|The notion of “Keeping The Blues Alive” and passing the torch to the next generation is preeminent in the scene today. Who will be the next guitar superstar and blues powerhouse is a question at the forefront of many fans around the world. While America gets recognition for having given birth to the genre, the blues is a universal music and for decades the Aussies have been telling their stories too. The burgeoning roots and blues scene from the Land Down Under has produced 19-year-old blues guitarist and vocalist, Charlie Bedford, from Melbourne as an exciting candidate to step into that role.
In January of 2020 Bedford was the recipient of a distribution deal from Blue Heart Records for his sophomore album “Good To Go.” The 11 original tracks and one fun-loving cover are a mixture of power-positive pop and rock infused with blues and soul that will likely earn Bedford comparisons to the early work of other young guns like John Mayer, Jonny Lang and Kenny Wayne Shepherd.
He opens with the jagged groove of ‘Money Junkie,’ offering up wisdom beyond his years along with some mature guitar riffs that have flavors of Stevie Ray Vaughn and Hendrix. The whimsical love song ‘Honey’ swings back and forth between a rumbling heavy verse and a bubblegum pop chorus. The forward motion of the danceable track ‘No Rain No Flowers’ shows off some British pop influences and has a message of optimism, urging us to look on the bright side. Drummer Tim Anderson shows off his bag of tricks on the funky rocking title track ‘Good To Go’ that features another great solo from Bedford. He shows musical maturity on the easy-going ‘Windy Wednesday’ and his exposure to California sounds of the 70’s.
The dynamic arrangement of the progressive track, ‘Enemy’ displays Bedford’s compositional skills. But he reminds us he’s still a teenager by rapping through the verses of ‘Get Rude’ and that he grew up a “digital native” when he sings about a girl who yearns for the latest tech on the garage rocker ‘Upgrades.’ His parents must have been fans of vinyl as the sounds of sweet Southern Soul come through on ‘Just A Little Longer’ and touches of psychedelia slip into the reverb-soaked instrumental ‘Telephone.’ Chris “Stibbo” Hanger from the Melbourne jump blues combo, The Jump Cats, joins in with hot blues harp for a rollicking version of the Mink DeVille track ‘Steady Driver Man’ taking liberties with the Bo Diddley beat party anthem. How a teenage kid from Australia learned about a band from the 70’s New York punk scene, who were basically the house band at CBGB’s will remain a mystery, but blues radio will surely eat up this great track.
Bedford closes the set with the somber delta duet with Hanger, ‘Blues For John,’ fulfilling his dedication of the album to the memory of former Melbourne Blues Appreciation Society president and fellow jammer, John Jerman, who was a pillar of the Aussie blues community. A young man with a bright future, Charlie Bedford is indeed “Good To Go,” and this strong release should take him where his dreams lead.
Rick J Bowen
Charlie Bedford is a guitarist/vocalist from Melbourne Australia. Bedford journeyed to Memphis USA in 2017, ‘18 & ‘19 to perform at the International Blues Challenge Youth Showcase, representing the Melbourne Blues Appreciation Society. He returned to Memphis in 2020 & performed again in both Nashville & Muscle Shoals.
Home in Australia, Bedford has played alongside & been mentored by some of Australia’s biggest blues artists. He has also had the honor of performing on stage in the US with band members from great acts such as B.B. King, Albert Collins, Ray Charles, Bonnie Raitt, & Wilson Pickett.
Bedford began playing in bars & clubs at 12 years of age & now, at the age of 19, works as a full-time musician. He performs regularly as a solo artist, fronting his own band & is also the guitarist in both The Great Unknown & The New Savages. He’s a fresh act, representing the next generation.
- Endorsed by Hagstrom Guitars of Sweden,
- Bendigo Blues & Roots Music Festival – Current Youth Ambassador,
- Alex Legg Memorial Foundation Scholarship recipient 2017.
Significant Australian festival gigs include:
- Melbourne Guitar Show
- Queenscliff Music Festival
- Bendigo Blues & Roots Music Festival
- Echuca – Moama Winter Blues Festival
- Marysville Music Weekend