Home > Events & Shows > Coastal Blues
A night featuring the best of New Zealand's Blues artists, in Raumati on the wonderful Kāpiti Coast. Starring local acts The Caramello's, Karen Clarke and New Zealand finest Blues artist Darren Watson and band.
Darren Watson gained Aotearoa-wide fame in the late eighties as the fresh-faced principal songwriter and front-man for rhythm and blues outfit Chicago Smoke Shop. The group of blues-mad Hutt Valley teenagers made two albums, had several bonafide radio hits, and with a few years of hard touring won a secure place in the hearts of Kiwi music fans. Before they imploded Smoke Shop earned multiple NZ Music Award nominations, and shared stages on NZ tours with international artists like Koko Taylor, The Robert Cray Band, George Thorogood, and The Fabulous Thunderbirds.
Since leaving Smoke Shop in the early '90s Watson has cemented his reputation as the nation's most original, contemporary blues-based voice. He's released seven albums to date including 2002's King Size (which was nominated for an NZ Music Award), 2005's South Pacific Soul, 2010's internationally acclaimed Saint Hilda's Faithless Boy, Introducing Darren Watson from 2014. 2018's Too Many Millionaires represented a major shift in direction for the veteran musician. Recorded 'live-to-tape' at Wellington's Surgery Studios by award-winning engineer Lee Prebble (Black Seeds, Phoenix Foundation, Dave Dobbyn) the record features all-acoustic performances and has received rave reviews in local and international media, including in the prestigious Downbeat (USA), and Blues Matters (UK) magazines. Too Many Millionaires debuted at number three on the Official NZ Top 20 Album Chart and stayed in the charts for five weeks. It is by far Darren Watson's most successful album to date.
In October of 2020, Watson released Getting Sober For The End Of The World. The album mines similar territory to Too Many Millionaires. The album features seven new Watson-penned tracks, a song by local Wellington stalwart Matt Hay, and a cover of a classic Robert Johnson tune.
Firmly rooted in R&B/country crossover Karen’s trademark smoky vocals and driving guitar work anchor her pared-back, power-packed solo performance. It’s strong. Built - with more gravel than you need to make a road and plenty of torque to drive it.
She composes from a sensitive eye on life with bittersweet paradox in her sets. The essence of her Ngati Kahungunu and Celtic lines blend into what is very definitely a kiwi sound. Elements of jazz, blues, roots and alt-country are in her trademark indie-folk-femme mix. Her songs are served warm and gutsy with a strong, emotive stage presence.
The world-famous Caramello’s - Come see them play a variety of traditional instruments like the cigars box guitars and percussive tools that will give the rhythmic and soulful feel of the past, and use their voices as instruments. Finally, they will use blues harps, lap steel and resonator guitars to give the crowd a pumping pulse that will move them in their seats. Over the last few years, the Caramello's have become one of New Zealand's premier traditional Blues ensembles who have built a dedicated fan base throughout Aotearoa by working hard and giving back to their respective communities. You really don't want to miss this soulful package. One of the lead vocalists Tim L Brown will be playing his lap slide and resonator, Lead Guitar and vocals, – Steven Jon Hall, harp and vocals – “Bear” Christopher Anderson, Kura Maukau lead vocals, Richard Tzabo on keys and their special guest Black Eyed Suzie will be laying down some amazing Violin and vocals.