Arsen Shomakhov
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Arsen Shomakhov

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada | Established. Jan 01, 2007 | INDIE

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2007
Band Blues Rock


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"On The Move"

"Shomakhov's strengths are his formidable guitar playing across the spectrum of blues and r&b styles, his songwriting and his knack for finding good obscure material to cover" - Downbeat Magazine

"East Meets West Blues Show"

Saturday Feb 28, White Rock Performing Arts Centre

If you haven’t seen (or heard of) Jason Buie then you simply don’t get out enough...Jason was tearing it up Saturday, opening the show . . . as well as the curtains. He was sporting a wireless rig that allowed him to roam around the stage and into the crowd at will; and he’s not shy, he’ll come right up and show ya how it’s done.

Arsen Shomakhov came on next, looking very slick in a grey suit with a white Strat, understated and slinky cool; a little Colin James, a little Robert Cray elegance, a little mystery. His playing is tastefeul, clean bends and sharp staccato lines, with nice jazz chord colour and counterpoint rhythm. He played some originals and some classic blues covers, his backing duo (drummer) Adam Drake and Bruce McNeil (upright and electric bass) giving him exactly what he needed to make the songs breathe & strut. The finale was a 3-song jam with Jason joining Arsen’s band, trading rhythm and lead, both players bringing it down to a whisper, then back up to a roar. This is how the pros do it, kids. Co-organizer Phil Davey forgot for a second that he was the MC, and got caught in the tractor-beam of excitement as he appeared from the sidelines to belt out the final chorus of an old blues tune to cap off the jam.

-s. schonfeld –

- White Rock Sun


The range of styles included here - pretty much every blues form except the country, bottle-neck variety - handsomely showcases Arsen’s talents. His throaty yet smooth vocals particularly impress on "Too Hot", "Let Me Be Your Romeo" and "Use What You Got", leaving listeners with no clue that they are hearing a non-native English speaker working in a foreign idiom. His piercing guitar runs a gamut of inflections from funk to jazz to country-western, while never straying outside the borders of the blues itself. This CD also represents an evolution in his tone which now sports an unmistakable twanginess in both the upper and lower registry (check out the licks on "You're The One"). Throughout, Arsen is ably supported by Bek Mamyshev on drums and Aslan Zhantuyev on bass.
- Michael Urban, author of "Russia Gets the Blues" - Liner Notes


From Russia with blues: "Dangerous", the impressive Western debut of singer-guitarist Arsen Shomakhov, marks a stylistic range that spans the ripping roots-rock of "Too Hot" and "You're the One", superfly funk ("Troublemaker"), moody, late-night jazz ("Rainy Drive"), and blues, from the lazy, walking-bass shuffle "Let Me Be Your Romeo" to the Jimmy McCracklin-esque "Low Down Shakin' Chill" to Freddie King's slow "Use What You Got."

Shomakhov's singing is strong and unaccented, and his excellent guitar work pays rare attention to tonal variety and to creating strong rhythms as well as fleet-fingered, inventive solos.
- Tom Hyslop

- Blues Review Magazine


When Non-Americans take on American roots music, what they miss in nuance they frequently make up for in enthusiasm (think of those Europeans that take up traditional New Orleans jazz). So, when guitarist/vocalist Shomakhov shoots "TOM-stone" bullets during a run-through of Willie Dixon's "I'm Ready", his passion for the blues inclines one to cut the Russian some slack.
Actually, Shomakhov and his tight, spunky rhythm section need very little handicapping at all on this set. Aside from a few covers, the disc showcases Shomakhov's penchant for fresh original takes on the blues form. If his lyrics aren't of "blow-you-away" caliber, they are at least unobstructive to his energized instrumental work. This would be a neat little outfit to catch in some intimate venue and perhaps they can figure out how to land some Stateside gigs sometime.
- Duane Verh - Jazz & Blues Report


I have for sometime now been searching for good blues and blues/rock artists based out of the old Soviet Union, as this is one of the areas not well represented on our web site. While my search has up to now been fruitless, I am pleased to announce that I now have two that I will be recommending to you. The first comes via an excellent tip from one of our readers who sometime back alerted me to the outstanding work of Arsen Shomakhov & Ragtime.

Arsen Shomakhov is a world class guitarist, and at least based upon his work on "Troublemaker", very much an electric blues guitarist. While most of the modern blues/rock guitarists demonstrate more of a Stevie Ray/Hendrix flavoring, Shomakhov manages to blend these two influences with a huge dose of T Bone Walker, creating a most enjoyable sound. He is supported on this set by the outstanding rhythm section Ragtime comprised of Aslan Zhantiuyev on bass and Sultanbek (Bek) Mamyshev on drums. The 11 tracks on the CD are 8 Arsen Shomakhov original tunes combined with 3 well chosen covers, demonstrating that Shomakhov is also a very capable song writer. The CD is well engineered, varied in tempo and style, contains some of the better electric blues instrumentals I have heard, and in general is excellent from beginning to end.

The set opens up with the stinging electric blues number (and Shomakhov original) title track and just continues to build momentum throughout. Along with the title track, some of my other favorites include a wonderful remake of Aaron Walker's "T Bone Shuffle", the fabulous electric blues tune "Give Me A Sign", and a great instrumental track "Don't Miss Your Train". But, as mentioned before, this is a CD well worth consuming from beginning to end. If you are a fan of guitar driven electric blues style music, "Troublemaker" is going to be a MUST OWN for you.

"Troublemaker" from Arsen Shomakhov & Ragtime receives my highest possible recommendation to you. This is a brilliant artist whose career I will be watching closely and one from whom I expect to see and hear great things in the future.
-Tom Branson
- Bluesrockers

"IBC 2005"

This year's International Blues Challenge in Memphis promised a chance to hear new takes on the Blues from all around the globe...
I was most impressed by a rather unassuming young guy from Russia who tore up the Music City Cafe: Arsen Shomahkov and his band Ragtime...this cat can flat-out play! His band is extremely tight, his playing is fast and clean, and the best part is that he is very quick to give all the credit to the boys in the band. The crowd was visibly shaken at first to hear such amazing blues coming out of Russia, but that soon gave way to some serious shakin' on the dance floor because his music was truly infectious. His CD "Troublemaker" showcases some of that remarkable ability, as well as his flair for songwriting and his uniquely expressive voice...
-Rusty Faust - Walla Walla Blues Society

"Russian Blues? Take a Listen..."

Russian Blues? Take A Listen, It’s Worth It, (03/29/07)

Welcome to one of the most interesting albums I've come across in a bit. Russian Blues? Since the fall of the Iron Curtain, Blues music is now accessible to the Russian public. From the music on this disc, Arsen Shomakhov has done his homework and can hang out with many of the North Americans I know and his vocals are very clear and strong. By listening you would never know where he was from.

Now let's get off the geography lesson and onto the music. The album kicks off with a guitar riff that sounds like it has some serious Texas twang on it. The song, "Dangerous," is an instrumental that showcases, at the same time, the control and over-exuberance that Shomakhov has developed. This song could have been composed in the barrooms of Dallas just as easily and it works. "Too Hot" has a 1950s Rock 'n' Roll feel with a little hint of Chuck Berry at times. For this song he gets a fatter guitar tone goin' on; this song cooks like a Cajun gumbo.

If you like some Swing in your Blues then you'll love "Let Me Be Your Romeo." The walking bass line and bouncing piano keys make way for Shomakhov. This song has an early Fabulous Thunderbirds sound. Then we turn into a Country vein with some sugar-sweet vocals on "You're The One." Adding to the song's Junior Brown-feel is the upright bass and snare drum beat.

"Low Down Shakin' Chill," "Troublemaker," and "Use What You Got" all have a contemporary Blues sound. They have some hints of the Chicago influence advanced through to the present-day Blues of Tommy Castro and Coco Montoya.

Now, if all the styles he plays very well don't convince you, maybe you need something else? How about a cool Jazz number like "Rainy Drive"? Again, the upright bass is used with great vibe to add to the song. This is straight-ahead Jazz played with feeling and tone.

The T-Bird style comes out again with a little more bass in his guitar tone on "The Arsonist." "Don't Miss Your Train" has a fast guitar lick that runs fluidly up the neck before he eases up and uses all the strings to his benefit to push out a great instrumental to boogie down. If you prefer not to ride the rails you can take the Jazz side again on "Highway Cruise." I would have liked the upright bass on this track over the electric. The upright added to "Rainy Drive" so well it just would have worked better here too.

The album closes with the "Beale Street Boogie." This is a loose affair goin' down to the juke joints. The guitar is clean and under-played. When he wants to burn he can, but when he holds back he can do that too. On this song he goes for the feel and mixes up all the styles to boogie along.

Shomakhov has an album that should grab plenty of attention this side of the Atlantic. He has studied the older styles and created sounds and feels of his own. He wrote every song on the album and some really have a sound that goes back decades. This is a fresh voice from an up-and-coming artist who has developed into a skilled professional. Hop the pond and play here whenever ya like, man.

Kyle M. Palarino is a contributing editor at BluesWax - Blueswax


"On The Move" - 2010 (Blues Leaf Records)
"Dangerous" - 2006 (Blues Leaf Records)
"Troublemaker" - 2003 (Drugaya Muzika)
"Heavy Steppin'" - 2002 (Dialog Music)



Russian born, award winning recording artist Arsen Shomakhov began perfecting his craft in Nalchik, Russia’s North Caucasus at an early age.

The humble beginnings of his musical journey started with him playing music on the family piano. He was first exposed to Blues Music at the age of five, with the New Orleans Basin Street Blues of Louis Armstrong. During his teens, his focus shifted to playing the guitar. He studied Blues guitar greats such as Jimmy Hendrix, Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page.

As a young adult, he began to focus and meticulously study well known artists such as Muddy Waters, BB King, and John Lee Hooker. His latest Blues influences include Jimmy Vaughan, Junior Watson, Rick Holmstrom and Ronnie Earl. His jazz influences include Charlie Parker and Thelonius Monk.

In 1987 he formed his first band “Ragtime”, which caught the attention of the Russian Blues Community. They were quick to recognize his immense talent, and worked hard to provide him with opportunities for a wider audience. One such opportunity was delegating him to the 21st International Blues Challenge in Memphis, TN.

His ever increasing exposure and fan base led to the release of two albums in Russia, “Heavy Stepping (2002) and Troublemaker (2003). His music was picked up and highlighted by the radio program, “All that Blues” and the national television channel “Culture”.

The release of these albums attracted the attention of Joe Morabia, the President of the American record label, Blues Leaf Records. He was so impressed by Arsen’s songwriting, singing and guitar skills that he travelled to Moscow to negotiate a record deal. Arsen’s third album “Dangerous” was released in the USA in 2006 under the Blues Leaf Record Label.

In 2007, he received the Best Emerging Artist Award from the Sonny Boys Blues Society after competing alongside 21 other blues bands at the Arkansas Blues & Heritage Festival.

Arsen moved his family to Vancouver, B.C. in 2008, and formed the Arsen Shomakhov Trio. This band currently features Bruce O’Neill on bass and Chip Hart on Drums.

Working hard to make a name for himself and the trio, he has performed at a variety of festivals across the US and Canada including: The King Biscuit Blues Festival, Waterfront Blues Festival, Edmonton’s Labatt Blues Festival, Montreal International Blues Festivals, Donnacona Rythme du Blues Festival and the Calgary International Blues Festival, to name a few.

His latest album, “On the Move”, was released in the US in 2010 on the Blues Leaf Record Label. It peaked at number 1 on the Roots Radio Airplay charts in the US. In Canada, the album reached number 2 in the Top Blues Albums category, as well as the Top 25 Blues Albums of the Year. He was also nominated for the Maple Blues Award as “Artist of the Year” based on the excellent music on the album.

Arsen’s music continues to gain momentum and is appreciated by thousands of fans around the world. His humble and genuine nature combined with his natural and impressive talent make him an asset to the Blues Community, as well as the public at large.