Geoff Achison is a blues-roots artist from Australia best known for his guitar playing and songwriting.
Geoff began his apprenticeship with legendary Australian bluesman ‘Dutch’ Tilders establishing himself as a fine lead guitarist before striking out with his own. He released his debut album in the early 90s and began touring throughout the USA, UK & Europe. Geoff’s music has been compared favourably to major artists such as Eric Clapton, JJ Cale and the Allman Brothers Band having a solid foundation in the blues whilst embracing a variety of music styles. He has won awards for his guitar playing, songwriting and live performances and was honoured in 2011 as official Patron Of the Melbourne Blues Appreciation Society.
Geoff Achison was born on Phillip Island, the third of five siblings, and raised in the Victorian country town of Malmsbury. His parents were music lovers and when Geoff famously discovered a forgotten old guitar beneath the stairwell, his trumpet-playing father enthusiastically found him a guitar teacher. His first gigs were with his father’s dance band where he displayed promise enough to attract the attention of local jazz musician Alan Watson. Through his new mentor he was exposed to jazz and improvisation. At Watson’s suggestion Geoff temporarily switched to bass-guitar which provided him with a greater understanding of the rhythm section. After gaining valuable experience as a bassist Geoff developed a keen interest in American blues which re-kindled his interest in studying six-stringed guitar. In rural isolation, he was mostly unaware of the electronic effects employed by some guitarists and devised some of his own techniques to emulate the sounds of echo/delay, tremolo and wah-wah pedals which added to his unique playing style.
In 1987 Geoff made the move to Melbourne and soon established himself on the scene playing lead guitar for popular Australian blues performer ‘Dutch’ Tilders. In time Geoff began to work on his own music releasing his debut album ‘Big Machine’ in 1994. He represented Melbourne at the ‘International Blues Challenge’ in Memphis TN winning the coveted ‘Albert King Award’ in 1995. Encouraged, he set his sights on the world market and successfully established international touring routes in the USA and UK. To overcome the difficulties of bringing a band from Australia, Geoff began hiring local musicians to form a backing group when required. On his first extended overseas trip, Geoff received a beautiful new acoustic guitar from the famous Gibson guitar company and recorded his third album ‘Gettin’ Evil’ with a US version of his ‘Souldiggers’ band. Upon his return to Melbourne, Geoff was able to recruit an all-star group which featured some of Australia’s most celebrated musicians. With Mal Logan on keys, Roger McLachlan on bass and Gerry Pantazis on drums, Geoff was finally able to realise his musical vision with The Souldiggers and built the group’s reputation with exciting and spontaneous live performances.
As a song-writer, Geoff explores a myriad of themes from love & loss to politics & philosophy and often with his wry sense of humour shining through. Vocally, Geoff has been compared favourably to the gruff voiced Joe Cocker, Warren Haynes and Paul Weller. An extraordinary guitarist who plays quite unlike anyone else, Geoff has been a driving force on the Australian blues/roots scene inspiring and influencing many of his younger compatriots.