RAY BEADLE & THE HIGHTONES AND JILL BARBER
Friday, Heritage Hotel, Bulli
Tickets: www.oztix.com.au, $27 at the door
There's more to the blues than sadness.
Musician Ray Beadle says the biggest misconception people have about the genre is that all the songs are depressing.
"The image most people have [of the blues] is people working in cotton fields and having a hard life and singing about it, but they forget that they were singing about it to make themselves feel better, not to dwell on the fact things weren't going so well," he explains.
"That's one of the main things I'm going to spend my life doing; getting across the point that it's actually supposed to make you feel better."
Beadle began his career playing American-style "jump swing blues" after stumbling across the sound when he finished high school, but hasn't explored this style on stage in 10 years.
But for his upcoming tour with Canadian singer Jill Barber, he is turning away from the funk and rock songs he has been playing of late and revisiting the jazzy, swinging style that first got him interested in music.
"For me nothing's too serious about it, it's about having fun. It's a style of music for the audience," he says.
He also thinks playing this musical style will allow for more unity between his set and the jazz-based, Edith Piaf-inspired set Barber has prepared, as well as make it easier on the band the pair share each night.
Beadle, 34, plays original pieces with his regular band, but for this concert with the Hightones he will pay tribute to the artists that have inspired him over the years. He acknowledges few outside the genre will have heard of these musicians, men with bizarre and evocative names such as Hollywood Fats and Kid Ramos.
"For me it's about getting that music out there, which I haven't had a chance to do yet," he says.
A little nervous about tackling the music of his idols, Beadle believes it's always important for artists to put their own stamp on old classics.
"You're always putting your own spin on them, but for me it's not a challenge, more like a necessity, because they're the background to everything I do," he says.
"You can't do everything the same forever. Some people do, I don't know how they do it, but for me, I like to mix it up a bit."
Beadle says change is crucial to keep things interesting musically and he is inspired to alter his focus every three or four years.
"The honesty always is the main thing for me."
Readers can win one of three double passes to see Ray Beadle and Jill Barber at the Heritage Hotel on Friday. To enter email your name, address and telephone number with subject ‘Ray Beadle competition’ to firstname.lastname@example.org by 5pm Wednesday. Winners will be notified.