'Uncle Bob' and Steve James...The Hoochie Couchmen
'Uncle Bob' McGowan. ...has been living and playing the blues from an early age, when he discovered, then wore out his parent’s Leadbelly, Josh White and Sonny Terry records.
In his high school years he played in rock-n-roll bands, and when the ‘folk revolution’ happened, he discovered a new world of traditional roots, blues and bluegrass music. After paying his 'dues’ in jug and blues bands in Sydney in the late 60s, he played in ‘Uncle Bob’s Band,’ the famous 70s (some say infamous) group known for their inventive, eclectic renditions of anything from blues to swing jazz.
Moving to the 'deep south' coast of NSW in the 80s, he honed his love of blues and roots music with bands such as the Welcome Strangers, Blue Roots, The Front Porch Pickers, The Brent McLeod Band and others… Bob was a finalist in the 2004 Australian Fingerpicking Guitar Championships at the Frankston Guitar Festival.
Bob’s repertoire includes an entertaining interpretation of songs in the style of ‘Doc’ Watson, Big Bill Broonzy, ‘Mississippi’ John Hurt, Snooks Eaglin, as well ragtime, contemporary and traditional blues styles. Bob’s 40 years of experience in the music industry is evident through his guitar expertise, goodtimey feel, and an easy rapport with the audience. ‘…His CD Fingerpickin’ Good contains some fine examples of this style. Recommended.’ Rhythms magazine. 2006.
Bob performs, teaches and conducts workshops in fingerpicking styles, blues and ragtime guitar, and bluegrass. He performed at and held workshops at the Towamba Acoustic Sessions Festival, 2012, the Beechworth 'Kelly Country Pick' in 2012, 2013, and with Steve James at the Cygnet Folk Festival, Tasmania in January 2013
Bob composed music for and played guitar in ‘Vieux Carre,’ an early Tennessee Williams play by ITCH Productions, performed at 45downstairs, Flinders Lane, Melbourne, January 17 to February 3 2013 Reviews: '…to set the scene and enhance atmosphere in this particular production, fabulous blues guitar is beautifully rendered by Bob McGowan and cleverly and crisply piped into the auditorium. Impressive sound design throughout is by Nat Grant…' Suzanne Sandow. Stage Whispers. Jan 2013.
'…add the live blues artists, Bob McGowan and Josh Blau, to the side of the stage for the score, and the stage is set for a fully immersive theatrical experience.' Tania Herbert theatrepress.com.au/2013/01/20/review-vieux-carre-by-tennessee-williams/
'..Bob McGowan’s sultry, live guitar evokes the Jazz clubs and streets of New Orleans.' Kate Herbert. Herald Sun.
'Bob's taken this style and made it his own' ...Stefan Grossman Australian tour March 2012
Steve ‘Slippery Sid’ James is one of Australia’s best dobro and lap steel guitar players and has played with leading blues bands such as the ‘Early Openers,' "Archer and the Lone Gone Daddies', The Hombres, ‘The Payday Millionaires’ and the Henry Correy Blues Band’.
Inspired by legendary blues players such as Skip James, Mississippi Fred McDowell, Muddy Waters, Elmore James, he mastered open tuning ‘bottleneck’ and slide guitar before progressing to the A6 tuning he uses to great effect today.
Steve James and Bob McGowan. Photo Annette McGowan
'Uncle Bob' and Steve 'Slippery Sid' James performing as a duo at The Cygnet Folk Festival 2013