The Half Hand Hoodoo Blues Band are a four-piece based in York. Formed in 1995 by singer/guitarist frontman Dave Smith, the band has become well known on the North of England blues circuit with a number of residences in the City of York as well as numerous appearances at the Colne and Burnley blues festivals.
Introduced to the blues at an early age by his father’s Big Bill Broonzy records, Dave Smith‘s seminal moment came hearing the Acme Blues Co. at the legendary John Bull Inn in York. Acme front man Neil Dalton’s fingerpicking Chicago Blues style convinced Dave that this was the music he wanted to play.
In 2012 Dave met guitarist Karl Moon at a gig and they quickly formed a friendship through mutual appreciation of great guitar playing and real blues music. Karl began playing blues guitar aged 18 whilst studying music at York college. He’s been a regular player on the UK blues scene since then, supporting & playing alongside many great names including Charlie Musselwhite, Billy Branch, Sugar Blue, Ian Siegal and Giles Robson.
Karl enjoys listening to – and taking influences from – a wide variety of genres including early Chicago blues, jazz influenced west coast & jump blues, traditional ragtime acoustic pickin’ and deep blues from the delta. The contemporary guitarists he enjoys the most are the ones who are rooted in proper blues but also bring their own style and quirkiness to the genre – Junior Watson, Rick Holmstrom, Nathan James & Kid Ramos are amongst his favourites. Karl has a passion for all vintage music gear but mainly uses Gibson/Guild guitars and Quilter amplifiers when playing live.
Half Hand Hoodoo’s rhythm section comprises of Mark Wootton on drums and Angus Milne on double bass. Mark grew up listening to jazz and didn’t really know what The Blues was until the 14 year old Mark bought a Lightnin’ Hopkins LP “because the shade-wearing guy on the cover looked cool!”. By the age of 17, Mark was playing drums in a school rock band, sitting in at jazz sessions in York and had a residency at a working men’s club backing the visiting acts. Since then, he has gone on to play a large variety of musical styles playing with regular bands as well as being involved in session work. He met Dave Smith at one session and they have continued playing and performing together over the last 25 years. Over the years, Mark has also played in blues bands with Neil Dalton, Gypsy Bill Williams, Adrian Ingram and in ‘TC and the Moneymakers’ alongside Karl Moon. Angus has played with the band for four years and his understated bass lines are reminiscent of the great Willie Dixon.