Darren Watson & The Dangerous Experts
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Darren Watson & The Dangerous Experts

Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand | Established. Jan 01, 2016 | INDIE

Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2016
Band Blues Folk


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos


The best kept secret in music


"Blues Revue Magazine Nov/Dec 2011"

New Zealand's Darren Watson has crafted a beautiful album in Saint Hilda's Faithless Boy (Red Rocks Records), a set of backward-looking (but by no means retro) blues recorded with a bracing, contemporary sonic treatment. Watson pops his guitar strings like Johnny 'Guitar' Watson on "She Got It All", mines soulful, Robert Cray territory on "Love Is An Ocean", and channels Howlin' Wolf in full, stomping intensity on "A Desperate Man". Dig the swampy roots-rocker "He Don't Love You", the serpentine "The Bitter Suite", and the acoustic slide reading of "My Love Will Never Die" - leagues from Otis Rush's original stylistically, right there emotionally. Watson's hearty vocal approach sounds utterly honest. The supporting cast is superb. - Blues Revue

"Author Garth Cartwright includes Watson in new book"

Renowned travel and music journalist and author Garth Cartwright has included a chapter about Darren in his latest book 'Sweet As'....

" ...that someone in New Zealand plays... blues with such eloquence makes me feel glad all over. " - Allen & Unwin

"Paperboy Delivers Cardboard Soul"

" Far more real was the opening set by Wellington's Darren Watson & The Real Deal Blues Band. Richard Te One's perfect shuffling backbeat set up the groove for Watson's big soul voice and stinging blues guitar lines.

One of the best support acts I've witnessed; incendiary. More memorable than the main act. " - The Dominion Post

"Blues album a winner in every way"

" I can’t say enough about Saint Hilda’s Faithless Boy. It really is a stunning album. If there were indeed blues music awards everybody else would be in second place. " - Sunlive

"National Public Radio Review"

This is a podcast from NZ National broadcaster. Darren's album is reviewed from 4:40 in. - Radio New Zealand National

"Darren Watson: Saint Hilda's Faithless Boy (Red Rocks)"

It's been far too long between albums for Wellington blues-rocker Watson -- frontman-guitarist for Chicago Smokeshop, later simply Smokeshop -- because his excellent South Pacific Soul album (under his own name) was five years ago.

In some ways Watson has mellowed, inasmuch as the vocals and guitar work here are taut as if the passions are deliberately being held in tight to give them added weight. There's nothing quite like the sound of someone holding something back to convey anger/disappointment and so on.

With an excellent band (drummer Richard Te One from Smokeshop, bassist Elliotte Fuimaono, pianist/accordion player Alan Norman from the Windy City Strugglers among them) rips through some Chicago-style blues, but most interest falls on the quieter material.

Here in My Arms is a soulful, almost spiritual statement ("You're never too young to ask for salvation, you're never too old too have a little fun") of the kind you wish Willy De Ville had lived long enough to cover, and My Love Will Never Die -- the Willie Dixon/Otis Rush standard -- finds Watson somewhere in the bayou on acoustic guitar and aching through the emotions.

But the standout he keeps right to the end, the title track which is a slow, soul burner that puts Watson closer to the Sam Cooke end of the spectrum than tough Chicago blues. And the guitar part, almost weeping in sympathy, is simple and sublime. Terrific song and superb delivery.

Elsewhere however Watson gets into those darker blues emotions: don't mess with me babe on A Desperate Man delivered over a Howlin' Wolf-styled riff; Love is an Ocean he just can't cross, with wonderful Hammond by Ed Zuccollo; a stuttering-funky hand-clapper He Don't Love You . . .

Watson has been rightly acclaimed as an exceptional guitarist (ample evidence again) and a fine vocalist, but here his songwriting also comes to the fore.

A strong, and long overdue, album. - www.elsewhere.co.nz


1989 - Chicago Smoke Shop
1990 - So Glad
1996 - Fusion At Room Temperature
1998 - Overnight Sensations
2003 - King Size
2005 - South Pacific Soul
2010 - Saint Hilda's Faithless Boy



"New Zealand's Darren Watson has crafted a beautiful album in Saint Hilda's Faithless Boy. Watson's hearty vocal approach sounds utterly honest. The supporting cast is superb." BLUES REVUE

"Darren Watson plays the blues with skill and conviction that's more than impressive. It's scary!" RIP IT UP

"...blues with such eloquence makes me feel glad all over. " GARTH CARTWRIGHT

Darren Watson is an international award winning New Zealand blues musician and songwriter. The former leader of legendary Kiwi rhythm & blues big band Chicago Smoke Shop is widely acknowledged as one of the country's best live performers.

In his career to date Darren has performed on the bill with a virtual who's who of blues, country, soul, folk, and rock including: Koko Taylor, Billy Boy Arnold, Robert Cray, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, George Thorogood, Emmylou Harris, Keb Mo, Doug MacLeod, Buddy Millar, Doctor John, Joe Cocker, Eric Burdon, and new soul kid on the block Eli 'Paperboy' Reed ....to name a few.

In a world where a lot of blues acts seem to be simply aping the great music of the past whilst offering nothing new, Watson is forging his own fresh, original path. His sound is a unique South Pacific 'boil-up' of his American and British influences including blues artists like Otis Rush, and Johnny 'Guitar' Watson, a dash of the southern soul of the early Stax and Hi Records sound, the country-soul of Lowell George... and even a peppering of Elvis Costello. It's a recipie developed in the relative isolation of New Zealand over the last fifteen years or so. Honed to perfection on his fourth studio album, Saint Hilda's Faithless Boy. The Dominion Post recently raved “This is world class. We are lucky to have him. More people should know that”, while respected US blues music critic Bill Mitchell said “Saint Hilda's Faithless Boy gets better each time I listen to it.”

Saint Hilda's Faithless Boy was some time in the making and follows on from Darren’s critically acclaimed 2005 LP South Pacific Soul, which features the track All Going Wrong. The tune won the 2008 Blues Award at The International Songwriting Competition in Nashville. Judges included Tom Waits & legendary English bluesman John Mayall.

Career awards and nominations to date:
1989 NZ Music Awards - Most Promising Male Vocalist
1990 NZ Music Awards - Top Male Vocalist
1993 Wellington Music Awards - Best Live Act
1996 Wellington Music Awards - Best Blues Artist
2003 NZ Music Awards - Best Roots Album 'King Size'
2008 International Songwriting Comp. 1st Place Blues.
2009 International Songwriting Comp. 3rd Place Blues.
2009 International Songwriting Comp. Finalist.
2010 International Songwriting Comp. Finalist.