Travellin' Barras
Classic / Delta Blues Rock

 Although we specialise in Classic and Delta Blues Rock, we can cover virtually any genre from Rock to Country to Disco to Reggae to R&B! Between us, we have a vast repertoire, and can entertain a wide range of audiences from Biker Festivals to Corporate Functions and Weddings! 

Dave Ward embarked on his musical journey almost 30 years ago. Originally from Natal in South Africa, Dave has travelled extensively around the world living in Australia, America and England. Dave has performed in all of these places and on television in South Africa as well as other exotic locations in the Southern Hemisphere. For the last 23 years Dave has been accompanied by his faithful companion 'Nessy' his beloved Ibanez AM50 small bodied semi acoustic guitar, which has a tone to die for! It has been rumoured that Nessy is now so full of mojo that she plays herself and Dave is just a hanger on! Dave plays with passion and sensitivity in styles ranging from soaring rock lead breaks to subtle Jazz and Blues runs. If it could be said that Dave specialises in any particular style then his interpretation of Carlos Santana's unique style has be seen to be believed. When Dave is in full flow he is in another world accompanied by his open mouthed audiences. Although Dave has a complete one man show which covers every genre of music imaginable, the past few years has seen him teamed up with Chris 'Slideman' Watkins in a duo called 'The Travellin' Barras' who specialise in high octane Classic and Delta Blues Rock. Dave enjoys the interaction between Chris's slide guitar technique and his own impressive style which compliment each other perfectly. Dave intends playing Nessy until he can play no more. He is always learning a new song and is a perfectionist. As well as being a guitarist, Dave is also a qualified Sound Engineer. All Dave wants is for his audiences to enjoy listening as much as he enjoys playing.


Chris started playing on an old Spanish guitar inherited from his sister who had lost interest in it. From that moment on he was hooked. He progressed to an electric guitar and played bass for a while in a rock band during the 70’s. After a break of about 16 years! Chris returned to the guitar with renewed interest. He had always wanted to play slide guitar and an acquaintance knew someone who could get him started. Chris had found his passion. About a year later the Acoustic Blues Duo ‘Calico Joe ‘was born.

 

So began the long process of paying his ‘dues’ and developing his style playing in folk clubs and pubs. Since that time Chris has played at many Blues festivals, including Colne and Darlington. He has played several times at the annual CAMRA real ale festival which is held at the Darlington Arts Centre and has supported such well known professional folk players as The John Wright Band, Maurice Dixon and Kieron Halpin. His band has performed at The Studio Hartlepool and The Ropery Sunderland. He has even been seen on the streets of Edinburgh (during the world famous Festival) busking! In 2001 Chris attended Blues week at Exeter University and met many slide players and other Blues artistes. He was delighted to receive their approval, which included that of Britain’s number one acoustic slide player Michael Messer and the European Blues Association’s Michael Roach.

 

Chris’s influences are many and varied and he does not restrict himself to any particular style. From acoustic slide greats like Ry Cooder and Bob Brozman, to high energy electric slide players like George Thorogood and Sonny Landreth. Old style players like Son House, Robert Johnson and John Lee Hooker, all of these people have shaped Chris’s style of playing. From Delta to Blues rock Chris plays it all in his own way, which has been described as having a certain naturalness and energy. Chris writes his own songs as well as covering Blues classics old and new, putting his own unique stamp on them. He performs solo as well as with other musicians (Calico Joe, CJ Blues, The Travellin’ Barras) in both acoustic and electric settings. He is always striving to pitch the perfect note with his slide and just hopes the audience enjoys listening as much as he enjoys playing.

 

His appetite for new slide techniques is insatiable and he now plays lap style as well as upright slide and hopes to include Latin influenced and Country as well as other roots and world music in his repertoire. 

 

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