Iconic Australian blues group – Backsliders – are leaders and virtual pioneers in their own genre – ‘delta-blues wall of sound’.
As a three piece, they can lift the roof off any venue – moving from straight ahead, in your face, ‘amped up’ original blues – ‘Blues ’not ‘Roots’ that is – to ‘all-acoustic’ unplugged ‘way down south’ delta blues.
These guys have been writing, recording & performing acoustic-based blues for nearly 25 years – even before ‘roots and blues’ became a catch-phase with bands across the country.
Multi-media celebrity, Doug Mulray describes them as ‘the best acoustic blues band in the country’
2011 ARIA Blues and Roots nominees and I-Tunes Australian Blues and Roots album of the year winners, Backsliders have been playing, touring the festival circuit and recording for 27 years.
The latest release (due March 2014) ‘Dark Side’, their 13th to date, features their trademark driving Delta and Mississippi Hill country blues sounds mixed in with original 21st Century new blues anthems.
The previous release, ‘Starvation Box’ was heralded as their best to date, has been described as sounding like “hungry youths from the Deep South. Tracks have featured on the 2013 series of ABC TV’s ‘Underbelly’ program.
Slide Guitarist, multi-stringed instrumentalist, so ngwriter and vocalist, Dom Turner, is the founding member of the group. Dom’s influences are many and varied – a blend of delta blues, piedmont blues, rock, dub and sounds of Asia.
He is a highly regarded speaker on blues and roots music and has guested on ABC (Australian Broadcasting Commission) radio programs and presented music workshops at festivals and in universities (both nationally and internationally).
As well as playing in the Backsliders, Dom has toured as a solo artist in the USA, playing Augusta Blues week in West Virginia in 1996 and 1998, and in early 2006, he toured Mexico with US blues greats, Del Ray and Steve James.
In 2004 Dom was voted Songwriter of the Year’ at the Australian Blues Awards in Goulburn, NSW and has a sculpture in recognition of this honour at the Goulburn Visitors Centre.
Drum and percussion virtuoso and songwriter Rob Hirst (Midnight Oil), an acclaimed name synonymous with the best of Australian music, has been with Backsliders for 12 years. As a founding member spending 25 years in Midnight Oil, Rob’s work needs no explanation- he stands as one of the world’s great drummers – now drawing on his early jazz and swamp-rock influences to produce a sound that is integral to the Backsliders 21stcentury blues grooves.
Rob’s achievements in the music industry are many and varied including In publishing his first work of prose on Pan McMillan – ‘Willies Bar & Grill’ telling the story of Midnight Oil’s USA & Canadian tour just after September 11.
Joining Dom and Rob are two of Australia’s most innovative and dynamic harmonica players; the legendary Brod Smith (Dingoes, Brod Smith’s Big Combo) and ARIA award winning harmonica genius Ian Collard (Collard, Greens & Gravy).
The 2 blues-harp dynamos play alternate gigs, each blazing his own trail to the raw energy of the Backsliders soun
d. It’s a furious ride – with Dom Turner and Rob Hirst doing their thing, setting the grooves and taking no prisoners, and Ian and Brod (you never know who you will get) firing-up the amps to fuel the maelstrom.
These guys are renowned for captivating live shows – an eclectic mix of blues styles moving from driving delta blues
riffs and jungle-like rhythms to ‘Piedmont’ blues influenced ‘all-acoustic’ unplugged treatments of 1920’s songs by blues heroes such as Mississippi Fred McDowell and Robert Johnson.
The achievements, success and reviews over the band’s 25+ years tell it all.
The 2011 album, ‘Starvation Box’, their 12th release, has been heralded as their finest work to date. The 2007 ‘Left Field Holler’ is an eclectic mix of hard hitting, frenetic new blues mixed with poignant ballads again taking the band to new limits. The 2005 ‘Live’ album is a collection of live performances from the Basement in Sydney, as well as the Melbourne blues festival.
The 2003 DVD, ‘Live at the Basement’ features live footage from one of Backsliders many gigs at The Basement in Sydney. The concert featured tracks from Backsliders’ 8th and latest album, ‘Hanoi’. Described as a new direction for a band that welcomes evolution and seems to expand their audience with every new release, ‘Hanoi’ was voted ‘Rhythms’ Magazine Readers Poll Blues Album of the Year for 2002 and was a 2002 finalist at the prestigious Australian Record Industry Awards (ARIA). ‘Hanoi’ is a studio album of mostly original songs by Dom Turner and Rob Hirst. The band’s previous album, ‘Poverty Deluxe’ (1999), was a 1999 ARIA