Giles Hedley and the Aviators

Career

Described by Clyde Stubblefield, James Brown's legendary drummer, as "the funkiest man I've heard in Europe", Giles is a familiar face at UK clubs and festivals playing acoustically or with the Aviators.  He has appeared at Gloucester, Colne, Upton, Farnham, Banbury, Oxford, Bracknell, Ealing, Basingstoke and Wallingford festivals and many of the well-known "Boogaloo" blues events, as well as "Blues de Traverse" and "Festival Blues à Gogo" in Normandy.

He has guested three times on Paul Jones's Radio Two blues programme as well as on Wey Valley Radio, Seven Counties Radio and other local radio stations in France and England. He held residencies over several years at London's top blues venues 'The Station Tavern' and 'Ain't Nothin' But'.

 

In the 70s Giles was a familiar figure playing solo  bottleneck and lap steel on his old Dobro guitars in clubs, bars and festivals in England and Holland, where he released an LP, "Zeltzaam & Zonderling". He played support to Son House, Mississippi Fred McDowell, Juke Boy Bonner among others.

He formed the innovative "Really the Blues" in the 80s, which mixed delta blues with jazz influences: Richard Sadler on bass, Bob Morgan on sax and keyboards, and Clive  McKenzie-Joseph on drums. During their Station Tavern residency, Sam Kelly replaced Clive. They guested on Paul Jones's BBC blues show and put out an album, "Aviator".

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Giles moved to his current, rootsier style of blues in the 90s, forming   "The Aviators", keeping Richard Sadler and Sam Kelly. Further Paul Jones appearances, festival gigs and two more albums, "Low Flying" and "Wake up, it's nearly Dark" followed. Giles still played as many solo acoustic gigs as ever and a solo album "No Lizards" appeared in 1999.

Increasingly, the band appears with French guitar ace and producer Christophe Pélissié, who recorded and produced the band's latest album "So Glad I'm Living" in his Rouen studio, and plays on most tracks.

Giles remains deeply rooted in the acoustic, early country blues.  His solo work, playing bottleneck, ragtime and gospel on his battered but beloved 1930s guitars, keeps him just as busy as the band and has won equal praise from blues critics.     

Giles's 2015 solo album "Rain is such a Lonesome Sound", featuring early Delta blues and ragtime on acoustic guitars and harmonicas, was widely praised by blues Press and radio:

 "Blues Matters" wrote: "Artists of the quality of Giles Hedley are rare and the ability to make this music sound fresh and not hackneyed is a wondrous thing."

"Blues in Britain" called it: "the authentic feel of country blues with fine guitar and his legendary harp prowess ... a great introduction to the master craftsman".

"R2" magazine wrote: "a wonderfully authentic roots musician ... laid back yet technically complex"

Instruments

Harmonicas by Hohner, customised by West Weston, through a custom-made Steve Matthews harp amp and an old EV160 mic, or his homemade mic'd rack.

Acoustic guitars: 1934 Grimshaw "Hartford 12" arch-top, 1928 Aristone, Edwardian Levin parlour guitar, Suzuki 12-string, Morris 12-string

Electric guitars: 1960s Yamaha semi-acoustic; self-made lap steel; for bottleneck a customised Fender copy with an early Bill Lawrence blade pickup.