added Nov 2003
ANNE DUGGAN & BEYOND THE BLUE
During six years of professional singing Ann Duggan has established herself not only as one of the East Midland's most distinctive voices, but also one of its most vibrant and engaging performers.
The formation of her band, "Beyond the Blue" came in May 2001 on her return from a triumphant tour of Texas, and the line-up of Ann plus long standing electric guitarist Rob Hines, bass player Brian Tillson, and seasoned Leicester drummer Geoff Bates has gigged furiously around the UK since, maturing into a powerful yet melodic outfit which has attracted a legion of fiercely loyal advocates.
Often described as "a thoroughly English band playing Americana like they were born to it", Beyond the Blue mix country, blues, rock and folk seamlessly. But a covers and standards band they most certainly are not. Their stunning run-through of Al Green's "Take me to the River" appears only on very special occasions these days, and their crowd pleasing "Honky Tonk Women" almost never; the rendition of "Fields of Gold" from the debut "Rainy Afternoon in Orleans" CD has drawn admiring Eva Cassidy comparisons, but many people actually prefer Ann's version.
Instead their set is comprised almost entirely of original material by songwriter Colin Granger, who writes exclusively for Ann, and whose talent for producing immediate classics is simply breathtaking.
In January the band enters the studio to make their second album, for release in September of 2003, and the response to tracks currently being premiered live suggests that the autumn tour, which launches it, will be one of the musical highlights of the year