With long flaming red hair it is hard to miss 8 Ball Aitken.
It is a welcomed return for the swamp blues artist, who now lives in Nashville, after performing at the Australian Blues Music Festival 11 years ago.
Growing up in a tobacco shed in far north Queensland, 8 Ball Aitken played nightly at the infamous Johno's Blues Bar in Cairns when he was only 15.
He credits the bar for his musical foundation and his unique name, created after a fight near a pool table caused an 8 Ball to land at his feet on stage one night.
“You have to go to where the source of the music is from,” he said, describing his decision to move to the United States to focus on his songwriting.
His tenth album Swamp Blues embodies the charismatic, entertaining, hypnotising blues beat that has projected the artist to success. From the New Orleans inspired tune ‘Sugar in my Coffee’ to ‘Sweet as You’, a song about a man stumbling home drunk after loosing his woman.
“I have produced a lot of different work, but I am a storyteller and I have a sense of humour in my songs,” he said.
He remembers his first performance at the Blues Festival as an event that “took over the town”
“It was such a great vibe, musicians getting together and jamming, that’s what makes it so special for the audience,” he said.
8 Ball Aitken will perform at the Astor Hotel (upstairs) on February 9 at 1pm. His album is available to purchase on iTunes from February 2.