Danny Bryant, Blues guitarist and singer-songwriter, chats with Kevin Cooper about his friendship with Walter Trout, the Blues scene in the UK, the release of his latest album Blood Money and his forthcoming UK tour.

Danny Bryant is an English blues guitarist and singer-songwriter. At the age of 15, he began playing the guitar and became a professional guitar player at the age of 18. Since then he has toured all over the world and appeared on bills alongside a number of notable artists such as Buddy Guy, Carlos Santana, Joe Cocker and Mick Taylor.

He formed Danny Bryant’s Red Eye Band together with his father, Ken Bryant. They toured and recorded together until his father’s retirement in 2013. The band then changed its name to Danny Bryant. Their first live DVD/CD, Night Life – Live In Holland, was released in 2011, and his first studio album, Hurricane, followed in 2013.

In 2014, Temperature Rising was released, which was preceded by a tour of the USA and Canada. Danny Bryant fronted Walter Trout’s band whilst he recovered from liver transplant surgery. The Temperature Rising tour then took the band across the UK and Europe and as far afield as China.

Whilst preparing for the release of his latest album, together with his forthcoming tour, he took time out from his busy schedule to have a chat with Kevin Cooper and this is what he had to say.


Hi Danny how are you?

I’m fine thanks Kevin how are you?

I’m very well thank you and let me just thank you for taking the time to speak to me today.

Well no, thank you for wanting to speak to me.

And I have to ask just how is life treating you today?

Life is good; I always enjoy promoting a new album. It always give me something fresh to talk about and as you will notice, I do enjoy talking about myself (laughter). I’ve been doing a lot of that over the last few weeks. So it is all good at this moment in time.

Are you eager to get back out on the road with the new album?

Yes I really am Kevin. I can’t wait to get myself out there and start playing the new songs live.

I have been looking at your forthcoming UK tour dates and I see that you are playing twelve dates in seventeen days. Do you like that feeling of being under pressure?

Yes I do Kevin but you also have to remember that I am used to that now. Whenever I go out on the road I do tend to tour at quite a pace. I always play quite a lot of shows in a row.

It also appears to be the same whenever you tour overseas?

That’s right I will be playing three weeks in Poland and the Chez Republic, two weeks in Germany and then we cross over to Switzerland. It is pretty intense and it works out at around fifty shows in seventy odd days.

I suppose that it keeps you on your toes as you have no time in which to become complacent do you?

The simple answer to that Kevin is no (laughter). I live to play live, which is what I do but don’t forget that I am out there trying to earn a living. Playing live is my favourite aspect of the music business; I really do enjoy the touring. I enjoy every aspect of what touring involves. It is always a little strange whenever you play the first couple of shows as you are still finding your feet, getting your voice back into shape and finding that your fingers are a little sore (laughter). Then it all starts to come together and you simply hope that it all goes smoothly.

You first played here in Nottingham some years ago now at The Running Horse. Did you have a good time?

Yes it was fun Kevin and I had a great time. Nottingham is great, it’s a lovely place. I always seem to have lots of fun whenever I play anywhere around that area.

You are coming back to Nottingham to play at The Rescue Rooms for the second time on 19th February. Are you looking forward to that?

Yes I am very much so. It’s a lovely room and we enjoyed it so much that last time we played there we thought that it was a good place to come back to. When you consider that Nottingham is not a massive city it is amazing just how much music you have got going on up there. It is quite remarkable really.

You are being supported on the tour by Red Butler. Did you know of their work before that was announced?

Someone had suggested them to me so I made sure that I checked them out for myself Kevin. I went to see them performing at a festival and thought that they were really good. I think that we will be a good match. They are different to me and so it won’t be three hours of the same thing. They are exciting and I feel that they will get the audiences going. I really do hope that people will arrive early and watch them because they are really good.

Your latest album, Blood Money, are you happy with it?

I am really pleased with it Kevin. It was a lot of fun to make and I wanted to make a more straight-ahead Blues album. I have to say that I like the feel of it. I am truly pleased with it.

Its official launch date is Friday 29th January. Are you excited?

Yes I am really excited about that Kevin. It’s so close now (laughter). We recorded the album in August so I am now excited about letting people hear it. It will be nice for people to hear it and for us to be able to take the new songs out on the road. I have been touring my last album for the past two years now so it will be nice to finally tour with the new album and a totally new show.

You say that the album was finished last August. Is there a danger that you will go back and tinker with it?

(Laughter) yes I am always tempted to do that but you simply have to say to yourself that’s it, it’s finished (laughter). It always helps when you are given a deadline on which you have to hand over the master copy to the record company, then it is out of your hands and you are no longer in a position where you can tinker with it Kevin (laughter). Then you can’t take it back, unless the record company tell you to take it back and do it again but you hope that doesn’t happen (hysterical laughter).

On the album you have once again worked with Walter (Trout) and Bernie (Marsden). What was that like?

That was great. They have both been very influential on my career plus they are both friends so it really was a special moment for me to have them work on the album with me. I wanted then to play on songs that were very much in their style so Blood Money which Walter plays on is very much in his style and with Bernie I love his melodic playing so I thought that it would be a good idea to put him on a ballad.

I have to ask you, just how is Walter. Is he getting stronger?

Unbelievably so Kevin yes. This will sound silly but Walter is sounding better than he did before he got ill. He’s got a new lease of life; he has put weight on and he has got a lot more energy than he had. Fingers crossed that he will get back up to Nottingham sometime soon.

You have been quoted as saying that you wanted to make an album that would pay homage to Albert Collins, Jimmy Reed and Albert King. Do you think that they would be pleased with the album?

I don’t know is the simple answer to your question Kevin (laughter). It is always hard to second guess what people would think. They would probably think that I had played too many notes and that the album was possibly a bit too modern for them. I just felt that they were the three people who I would like to pay a tribute to. That’s me; I’m always wearing my influences on my sleeve.   God knows what they would think of it, I don’t know (laughter).

Looking at your previous work, it would appear that you record an album on average every fifteen months. Once you get an idea for a new album do you have to get it out of your system?

I would have to agree with you and say that yes, it is something that I have got to get out of my system Kevin. I have never written every day; I tend to write in bursts. Now that I have written this album I will leave it for a while otherwise any new songs that I would write would just come out sounding the same. For me, I find that if I leave it for six months some new influences will creep in and I will write in a different style. It is slightly different but that is my style.

I tend to write more when I know that the studio is booked and I start to get excited, which is usually around four months before we actually get into the studio. Recording an album every fifteen months keeps my interest levels up and also keeps the shows fresh for the people who come along to see us playing live.

So how far ahead are you thinking; when do you start thinking about the next project?

I am always trying to work a year in advance to be honest, so that I know where I am for the next year. The next project is going to be a live album. The last three albums have all been studio albums so I think that the time is right for me to record a live album in London. I want to do it with a big band, keyboards and a brass section. I want it to be something different and fun.

With the exception of Walter (Trout) and Bernie (Marsden) who has influenced you along the way?

As guitar players I drew a lot of inspiration from Eric Clapton, Buddy Guy and Stevie Ray Vaughan. As a writer I thought that Bob Dylan was incredible together with Bruce Springsteen. I drew inspiration from a lot of different music.

Who do you listen to now?

I do try to keep both an open ear and an open eye on the new artists out there. If I hear something that I like then I like it. I try not to get involved in the old ‘is it Blues, is it not Blues’ argument. I have just bought Adele’s new album and I think that it is fantastic. I will probably get slated for saying that but as I say, if I like it I like it.

But as a Blues artist you will know better than most just how difficult it is to break down the barriers which the purists continue to erect?

That is so very true Kevin. Blues is a historic art form and there are people who are trying to protect it which is good but the trouble is that in doing so sometimes they don’t allow it to move forward; they don’t let it evolve and that is when forms of music die out. The Blues shouldn’t be put into a museum, it has to be a living, evolving thing. People interpret the Blues in different ways and I don’t think that anyone has the right to tell anyone that what they are playing is not the Blues. There will always be people who are wanting to knock people down for whatever reason and it’s a shame.

So in your opinion is the Blues scene here within the UK fit and healthy?

I would have to say that it is the healthiest that it has been in a very long time Kevin. You have to remember that these things do go round in cycles. It was very healthy in the late 80’s with Robert Cray and Stevie Ray Vaughan but then it had a bit of a dip. Now it is in a healthy period again and I just hope that it stays that way for a while longer. The Blues will always be here because it is a form of expressing human emotions and so that music is always going to exist. It is not a fad, it has been here for a long time now. It will have its ups and downs like a lot of things but I’m sure that it will remain.

I recently went to see Paul Jones who said that he had been trying to write the perfect Blues song for the past forty years. He wants to write one that starts off sad and finishes happy (laughter). He thinks that is impossible to do.

(Hysterical laughter) maybe he should speak to Bob Dylan (laughter). He claims that he writes a song every day.

Swiftly moving on, what single event would you say has changed your life forever?

That would have to be going to see Walter play because that is when I decided that I wanted to be a professional musician. That was when this rollercoaster started for me.

What was the first record that you bought?

I’ve actually got to think about that Kevin (laughter). The first thing that I can remember buying was Bon Jovi’s Crossroads album, which was their greatest hits. That was the first one that I actually bought but my mum and dad always had a good collection when I was living at home so I was always listening to people like Rory Gallagher.

Who did you first see playing live in concert?

The very first real gig that I went to was to see Walter.

And what has been the highlight of your career so far?

I know that it sounds like a cliché but I would have to say making this album. I am always trying to live in the present and I am most pleased with this album so I would have to say making this album.

On that note Danny let me once again thank you for taking the time to speak to me.

No thank you Kevin, I have really enjoyed chatting to you.

Good luck with both the album launch and the forthcoming tour.

I hope to see you during the tour and thanks for taking the interest in what I am up to. Bye for now.