This limited edition boxed set marks Siegal’s 25th anniversary of professional touring, and captures that quarter century in music, words and pictures. The 38 tracks – all written by Ian – are selected from the 10 albums he has recorded for Nugene Records. To see a list of the selected tracks click the Listen tab above. The book provides the lyrics of every song.
“Siegal possesses that priceless gift, a true blues voice. But that’s only half the story.
The extra six-pack he brings to the party is his songwriting.”
Tony Russell, Mojo contributor and editor of the Penguin Book of Blues Recordings.
If you had told the 20-year-old Siegal, on the night of his first professional band gig in 1991, of the acclaim to come, he’d have dryly laughed it off. It was unthinkable that he would one day take this music overground in 45 countries, or preside over a trophy haul that includes eight British Blues Awards and appointment to the Hall of Fame, three European Blues Awards, two Mojo Blues Albums Of The Year (not to mention three US Blues Music Awards nominations – an unprecedented nod for a non-American).
From roots near Portsmouth, Siegal pinballed through his early life. A child of the ’70s and an art-college drop-out in the ’80s, he learnt his craft as a busker in Berlin before the motherland lured him back. Through the ’90s, Siegal – then based in Nottingham – was the best-kept secret on the Midlands circuit. By the mid 2000s he was headlining shows in the UK, Holland, Belgium, Austria (and more), while casting his net beyond the blues genre’s hoary fanbase to draw a pan-generation crowd of both sexes.
In the studio, Siegal opened his account on the Cadiz/Universal distributed Nugene label with 2005’s Meat & Potatoes, before 2007’s Swagger saw Mojo dub him “one of the most innovative, gifted and engaging blues performers on the planet today”. The Dust and Broadside were similarly acclaimed, the UK rock press noting the newcomer’s scholarly appreciation for – but irreverent twisting of – the blues template.
By 2010, this life-long fan of Mississippi hill country blues was drinking deep from the source, striking up a working friendship with Luther and Cody Dickinson of the North Mississippi Allstars, and taking up semi-residence at their Zebra Ranch studio in Coldwater, MS.
The two resulting albums (2011’s The Skinny and 2012’s Candy Store Kid), were Siegal’s most vital yet, sparking successive US Blues Music Awards nominations for Best Contemporary Blues Album, induction into the British Blues Hall Of Fame, and the memorable Classic Rock soundbite “Mississippi has a new adopted son and Britain a national treasure.” Friendships made while working on those albums led to an impromptu campfire-style recording The Picnic Sessions with the Dickinson brothers, Alvin Youngblood Hart and Squirrel Nut Zippers man Jimbo Marthus.
Since then, demand has seen Siegal pulled across the planet, with the performer shedding his skin as he plays countless shows in shifting formats – some of them preserved as live albums. In 2014, the BBC-recorded Man & Guitar bottled a solo acoustic performance from the Royal Albert Hall (no doubt a factor in his third US Blues Music Awards nomination this time for Best Acoustic Artist and his 2016 British Blues Award for acoustic artist). The following year’s One Night In Amsterdam found him amped and dangerous with a full-throttle electric band; while in 2016, Wayward Sons showcased his fizzing joint tour with the aforementioned Jimbo Mathus.