It’s perhaps an unlikely backdrop for the formation of a country rock band, but this was the view before me 4 years ago this very week in St Lucia when a message popped up on my phone from Mike. Was I interested in being part of a gigging country rock band? It took all of 5 seconds and and another sip of my (near perfect) martini to respond saying ‘of course’! I hadn’t played in a rock band for years and then it was folk, not country, rock – but the invitation was simply irresistible. I’d loved country since a chance evening in back in 1991 when channel hopping on TV one Saturday night and landing on the CMA Awards! Within seconds of my response, the conversation on Messenger became three way ‘Steve meet Andy, Andy meet Steve’ and so the rapid exciting chat started about bands, songs and, inevitably, gear, as Americana (then without a name) came into being across the Atlantic.
Mike, Andy and I met a week or so following my return to the UK and we had a great evening pouring over Andy’s infinitesimal music collection on his Mac and choosing, as I recall, three songs to go with initially – and they’re all still in the current set! When we first picked up instruments, with Anne and James joining us, we knew that we had something (in addition to the big grins on our faces) and, within weeks, we were rehearsing with Marie (who was then our lead singer). Fabulous times….and great fun (as it still is). We wouldn’t gig for over a year – and then with Victoria on lead vocals – but this was a band for whom ‘ok, that’s alright, it’ll do’ was never sufficient. And that’s still the case. Nashville’s musicians and producers are some of the finest in the world – and replicating the sound and ‘feel’ is not always easy with only 6 people on a cold winter night in Peterborough. If a song isn’t perfect, it stays in the rehearsal room.
Looking back on those early days….like a postcard from a previous year’s holiday…makes you realise how far you’ve travelled. And we’ve such come a long way – especially with Evonne at the lead. Songs have come, songs have gone and some songs have come around (and around) again (Jolene being one!). Instruments and gear have mainly come in the same time! (Ovation guitars, Bridge violins and Wampler effects pedals have all benefitted immensely). And Jon at Guitar Services in Peterborough has been the wizard who has kept us in perfect intonation and with so many ‘custom’ modifications and adjustments.
And so I’m here in St Lucia again looking at that same sunset. (It’s the hardest gig I know!). I can’t wait for the next 4 years of Americana…
We’re very pleased to announce that we’re back at the Crown, one of Peterborough’s premier live music venues, in 2019 for two gigs, Friday 10th May and Saturday 27th July. Our last gig there was early in 2018, and we had an absolute blast – it’s a great place to play, with a great audience.
Our last gig of 2018 (as it stands) is coming up in a couple of weeks’ time – we’ll be live at Thorney ex-Servicemen’s Club on Saturday 24th November. It’s only a few minutes out of Peterborough to the east, and is a popular local venue with, so our scouts inform us, excellent beer.
We’ll be playing our usual two sets of kickass modern country, with support from our friends Tennessee Twin, who’ll be doing a short set of acoustic songs from the Nashville show and beyond. The fun starts at 8pm and it’s free.
We’ve booked another gig for the 26th October – Peterborough’s loss is Grantham’s gain, as we’re playing at the Royal Queen, with our usual two sets of modern country guaranteed to get your toes tapping and you singing along.
We had a brilliant day at Westfest – massive thanks to the organisers for inviting us, and to the not inconsiderable crowd who seemed to be having a fun time. Only a short (45 min) set, but lots of favourites, and a great sound to boot.
There’s a gallery of pictures, thanks to Americana super-fan Denise (we love you, Denise!), at the bottom of this post. (As ever, if you’ve taken pictures at an Americana show and want to send us some, drop a note to firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know.)
Next up, we have a completely mad day on Bank Holiday Sunday (26th August). First off, we’re kicking things off with a short set at Thorney Live Charity Music Festival, a popular and long-running local show.
There’s a £10 entry, free for accompanied under 16s – the gates open at 11:30 and we’re on at 12:30. For your admission, you get a chance to see a bunch of excellent local artists, all in aid of Leukemia UK, East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices and Thorney Youth Project.
After that, we’re leaping off stage, loading up the cars again and heading for the Sir Isaac Newton in Grantham, where we’re playing a more usual two longer sets from about 5pm (the ‘about’ may depend on traffic and how fast Dave the sound engineer gets there!).
…which. for once, appears not to include us getting rained on!
We’ve already had an excellent day at the Parson Drove Classic Car Festival (photos below with an alarming number of hats!, and a huge thank you to the organisers and to Zac and James G-C for running sound). Next weekend (on the 11th) we’ll be at WestFest at the Royal Oak in Hail Weston. Then at the end of the month, you can catch us opening the long-running Thorney Music Festival on Bank Holiday Sunday (after which we’re dashing up the A1 for an early evening set at the Sir Isaac Newton in Grantham).
Looking forward to seeing our friends and fans at any or all of these.
Stuck for something to do tonight in the Cambridgeshire area? We have you covered!
Come catch us at the Market Inn in Huntingdon from 8pm for three (count ’em, three) sets of modern country, including some stuff even our regular fans won’t have heard before!
And while you’re here, feast your eyes on a few shots from the other Saturday’s set at Grantham Steam and County Fair… huge thanks to Mike’s best man Dave for wielding the camera, as well as Rika for running our lights, Dave’s partner Pat for helping shift our mountains of gear, and Richard and Harrison for inviting us and organising the event.
We’re headlining an evening of music on the Saturday night of Grantham Steam and Country Show this coming weekend. The festival runs from Friday through to Sunday, with entertainment for all the family – full size steam, miniature steam, heavy horses. vintage lorries, vintage cars, stationery engines, military vehicles, vintage buses, a vintage fairground, all types of food and a fully licensed bar. Day admission is £6, OAP/Child £2.50, family pass £15, but you can get in after 6pm for free, all proceeds in aid of Lincolnshire Fire Aid. It promises to be a great day (and weekend!) out, and so far the weather promises to be kind, too!
Bands on (subject to confirmation) are Waiting For Jack, The Crying Violets, Under The Covers and us – music starts at 6pm Saturday, and we’re on from 9.30pm. Listen out for some new songs, too, if you’ve seen us before! We’ve been having a fantastic time working up some new stuff both for this gig and the Huntingdon gig in two weeks time.