Kent-based heavy blues band Big River come back with another new single towards the end of January.
‘The Long Way‘ is the second song to be released from Big River’s forthcoming EP and follows the excellent ‘Don’t Hold Out’ released last Autumn. ‘Beautiful Trauma’ the band’s eagerly-anticipated five-track EP is scheduled for release in the Spring.
I’ve long been a fan of Big River’s riff-heavy classic blues rock and forthcoming single ‘The Long Way’ is testimony as to why I’m predicting a bright future for the band in the months ahead. Their decision to team up with Adam Barron last year (ex Mick Ralphs Band and former Voice contestant) has seen the band go from strength to strength, both as performers and as song-writers. Certainly I look forward to hearing the full EP but check out the new single here.
“There’s many more where this came from,” Big River assure us.
Guitarist, Damo Fawsett:“We’ve played this song a few times in the later gigs of 2021 & it’s an ‘All out’ Rocker, from the moment the opening riff kicks in you can see on people’s faces they’re going to like what’s coming, and it just keeps on building.”
Big River are: Adam Barron (vocals), Damo Fawsett (guitar), Ant Wellman (bass), Joe Martin (drums / backing vocals). They will be touring the UK from March 2022 onwards with dates throughout the year.
‘The Long Way’ single released on all digital platforms 28th January 2022
I hadn’t come across husband-and-wife blues duo When Rivers Meet until I caught them supporting King King on their recent tour. I was immediately impressed as soon as the pair walked out on stage to deliver loud, raunchy, rocked-up blues with bags of noise and bags of power.
The duo’s second album Saving Grace is released on 19th November and follows their extremely well-received debut We Fly Free which was released back in 2020, and two earlier EPs.
When Rivers Meet are Grace Bond (lead vocals, mandolin, violin) and Aaron Bond (guitar, vocals).
Grace: “We were very conscious that our debut album We Fly Free was a step up in production from our two EP releases previously The Uprising EP and Innocence of Youth. We also wanted to keep a live, authentic vibe to the new album to retain the energetic feel in the music.”
Aaron: “We wanted the album to have more of an upbeat rock feel. We knew exactly what we wanted before we set off to record Saving Grace. We set our expectations high. We’re so pleased with the result and just hope everyone else loves it as much as we do!”
Grace: “Although we wanted to do something different from our previous work, we still wanted all the same elements that make our music distinctive and recognisable as When Rivers Meet.”
Aaron: “Saving Grace has a more upbeat rock feeling than We Fly Free,” Aaron says. “We were very conscious when we started to record this album that’s the direction that we wanted to move in, and it was exactly the kind of result that wanted to achieve.”
Aaron: “As well as being inspired by classic blues including John Lee Hooker and Muddy Waters, we also draw a lot of influence from classic rock bands that include Led Zeppelin, Bad Company, Cream, and Free. To emulate some of the feel or tone of these legendary blues pioneers and seminal rock bands is something that we strive to do, and hopefully people will hear that in our music and relate to it.”
Credits: Header photo by Rob Blackham, live photo by Bruce Biege
Released: 12th November 2021 on Maniac Squat Records
Tom Wilcox releases a new dystopian blues rock song, Cultural Anthropology. The track references the 2019 Ari Aster folk horror film Midsommar. However, it is principally based on Tom’s experiences and knowledge of occult practices on the Essex-Suffolk borders, where he was brought up, in the late 70s and 80s.
Tom Wilcox:“Regression therapy has helped me to piece together fragments of memory and the recollections of family and friends into an almost coherent picture. The dark strangeness of what goes on in timeless, quiet, places is not widely known, and yet it is endemic.”
The chorus of Cultural Anthropology also references Richard Hamilton’s seminal collage from 1956. The B-sides making up this three track EP are covers of Leonard Cohen’s ‘Treaty’ and Brian Dewan’s ‘Where They Belong’.
Both Tom Wilcox and guitarist on the track, Paul Cuddeford, are members of London-based art rock band, of Last Day Sect. Their critically acclaimed debut album, ‘The Gothic Novel’, was released in 2019. Joining Tom and Paul is keyboard-player Florence Sabeva.
Cultural Anthropology is released on 12th November on all the main digital platforms
About the artists:
Tom Wilcox was the front man of 90’s art punk band Maniac Squat finding notoriety with their 1995 ‘hit’ F**k Off (Single of the Week in Kerrang!) Tom has since produced albums for Gillian Glover and Lisa Ronson; the latter, co-produced with Paul Cuddeford, receiving a 4-star review in Mojo and widespread critical acclaim. As a songwriter Tom has provided material for many bands including Lover and Florence Sabeva.
Paul Cuddeford is a guitarist, multi-instrumentalist and composer with many years’ experience producing music for television and film. He is best known for his guitar playing for artists including Ian Hunter, Steve Harley, Lisa Ronson, Tom Jones, Bob Geldof, Cat Stevens and Paul Young. Paul co-wrote and co-produced Lisa Ronson’s debut album ‘Emperors of Medieval Japan’.
Florence Sabeva is a London based keyboard player, a singer-songwriter and pianist with classical background. She’s a versatile musician who has played alongside rock royalty including Heaven 17, Earl Slick – guitarist for David Bowie, Bernard Fowler – vocalist for the Rolling Stones, Steve Norman – member of Spandau Ballet, Kevin Armstrong – guitarist for Iggy Pop and classical crossover singer Laura Wright.
This review was originally published by Get Ready To Rock here
After numerous attempts at rescheduling during the Covid crisis, King King’s tour in support of their 2020 album finally gets under way. Venue availability, as a myriad of bands all attempt to simultaneously reschedule gigs that have been postponed over the last eighteen months, has meant that the King King tour has ended up in two parts – with half of the dates being played this month and the rest being performed in February of next year. Bexhill is the fourth night of this first leg of the tour.
Supporting King King on this tour are husband-and-wife blues duo When Rivers Meet. Other than quickly skimming their bio on the seven-minute train journey from St Leonards to Bexhill I confess to knowing little about When Rivers Meet in advance of seeing them. When you think of a duo it can conjure up thoughts of some, mellow, semi-acoustic folky-type blues act. But nothing could be further from the truth. As soon as they walk on stage Grace and Aaron Bond deliver loud, raunchy, rocked-up blues with bags of noise and bags of power. “This is the biggest venue we’ve ever played in,” they confide to the Bexhill crowd. They had no need to worry. Their sound is big enough to fill the venue many times over and the De La Warr audience respond enthusiastically to the pair’s six-song set. There is certainly plenty that will appeal to both hard rock and blues fans in terms of this duo’s highly original output. They embark on their own headline tour next April (supported by the redoubtable Troy Redfern) and are well worth checking out.
While When Rivers Meet give us gritty, raucous raunch, King King, meanwhile, take us straight into a world of polished, soulful, big production virtuoso blues rock, instantly evoking the spirit of the genre’s early 70s golden age. While the support act may have been new to me the headliners are certainly not. My late father was a huge follower of vocalist/lead guitarist, Alan Nimmo’s previous outfit: the Nimmo Brothers. Indeed, so great was his dedication that we even had one of their songs played at his funeral. Paradoxically, Alan Nimmo is now reunited with his brother Steve who joined King King on rhythm guitar just in time to contribute to 2020’s Maverick album. There’s clearly a long-standing dynamic on stage between the two brothers and Alan Nimmo relates how one of tonight’s songs ‘You Stopped The Rain’ is written in tribute to his older brother.
Perhaps the most important relationship on stage tonight, however, is the interplay between lead guitarist Alan Nimmo and keyboard player Jonny Dyke. The stunning virtuosity on display between guitarist and organist and the seemingly effortless way the two interact to conjure up such a delicious cornucopia of lush, soulful and emotionally-laden licks is one of the real high points of this band.
Set-wise the songs are drawn from the recent Maverick album (now at long last the band finally having the opportunity to perform these songs live on stage in front of a live audience) interspersed with older material like ‘Long History of Love’ – one of the ever-green crowd-pleasers tonight.
For an encore, King King return sans drummer and bass-player for an uncharacteristically melancholic ‘When My Winter Comes’ – another track from the new album, before the full band return to ensure the audience are sent away with a spring in their step courtesy of stunning renditions of ‘Stranger to Love’ and ‘Let Love In’.
Joyful, life-affirming and exuding polish and class, as I ease myself back into the world of regular gig-going once more King King are just the thing to remind me exactly what I’ve been missing these past eighteen months.
Set-list – King King
She Don’t Gimme No Lovin Fire In My Soul One World Waking Up Rush Hour Coming Home A Long History Of Love You Stopped The Rain Never Give In Whatever It Takes I Will Not Fall Encore: When My Winter Comes Stranger To Love Let Love In
I’ve now been out to several live gigs since lockdown restrictions eased but it’s still feeling a bit of a novelty and there’s a definitely buzz from the novelty of being in a live music venue. This weekend was the first time I’d been out to my local rock pub, The Carlisle on Hastings seafront, in almost eighteen months, where I had the pleasure of seeing Kent-based blues rock sensations Big River. While little about the Carlisle seems to have changed in the past year-and-a-half (and why on earth would it) there have certainly been big changes afoot in the Big River camp.
Former lead singer Adam Bartholomew has departed and in his place comes another Adam – Adam Barron. While I’ve been following the career of Big River with interest these past few years, indeed ever since the band was formed back in 2016 when guitarist Damo Fawsett quit another Kent-based rock band – Slam Cartel. Similarly, I’ve also been a real fan of Adam Barron, ever since I first saw him fronting Mick Ralphs’ Blues Band at a Butlins Giants of Rock weekend back in 2015.
To say I’m delighted by these two joining forces is a massive understatement. Barron, hugely influenced by Paul Rodgers with a vocal every bit as rich and soulful and emotive as his hero, has an absolutely incredible voice. It’s not difficult to see why a bonafide rock giant like Mick Ralphs snapped him up prior to the former Bad Company guitarist’s sadly debilitating stroke put him out of action. For anyone with a love of classic-era blues rock Barron and Big River is literally a match made in heaven.
At the Carlisle tonight the new line-up certainly did not disappoint. Barron has effortlessly eased himself into the new frontman position, bringing to it both those incredible vocal performances as well as an immediate emotional connection with the audience. The band are in tremendous musical shape, as well. Guitarist Damo Fawsett delivers some stunning solos – his bluesy, soulful playing the perfect match for Barron’s vocals, together with great driving rhythm from bassist Ant Wellman and drummer Joe Martin.
The set-list is a mixture of Big River’s first album (written and recorded prior to Barron’s arrival) a couple of new songs (including the excellent recent single ‘Don’t Hold Out’ – where Barron brings out his ukulele, not something the Carlisle audience are used to seeing on a Saturday night) and a handful of blues and blues rock courtesy of Robert Johnson and Free.
The whole thing is executed with such style and panache I have to keep reminding myself I’m standing in a pub in Hastings rather than a 2,000-seat arena and an £80 hole in my bank balance somewhere. Big River were always a great blues rock band. Now, however, they are undeniably one of the absolute best. It will be fascinating seeing where Big River go from here. They are almost certainly going to be bigger concern than they were previously and I await their next release with eager anticipation.
Kent-based blues rock band Big River were formed back in 2016 with their debut album Redemption released in 2019. The band took a fair bit of inspiration from that early seventies golden era of blues rock and turned out a nice line in meaty rhythm, soulful vocals, catchy hooks and big fat riffs and lush guitar solos.
Since then there’s been a bit of a shift in personnel with Damo Fawsett (guitar), Ant Wellman (bass) and Joe Martin (drums) now being joined by new boy Adam Barron who takes over from former vocalist Adam Bartholomew. This is almost certainly the best career move a band like Big River could possibly have made.
Barron came to prominence as a contestant on The Voice and then secured the lead vocalist position fronting Mick Ralphs’ solo band. Sadly, that venture came to an end with Ralphs’ debilitating stroke but Barron teaming up with Big River is a stroke of genius. One of the finest blues rock singers around these days, Barron is the perfect fit for Big River and takes the band to new heights.
The new single ‘Don’t Hold Out’ sets an exceptional standard and was released on all platforms for digital download on 20th August. Written by Barron is an old school classic rock song with a summer vibe and a catchy hook with singer’s soulful, emotive, bluesy vocals taking centre-stage.
Barron says: “I love my family, I love my friends and I love life, even with all the complications and shit that comes with it. I really believe we have to grab any and every bit of joy we can every day, because we don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow, (last couple of years have certainly shown us that!) and that’s what this song is about.”
Big River are currently working on a second album and preparing for tour dates in Summer / Autumn 2021.
Dave Good is a Kent-based blues rock guitarist who played his first gig aged just 13, growing up on the likes of Jimi Hendrix, the Stones, Peter Green, The Rev Billy Gibbons, Jeff Beck and Rory Gallagher.
Blues guitarist Norman Beaker, who has played with the likes of Chris Farlowe, Larry Garner and Van Morrison, says of him:
“Dave Good manages to cross seamlessly from the down home acoustic blues through Chicago and on to Rock Blues. All played with taste and conviction.’’
Dave has been working with Charlie Creese (pictured) at Magpie Studios in Kent over the past four years. Charlie is a gifted engineer and a talented musician in his own right. Dave and Charlie have spent this last few months prepping a number of Dave’s songs at Dave’s studio, ready to record a new album in June.
Between them they have agreed a nine-track album.
Dave says: “This project has taken far too long to pull together due to lockdown etc…!!”
“I’m really wanting to get it down and finished and out there.”
Charlie will be playing bass, Tim Robins will be on drums and Dave will be doing guitars and vocals. Dave will also be joined on vocals by Pip Bowers, an incredible vocalist and arranger.
A number of guest players will also be featured including Nick Bold and guest guitarist, Robin Burrows.
Another album of impressive blues rock from Storm Warning who have been a fixture on the UK live scene for over fifteen years now. However, this latest album Different Horizons is tinged with a note of sadness. Shortly after completing recording, guitarist, Bob Moore, sadly passed away. Different Horizons thus now acts as something of a tribute to Moore’s playing and song-writing. He was part of the band from its inception.
“Not flashy or fast, but clear, beautifully intoned and with exactly the right combination of effects. No one sounded like Bob, live or in the studio,” says vocalist Stuart Maxwell in the liner notes.
Although the band are also known for stamping their own mark on blues standards here they focus on nine new original compositions.
Commencing with birdsong before embarking on a classic slice of blues rock with title track ‘Horizons’, it’s a beautiful album and a fitting tribute. I particularly loved the moody, smouldering, bluesy guitar on tracks like ‘Can’t Sleep For Dreaming’ and ‘Long Road’ where Ian Salisbury’s soulful keyboards perfectly compliment Moore’s guitar playing. But there’s also lots to enjoy on the rockier tracks, too, like ’Questions’ with its Bad Company-esque riffing. ‘Come On In’, meanwhile, goes for some choppier Feelgoods-style R&B.
Different Horizons is an album that’s highly recommended for blues rock fans and a fitting tribute to their departed guitarist, Bob Moore.
This review was originally published by Get Ready To Rock here
With a second lockdown, miserable British weather and little sign of something vaguely resembling normality returning any time soon a new King King album is probably just the antidote we need. Driving rhythms, fat riffs, soulful vocals and big choruses, Maverick takes us right back to the classic era of blues rock.
King King’s fifth album, there’s been some adjustments to the line-up since their last offering, Exile & Grace back in 2017. Joining Alan Nimmo (vocals/guitar) are Nimmo’s brother Steve (guitar) – the two toured together for a couple of decades as the Nimmo Brothers, of course – alongside Jonny Dyke (organ/piano), Zander Greenshields (bass) and Andrew Scott (drums).
“Recording the new album with the new line-up has been a whole lot of fun and very interesting,” says Alan Nimmo. “It’s great watching the guys using the great talent they have bringing the songs to life.”
From the bombastic swagger of opening track ‘Never Give In’ to the anthemic balladry of closing song ‘End of the Line’ Maverick has all the ingredients you’d expect from a great blues rock album, including some gorgeous guitar solos and lush soulful keys. Lyrically challenging? Not particularly. It’s mainly tales of childhood dreams, love, togetherness and sunshine – exactly the sort of thing you’d have expected Paul Rodgers to be singing about forty-odd years ago.
Will it change the world? No – but it certainly cheered me up on a wet and miserable day. Welcome back King King. Another album of well-written, nicely-polished and superbly-executed blues rock. Just what we needed.
It’s been a long time coming and they’ve whetted our appetite with a handful of singles along the way but Kent-based hard rock outfit Big River have finally released their debut album.
Meaty guitar, soulful vocals, catchy hooks, great solos and chugging rhythm, not to mention some nice touches of harmonica, Redemption has a pleasingly retro feel to it with echoes of some of the great hard rock albums of the early to mid 70s.
Recorded over a two-year period at Rochester’s Ranscombe Studios in Kent under the guidance of producer Jim Riley, close to thirty songs were written for the album but they’ve narrowed it down to nine (ten if you buy the CD which includes a bonus track). Stand-out tracks include ‘Blues Blood Baby‘, ‘Hometown Hustler’ and ‘Blackened Rain’ – all previously released as singles – alongside the anthemic ‘You Are My Sun’ and the soulful ‘Who Do You Want Me to Be’.
Big River are: Adam Bartholomew (vocals), Damo Fawsett (guitar), Ant Wellman (bass) and Joe Martin (drums). Guitarist, Damo Fawsett, comments: “To capture the energy and chemistry in every track, we record it live, we’re all in the same room playing the songs & that really does make for something special, no click tracks, no gimmicks and very minimal overdubs. What you hear on the recordings is how we sound live on stage.”
Redemption is available in two formats: 10-track CD which includes a CD-only bonus track and as a 9-track album on all digital platforms.
Fans of genuinely classic-era classic rock will find plenty to like on this album.