Blues man's gig will boost local charity

Richard Batson The blues is music drawn from the depths of despair. But a Norfolk teenage guitarist is showing his talent to help a local charity battling to combat the suffocating condition.

Richard Batson

The blues is music drawn from the depths of despair. But a Norfolk teenage guitarist is showing his talent to help a local charity battling to combat the suffocating condition.

Oli Brown and his band are headlining a gig organised by a trust set up after a Norwich student committed suicide.

It comes as the 18-year-old, who has taken the blues world by storm in Europe and America, releases his debut album this week.

But amid a busy touring schedule, his next local gig is at the Norwich Arts Centre on Saturday June 28 - when four bands, and a new short film, will raise funds and awareness for the Davenport Trust.

It takes its name from Shaun Davenport, a 17-year-old Hewett School pupil who took his own life in January 2003 when depression apparently clouded the bright future ahead of him.

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The charity aims to publish material to help people beat the blues - which can affect up to one in four people.

Oli, from Sco Ruston, near Coltishall, whose songs draw on a mix of sad, fearful, angry and happy emotions, said “the blues helps you get through stuff,” and hoped people would support the charity by attending the gig.

Tracks on the new CD look at issues ranging from the trauma and despair of a woman stalker and pining for a far-away girlfriend to more upbeat songs about feeling good. It was recorded at Ruf Records's studio in Germany shortly after his band returned from performing in a major blues contest in Memphis.

He has played alongside top artists such as Buddy Guy, John Mayall and Johnny Winter, and regularly gigs in the States, but his manager and father, Graham Brown, said there was also a demand to do local events.

Oli's band - with Fred Hollis on bass and Simon Dring on drums - tops the arts centre bill, which also features Mondatta Funk, and two bands from Shaun's old school: the Hewett Soul Band and Smaller Than You.

The evening will also see a premiere of the trust's first film, Soft Shoe Shuffle, a fictional tale about a depressed father and daughter which looks at how the illness affected their lives, said trust spokesman Paul Dickson.

It was filmed at Norwich's Epic digital studio and would be followed later this year by the trust's first book - capturing young people's thoughts about depression.

For information and tickets on the Davenport Trust gig call the arts centre on 01603 660352.

Oli Brown's Open Road CD is now on sale in shops

For more information go to www.EDP24.co.uk/dailylinks

To se Oli in action, visit www.edp24.co.uk/video