On the radar: Aaron Keylock

We first spotted young British bluesman Aaron Keylock ricocheting around a brick basement during Manchester’s 2015 Dot To Dot festival and have been keeping a close eye on him ever since.

I loved blues immediately. I just ‘got it’ straight away. I wasn’t just listening to it, but I was playing to it

Now his first record, Cut Against The Grain is due to land and we’re pleased to report it’s a fret-wearing, toe-tapping electric blues beast, with a tasteful amount of slide thrown in for good measure.

Aaron hails from Oxford and has been playing blues since his guitar teacher turned him onto to likes of Muddy Waters and Robert Johnson.

“I loved it immediately,” he tells us. “I just ‘got it’ straight away. I loved that I wasn’t just listening to it, but I was playing to it.” 

Down with JoBo

That initial crush quickly turned into an obsession that saw Aaron sitting in on stage at blues jams from the age of 11. Even becoming a semi-regular acquaintance of blues-rock colossus Joe Bonamassa,

“I met him four or five times between the ages of around 12 and 15,” says Aaron. “He would let me play through his guitars and his amps. He remembered what it was like being that 12 year-old because he had been in exactly the same position - he was touring at that age.”

These days Aaron’s found his own sound using a Gibson Les Paul, a Firebird and a TRS Junior with a Marshall Plexi to confident effect - planting his feet firmly in the territory between Rory Gallagher, Johnny Winters and Muddy Waters, with a touch of Gary Moore’s rock chunk. The album is finally here, but he’s been writing for over a decade. Why now?

“It was mainly just to make sure I was happy with what I was saying,” says Aaron. “I’ll change again as a person for the next album and I’ll be saying something else, but it just felt the right time. When it feels right, you do it.”

(Image credit: Austin Hargrave)
  • For fans of: Rory Gallagher, Gary Moore 
  • Hear: Just One Question
Matt Parker

Matt is a freelance journalist who has spent the last decade interviewing musicians for the likes of Total Guitar, Guitarist, Guitar World, MusicRadar, NME.com, DJ Mag and Electronic Sound. In 2020, he launched CreativeMoney.co.uk, which aims to share the ideas that make creative lifestyles more sustainable. He plays guitar, but should not be allowed near your delay pedals.

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