We were delighted over at Folk & Tumble to receive an invitation to Grainne Duffy’s Black Box show as part of the Woodstock Rhythm & Blues Festival.

Organiser Harry Lamb has long been running this East Belfast based festival and his hard work has attracted some big names over the years. Chris Farlow and Eric Bell are just some of the names who have graced the stages of previous festival events and tonight it’s the turn of Monaghan blues soulstress Grainne Duffy.

With the venue heating up Duffy takes to the stage with her trademark copper top Gibson Les Paul and if the temperature in the room wasn’t already too hot for some of the male members of the audience it certainly was after this show.

A consummate performer with a well road tested tight band Duffy belted out crowd pleasers from both of her albums while appearing to hardly break sweat. ‘Each and Every Time’, ‘Let Me In and ‘Test of Time’ are all played with power while the slower songs showcase Duffy’s soulful side allowing her guitar playing to raise the hairs on the back of a few necks.

Guests on stage at tonight’s event includes the aforementioned Eric Bell and Billy Boy Miskimmon and the capacity crowd lap up every minute of the blues fest that ensures.

At the end of the night the singer and her guests patiently meet fans and sign autographs while listening to stories of what they and their music means to tonight’s audience and we go home thankful for these small independent festivals that bring the music and the performers to the people.

The Woodstock Rhythm and Blues Festival runs until the 18th of August and many of the events are free.