Reasons to be cheerful - part 14

We continue the occasional series wherein Winston expounds on things that currently make him happy...

89) International Blues Music Day! August 3 is (apparently) International Blues Music Day. Of all the various 'International Whatever Days” this seems a fairly overlooked one. Even International Talk Like A Pirate Day gets a mention on the news. On International Blues Music Day, of course, people participating have to start every conversation with 'woke up this morning”...
No, just kidding. You don't have to do anything but, I guess, appreciate the blues.
And that's what they're going to do at 'nostalgia station” Village Radio, broadcasting from the Tauranga Historic Village on 1368AM. There's none of that newfangled stereo here, not that DJ Brian Williams would need it, as much of what he plans to play significantly pre-dates stereo. On his Friday 2 August afternoon program (1pm – 4pm), every third track played will be blues, starting with the days of field hollers and the music of Son House and Memphis Minnie. He's got a lot of great stuff programmed, including some Kiwi takes on classic blues - there'll be everything from Mahalia Jackson to Midge Marsden.
Village Radio is totally run by volunteers, commercial free, dependent on community support, and donations pay the bills and rent. You can find them online at

90) The Return of Swamp Thing! Blues rock trailblazers Swamp Thing are coming back to town. They're currently on the road somewhere on a nationwide tour (they were in Christchurch last week) are will be passing through Tauranga and playing a one-off show at Mount Maunganui's Brewer's Bar on no less than International Blues Music Day, Saturday August 3. I've written several times about Swamp Thing so, just to recap: they are a duo comprising drummer Michael Barker (ex-John Butler Trio) and guitarist Grant Haua. They recently released their second album and have played a lot of cool gigs, including the support slot for Tim Finn on his last Aussie tour and several high-profile festivals in Oz. They are loud and percussive and brilliant.

91) The Return of Swamp Thing (Bonus Features)! It's not just Swamp Thing on August 3. The band have assembled a full night of music for your listening pleasure. Kicking off - $15 on the door, show starts at 8.15pm – will be Vodafone Music Awards finalist John Michaelz, currently bopping round the North Island on his 'Sing For Your Supper” Tour. He has just recorded a new album, Nomad Blues, at Whakamarama's Soundtree Studio, so this gig could be the first chance to get your hands on it.
He'll be followed by Sarah Spicer, a fantastic singer/songwriter now living in Waihi. Her recently-released album, Colours, includes a collaboration with John Lee Hooker! She was a personal friend of his while living in San Francisco (that's right, John Lee Hooker!). Another song of hers 'For a Day” is a current TVNZ brand song.

92) The Return of Swamp Thing (More Bonus Features)! Yep, there's more. Also performing will be Regan Perry (brother of Darcy), who is about to release his second album, Maui, through Mash it Up Records in Chicago. The list of international guests playing on it is jaw-dropping. It features: Bob Marley's lead guitarist in the original Wailers, Junior Marvin; keyboardist, lead singer and 2013 Grammy nominee Desi Hynes; Ziggy Marley's 'singing drummer” Squidly Cole; and Stick Figure, dubbed a 'genius producer” by Rolling Stone Magazine. Maui will be out soon with a full American tour to follow. Find out more at

93) All sorts of stuff! Stuff. You've gotta love it, eh? There's stuff going on all the time. Can't wait for International Blues Music Day? Well there's plenty of stuff this weekend as well. The Katikati Folk Club are having an Island Night on Friday (26 July) with groups from Vanuatu and Tonga playing music from the islands (see their website for more). And Argentinian guitarist/singer/songwriter Santiago Rebagliati, whom I wrote about last month, will be playing at Comida on The Strand, Friday at 8pm, and Armazem at the Mount on Sunday around 5pm. Know of any cool stuff happening? Lemme know at


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