Keepin the blues alive

Monthly live gigs at the Hawth Crawley

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Coming soon to the Hawth

Oliver Darling Friday 17th May

Oliver has been playing guitar for around 25 years and performing and touring for 20 years. He has worked with many musicians over this time building a good reputation, and today enjoys involved with some of the best artists in the business.

He started playing a guitar his mother got from a jumble sale when 10 after expressing an interest in playing after hearing ''Purple Haze'' by Jimi Hendrix at school. He then had lessons for three or four years, before teaching himself. His father’s record collection was mainly blues and 60s Rock and Roll (especially Big Bill Broonzy), all heavily guitar led. For an aspiring young guitarist, this was a library of exciting tricks to learn, more so than other music around at the time or since, and Oliver quickly became a student of the blues and its many forms. But Oliver's lessons really started when he began playing with other musicians....

'Retrospectively, I was very lucky to be playing with experienced tasteful musicians like these, really spoilt-they saved me years of messing around and pointed me in the right direction'.

Around this time Oliver saw Mike Sanchez, then front man of The Big Town Playboys;

'I was really blown away with his style and charisma, and the level of musicianship, I'd never seen anyone that good before. The fact that it was wrapped up with a great show as well was awesome, he had everything'.

This made an impression, and Oliver's stage performance and understanding of the whole art of the show began to develop.

It was also around this time that Oliver fully began to appreciate the true brilliance of Fleetwood Mac's Peter Green;

'I'd always listened to and liked Peter Green, but one day something clicked, and I just suddenly realised. I suppose it was just growing up a bit, kind of like an acquired taste. It happened to me like that with T-Bone Walker, and with Charles Brown and Johnny Moore especially. I listened to the albums the first time, and thought it was ok, but then something would keep nagging at me, haunting me, and I'd put the album on again, and then be think ''Wow, this is amazing.... I want to learn how to do this!'''


Oliver’s Solo sets feature much of the music that influenced him when he first started to play. Artists like Elvis, Eddie Cochran, Chuck Berry and The Beatles. The obvious influence however is Big Bill Broonzy, whose technique and riffs were very distinct and different from other guitarists of that era.


He has a Solo residency every other Monday at The Blues Kitchen in Camden Town. He has also worked with Imelda May since 2015.

Geoff Achison & UK Souldiggers

Geoff will be playing at the club in early September, tickets available on the website or through the Hawth.


Geoff has a long association with the club and this marks the 20th anniversary of visiting the UK. I first saw Geoff in a little pub in Brighton playing solo and I was completely blown away by his vocals and guitar playing> I then saw him in a little bookshop in the West End playing with Adrian K , his mucker from Oz on leave from the Sydney Opera House orchestra on fiddle. Sublime is the only way to describe the experience and their version of Albert King's 'Crosscut Saw' still lives in the memory.  On that visit I saw him perform with the UK Souldiggers and heard them record "Souldiggin' in the UK". I had never heard funky blues played so well and clearly the guys were having a ball. It was also the first time I met Sam Kelly, drummer extraordinaire.


We have had him on at various venues on every opportunity culminating last year at the Hawth with Alex Butler guesting on a couple of number. Live music at its best, can't wait for the next visit, clip attached of a recent solo track to whet the appetite.

Artists @ the Hawth archive

Mike Dowling-Live from the Dennison Lodge in Wyoming

Mike is recognised by his peers and public alike as a master musician across many guitar styles from bottleneck, fingerpicking, jazz, swing and ragtime to name but a few. I regularly get asked as to when he will return to these shores and all I can say is that we frequently chat and are trying to work something out.

In the meantime sit back with a glass of something and some quality headphones and enjoy Mike in concert promoted by public TV PBS broadcast.

Rory Graham aka Rag n Bone @ Crawley Blues festival 2010

Rory was an unexpected guest when my old mate Bill Footman said that he had sat in with his band Southern Nights a couple of days before and could he sit in. 

Little did I know of for that matter the majority of the audience what a performer was about to take stage and the rest is history.

Our Recent Work

Rory Graham with the Hawth Houseband 2010

I had invited my old friend Mike Dowling, Grammy award winner and one of the best guitarists around to put together a band on the nights, comprising the artists appearing at the festival. 

Southern Nights, Mike Dowling, Nigel Bagge, Eddie Armer, Bill Boazman and many more tooke the stage and Rory performed 'Key to the Highway', blues jamming at its best.....enjoy.

Giles Hedley & the Aviators Hawth studio 15/6/17

Giles Hedley and the Aviators, with Sam Kelly drums and Richard Sadler on upright bass. One of the finest exponents of 20's and 30's blues. Regular visitor to the club, wonderful band.

Our Recent Work

Doug MacLeod  "Going Down Country"  090914

One of the finest raconteurs in the business, multiple award winner. Doug has played for us many times and this number captures the essence of his style. Attending one of his gigs is like your own personal show in your front room, consummate professional.

Jerron 'Blind Boy' Paxton @ Crawley Blues Club 17/10/16

Jerron was like a throwback to a bygone era of the 20's or 30's and his style was something rarely seen these days. I knew of his prowess as a guitar player, however his repertoire of piano, banjo, fiddle and other instruments was astounding. I look forward to him returning to the Hawth, wonderful performer. 

Our Recent Work

Aynsley Lister "Empire State express" 150214

Aynsley is a regular visitor to the club having played for many years around February time. His solo performances are breathtakingly sublime. Here is a performer totally at ease with his surroundings playing to a rapped audience.

Red Butler duo "Old love" 100217

Here the guys were supporting Aynsley Lister and Alex is a great admirer of his playing. This was one of the first duo, electro acoustic that Alex and Dan had played, which complemented the evening perfectly. Later on Alex sat in with Aynsley, what an evening.