Belfast Telegraph

Festival date for bluesman Laurie

Hugh Laurie is to make his UK musical debut at the Cheltenham Jazz Festival, ahead of the release of his blues album.

The star of TV's House has signed a major label deal with Warner Bros to release the album Let Them Talk, featuring Allen Toussaint, Sir Tom Jones and Dr John.

Now organisers of the annual jazz event have announced that he will close the festival on May 2.

It will be the first of a series of shows by the star - also known for his appearances in Blackadder and alongside former comedy partner Stephen Fry.

He is a talented pianist and guitarist, as well as singer, and showed off his skills with a show in New Orleans last night, with Fry in the audience.

Speaking of his love of the blues, he joked: "I've never eaten grits, cropped a share, or ridden a boxcar. No gypsy woman said anything to my mother when I was born and there's no hellhound on my trail, as far as I can judge.

"Let this record show that I am a white, middle-class Englishman, openly trespassing on the music and myth of the American south."

Hugh said he wanted to popularise the genre: "I could never bear to see this music confined to a glass cabinet, under the heading Culture: Only To Be Handled By Elderly Black Men.

"That way lies the grave, for the blues and just about everything else: Shakespeare only performed at the Globe, Bach only played by Germans in tights."

Hugh will perform at Cheltenham Town Hall. His album is released on May 9.

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