PJ O’Brien’s debut solo release Blues People is a raw, energetic album that embraces the sound of his influences: Buddy Guy, Lucky Peterson, Albert King, Albert Collins and Stevie Ray Vaughan. The Sydney-based guitarist is well known as the former leader of popular Blues band Paul O’Brien and Thundershuffle. He won ‘Best Blues Artist’ at the MusicOz awards, which recognises outstanding independent musicians, in December 2004.
Born in Rugby, England, Paul Jefferson O'Brien grew up in Perth, Western Australia. By age 17, Rock ‘n’ Roll and Blues was his obsession. An encounter with Buddy Guy sparked his transition from fan to musician. He recalls: "Buddy Guy was playing at the Shenton Park Hotel in Perth. Being underage at the time, I went to the back of the venue to peek through a window that overlooked the stage. I stood on a wooden pallet and watched the whole show through a tiny crack in the curtain. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing and hearing! There was condensation dripping from the ceiling and steam literally rising off the band. Then I saw Buddy disappear off stage and seconds later the back door flew open: there he was, doing his ‘walk around the venue’ routine. He stood there staring at me, grinning from ear to ear as he played. It was surreal. I wanted to say hello but I didn’t want to disturb him during his solo. I can still remember the blissful look on his face. It was then I decided to play Blues guitar. I’m sure Buddy wouldn’t even remember that show but I’ll never forget it."