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Darren Watson


Sun 28 Aug 2016, 2:00pm–3:30pm

Where: Te Takeretanga o Kura-hau-po, 10 Bath St, Levin, Horowhenua

Restrictions: All Ages

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  • Admission: Free
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Listed by: TeTakere

Mr Planet Key himself, bluesman Darren Watson plays the free Sunday afternoon concert at Te Takere on Sunday 28 August.

Darren has toured the country since the 1980s with Smokeshop and in 2009 won first place in the blues section of the prestigious International Songwriting Competition in Nashville judged by a panel including Tom Waits, before his meteoric rise to infamy with the release of Planet Key just prior to the last election. Darren is a consummate performer who brings his authentic personal style to the blues.

No one plays the blues like Darren. Over the better part of three decades he has developed a style that, while touching on all of the greats who inspired him, is personal, powerful and identifiably his own. Watson gained national fame in the 1980s as the fresh-faced, young front-man and guitar slinger for Chicago Smoke Shop. The band made two charting albums, had several radio hits, opened for international blues legends like Koko Taylor, Robert Cray, George Thorogood, and The Fabulous Thunderbirds. They toured tirelessly earning Watson a place alongside the likes of Midge Marsden, Hammond Gamble and Rick Bryant as one of New Zealand's best blues interpreters.

Since leaving Smoke Shop in the early 90s he has cemented his reputation as the country's most original, contemporary blues voice, with three albums of world-class blues music. During this time Darren also fulfilled a life-long ambition working alongside one of his childhood R&B heroes, touring extensively as sideman for Midge Marsden and more recently performing as side-man to Chicago blues harmonica legend Billy Boy Arnold. He's also opened for New Orleans funkster Dr John, Doug McLeod, Joe Cocker, Keb Mo, and nu-soul exponent Eli 'Paperboy' Reed, as well as appearing at WOMAD, Australian Blues Music Festival, Blues On Broadbeach, and selling out many festival appearances in New Zealand.

In 2009 Watson won first place in the 2008 International Songwriting Competition(Blues), judged by artists like Tom Waits, James Cotton, & John Mayall. And he has been a finalist in that competition every year since. Kiwi blues legend Midge Marsden leads off his new album Back To The Well with Darren's song Love Is An Ocean.

After three decades of gigging and touring, Darren's somewhat ironically titled album Introducing Darren Watson was released in October of 2014.