She's a diminutive 24-year old white girl from North Wales who has helped turn roots and blues music into a cool, swinging fusion that's both classic and stylishly modern.
It's two years on from Cherry's first blues effort, the critically acclaimed Little Girl Blue, which helped introduce a whole new audience to the dynamic sound of Cherry Lee Mewis, firmly securing Cherry's place as one of the rising stars on the UK Blues scene today, taking her music from the tiny clubs of Bedford, to festivals in the UK and Europe, such as Italy's Tropea Blues Festival, Shetland Blues Festival, The Barbican International Jazz & Blues Festival and Cambridge Rock Festival, naming just a few.
The winter of 2008 saw Cherry finally pack her bags for good and leave her tiny village home town in north Wales, to her adopted home of Bedford. "I've been making music here since I was 17, so it's not totally alien to me, but moving permanently away from family and loved ones was and it left me facing totally new life experiences..."
Cherry served her apprenticeship endlessly gigging in clubs and bars developing not only her powerful soulful voice, but her performance and style too.
"The concept of expressing myself creatively from the age of 9 was something I was always intrigued and inspired to do...
"Where as my mum would love Motown and retro soul records, my dad would be more into the rock 'n' roll and the psychedelic, really obscure 60's stuff. He introduced me to Curved Air, Jeff Buckley, Vashti Bunyan and Janis Joplin."
It wasn't until later on, that Cherry became immersed in blues.
On her début, Little Girl Blue, she along with long time musical collaborator, Max Milligan, re-arranged 14 early blues numbers, including songs by Memphis Minnie, Robert Johnson and Jelly Roll Morton, singing with raw power and emotion, hurt and pain. John Verity produced the album at his '101 Recorders' studio in Bedfordshire.
"Many of the oldest blues records contain gritty, realistic lyrics, no censored versions! I put my whole self into every single one of these tracks, I feel like i'm inside of them...."
Her 2nd blues album, Southbound Train, released January 2010, is a heady mix of foot-stomping barn-burners to bluesy slow-cooked rockers with a spoonful of jazzy shuffle, supported by a band of slick smokin' musicians.
Accompanying Max Milligan on acoustic guitar are, Nicky Slater (dobro), and Robbie Stewart-Mathews (upright stick bass & backing vox), her Blues Gems as she calls them; Cherry feels more drive behind her at the live shows. "They sure as hell fuel my fire!" she laughs.
Like most great blues performers, Cherry is best experienced live and highlights of 2010 have included supporting Walter Trout, performing at the Howlin' Wolf Memorial Festival in West Point, Mississippi, being special guest of Blind Mississippi Morris in the legendary BB King's on the one and only Beale St, and supporting Mud Morganfield (Muddy Waters Jnr) on his UK tour.
The great hobo blues-man himself, Seasick Steve says, "The only people who are going to keep the blues alive and kicking are the kids picking it up, these young bands out there - they got all the future."
"This is music I fall in love with on a daily basis!" concludes Cherry, "My music is all about a vibe and capturing that raw, stripped back sound that I love."
The wealth of experience at VaVoom work brilliantly with Cherry's fresh approach. Resulting in a mix of warm vintage blues and soul with Cherry letting her voice go where it's supposed to go. "I put as much into the arrangement of a song as I do into the writing of one..." concludes Cherry, "This is music that I enjoy. I hope my angle on it makes people that bit more interested.""I'm not trying to dress my feelings up. I don't want to censor myself in order to sell more. Self indulgence, is to some degree at the root of all creative art..."
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