Godiva Festival preview: the Dirt Road Band

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Godiva Festival preview: the Dirt Road Band

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The Dirt Road Band's career has been one of those unpredictable ones their name rather implies, but I think it's fair to say that it has exceeded all original expectations of its founders Ted Duggan, Steve Walwyn & Horace Panter.

This local supergroup originated in a request from the Broomfield Tavern in Coventry asking Ted  (drummer with more bands than there is space in this article to mention but let's start with Badfinger, The Beat, The Selecter and Desmond Dekker) to put together a scratch blues band for an event. Ted called up legendary local blues guitarist/singer Steve  (and again his CV is huge: let's just say 32 years in Dr Feelgood, Steve Marriott's  band, The DTs, Eddie and The Hot Rods, Chevy, Bo Diddley) who in turn suggested as bassist Horace whose love for the venue matches his love of the blues (yes I'm sure everyone knows he has been playing ska & other forms of music with The Specials for 44 odd years but many readers will have seen him with bands such as Blues 2 Go or Box of Blues with Neol Davies also).

Ironically of course, having come together for the one gig: you guessed it: it never happened. Fortunately they enjoyed playing together so much that they decided to maintain the band "for fun" which is how I came to be at their actual debut at Leamington's Irish Club in August 2017: what a privilege.

The pleasure they get from playing the blues together has kept the band intact in the half decade since & they have gone from strength to strength with a busy live schedule getting busier all the time. DRB gigs seem to sell out extremely quickly and the gap between supply and demand is minute. They play their first overseas tour in Spain in the autumn and that falls between two batches of British dates encompassing prestigious venues and events such as the Cropredy Festival & London's 100 Club. Check their itinerary on their page here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/792065567619500

Given this level of demand, it's just as well that they are playing at the Godiva Festival on the Main Stage on Saturday 3rd September at 2pm where they can be enjoyed by a much bigger crowd than a club could allow.

It was good therefore, in advance of this home area gig to chat with Steve about the wonderful success of the band.

Obviously one aspect of this has been that since leaving Dr Feelgood, the Dirt Road Band is Steve's main group and so he has more time to devote to it than previously envisaged.

What frankly surprised me though (greatly) was that in all his years as a professional musician, always maintaining his local roots & playing innumerable gigs in Coventry & Warwickshire, he had never previously performed at a Godiva Festival.

While all three are very much looking forwards to playing, for Steve it will therefore be that extra bit special. As he said to me "I'm really happy to be part of it, honoured to be playing: I can't wait".

Like us here at "Hot Music Live", Steve sees the Festival as one of the biggest events on the local music calendar, bringing in thousands of music fans to see a huge diversity of artists from the area & beyond & giving hundreds of local musicians who aspire to reach the professional heights these three legends have attained an opportunity to be seen by a substantial new audience.

Steve also revealed that the band have studio sessions "on the horizon' and that he is currently writing new original material for them to record.

For a band originally conceived for a one off event, haven't they done well?

In addition to this appearance at the Godiva Festival & the tour, look out too for their Coventry gig at the Standard Triumph Club with local band The Session as support on Saturday 3rd December. Tickets for that one will be snapped up quickly.

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