Ramblin Rick and his blues crew


Ramblin Rick Stringer and The Federation are bringing the blues to the shores of Lake Wakatipu. 

The Queenstown-based four-piece of seasoned musicians only got together at Christmas but are already making waves in the music scene. 

They opened the Fiji International Jazz & Blues Festival last week, playing seven gigs over four days in 30 degree heat. 

And they are now looking to record an album of original music. 

Stringer – a well-known local real estate agent and auctioneer – says: “We had people ask to buy our CD in Fiji. 

“It’s not quite ready. We’ll be working on originals and plan to do an album this year. 

“For now, I think Queenstown is really enjoying a change of sound, a band locally that’s dedicated to blues and soul. 

“We don’t want to categorise ourselves as the blues band because we certainly all come from experienced musical backgrounds where we can turn our hand to pretty much anything, but blues, roots and soul is where our passion lies.”

Stringer fronts the band on vocals, keyboards and harmonica, backed by talented musicians Ned Webster on drums, Sam Ross on guitar and Aaron Waata on bass. 

“Sam is actually a very gifted blues musician, he just didn’t know it. He spent a lot of his time playing hard out rock and covers around Queenstown. 

“He’s got Stevie Ray Vaughan tattooed on his arm, though, so he was always going to be easy to convert.” 

Stringer put together The Federation after spending 2011 playing Christchurch earthquake benefit gigs with Fiji Festival promoter Billy TK Jnr. 

“Our sets consist of a mix of good traditional Chicago-style blues and we’ve also got quite a good New Orleans jazz blues file. We delve into a touch of reggae, throw in a good few soul numbers and contemporary blues roots music, which is a little bit more funky.” 

Catch The Federation at SkyCity Casino’s Wild Thyme bar and restaurant tomorrow from 9pm