Out Of The Blue was put together in 1994, by singer, guitarist and award winning songwriter Kevin Thorpe, to fulfil a one-off gig at the Colne Great British Rhythm & Blues Festival. They received such a rapturous audience reception that they decided to stick around.
Out Of The Blue respect the blues tradition but they like to stretch the outside of the envelope. They look beyond the tried and tested 12 bar formula to create a modern, thoroughly original sound that fuses jazz, rock and of course blues. Whichever way you chew it, their music, with Kevin Thorpe's gravel and grit vocals, definitely comes from the heart to stir the soul.
Lead guitarist Eddie Tatton (Nightmares on Wax, Zero 7) is one of the hippest guitar players on the scene today, his inventiveness never ceases to amaze. Eddie's solos push back the boundaries of electric blues guitar, his unique style melding the poise of Robben Ford, with the grace of Larry Carlton to bring an unparalleled sophistication to Out Of The Blues' overall ensemble sound. In addition Out Of The Blue have the very gifted keyboards player Jon Dyke (Elkie Brooks Band, Patricia Kas, Larry Garner Band) and a dynamic rhythm section with Nigel Lobley on drums and Simon Sparks on bass, making them, for the discerning blues punter, the most rewarding live aesthetic experience available.
- Scott Duncan, Blues in Britain Magazine.
Out Of The Blue have played major club and theatre dates all over the UK and Europe. Kevin has played in the USA with Paul Rishell and Annie Raines at various Eastern Seaboard venues including the prestigious House of Blues in Boston; for these dates the band was augmented by guitar legend Ronnie Earl. In February 2001 Kevin and Eugene "Hideaway" Bridges gave four performances at The Budweiser Low Country Blues Festival in Charleston, South Carolina, USA. Out Of The Blue have toured the UK and European festival circuit with appearances at Burnley, Colne, Oxford, London, Edinburgh, Dublin, Chalons-en-Champagne, Cognac and Coutances. Out Of The Blue have also supported the late Junior Wells, Robert Cray, Larry Garner, Robben Ford, Sherman Robertson, Peter Green and Tracy Nelson. Out of the Blue was the choice of backing band for the legendary Memphis Horns at the Edinburgh Jazz Festival, and subsequent tour of Europe and Ireland.
Kevin Thorpe 1953 - 2010
Sadly Kevin Thorpe died suddenly after a performance in Newark on September 11th, 2010. A huge loss to music and all who knew him.
Imagine the music of SRV, Eric Johnson and Robben Ford and you won't be far wrong on what Shadowplay offers: sophisticated blues songs with thoughtful arrangements, tasty guitar solos and a smooth vocal delivery. In fact those looking for a new blues guitar stylist should check out Eddie Tatton: his playing on The Jungle Walk and Scoobie Leggett alone is worth the cost of the CD.
Out of the Blue are fine musicians and Thorpe has a voice ready made for the style.... but his guitar has to be heard...catch the beautiful intro to 'In the Cold Light of Day.'
Out of the Blue was created in 1994 by Kevin Thorpe, to fulfil a one-off gig at the Colne Great British Rhythm & Blues Festival. The enthusiastic reception that they received there prompted them to stay together. They soon produced their debut album, 'Blues In A Bottle'. Shadow Play is the long-awaited sequel to that earlier gem.
The CD comprises ten original numbers, mostly written by singer/guitarist Kevin Thorpe and guitarist Eddie Tatton. The opening number, "Unfinished Business", suitably demonstrates the exceptional skills of those two artistes: the warm, gritty tones of Kevin Thorpe's voice and the exceptional virtuosity of Eddie Tatton's guitar playing.
The music of Out of the Blue has never been easily categorised, although it leans predominantly towards the jazzy end of the blues spectrum. This album comprises funk ("New Woman, New Man" and "Blow By Blow"), jazzy instrumental ("Scoobie Leggett") and shuffle ("What's Your Excuse"). "If You Were Gone" features some searing guitar riffs, complemented by a driving beat from drummer Nigel Lobley; while "The Jungle Walk" boasts a Latin flavour, which provides an appropriate backdrop for some blistering runs from Eddie Tatton that Robben Ford would die for, wonderfully matched by a rippling piano solo from Jason Ashworth.
The CD includes three blues ballads. "In the Cold Light of Day", written by Kevin Thorpe and former keyboard player Jonny Dyke, is a magnificent number, which combines imaginative lyrics with a beautiful melody line. In contrasting mood, there is also the introspective "The Truth Is Sought By A Liar" and the reflective, acoustic "Help Yourself", which concludes the album.
The array of instrumental talent bears witness to the lengthy incubation period of the CD. Apart from the ubiquitous presence of Kevin Thorpe, Eddie Tatton and Nigel Lobley, there are contributions from Lindsay Coulson (five tracks) and the aforementioned Scoobie Leggett (four tracks) on bass, Jonny Dyke (seven tracks) and Jason Ashworth (two tracks) on keyboards and Carl Stanley on tenor sax.
It is a magnificent album, which will delight not only the many loyal fans of the band but also all lovers of sublime blues artistry, which it exudes in abundance.
Rating 9 /10.