Dave Hole

Robert David Hole (born 30 March 1948, Heswall, Cheshire, United Kingdom) is an Australian slide guitarist known for his style of playing rock and roll and blues music.

Dave Hole
Birth nameRobert David Hole
Born (1948-03-30) 30 March 1948
Heswall, Cheshire, United Kingdom
OriginPerth, Western Australia, Australia
GenresBlues, rock and roll
InstrumentsSlide guitar
Years active1965–present
LabelsBlack Cat, Alligator, Festival, Provogue
Associated actsBroken Habits, Dave Hole Band, The Beat 'n Tracks, Short Fuse

In 1990 he issued Short Fuse Blues which brought him to the attention of United States label, Alligator Records. Two of his albums have appeared on Billboard Top Blues Albums, Steel on Steel (1995) peaked at No. 13 and Ticket to Chicago (1997) reached No. 15. His sixth album, Under the Spell, appeared in April 1999 and won "Best Blues & Roots Album" at the ARIA Music Awards of that year.

Hole is noted for his unusual performance style, which alternates traditionally plucked notes and chords with the slide notes played by his hand draped over the guitar's neck. According to Australian rock music historian Ian McFarlane, Hole "is the most acclaimed blues guitarist Australia has ever produced ... courtesy of his unorthodox slide guitar style, his rousing live shows and a series of hard-rocking, roadhouse blues albums ... yet it took two decades of slogging around the Australian touring circuit before the local industry sat up and took notice".


Robert David Hole was born on 30 March 1948 in Heswall, United Kingdom, due to a mix up at the hospital he was named Robert when it should have been David. The family called him David and now he goes by David Robert Hole. When he was four years old his family moved to Perth, Australia.[1] He became interested in blues music after hearing a school friend's Muddy Waters' album when aged six.[2][3] At twelve years old he received his first guitar and started to teach himself due to lack of availability of teachers.[2] He used the albums of Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Blind Willie Johnson, Skip James, Blind Lemon Jefferson to learn.[2] He later used work of Robert Johnson, Elmore James, and Mississippi Fred McDowell.[2] Hole is left-handed and, after breaking a finger in a football accident, he played the guitar right-handed.[1][2] "I had to have a cast on it. So I came up with this idea, just while I was recuperating, of jamming the slide on my index finger and hanging it over the top of the guitar – quite an awkward sort of style, really. It took me about three months before this cast came off. And over that time it started to feel good".[3]

In 1965 Hole formed his first group, Broken Habits, which included Daryl Upson on bass guitar.[1] The following year he created the earliest version of Dave Hole Band with Upson, Denis Crake on vocals and Jim Morris on drums.[1] In 1968 Hole joined The Beat 'n Tracks, a pop, blues, R&B band formed in early 1967 with Ace Follington on drums, Warren Morgan on keyboards and vocals, Ross Partington on lead vocals and Murray Wilkins on bass guitar.[4][5] They played covers of The Beatles, Paul Butterfield, Motown and Vanilla Fudge material.[4] The group won the 1968 Perth heat of the national Hoadley's Battle of the Sounds and travelled to Melbourne for the final.[1] They also toured the eastern states before Hole returned to Perth late that year to continue his university studies.[1] He was replaced by Phil Manning (ex-Bay City Union, Laurie Allen Revue) on guitar and lead vocals – The Beat 'n Tracks evolved into Chain.[4][5]

In 1972 Hole formed Dave Hole Blues Band with Upson and Al Kash on drums (ex-Blackfeather), the trio relocated to London and played in local pubs.[1] Hole returned to Perth in 1974, from that time for twenty years, he toured the Western Australian pub circuit with differing line-ups of Dave Hole Band.[1] By 1977 with Hole were Phil Bailey on bass guitar and Ian Ironside on drums. They provided two tracks, "Country Town" and "Still in Love with You", for a various artists compilation, The 6WF Rock Group Album which appeared in 1979.[1] Also that year Hole joined with Matt Taylor (ex-Bay City Union, Chain, Western Flyer) on lead vocals and harmonica to form Matt Taylor Band featuring Dave Hole, they were backed by Paul Pooley on bass guitar (Manteca) and Ric Whittle on drums (Fatty Lumpkin, Manteca).[1][6] They toured Australia "playing some of the most electrifying blues rock ever heard in this country".[1][6] By late 1980 the group dissolved without recording any material.[1][6]

During the 1980s Dave Hole Band continued with various line-ups until 1988, when he established Short Fuse with John Wilson on bass guitar and Ronnie Parker on drums.[1] In 1990 they released an album, Short Fuse Blues, which Hole had financed, produced, and recorded in three days. Bob Patient (ex-Matt Taylor's Chain) guested on keyboards and joined to tour in support of the work.[1] Rock music historian, Ian McFarlane, observed that it is "full of Hole's sinuous, hot-wired guitar work, which evoked the spirit of Elmore James and Blind Willie Johnson".[1] Hole sent a copy to United States magazine, Guitar Player, its editor, Jas Obrecht, wrote an article in July 1991 praising Hole as the newest guitar wizard and comparing him with Stevie Ray Vaughan and Albert King.[2][7] Soon a copy of the album was in the hands of Alligator Records president Bruce Iglauer who signed Hole up as the first non-US-based artist of their 26-year history.[3]

In November 1992 Guitar Player's critics, Art Thompson and Chris Gill, praised him – and fellow slide guitarists Sonny Landreth and Dave Tronzo – as "visionary" with a "distinctive technique" that "redefine[s] the art".[8] While new fans were gained via radio play on more than 1000 stations. Reviews appeared in Guitar for the Practicing Musician, Billboard, Audio, Spin, The Chicago Tribune, The Denver Post and Associated Press. Hole signed a deal for the European market with Provogue Records, with albums and tours of the US and Europe helping increase his popularity further. Later tours of Europe have seen him headlining festival shows in Germany, Denmark, the Netherlands, France and Switzerland with the Leverkusen Blues Festival in Germany televised nationally. He has also performed in Brazil, Sweden, Norway, Russia, Austria, Italy, Spain, Belgium and the UK. Two of his albums have appeared on Billboard Top Blues Albums chart, Steel on Steel (1995) peaked at No. 13 and Ticket to Chicago (1997) reached No. 15.[9] In August 1997 Hole commenced his third tour of US blues festivals and displayed his "unique slide playing style which involves using his index finger rather than his pinkie".[10]

On 20 April 1999 he issued Under the Spell, which won "Best Blues & Roots Album" at the ARIA Music Awards of that year.[11][12] McFarlane noted that he "is the most acclaimed blues guitarist Australia has ever produced ... courtesy of his unorthodox slide guitar style, his rousing live shows and a series of hard-rocking, roadhouse blues albums ... yet it took two decades of slogging around the Australian touring circuit before the local industry sat up and took notice".[1] Although under-appreciated in Australia Hole was described by Robert Messenger in The Canberra Times as "a musical genius" and "in the US he is living blues legend".[13] In August 2004 Hole was interviewed by Brendan Hutchens for ABC's George Negus Tonight and recalled "It's very, very raw emotional music. And it communicates very strongly and it did to me. When I first heard blues, it bowled me over. And it's great. I love it. I love to be able to communicate with people through that, through the music".[3] On 19 May 2007 Hole issued his tenth album, Rough Diamond, which Sing Out!'s Gary von Tersch compared with Muddy Waters and Duane Allman as "spirited" and showed "incendiary blues and rock slide guitar".[14] As well as releasing ten albums, Hole has continued to tour worldwide for six months each year, returning to his home in the Darling Scarp of Western Australia for the other six months.[3]



  • Outlines – Independent (Dave Hole Band, 1980?)[15]
  • Short Fuse Blues - Independent (Short Fuse, 1990); Alligator Records/Festival (Dave Hole, 1992)[16]
  • The Plumber - Black Cat Records; Alligator/Festival (1992)[17]
  • Working Overtime - Black Cat Records; Alligator/Festival (1 January 1993)
  • Steel on Steel - Black Cat Records; Alligator/Festival (1 January 1995)
  • Whole Lotta Blues - Black Cat Records; Alligator/Festival (Compilation, 1996)
  • Ticket to Chicago - Black Cat Records; Alligator/Festival (11 February 1997)
  • Under the Spell - Black Cat Records; Alligator/Festival (20 April 1999)
  • Outside Looking In - Black Cat Records; Alligator/Festival (5 June 2001)
  • The Live One - Black Cat Records; Alligator/Festival (11 March 2003)[18]
  • Rough Diamond - Black Cat Records; Shock (19 May 2007); Blind Pig Records / Stony Plain (22 May 2007)[14]
  • Goin' Back Down - Black Cat Records (15 June 2018)


  • "You Don't Have to be Pretty to Sing the Blues" - Festival (1993)


  • Huh - Blues Issue Special (1 track) (1995)
  • Masters of Blues - A Tribute to Elmore James (1 track) Icehouse Records (1996)
  • The Alligator Records 25th. Anniversary Collection (1 track) Alligator (1996)
  • The Great Guitarists Vol.1 - A Celebration of Blues (1 track) Rounder Records (1997)
  • Guitar Gurus (1 track) Sony (1998)
  • Hound Dog Taylor - A Tribute (1 track) Alligator (1998)
  • No. 1 Blues Album (1 track) Polygram (1998)
  • The Alligator Records 30th Anniversary Collection (1 track) Alligator (2001)
  • The No1 Blues Album (1 track) Polygram (2002)
  • Crucial Guitar Blues (1 track) Alligator (2003)
  • Alligator Records 35 x 35 (1 track) Alligator (2006)
  • Crucial Slide Guitar Blues (1 track) Alligator (2007)

Various albums by Vdelli


  • McFarlane, Ian (1999). "Whammo Homepage". Encyclopedia of Australian Rock and Pop. St Leonards, NSW: Allen & Unwin. ISBN 1-86508-072-1. Archived from the original on 5 April 2004. Retrieved 23 March 2013. Note: Archived [on-line] copy has limited functionality.
  • BlindPig
  • Blues Rockers
  • "Dave Hole – Interview with Blues Musician". Blues News. 4. Perth, W.A. February–March 1994. p. 3.
  1. McFarlane, 'Dave Hole' entry at the Wayback Machine (archived 6 August 2004). Archived from the original on 6 August 2004. Retrieved 23 March 2013.
  2. Brennan, Sandra. "Dave Hole – Music Biography". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 23 March 2013.
  3. Hutchens, Brendan; Negus, George (17 August 2004). "Dave Hole". George Negus Tonight. Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC). Retrieved 24 March 2013.
  4. McFarlane, 'Chain' entry at the Wayback Machine (archived 23 August 2004). Archived from the original on 23 August 2004. Retrieved 23 March 2013.
  5. Culnane, Paul; Kimball, Duncan (2007). "Chain". Milesago: Australasian Music and Popular Culture 1964–1975. Ice Productions. Retrieved 23 March 2013.
  6. McFarlane, 'Matt Taylor' entry at the Wayback Machine (archived 26 August 2004). Archived from the original on 26 August 2004. Retrieved 23 March 2013.
  7. Obrecht, Jas (1 July 1991). "Dave Hole: Deep Blues and Devastating Slide from Down Under (Profile)". Guitar Player. NewBay Media LLC. 25 (7): 21–2. ISSN 0017-5463.
  8. Thompson, Art; Gill, Chris (1 November 1992), "New Slide Visionaries – Landreth, Tronzo & Hole Redefine the Art (Guitarists Sonny Landreth, Dave Tronzo and Dave Hole) (Cover Story)", Guitar Player, NewBay Media LLC, 26 (11): 88–91, ISSN 0017-5463, The three guitarists have distinctive techniques, so each plays slide differently. Each discusses his career, musical influences and bottleneck preferences.
  9. "Dave Hole – Awards". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 24 March 2013.
  10. Muret, Don (16 June 1997). "Guitarist Dave Hole Returns to U.S. for Third Tour of Blues Events". Amusement Business. Nielsen Company. (Prometheus Global Media). 109 (24): 31. ISSN 0003-2344. Australian slide guitarist Dave Hole will begin a US tour in Chicago, IL, on Aug 1, 1997. The blues musician will promote his fourth record marketed by Chicago-IL-based Alligator Records, 'Ticket to Chicago'. Hole has played professionally for approximately 30 years. He has a unique slide playing style which involves using his index finger rather than his pinkie.
  11. "ARIA Awards – History: Winners by Year 1999". Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA). Retrieved 23 March 2013.
  12. "Australia 1999 ARIA Awards". ALLdownunder.com. Archived from the original on 17 September 2010. Retrieved 23 March 2013.
  13. Messenger, Robert (17 May 2003). "Australians might not fully appreciate the musical genius of Dave Hole, but in the US he is a living blues legend, the man who made the 'wrong' way of playing the guitar sound so right". Asia Africa Intelligence Wire. The Canberra Times. Financial Times Ltd. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 24 March 2013. Australia is a world champion when it comes to singing the praises of its sporting world champions. It's pretty good, too, at claiming world-famous actors ....
  14. von Tersch, Gary (22 September 2007). "Dave Hole: Rough Diamond (Sound Recording Review) (Brief Article)". Sing Out!. Sing Out Corporation. 51 (3): 126–127. ISSN 0037-5624. Following in the spirited footsteps of incendiary blues and rock slide guitar heroes such as Muddy Waters, Duane Allman and Mississippi Fred McDowell, ....
  15. Hole, Dave (1980), Outlines [sound recording] / Dave Hole Band, D. Hole. National Library of Australia, retrieved 24 March 2013
  16. Obrecht, Jas (1 April 1991). "Short Fuse Blues". Guitar Player. NewBay Media LLC. 25 (4): 122. ISSN 0017-5463.
  17. Thompson, Art (1 December 1993). "The Plumber". Guitar Player. NewBay Media LLC. 27 (12): 110–111. ISSN 0017-5463. Just when you got used to the stakes raised by Hole's highly acclaimed debut, Short Fuse Blues, the Aussie bottlenecker twists the throttle and shows he isn't going to be any easier to catch th ....
  18. von Tersch, Gary (22 June 2003). "Dave Hole: The Live One (Sound Recording Review)". Sing Out!. Sing Out Corporation. 47 (2): 122. ISSN 0037-5624. Australian slide guitar hero, Dave Hole has finally released an 'in concert' album. Since signing with Alligator records in 1992 (their sole overseas act), he's wowed critics ....
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