Bendigo's Bill Barber represents a new generation of Blues

Bendigo blues artist Bill Barber never dreamed he would play blues music the way he heard it as a child.

JAMMING: "It’s amazing to sit in and jam and connect with people my own age," Bill Barber says on the influx of young people picking up jazz.

JAMMING: "It’s amazing to sit in and jam and connect with people my own age," Bill Barber says on the influx of young people picking up jazz.

His fascination with the genre was cemented in the ever-turning records of his father’s extensive vinyl collection. As a child he recalls the television was rarely on but the music was always playing.

 As a teenager, Barber believed everyone had grown up listening to the blues and quickly came to a rude awakening at high school when this was not the case.

“It was not a question of the type of music it was more of a natural progression, I was never really interested in anything else,” he said.

He said it was Lloyd Spiegel, international blues and jazz performer and a headliner for the 2018 Australian Blues Music Festival, who helped him realise becoming a blues artist could be a full time gig, if that was what the budding performer was willing to pursue.

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This is the first year Barber will perform at the Blues festival and will bring music from his live in the studio EP and is counting down another original body of work to be released next month.

It was easy for the 21-year-old to fall in love with the blues –  for him it’s straight down the line and upfront, there were no metaphors or distractions – the connection was instant.  

Excited to perform over the weekend, he told The Post he had heard “fantastic things” from friends who have attended in previous years.

I heard this was much more of a community based festival which suits me real well.

Blues artist Bill Barber

“We have the Bendigo Blues and Roots Festival, but I heard this was much more of a community-based festival which suits me real well. It suits the blues genre in general, to get to be with friends and jam with each other,” Barber said.

Over the past five years Barber has noticed an increase in young musicians pursuing blues and roots, with a hope it will continue.

“I was the youngest blues artist for a long time. There are a lot of blues and roots musicians my age coming up, it’s amazing to sit in and jam and connect with people my own age- it’s really for everybody,” he said. “I hear the same stories, people not being able to fit in because of the music now we’ve find our tribe a bit and it’s great.”

  • Barber will perform at the Southern Railway Hotel at 4pm on Febuary 9, Belmore Park Stage (2.30pm) and the Workers Club (5pm) on February 10.