002’s Standing in the Morning. 2005 saw the release of Meat and Potatoes with a new label (Nugene) and a new line-up that consisting of Nikolaj Bjerre on drums, bassist Andy Graham and Jonny Henderson on organ with Matt Schofield serving double duty as producer and adding contributions on guitar.

The same line followed with the release of Swagger (2007) and Broadside (2009). In addition to a growing audience, Siegal also began to gain the attention of the press, picking up a ‘Blues Album of the year’ award from MOJO magazine. (Swagger had previously been named the magazine’s number two album of its year).


In the year between the albums featuring new his brand new band, Siegal proved he could deliver heart-stopping blues with no band at all with the release of a solo acoustic album called The Dust. Recorded in reply to fans who requested the British star serve up a side dish of acoustic blues, the album featured mostly new songs with a handful of ‘oldies’ in the mix. The album, in addition to being a chart hit, went quite a ways toward carving out his work in the subgenre of ‘roots’ blues.

In 2011, Siegal released The Skinny. Recorded in north Mississippi, the album soaks up the flavor of the region, boasting a producer (Cody Dickinson) from the North Mississippi All-stars. The accompanying band’s line-up was also a reflection of Siegal’s desire to embrace the sound and ethos of area. Gary Burnside, Rodd Bland and Robert Kimbrough (all from North Mississippi) provide precisely the flavor needed to evoke the sonic ghosts of the Delta.

Recommended Album
Ian Siegal’s acoustic solo album The Dust gets to the very core of this stunning artist’s immense talent. With a grizzly bear’s growl, he manages somehow to deliver the kind of warmth that has sadly become a rarity in the realm of popular music.
It doesn’t hurt that Siegal’s prowess extends to his guitar, providing a tasty counterpoint to his vocal skills. But pure skill is not the only component to The Dust’s appeal. There are likely millions of guitar wizards who can play notes as blindingly fast as Ian Siegal. But this bluesman’s talent is his ability to make you feel every note – even the unpleasant ones.

Dust

A return trip to Northern Mississippi yielded the next year’s The Candy Store Kid. This time Cody Dickerson’s brother Luther added his touch alone with Alvin Youngblood Hart. Dubbed The Mississippi Mudbloods, this new band made a strong enough impression to warrant a shared credit on the release – and for good reason. Their unmistakable sound played a huge role in giving the album its unique flavor.
Soaring to number one in the iTunes UK blues chart and greedily receiving a monsoon of awards, The Candy Store Kid furthered Siegal’s efforts of expanding his audience. By now the word was out and soon began leaking to the rest of Europe and the US.

With three more albums under his belt, Siegal’s following has grown as steadily as his unique sound has matured. In 2014, he released Man and Guitar as well as ‘Picnic Sessions.’ A year later, One Night in Amsterdam followed. Given the dizzying surprises in Siegal’s musical growth, a fan of the blues can rest assured that his career will provide much to get excited about. His next adventure in sonic experimentation will likely be as thrilling as his last. So missing an Ian Siegal album would be a huge mistake.