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BLUES PLAYER

"When I first picked up the guitar, it was all about trying to play like the great Hank Marvin." - Ian Moss

Posted: June 5, 2024
I consider myself still a blues wanna-be blues player. I keep trying though. I'm always looking for inspiration from others. Always trawling Youtube for ideas and inspiration. 

Photo by: Robert Hambling

The future of Blues Music is looking good. In fact, it has Ian Moss’s name written all over it. Aesthetic Realism explains “the deepest desire of every person is to like the world on an honest or accurate basis.” The blues shows how deep that desire is, because, in the blues, people have taken some of their saddest feelings and shown, even these can be given form, even these can make for beauty.

The Blues can be dated back to the 1950s or even earlier. Since then, the blues genre seemed to become irrelevant. The outlet to display the saddest of feelings seem to be replaced with aggressive variations of the Blues. While this may hold water, it certainly doesn’t make the blues genre irrelevant. In fact, people clamored to say that Rock or Country was a dying genre. However, both genres are thriving.

Yes, there are some variations of each genre, but the core of each sound is strong. The roots of each genre are still there and will never go away. Especially within the blues arena. There are too many talented artists transitioning to the blues genre, bringing their own variation of it.

I once believed that the variations of country music would offend the traditionalists. Country music would be watered down and would lose popularity. I later discovered that it was the variations of country music that kept it alive. Even despite, comments and protests from the traditionalists.

Country music is going nowhere, and neither is the Blues genre. The variations of blues are what draws people to it. The popularity of Blues has increased over the years, with the likes of Kaleo, Tyler Bryant and the Shakedown, Phillip Sayce, Jared James Nichols and our guest today, Ian Moss.

AUSTRAILIAN GUITARIST AND BLUES MAN IAN MOSS

Respected as one of Australia’s iconic musicians, Ian Moss delivers an unforgettable sound – not only as a telling soloist on guitar but especially with his silken voice, ringing with clarity and resonating with pure soul. While primarily recognized as an axeman of unusual tenacity and sweet melodic sensibility, Ian’s distinctive vocal is the essential signature of his soulful, bluesy muse – as it has been since his first tentative foray into music during the early 1970s.

INTERVIEW WITH IAN MOSS AND GUITAR THRILLS MAGAZINE

Guitar Thrills: Hi Ian. Thank you for joining me for a chat today. We are looking forward to your feedback regarding the health of the blues industry.  So, you have read the introduction above regarding the blues genre. Have you heard that blues is not necessarily as popular as it once was?

Ian: Yes I've heard that but still believe blues to be the roots of all modern pop, rock etc music. To my ear, to some varying degree, I hear it in all modern music today.

Guitar Thrills: What is your perspective of how far we have come with the Blues genre, and its future potential? 

Ian: We've certainly given it a good run around the block several times. For mine, I think perhaps getting a little fancy with it but not over doing it can't hurt. Take what Jack Ruch does for example. You can quite simply add a few occasional colours to your pallet by, just before going to your four chord, thinking of your one chord as a five chord and chuck in a melodic minor up the half step" lick, here and there. 

Guitar Thrills: Are there opportunities for more variations of Blues? You notice it in the country genre, and rock as well. 

Ian: Yes there sure is lots of cross over going on, as our access to more knowledge becomes more and more ready, thanks to technology . . . the internet. You can access free extensive lessons in any style at and level at the press of a button these days. Stuff that wasn't on the horizon when I started learning guitar in the remote Australian town of Alice Springs where I grew up in 1966.

Guitar Thrills: From your experience, where are some of the best blue's cities to play in, especially if you are looking for that true blues vibe?

Ian: Hard to question for anywhere in the world but Australia. Generally, our eastern coastal cities will have a few blues appreciation clubs. 

Guitar Thrills: What kind of impact have you personally had on the blues genre? 

Ian: I consider myself still a blues wanna-be blues player. I keep trying though. I'm always looking for inspiration from others. Always trawling Youtube for ideas and inspiration. 

Guitar Thrills: It is easy to find some of the best blues players to be inspired by. There is a huge list of players, that I have admired. Who personally has inspired your ability to play the blues?

Ian: When I first picked up the guitar, it was all about trying to play like the great Hank Marvin. I don't think I know a guitar player of any style that didn't dig Wes Montgomery. Then Clapton, Hendrix, Page and jeff Beck (my all time fave) exploded on the scene. Then you started wondering who they listened and so you discovered Buddy Guy and of course all the Kings. I'm a big fan of Gary Clarke's. When he popped his head up amongst a plethora of modern players, there was something about Gary's playing that took you way back in a beautiful warm nostalgic trippy way and back to how blues used to be played. The original blues. A way, very back-on-the-beat, style of playing. 

Guitar Thrills: With guitarists growing into the blues genre, what is some advice that you could provide that will help them avoid mistakes? 

Ian: Listen to all styles and players. Also remember, phrasing is king and that it's OK to play fewer notes and to leave gaps. What are the lyrics to the song you are playing? Is your playing supportive of the person in the story that' suffering? Are you playing the song or are you just waiting for your turn to shred? 

Guitar Thrills: What were some of the challenges that you had to face, growing up in the music industry as an artist? 

Ian: It seems the challenges never end. But concentrate on your songwriting (as well as your guitar practice) for in the end, that's what will prevail. Don Walker, principal song writer for Cold Chisel, would not settle for the wrong syllable in an any given word in any part of any given song, before he'd allow the band to play and record it! But now we understand why 50 years later, people are calling for Cold Chisel songs to be the Australian national anthem. 

Guitar Thrills: Tell us about the early days of working with Cold Chisel. What are some of the best times recording with the band? 

Ian: The experience varied from album to album, I guess. It was great being fortunate enough to record so many albums and I loved the very first album. 

I loved recording "Circus Animals" the most. We'd just come off a tour in the USA where we got to play at a one-day festival called the Tornado Jam, just outside of Austin, Texas and on the same bill as some great, blues-based bands and artists like Delbert McClinton, The Fabulous Thunderbirds and Stevie Ray Vaughan. The whole tour was inspirational and inspiring to play in the country that invented the blues. Arguably, there might have been pressure to conform to a market tipping toward Brit pop. We felt encouraged to stick to our blues roots and stayed true to what Cold Chisel always was. A blues based hard rocking, song-oriented band. 

Guitar Thrills: Phillip Sayce, Jared James Nichols and our guest today, Ian Moss who is heading back to the UK with his band in July 2024 for 2 shows - July 10, King Tuts, Glasgow and July 12, Bush Hall, London. For tickets head to ianmoss.com.au/tour

Ian: My pleasure and I hope to see and you readers at one my UK shows in July.




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