Euro Blues Workshops

Acoustic Blues Weekend of workshops, jams and performance 1st to 3rd March 2019. Adam Franklin (slide guitar), Eddie Martin (harmonica) and Michael Roach & Abi Budgen (guitar). The Beacon, Wantage OX12 9BX.


Roach DVD

Michael Roach 'Introduction to Country Blues Guitar' DVD £22.50 including postage

Blues Week 2019

Euro Blues - Blues Week

28th July to 2nd August. Hartpury College, Gloucester UK. Details soon to be announced.

Blues Week 2016 - our 16th year

Sunday 31st July to Friday 5th August 2016
Sunley Conference Centre
University of Northampton
Park Campus
United Kingdom

The Programme

Blues Week 2016 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

Classes will begin on Monday morning and run through Friday 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. 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 Staff

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 12 instructional videos on the music of Furry Lewis, Bo Carter, Robert Wilkins, Elizabeth Cotten, John Hurt Vols 1&2 and Memphis Blues amongst others. For Blues Week 2016, John will conduct 3 classes (2 for advanced/intermediate and 1 for beginner/intermediate students). 

Using Open Tunings for Country Blues (advanced/intermediate)
In this class, John will examine open tunings commonly used for blues (Open G/Spanish and Open D/Vestapol) but will examine some stylistic outliers as well (EAEGBE tuning, Open Bflat, Cross-Note and Open G minor).  He will demonstrate how to make chords used in blues with these tunings and where commonly played blues licks live in them.  Also, he will examine them for un-mined possibilities and work on using them for new compositions and arrangements.  No slide will be used. 

Play the Song YOUR Way (advanced/intermediate)
Much of the learning of Country Blues guitar focuses on learning to play versions of songs recorded many decades ago.  In this class, we'll use the songs themselves as the starting point, and see how to create your own versions of the song.  Class members will be assigned to come up with their own arrangements of well-known Country Blues songs in different keys or tunings, and will perform these arrangements in class as the week goes along.  Focus will be on learning to access ideas and see how differently the same song can sound in different keys or positions, or with a different rhythmic treatment.

Intro to the Musical Language of the Blues (beginner /intermediate)
Students will work on learning how to identify the commonly encountered blues forms (12 bar, 8 bar, 16 bar) and how to plug in the appropriate chords, playing them in different keys. He will also look at blues vocal phrasing and how it sets up a call and response with the accompanying instrument. Finally, the class will work on building a vocabulary of licks specific to different keys that speak convincingly in the language.  Students can expect lots of playing in class.

MARTIN GROSSWENDT, Country Blues and Slide Guitar
Martin Grosswendt has been exploring the roots and branches of American acoustic music for more than 40 years.  A master of pre-war blues and other southern traditional music, his fingerpicking, bottleneck playing and singing amaze and move audiences, critics and other musicians alike.  He's known at festivals, concerts and music camps across the U.S., and his musical accomplishments are matched by his knowledge of the music's sources and creators, whose stories he weaves into every performance.  For Blues Week 2016 and by popular demand, Martin with be teaching an advance/intermediate Country Blues Guitar class and an advanced/intermediate slide guitar class.

Weird Country Blues (advanced/intermediate)
In this class, Martin will teach some songs that are considered strange blues tunes.  They are songs with unexpected chords, out of the ordinary timing and unique tunings.  As examples, he will look at songs such as Blind Blake’s ‘Police Dog Blues’, Little Hat Jones’s ‘Kentucky Blues’, and Frankie Lee Sims ‘Lucy Mae Blues’.  The class will look for the approaches that open up these and other songs that have confounded guitar players for decades.

Bottleneck Blues Guitar (advanced/intermediate)
Martin ’s class will spend the week taking a deep, hands on look at the subject.  He will focus on tone, intonation, vibrato, right and left-hand damping techniques, single string and chord work, as well as other often overlooked fundamentals.  He will also examine different types of bottlenecks (glass, metal, ceramic), tunings, repertoire, and resources. 

Ben Tyzack was born in England and raised in the United States.  He began his music career playing guitar in rock and pop bands, and performing with his father’s New Orleans Jazz band.  After moving back to the UK, he formed the Spikedrivers - a project based on his love of early blues and a vehicle for his song writing.  They have released 9 CDs featuring many of Ben’s original compositions.  

Slide Guitar – Tunings, Techniques & Tricks (advanced/intermediate)
Ben’s class will introduce tunings and ways of playing in every key possible.  In order to develop your slide playing as a whole, he will concentrate on your picking hand as well.  Using various techniques of finger picking, flat picking and combinations of the two, students will develop better control, tone and variation in your playing.  The class will explore how to get the most out of harmonics, overtones and unusual chord voicing

Sources of Inspiration for Musicians (advanced/intermediate)
This class is about developing your musicianship, as well as working on your guitar playing. Using the sounds and phrasing of other instrumentalists and vocalists, you’ll go beyond just mimicking other guitarists.  We’ll be interpreting the sounds of a wide variety of instruments on the guitar.  It’s an interactive class that will be listening to anything but guitar to find new avenues to expand your tone, phrasing and technique.  


Eric Noden has been performing, writing and teaching acoustic blues for over 25 years. The Illinois Entertainer described Eric as “a spiritual heir to Chicago blues guitarists of the ’20s and ’30s like Tampa Red and Big Bill Broonzy”.  Eric has recorded and toured extensively both as a solo performer and in his duo with harmonica master Joe Filisko.  He recently produced and played guitar for Billy Arnold’s CD ‘Billy Boy Sings Big Bill Broonzy’.  

Fingerstyle Slide Guitar Basics (beginner/intermediate)
In this workshop, Eric will focus on teaching the essential techniques for playing fingerstyle blues guitar with a slide.  Eric will explain how opening tunings, right hand thumb patterns and the bottleneck are used in traditional acoustic blues.  A variety of traditional slide styles will be explored.  Eric will break down how to play chords, riffs and melodies using a slide. Guitar tab will be provided.
Country Blues Guitar Fundamentals (beginner/intermediate)
For this class, Eric will teach the essential techniques for playing fingerstyle blues guitar.  Eric will introduce songs in the styles of Robert Johnson (Delta) and Mississippi John Hurt (Piedmont) that demonstrate the contrast of the blues.  He will break each song down to demonstrate the chord progression, the groove and then add layers of complexity.  Guitar tab will be provided.

Grooves for Blues Guitar and Harmonica (all levels)
Eric will conduct this class with Joe Filisko on harmonica.  The aim is to demonstrate how to get the most out of your instrument in a duo situation.  They will break down their approach to performing and arranging blues and American roots music.  Groove, dynamics and communication will be explained through the learning of songs.

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.  A lifetime of intensive listening and 3 decades of playing underlie his easy rhythmic excellence, which has led to him backing US artists such as Del Rey and Joe Filisko.  For Blues Week 2016, Adam will also be on hand for blues mandolin lessons. Students are encouraged to bring a mandolin to take advantage of the opportunity. 

Beginner/Intermediate Slide Guitar
Students will learn the basics of slide guitar in different tunings, moving on to building a repertoire of classic tunes from the masters, from the soulful Willie Johnson to the hot style of Tampa Red.  Throughout the week, students will learn how to build on what they have learned, how to accompany others and most importantly, keep the thumb moving.

Discovering the music of Blind Boy Fuller (beginner/intermediate)
Adam will teach a beginner/intermediate country blue guitar class called ‘Discovering the music of Blind Boy Fuller’.  He will focus on Fuller’s fingerpicking style and approach to songs in the keys of A, C and E.

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 six albums to his credit and an instructional DVD (An introduction to Country Blues Guitar), Michael is firmly established in traditional blues music circles.

Michael will be available for one to one and small group sessions for beginner/intermediate 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.  Also, Michael will conduct a Blues Vocals class.  Using a selection of songs as tools, students will find their true voice with tips on phrasing and breathing techniques.  Be prepared to sing!

EDDIE MARTIN, Harmonica and Guitar
Born in London, Eddie Martin started playing acoustic guitar and harmonica at the age of 16.  He became a keen student of blues music - including Dr Ross and Joe Hill Louis.  Today, he is now widely recognised as the outstanding one-man blues band in the UK.  With 15 acclaimed cd/dvd releases on Blueblood Records, his 13 year professional career has seen him run numerous workshops for blues guitarists and harmonica players at all levels. 

Blues Harmonica (beginner/intermediate)
Working through a course book, the emphasis is 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, Walter Horton, Sonny Boy Williamson 11, James Cotton, Deford Bailey, Jimmy Reed etc.

Slide Guitar (intermediate)

Eddie’s slide guitar class will look at the styles of Son House and Fred McDowell.  He will work through pre-prepared tabs and study videos to analyse the signature elements of their right and left hand techniques, picking patterns and percussive effects.  The emphasis will be on students practising ‘building-blocks’ of technique to approach a grasp of the styles by the end of the week.


Grant Dermody is an American Roots musician; harmonica player, singer/songwriter specializing in acoustic blues and Appalachian fiddle tunes. He is widely known for his deep, open tone and his ability to get underneath, with his own voice, a wide variety of genres.  Grant is respected for rich tone, tasteful solos, and solid rhythmic playing. He is in a country blues band with guitar greats Orville Johnson and John Miller.

Blues Harmonica (advanced/intermediate)
Grant’s advanced class will focus on the fine art of improvisation within various blues forms.   The class will also look at expanding the student’s unique harmonica voice by deepening and strengthening the ideas and emotions they bring to a given piece of music.  Solid rhythmic accompaniment will also be an area of in depth study.

Blues Harmonica (beginner/intermediate)
Grant’s beginner’s class will start at square one and proceed, at a reasonable and fun pace, with chord playing, single note production, basic blues playing, beginning tongue blocking, and melodic and rhythmic playing.

Joe Filisko, Harmonica

Joe is one of the world's most respected teachers, players and authorities on the diatonic blues harmonica.  He has worked on 5 different continents.  His area of expertise is the acoustic pre-war and amplified post-war playing styles and how to get the biggest, fattiest and greasiest sound out the tiny harp.  The SPAH organization named Joe ‘Harmonica Player of the Year’ in 2001.

Blues Harmonica (advanced/intermediate)
For Blues Week, Joe will teach students exactly what they need to know and do to sound like a competent and seasoned player in the BIG toned Chicago blues tradition. He will focus on: how to relax and breathe correctly; various hand positions and techniques for acoustic & amplified playing; throat tremolo & vibrato; tongue blocking; and note bending.

Grooves for Harmonica and Blues Guitar (all levels)
Joe will conduct this class with Eric Noden on guitar.  The aim is to demonstrate how to get the most out of your instrument playing as one half of a harmonica/guitar duo. 

Registration Fees 2016

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 22nd February. The discount is only available to full week on-campus students.

Off Campus: includes all classes, activities and lunch £425

Per Day Rate: includes all classes, activities and lunch £135

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

Our John Jackson Youth Scholarship Fund will provide a limited number of subsidised 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 scholarship is only available to first-time participants.

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