Choice: True blues

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The Independent Online
Old Man Thames will never have the resonance of the mighty Mississippi, of course, but that is not going to stop the organisers of the London Blues Festival trying to conjure up images of a day of downhome music and food "down by the riverside". However the atmosphere turns out, though, anybody venturing to Brentford's Watermans Arts Centre tomorrow should have no reason to complain about the standard of music on display in a single wide-ranging afternoon.

US headliners Little Charlie & The Nightcats (left) and The Holmes Brothers are two of the most engaging live acts currently treading the boards. The Nightcats, fronted by diminutive guitar whizz Little Charlie Baty and larger-than-life vocalist and harmonica virtuoso Rick Estrin, are - with their witty take on the always lively jump blues idiom and tight stage act - the more obviously entertaining. Who, after all, can ignore an outfit that can come up with a title like "My Next Ex-Wife"? But The Holmes Brothers - Sherman and Wendell, with cohort Popsy Dixon - have, over the years, made a speciality of bringing together R'n'B, gospel and even country to make an irresistible soul-blues stew. Nor is this just stuff for the roots purist - the latest record features versions of Lennon and McCartney's "And I Love Her" and Tom Waits's "Train Song".

Earlier, the "non-stop all-dayer" - as tomorrow's event at Watermans Art Centre is billed - features another performer who can turn his hand to a pop tune, DJ, actor and former Manfred Mann frontman Paul Jones who takes the stage with Blues Band colleague Dave Kelly. And the currently in-vogue acoustic blues style receives a nod with the appearance of Michael Roach, a finger-picking guitarist who continues the East Coast country blues tradition.

With a barbecue, record stall - not to mention a number of other acts to keep the music flowing - all the organisers need is a good dose of sweltering heat to replicate the feel of the dozens of open-air festivals that punctuate the American summer every year.

Blue Sunday, Watermans Arts Centre (0181-568 1176), tomorrow 2pm to 12 midnight