WORKSHOPS - Blues Week 2020 Monday 3rd to Saturday 8th August

The Programme
Blues Week 2020 provides an opportunity for blues enthusiasts to come together for a full week of music making. It is a chance to broaden your skills and knowledge in a comfortable, relaxed atmosphere. The programme will offer morning and afternoon workshops and classes for all levels. The beginners class is for those who have little or no knowledge of their instrument. The intermediate and advanced classes are for those who already play to varying degrees of proficiency and are ready to learn new tunes, techniques and styles. The evening activities throughout the week will consist of a concert by the staff members, a student concert and nightly jam sessions.


The Classes

Arrival is Monday and check-in is at 3 o'clock. Dinner will be provided at 5pm and there will be an orientation session at 7:30. Classes will begin on Tuesday morning and run through Saturday afternoon. There will be 2 sessions in the morning beginning at 9:30 and lasting until 10:45. There is a 20 minute break between each class and the second session will start at 11:05 and end at 12:20. Lunch is from 12:30 to 2:00. In the afternoon, the first class will start at 2:15 and end at 3:30. The second afternoon session will commence at 3:50 and end at 5:05. All classes and workshops during the week will last for one hour and fifteen minutes. The program will include Saturday night accommodation and check out is 10am Sunday morning.


The Staff
KENNY SULTAN, Country Blues and Bottleneck Slide Guitar
From Santa Barbara, CA., Kenny Sultan has taught at university level along with many workshops and seminars around the world for over 40 years. He has been honoured with two Martin Signature Guitar Models to his credit, a 000-18KS, and a 00-18KS both patterned after his old 30's Martins. Kenny is also a National Guitar Endorsee, an author of 5 books, several DVD's, and an iPad App.

Advanced Country Blues Guitar (intermediate/advanced)
Kenny will teach two classes in finger-style blues. One will concentrate on the more down home funky style of Texas and Mississippi using a heavy monotone bass for the thumb. Once the strong rhythm foundation is established, he will focus on a variety of shuffles, double stops, triads, and chords to help compliment the melodic lines play on the treble strings.  Kenny’s other class will concentrate on the alternating bass from the Piedmont area. He will apply the same principals on how to create a strong groove with your thumb, while letting fingers dance away with the melody.

Intermediate / Advanced Bottleneck Slide Guitar
Kenny will focus on the down home blues styles of Robert Johnson, to the upbeat swing of Tampa Red. He will concentrate on getting your own personal sound and style, not just copying songs from the greats. We will use the songs to get the different techniques, to help make it your own sound.


JOHN MILLER, Country Blues Guitar
John Miller was inspired to take up the country blues guitar after seeing Mississippi John Hurt at the 1963 Philadelphia Folk Festival.  He taught himself to play guitar by listening to records and recorded his first album in 1973.  Since then, he has come to be recognized as one of the foremost authorities on country blues guitar.  John has released 19 instructional videos on the music of Furry Lewis, Bo Carter, Elizabeth Cotton and John Hurt amongst others.

Putting Voice And Guitar Together (intermediate/advanced)
In this class, students will learn to sing and play at the same time, starting with songs in which the vocal and guitar are phrased together and working up to ones where the vocal and guitar are phrased more independently. There will be lots of singing and playing in class. Students should be comfortable and experienced playing alternating and monotonic bass is required.

Freeing Up The Picking Thumb (intermediate/advanced)
This class will work through a variety of songs in different tunings and positions designed to equip students to use your thumb in ways other than keeping time. We’ll focus on getting comfortable playing thumb-lead songs, incorporating brush strokes into alternating bass and building facility using the thumb to play melodic lines throughout the guitar’s range and on all six strings.

Blues Guitar Duets w/Michael Roach (all levels)
John and Michael will focus on how you can put together guitar duets to get a full sound while still leaving space to hear both parts. They will work through duet strategies used by historic duos like the Beale Street Sheiks, Memphis Minnie and Kansas Joe and then work up some duets on the spot, in class. There will be lots of playing in class, but also an emphasis on learning how to come up with your own duet arrangements, and giving you the tools to do that.


RICK FRANKLIN, Country Blues Guitar

Rick Franklin from Arlington, Virginia has been playing and singing the blues at local and international festivals and community events in and around the metropolitan Washington DC area since 1981. In addition to solo appearances, Rick also performs 1920s and 1930s blues and ragtime in the Memphis and St. Louis guitar-duet style with his trio, Rick Franklin and His Delta Blues Boys.

Beginner Country Blues Guitar (beginner/intermediate)
For Blues Week, Rick will teach 2 Beginner/Intermediate guitar classes that will show students how to alternate the bass with your thumb and pick melody lines with your fingers. He will focus on songs that are considered the roots of Taj Mahal. He will examine the original version, the Taj Mahal version and a version created by the class. In addition to the study of the roots of Taj Mahal, Rick will be conducting a session titled ‘Ricks Picks’. This class will examine songs he released on CD, including his latest, ‘Dancing with My Baby’.


ABI BUDGEN, Country Blues Guitar

Abi has devoted many hours to studying old recordings in an effort to capture and communicate the spirit of the original sound. Inspired by her passion, Abi has become recognised as a respected guitarist, performer and recording artist. She has been teaching blues guitar to all levels of ability for 12 years.

Beginner Country Blues Guitar (beginner/intermediate)
Abi will help students to master the basic techniques and characteristic sounds of country blues fingerstyle guitar. She will focus on songs and playing a steady groove.


MICHAEL ROACH, Country Blues Guitar and Vocals

Michael Roach is the Founder/Director of Blues Week.  Dating back to the early 1980’s, he spent several years learning directly from such well-known figures as John Jackson, John Cephas and Jerry Ricks.  With 7 albums to his credit and an instructional DVD (An Introduction to Country Blues Guitar), Michael is firmly established in traditional blues music circles.

Beginner / Intermediate Country Blues Guitar 
Michael will join John Miller for a blues guitar duet class and be available for one to one and small group sessions for students who need some guidance in order to benefit from the classes on offer at Blues Week.  He will help students to develop at their own pace using simple practice techniques.

Blues Vocals (all levels)
Using a selection of songs as tools, students will be encouraged to find their true voice with showing you how to breathe while singing to produce a full tone and useful tips on phrasing. Be prepared to sing!


SONNY BLACK, Country Blues and Bottleneck Slide Guitar

Sonny Black first picked up the acoustic guitar in the late 1960’s after hearing ‘San Francisco Bay Blues’ by the great Jesse Fuller. He now performs a blend of roots music that includes fingerstyle blues, ragtime, old time country and original compositions and arrangements of classics such as ‘Tennessee Waltz’ and ‘Heard it through the Grapevine’.

Country Blues Guitar (beginner/intermediate)
For Blues Week, Sonny will be conducting 2 guitar sessions each day. In one, he will teach a version of Scrapper Blackwell/Leroy Carr’s ‘Midnight Hour Blues’, Sam Chapman’s ‘That’s All Right’and a version of Amos Johnson Rag (by Sam McGee) as well as blues in ‘drop D’ tuning. Sonny’s other class will be a time for him to sit one-to-one or a small group of guitarists  who might want some specific help with their playing such as backing up a singer or another guitarist with single string fills and chording ideas, solo ideas and maybe some simple flatpicking etc.

Beginner / Intermediate Bottleneck Slide Guitar
Sonny will teach Tampa Red’s ‘Boogie Woogie Dance’ and ‘Things ‘Bout Comin’ My Way’ as well as some general hints and tips on slide guitar (such as playing slide in standard tuning).


HOMESICK MAC, Bottleneck Slide Guitar

Mac has been playing music since 1975. His main influences were Doc Watson and early country blues players including Brownie McGhee and Sonny Terry. Between 1995 and 1999, Mac formed an acoustic duo with the legendary British slide guitar master Sam Mitchell. The two recorded a CD called ‘Two Long From Home’.

Beginner / Intermediate Bottleneck Slide Guitar
Mac's beginner classes will get the good feel of various slide playing techniques. Tone accuracy and vibrato basics will be addressed, together with fingerpicking patterns while playing slide within standard and open tuning.

Intermediate / Advanced Bottleneck Slide Guitar
Building upon solid basic abilities, advanced slide playing classes will include tips on dynamics, advanced damping techniques, developing melodies and solo licks. Songs within this class will help students to develop rhythmic patterns while playing slide.


ADAM FRANKLIN, Bottleneck Slide Guitar and Mandolin

Adam Franklin is a superb exponent of blues and ragtime from a ‘golden age’ of American music. With a voice that is both powerful and soulful, his performances are intense, energetic and highly entertaining. In addition to guitar, Adam is a great blues mandolin player and will teach a mandolin class this year. Students are encouraged to bring their mandolin along.

Intermediate / Advanced Bottleneck Slide Guitar
In this class, Adam will look at all aspects of slide guitar, from the basic techniques and tunings to classic rhythms and licks of the innovators. The class will be studying the styles of Tampa Red, Robert Johnson, Blind Boy Fuller and will look at playing a classic blues standard in the 'slide' style.

Slide Guitar Rhythm, Licks and Solos (intermediate/advanced)
This class will explore the importance of rhythm in playing licks, runs and solos. The main focus will be tunes by Blind Willie Johnson, Kokomo Arnold and Tampa Red, three of the great rhythmic lead players. Adam will also look at open tunings with songs by the ever great Bo Carter.

Blues Mandolin (all levels)
Focusing on the blue side of mandolin, students will learn classic string and jug band tunes as well as looking at playing in the ‘blues jam’ friendly keys of E and A.


EDDIE MARTIN, Bottleneck Slide Guitar and Harmonica 

With 16 acclaimed album/DVD releases, Eddie has been called “The Ambassador of British Blues“. He was finalist as Best Blues Guitarist of 2019 in Music Republic Magazine and won ‘Best Solo/Acoustic Artist’ in the European Blues Awards in 2018. In the British Blues Awards he was nominated for ‘Best Harmonica Player’ and his songs have made it onto TV and film soundtracks.

Bottleneck Slide Guitar (beginner/intermediate)
Eddie’s slide guitar class will look at the styles of Robert Johnson, Son House and Fred McDowell. He will work through and study videos to analyse the signature elements of their right and left hand techniques, picking patterns and percussive effects.

Blues Harmonica (beginner/intermediate)
With guitar accompaniment and course books, the emphasis will be on playing to get you through basic techniques (e.g. bending and trill) to more advanced techniques (e.g. tongue block) using jams, set pieces and references to masters such as Sonny Terry, Little Walter and others.


MARK WENNER, Harmonica

Mark Wenner, from Wash., DC, founded ‘The Nighthawks’ in the early 1970s. He was a pioneer with his mixing of blues, R&B, honky-tonk country, doo-wop, gospel and rockabilly into one delicious stew. They toured and backed up John Lee Hooker and Muddy Waters among others just to name a few of the legendary bluesmen that Mark has played with. In 2011, The Nighhawks album, ‘Last Train to Bluesville’ won the Acoustic Album of the Year at the 32nd Blues Music Awards, sponsored by the Blues Foundation in Memphis.

Blues Harmonica (beginner/intermediate)
Emphasis will be on understanding of the relative chord structure of the diatonic harmonica so that the four positions make sense and can be used at will. Mark prefers students to find their own sound but some physical techniques will be shared. In class, interactive playing will be stressed rather than memorization.

Blues Harmonica (intermediate/ advanced)
Attention will be given to the individual student level of competence and his or her goals. Interactive playing will be stressed. Melody rather than licks will be a focus, especially in cross harp/second position.


WILL WILDE, Harmonica

Will Wilde picked up his first harmonica at the age of 16 and played it until his lips bled. He grew up steeped in traditional Chicago Blues. With knowledge and respect for the original masters of the instrument, his live show has been described as “A masterclass of blues harp playing, bar none.” (Blues in the North West).

Blues Harmonica (beginner/intermediate)
The beginner class will focus on improving your core blues harmonica skills; tone, vibrato, bending, hand technique, tongue blocking, blues scale, and improvisation.  The class will focus on classic 2nd-position blues, breaking down examples by the likes of Sonny Boy Williamson, Little Walter, Big Walter Horton and James Cotton.

Blues Harmonica (intermediate/ advanced)
This class is for students who want to expand their repertoire of blues licks. It will explore 1st position blues playing (which will include blow-bends in the upper register), as well as the more common 2nd position and some 3rd position playing for minor-key blues.  The class will break down examples by the likes of Little Walter and Sonny Boy Williamson with a focus on improvising and helping students to build their own solos.


Registration Fees 2020

On Campus: includes all classes, activities, room & board £650. This year, we are offering an Early Bird Discount of £25 if full payment is received by the 24th of February. The discount is only available to full week on-campus students.

Off Campus: includes all classes and activities £400

Per Day Rate: includes all classes and activities £130

Space is limited and it is advisable to book early to avoid disappointment. A £250 deposit will secure your place.

Please Make Payment To: Euroblues Promotions Limited, PO Box 1333 Cheltenham GL50 9AS United Kingdom. We accept payment via online bank transfer. Our sort code is 20-20-15 and our account number is 60473928. We also accept PayPal and the address for payment is info@euroblues.co.uk.

Our John Jackson Youth Scholarship Fund will provide subsidized places for young people between the ages of 14 to 21. Students between the ages of 14 and 17 are eligible for a £250 subsidy. Students between the ages of 18 and 21 who are not in full time employment are eligible for a £200 subsidy.

A parent or responsible adult must accompany all students 16 and under. If you know of someone who qualifies or have a family member that you would like to bring along, please contact us for immediate consideration. This support is only available to first-time participants.

Back to the top