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Bill Barber at Echuca Moama Winter Blues by Jason Rosewarne

Hailing from central Victoria, guitarist/singer-songwriter Bill Barber is at the forefront of a new generation of Australian Blues. Making a name for himself with his fiery brand of blues guitar, firstly with his band The Revelators and now The Holding Cell, Bill has continued to grow an enthusiastic following. Aided by his solo Melbourne Blues Appreciation Society International Blues Challenge win in 2017 and consequent trip to Memphis, Bill has begun to turn heads overseas too. With another MBAS win in the band category this year, Bill will be back in the Memphis spotlight again in early 2024.

From today (October 13) Bill Barber can be heard on a brand new release from the Blues Roulette collection, a live, 5 track EP backed by Bill’s “blues uncles”, Ben Wicks and Johnny Tesoriero. Recorded in a tin shack, in 75 minutes by Bill Bate, three of the five tunes are first takes… and as always, Blues Roulette is no rehearsal, no charts, no safety nets! A 4 date tour begins tonight too. See dates below.

Australian Musician editor Greg Phillips caught up with Bill Barber yesterday to chat about the new Blues Roulette EP and whatever else is happening in his exciting blues rock world.

Bill took an interest in Blues at a young age, inspired by his dad’s blues record collection and by 14 was making the rounds, performing in Melbourne venues alongside Australia’s most respected Blues artists.

In 2012, Bill won the Melbourne Blues Appreciation Society ‘Youth in Blues’ competition and as a result, he was invited to perform festivals across Victoria including the Bendigo Blues and Roots Festival and End of the Line. He has since added a number of festivals to that list and has also acted as booker for other festivals across Victoria.

Bill Barber with Blues Roulette EP out Oct 13

A move to Bendigo (a hub for Victorian blues) at 16 saw Bill take enormous steps towards a career in music, appearing on local television and radio. It’s around that time that Bill’s talent caught the attention of multi award-winning Australian blues legends Geoff Achison and Lloyd Spiegel who have since become mentors and had Bill as both support act and special guest at countless shows. He has also played support for Wolfmother, Shane Howard and Dr Feelgood among others.

In July 2017, Bill won the Melbourne Blues Appreciation Society International Blues Challenge, making him the youngest winner in its history. Which sent him sent to Memphis, Tennessee to compete in the International Blues Challenge in January 2018 where he was one of the 32 Semifinalists out of over two hundred acts from across the globe.

While in Memphis a recording also took place at the legendary Sun Studios, the place that has recorded and discovered legends like Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, Howlin Wolf, BB King and Jerry Lee Lewis.

In recent years Bill has also gained notoriety as a songwriter with a powerful, raw, deeply personal and at times brutally honest approach.

What sets Bill apart is his dedication to the Blues. While he borrows influences from various different genres, his music is always deep-rooted in the Blues.

Bill Barber is the next in line to become one of Australia’s Blues greats” – Lloyd Spiegel

Bill is a fantastic young Blues player who keeps getting better and better every time I see him” – Geoff Achison

The most exciting musician I’ve heard in a very long time” – James Blundell


13-10-23 Bill Barber EP Emerald RSL Tickets

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20-10-23 Bill Barber EP The Catfish Tickets

22-10-23 Bill Barber EP Sleepy Hollow- Tickets on the Door

Bill Barber and The Holding Cell Facebook page

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