Chris O’Connor plays vintage blues as if they were written yesterday.
His own songs sit alongside those from 1920s masters such as Tommy Johnson, Memphis Minnie, Charlie Patton and Lemon Jefferson.
He showcases blues styles ranging from sparkling ragtime to driving bottleneck blues.
Chris O’Connor has had an enduring fascination with the blues of the 1920s and 30s masters, from players such as Son House, Willie McTell and Blind Blake. He uses small bodied 6 string guitar, a rich deep 12 string and a well-worn steel bodied National resonator to accompany his renditions of vintage blues songs.
In performance, his varied repertoire ranges from string-snapping delta blues to hypnotic minor key laments, gospel shouts, slide guitar instrumentals and ragtime songs with sparkling finger picked accompaniment.
O’Connor has been well received at major East Coast blues and folk festivals and in 2014 he represented the Sydney Blues Society at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis.
During the 1990s Chris was also a member of the unique and entertaining jug band The Mudsteppers.
His first CD release Things are looking up(2003) received positive reviews from Australian and US publications. Soup’s Gone Bad his second release (2011) showed a progression to include more original songs alongside the vintage blues but all played with great spirit and humour.
For his current release “I Asked for Water” O’Connor has enlisted piano professor Don Hopkins, harmonica ace Jim Conway and Marcus Holden on mandolin. It shines a light on the work of some of Chris’ favourite blues artists, such as Tommy Johnson, Charley Patton, Memphis Minnie and Kansas Joe, Blind Blake, Tampa Red and Georgia Tom. Putting his own stamp on these songs his enthusiasm for the material really shines through.
Reviews for the album, 'Things are looking Up'
“When you hear vintage music being played this way you really appreciate the substance of the material. The blues legacy will remain subtle and fresh in the hands of dedicated artists like O’Connor, who play honestly, without frills or gimmicks, and with highly refined skills."
“Chris has a great voice for the blues and uses it extremely well…if you are a fan of the blues you will love this CD.”
Trad and Now
“His delta blues style cover of Wait’s 2:19 is impressive.”
Sydney Morning Herald
Reviews for the album, 'I asked for water'
“From the delta slide of Charley Patton to the Piedmont ragtime of Blind Blake, O’Connor stamps his own imprint on a rich musical heritage."
“Beyond ragtime, O’Connor plays other earthy blues like the haunting slide guitar blues from the Mississippi Delta region. His latest album is a wonderful showcase of all these country blues styles."