Q&A with Lazenby Young Blues Guitarist Award Participant Liaison Andrew Watts

Q&A with Lazenby Young Blues Guitarist Award Participant Liaison Andrew Watts

1. Why was the Lazenby Young Blues Guitarist Award created?
The award was created in memory of Phil, who was a great supporter of youth in Bendigo and a passionate muso in his younger years.

After he passed away two new Fender guitars were discovered under his bed, which have been gifted by his estate to invest back into the development of youth and music locally.

2. Why should artists participate in the LYBGA? How can it benefit their careers?
The heats provide young musicians with great exposure, the opportunity to work with a professional backing band, often for the first time, and meet new people who can help them connect with the local music scene.

It’s not about who wins for us; all of the contestants are talented and anyone can win on the day. What‘s more important is that everyone involved has grown, stayed in touch and become more involved with their local community, which is great for music in general.

3. How does the LYBGA program differentiate itself from other music contests and awards?
Our award stands out from the crowd because it’s about enjoyment. Contestants don’t have to rehearse a set piece until their fingers bleed. We encourage them to be themselves, improvise and make connections.

4. What are some of the success stories from winners/entrants from last year’s LYBGA’s?
Eighteen year old, Murray Colbert is a Heathcote boy who has become well known since his appearance in the final last year and has been embraced by the local blues community.

Eva Kourtos is 16 year old gifted guitarist from Melbourne, who has been involved in the metropolitan music scene from a young age and made some great friends with other contestants and mentors.

Sean Nudl won last year’s award at just 15 years of age and hails from Bendigo. He is an up-and-coming guitarist with a unique style. He has since become good friends with judge, Marc Leon, despite an almost 60 year age gap.

5. Who are this year’s judges? How do the judges select a winner? What are they looking for?
Each heat to date has been judged by blues legend Marc Leon, along with a guest judge from the industry. The judges are looking for young guitarists with good technical ability, creativity, performance skills and the ability to improvise and bring their own interpretation, often to a classic blues song.

6. Who is competing in heat two?
Murray Colbert has come back again this year for a second tilt at the title, after coming third in last year’s final. He is joined by 16 year old Geordie Scare from Bendigo and Brandon Trickey from Maryborough, who is 17 years of age.

Note: Andrew is joined in the backing band by his sons Sam and Kane on Bass and drums respectively. Andrew said Phil was very encouraging to both boys and would be wrapped to seen them participating in the award.