Catfish Keith

Roots blues champion Catfish Keith is on a roll. His current UK tour is producing brilliant performances.

Wimborne was no exception. The American slide guitar player specialises in deep delta blues. His mission is to give new life to classics from the past.

From the moment he hit the Tivoli stage it was clear that he is on peerless form. 

 With his trademark southern drawl he peppered a series of superb interpretations of songs by his personal heroes with anecdotes and information.

The set included old favourites by Bukka White, Joseph Spence, Rev Gary Davis, Blind Willie Johnson and others. With his big, big voice, Catfish is a powerful and inventive vocalist as well as a guitarist who can bend notes, slap strings and stomp out time in a way that can give a song a whole new dimension.

With facial contortions to match the sublime sounds that are wrenched and coaxed from his guitars, he performs like a man possessed by the very spirit of the blues.

Stand out numbers included Jesse Mae Hemphill’s mesmeric Eagle Bird and Mississippi John Hurt’s Satisfied and Tickled Too which saw him joined on stage (left) by Penny Cahill, the woman who is not only his wife but also his manager, sound engineer and  president of Catfish Records.

 The number has a special place in their hearts. They sang it at their wedding.

There was excellent support from another American singer-guitarist Bill Sheffield who performed a fine blues set with local bass hero Dave Saunders.

Jeremy Miles

© Jeremy Miles 2017