Lil’ Ian Goodsman has now been recognised in New Zealand, his home of 13 years, Britain where he now lives, and internationally, as a major force in the world of acoustic roots music having played New Zealand, Australia, Portugal, Turkey, Greece, UK and US. Lil’ Ian has played festivals that have included in the line-up artists such as Jools Holland, Peter Green, Jack Bruce, Mud Morganfield (Muddy Water’s son), The Blues Band, The Nimmo Brothers (Scotland), Larry Garner, Billy TK Jnr (NZ), Sherman Robertson, Dave Kelly among many others. His last New Zealand tour was with Billy T K Jnr and the Californian based Mofo Party Band. He has been support to US acoustic guitarist Stefan Grossman, Mississippi bluesman the late Dave ‘Honeyboy’ Edwards, Buesman Kent DuChaine, session guitarist on the US based harmonica player Jay Gaunt. Bruce Iglauer, the CEO of the well-known Alligator Records in Chicago, sent Lil’ Ian a personal letter in which he praises his CD – ‘Out Of The Blue’ – and states that he ‘compares favourably’ with the likes of the US performers in the genre such as Roy Bookbinder, Paul Geremia and Jerry Ricks. Elsewhere he has been likened to Davey Graham, Seasick Steve and Bob Brosman.
Bruce Iglauer, again, recognises that Lil’ Ian uses the originals as a starting point and then does what he does himself. And that is what Lil’ Ian does, it is his original arrangements of standards that make him unique.
It is true that Lil’ Ian’s influences are many and varied and this comes across in his playing. The first of these was Roy Clarke, a Nashville based guitarist whom Ian saw on a Johnny Cash show. From there came Josh White, Davey Graham and Bert Jansch followed closely by Ry Cooder, David Lindley Martin Carthy, Merle Travis and Bill Williams from Kentucky. The list is, possibly, endless. It has all helped form a show that Lil’ Ian offers – music from the US. Whether that be a straight blues show or one that incorporates many of the other styles – some Nashville, Western Swing or 20’s New Orleans Jazz played in Ragtime. Lil’ Ian has completed three national solo Tours of New Zealand and three as part of a package Rock and Blues tour. He has played the major festivals in New Zealand – Wellington, Auckland, Bay of Islands Jazz and Blues Festival, and the Tauranga National Jazz Festival and the last, before returning to the UK, being the Wai Worri Country Festival. He has performed on New Zealand radio and TV and was featured artist on Radio Hauraki over two weeks.
From 2014, Lil’ Ian has lived back in the Country of his birth – the UK. Here, he has performed at the Colne Great British Rhythm and Blues Festival several times and plays venues across the country e.g. Crossroads Blues Club in Birmingham and Smokestack in Leeds. He has performed on several Radio shows in the UK including local BBC shows.