Artist profile: John-Luke Shelley

Artist profile: John-Luke Shelley

“I like everything about Bendigo, from its step back in time feel and look to its great night life and support of live music…

I have played in Bendigo many, many times.” Says Geelong native John-Luke Shelley whose prodigious talent will be on display with his band High Speed Steel at this year’s Bendigo Blues & Roots Music Festival, starting 6th November.

26-year ‘JL’ (as John-Luke is known) cites Roy Buchanan and Stevie Ray Vaughan amongst his earliest influences. “I would put the greatest hits on from both artists and just play and play and play until I thought I had borrowed all the licks…” But it was JL’s father Brett, rhythm guitarist with JL’s band High Speed Steel, who really inspired Shelley Jr’s love of the guitar. “My dad was the one that got me started. He used to play the Top Gun theme song all the time and one day it really caught my attention, and ever since I have been playing the guitar.”

I asked JL the most unusual place he’d played. “Lake Tahoe in 2009, I think. We arrived at the pub and I noticed a white board and in bold letters at the top, it said “Open Mic Night” so I put my name down. I performed I’m Yours by Jason Mraz and the crowd went off – especially because I was an Aussie. It was a fantastic night!”

JL plays a mix of originals and cover versions and has released three albums and has a five track EP due before the end of the year. Bendigo Blues & Roots Music Festival goers can expect to hear JL play audience favourites Lay Down, Open Mind and JLS Tribute to SRV later this year in what promises to be a polished performance by this talented young blues guitarist.