If you see two better Blues Bands on the same bill
email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I shall
give you a years free membership to JB's, Gene :-)
Hijak Oscar started in York, August 2005.
After a few months they put on their first show in a local 100 capacity venue which sold out 2 weeks before the event.
Not wanting to lose the York fan base they had built from the early shows by playing too much in their home town, they began to play in Leeds supporting local acts and then returning to the same venues to headline shows after getting rave reviews from people who had seen them.
Feeling like things were heading in the right direction and they had a show in London supporting Alabama 3, they decided to record the first album “Hijak Oscar” to have something to promote themselves with. This was recorded and mixed by the band and began to sell well at shows.
With the audiences growing and the shows getting further from home and more regular, their “play anywhere, anytime, to anyone” attitude was paying off. They were getting featured in Sandman Magazine which is distributed around the country, supporting Alabama 3, Son Of Dave, Jack Penate and Mostly Autumn.
They have been and continue to be on local BBC Radio shows around the country for unsigned bands, either performing live or the DJ playing tracks from the album.
In 2007 Hijak saw a way to get their music heard by more people. Channel 4’s MobileAct Unsigned. The show was on the popular T4 Sunday morning show and repeated on Saturday mornings, Wednesday nights and what seemed to be anytime they could fit it in. Appearing on the show was doing wonders for the bands profile. Hijak asked to leave the TV show in the semi finals. Having got what they wanted from it and believing nothing good could come from a record deal that you win. This was later confirmed when the winners had very little success after the show through no fault of their own.
Appearing on the show pushed mySpace plays up to over 2000 to 3000 a day, increased album sales and inspired the month long “Hellbound Tour” which covered the country from top to bottom and was a massive success with sell out shows and venues having to move the band into bigger capacity rooms due to large amount of pre sales. One of the shows on the tour was supporting the now very popular Glassvegas and another the prog legends Focus.
Along with the tour and increased popularity they were asked to support York boys Shed7 on 3 of their sell out reunion tour shows. This was another opportunity to play to lots of people. The venues were 2000 – 5000 capacity.
As well as being approached to play festivals in the summer they began to book more shows and more festivals for the months ahead, including a support slot with Black Diamond Heavies.
Towards the middle of 2008 it was time to start work on the new album “Black Sheep Moneybox” which was released 3rd April 2009 and has received amazing feedback so far.
Today the debut album has sold well over 5000 copies. These are mainly in the UK but a few in America, Canada and Europe. The most popular track being Bitter Carnival which has now had over 100,000 plays on mySpace alone.
The band are still doing everything themselves, from the new album to maintaining their own website and merchandise, myspace and facebook.
Once the album is ready the band will be back on tour to promote it in as many places they can.
Each member has a different musical background from the next and is influenced by different styles of music meaning they each have a different role in the band, not just by the instrument they play but the style they play in.
These are some of our influences: Son House, R L Burnside, Jaco Pastorius, Charles Mingus, Gomez, Miles Davis, Eels, Led Zeppelin, Cream, Emerson, Lake and Palmer, Jimi Hendrix, Ben Folds Five, Ben Harper, Aimie Mann, Radiohead, Beck, PJ Harvey, The Who, dEUS, Nirvana, Queens Of The Stoneage, Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan
“The British music scene's in a really healthy state at the moment, but it's always when you see something different that you get really excited. There's a band called Hijak Oscar on the show who are amazing - they've got a real Tom Waitsy air of menace to them." Alex Zane – Digital Spy
“Sunday's headliners Dodgy drew a slightly smaller crowd, but were outshone on the day by York's magnificently moody Hijak Oscar” Beached Festival - Scarborough - 15-18/08/08
“This mayhem is actually the perfect precursor to headliners Hijack Oscar, as their party blues and drunken soul is heavy enough to keep the momentum going, but with an additional "last orders" style wistfulness that gives them gravitas” Moor Music Festival - Addingham Moorside, Leeds - 09-09/08/08
“Bursting into the set with wild, roaring harmonica, rolling keys and harmonised vocals it's not difficult to see how Hijak Oscar are gripping crowds up and down the country” Sheffield Telegraph - Rachael Clegg - 10/04/2008
“One of the best up and coming acts in Britain, Hijak is a grungy heavy blues collaboration that perfectly incorporates hints of jazz and rock and is foremost in leading the next wave of music that will rid us of generic commercial Indie Rock. And they're coming our way” Stornoway Gazette - Laura F.C. Maciver - 03/04/2008
“It took only a lungful of harmonica for Hijak Oscar to remind us all of the difference between a good band (hey molly) and a downright brilliant band. A six-piece, even squeezed onto the Retro's tiny stage they were a dominating bunch.” Sandman Magazine - Megan Vaughan - 18/01/2008
A big welcome back to Jbs to the superb Cuillin Blue...Cuillin Blue don’t do predictable! A great live band, expect the unexpected as this powerful five piece, fronted by the wonderful voice of Marsha Jane Tarvet take you on a journey.
From raunchy, dirty versions of blues and R&B classics which will leave you breathless and shouting for more, to intricate and soulful bluesy reworkings of songs from sources as diverse as The Mississippi Delta to The Beatles and some from way out of left field !!
Add to this mix original songs and arrangements and a huge helping of stage presence with a smile on their faces and a Cuillin Blue gig becomes a ‘must see’ event. Though still classed as ‘relatively newly formed’ the band is winning new fans at every gig and already has a loyal following who are spreading the word that if you haven’t caught the band live yet… where have you been ??Marsha Jane Tarvet (Vocals), Pete Scullion (Lead Guitar), Kelvin Barlow (Organ, Guitar, Harp), Chris Cullen (Bass, vocals) and Rick Lacey (Drums, Percussion) are Cuillin Blue
and have all been members of prominent R&B Bands and this coming together has produced a band which is on fire. Check out the ‘Quotes’ page to see what people are saying and the ‘Reviews’ page for confirmation. Enough Said......
Marsha Jane Tarvet-Vocals
A trained opera singer, Marsha hails from Kirkaldy in Scotland. Marsha got her blues education touring extensively with Summerfield Blues, a band that included Dave Arcari (of Radiotones fame) amongst it’s ranks. Marsha’s powerful vocal delivery goes hand in hand with a gutsy, all action performance at the front of this exciting band, which can be raw and Joplinesque one minute and an exquisite bluesy ballad with all the soul of Aretha the next. Make no mistake Marsha is influenced by both but copies neither. Having sung Folk, Rock, Blues, R&B and Opera, she will tease you with echoes of all of them, sending you home exhausted but very happy and looking for the next Cuillin Blue gig.
Pete Scullion from Stockport is quite simply a great guitar player. He doesn’t waste effort trying to impress with anything other than guitar skills of the highest calibre. Pete has played with many diverse bands, the most recent before joining Cuillin Blue being avant garde band “Big Block 454” and “Hilda” a country/blues outfit. Though his playing style has echoes of Peter Green, it is definitely all his own and fits the band sound like a glove. He is a rarity amongst lead guitarists in that he quite happy to play a supporting role until his turn comes…then light the blue touch paper and stand back !!
Kelvin from Bury started his musical career as a rhythm player in rock ‘n’ roll bands. However, classical piano training introduced him to what has become his main instrument. In previous bands No Money Down and Stone Park he moved to organ and it is that instrument which gives Cuillin Blue its trademark full sound. Kelvin also reverts to rhythm guitar throughout the set in addition to putting a mean harmonica into the mix for good measure.
Chris has played with Ronnie ‘Razorback’ Gibson & The King Bees, No Money Down and Stone Park in addition to diverse depping work with several rock and soul bands. Chris and Rick are the rock solid rhythm section of the band and underpin the trademark Cuillin Blue sound. Throughout the sets Chris duets with Marsha and this sparks humour, fun and even a little theatre into the shows.
Rick is arguably the most experienced blues drummer in the North of England. He has played with many bands over the last 20 years or so including The Roach Twins, Bluesline, The Nick Bold Band, Ovate and even a version of The Glitter Band. He is passionate about his art and has a whole host of styles in his locker through jazz, rock, blues, samba and even big band dance music. Rick drives the groove and nails the beat.
“One of the best bands we have had, the second set was awesome”
Audience member, Barrow R&B Club. December 2006
“Marsha has a fantastic voice” Joyce Harrison. Barrow R&B Club organiser. December 29th 2006.
“I had the heater on full in the car, but I still had chills up my spine from the wonderful music coming out of my speakers” Greig Adamson. Revue of Dec 06 Cuillin Blue Demo CD. www.greigadamson.com
“I have canvassed opinion around the audience and they have all enjoyed the band very much, the feedback is really positive” Bill Harrison. Barrow R&B Club Organiser. December 29th 2006.
“Absolutely awesome band, really excellent” Landlord. Kings Arms Barrow ( venue for Barrow R&B Club) December 29th 2006.
“This girl doesn’t need a PA..” Stuart Law. Landlord. Royal Oak Music Venue. Ramsbottom, Lancs. Novermber 2006.
“Cuillin Blue is already causing a stir in Northern Blues circles” The Met, Music Venue. Bury. Lancs. www.themet.biz January 2007.
“Cuillin Blue delivers a night of gutsy R&B” The Met, Music Venue. Bury. Lancs www.themet.biz January 2007.
“I always leave my door open to listen to your stuff…it’s great” Owner. Red Bridge Rehearsal & Recording Studios. Bolton. December 2006.
“Cuillin Blue finally hit the road and debuted at Barrow R&B Club on 29th December. The powerful Lancashire based five piece, fronted by superb Scottish vocalist Marsha Jane Tarvet, soon had the venue rocking” Bluesmatters. January 2007. www.bluesmatters.com
“The Band is really tight and I have enjoyed every minute of both sets, we will definitely have them back” Dennis Mountford, organiser Dove Valley Roots and Blues Club, Uttoxeter. January 2007.
“This girl is Janis Joplin re-born” Audience member, Dove Valley Blues Club, Uttoxeter. January 19th 2007.
“Great band. The obvious enjoyment of the people on the stage was appreciated by the audience and the superb varied sets were a refreshing change. The band is tight, especially as this is only their second gig together and I am looking forward to seeing them again” Fred Hopwood. Smalltown Music Studios and organiser Dove Valley Blues Club. January 2007.
“You guys are on fire…The audience were with you from the first song and you got a great reaction” Keith Howe. Guitarist. Blue on Black. Co-headliners. The Met gig. Bury. February 10th 2007.
“What a great gig. I am still on a high 24 hours later…you guys must be on cloud nine!!” Greig Adamson. GAdotcom. Musicians revue website. The Met gig . February 2007.
“In a few years time this will go down as one of those gigs that you tell people about and say… You just had to be there …Awesome!” Rick Burrows. Audience member leaving The Met gig. Bury. February 2007.
“I have paid good money to watch so called ‘Star Bands’ and they have not delivered like Cuillin Blue have just done tonight” Audience member leaving The Met gig. Bury..February 2007.
“The duets between Marsha and Chris injected fun, humour and a touch of theatre into the set, which really enhanced the show and is rare for a blues band” Alan Ibbotson. Drummer, Blue on Black. Co-headliners. The Met gig. Bury. February 2007.
“Cuillin Blue wanted to show what they could do....and they did! The band exploded into action and they have a great stage presence. Their music has an edge and a twist!” Greig Adamson. GAdotcom. Musicians review website. The Met gig. February 2007.
“The Beatles ‘Help’ was slowed down and made into a major league power ballad that treated it as the love song originally written” Greig Adamson. GAdotcom. February 2007.
“An amazing guitar solo received a well deserved cheer which segued into Marsha’s amazing vocals, as though the audience had been rehearsed!” Greig Adamson. GSdotcom. February 2007.
“I’ve seen a lot of gigs over the last couple of years from big names to total unknowns, but Saturday’s performance ( The Met 10thFeb with Blue on Black) by both bands was one of the best I’ve seen for a long time. Keep it up.” Nigel Minay. Audience member The Met gig. 10th February. ( Guestbook entry www.blueonblack.co.uk)