Jamming with Ian Siegal

Jamming with Ian Siegal

A few weeks back I got an invitation to a party of an old friend of mine, from back in the days when I'd just started playing guitar again. He's got married, and at the time didn't have proper celebration party..so this was their party, and he told me that he'd got Ian Seigal to come and play for him. It sounded like a great evening, then about a week later I got another message..Ian Siegal was going to do a solo acoustic set and then wanted a band to back him..could I help out?

Ian Siegal opening the evening with a solo set.

Now, for those of you who don't know about Ian Siegal, he is an amazing, performing with the slide guitar technique of Muddy Waters and the voice of Howlin' Wolf, he tours internationally and been nominated for so many awards I can't keep track of them.  I asked my band, Chickenbone Blues, and they were all up for it, so we were all very excited and pleased to be asked.  It goes without saying I was a bit nervous, but I reckon he took it easy with us. During the quick sound check it was apparent that he wasn't going to play in "cowboy chord" positions...capoing his guitar in F, but that was no big deal. I broke a string on my Airline resonator guitar during the first number, so swapped to cigar box guitar for the rest of the high-powered set. We certainly had to work hard...bouncing around in different keys, F, G, Bflat, C and more, but it was very enjoyable.

Mr Siegal giving precise instructions to Alan Nicholls on drums

After the performance, Ian retired to the smoking area where he was holding court, entertaining the crowd accompanying himself on acoustic guitar, with some fine renderings of "I Walk The Line" and a Johnny Cash version of "Hit Me Baby One More Time"..declaring that "Any song is improved by singing it in the style of Johnny Cash". I sat in with him for a while, playing a National resonator guitar borrowed from the host..at one point being told the chord changes by Ian as he went into a number I also play, Warren Zevons "Werewolves Of London". As I'd already loaded my gear into the van, and it had started snowing, I decided it was time to hit the road, so I left him to it, and his well-deserved 3rd bottle of wine.


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  • John Wormald
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