Friday, July 19, 2024

These Wicked Rivers & The Family

With their latest album Force of Nature soaring to an impressive #36 in the Official UK Top 40 Midweek Charts, These Wicked Rivers are defying the odds without major label support. To that end, they have produced a heartfelt new video for ‘The Family’, a tribute to their loyal fanbase and supporters, capturing the essence of their journey so far.
Frontman John Hartwell expressed gratitude, commenting, “‘The Family’ is a deep acknowledgment of those who have propelled us forward – Our devoted These Wicked Rivers family and fans worldwide. The music video is a jubilant celebration of our collective journey.”
Lead guitarist Arran Day added: “In a dark and cruel world we feel very honoured to provide an escape through music for our loyal followers. The chorus of this song reflects everything this band is about, and the video captures the spirit of our special relationship with the Rivers family perfectly.  We filmed it at our inaugural Family Gathering, a celebration of the spirit of this band and we’re delighted to finally share it with the world now”.

You can check out the video here at RAMzine.

The fast rising Derbyshire rock ‘n’ roll band has also announced details of their first European tour, this April, with a new UK headline tour to follow in May through to June.

The European dates will run to 11 shows across Holland, France and Germany, with band multi-instrumentalist Rich Wilson commenting: “When it comes to bucket lists there’s a few things that we’ve already ticked off as a band, and next on that list is touring Europe. The past few UK tours have been so special and we could not be more excited to now be breaking out of the UK for the first time to share our music with more new faces in more new places.”

Discussing their forthcoming UK tour, dubbed the Peace, Love & Lampshades Tour, Day Guitarist Arran said: The Force Of Nature tour was such a massive success for us in terms of getting out and playing for new faces in new places, so we really wanted to hit the road as soon as possible and do it all over again. Fresh from the release of our second album Force Of Nature we’ll be bringing our signature stage show up and down the country, decorating each room as if it were 1974 and your nan’s just put the kettle on.  In times of greed, turmoil and darkness let yourselves escape by joining us for a celebration of peace, love and of course… lampshades.” That being a reference to the band’s intimate stage set up.

These Wicked Rivers have previously toured the length and breadth of the UK with the likes of Hayseed Dixie, Those Damn Crows, Phil Campbell & The Bastard Sons and Kira Mac, building their fanbase.

To band has been releasing quite a few videos of late. Most recently, there was a live video of ‘Don’t Pray For Me‘, their latest single, and you can check out the video to it here at RAMzine.

Stepping away from their more traditional blues rock style, ‘Don’t Pray For Me’ is the most anticipated moment in any live set among fans – A modern-day anthem, that at over five minutes long, makes for one of the more epic and emotional tracks on the forthcoming album.

Multi-instrumentalist Rich Wilson explained how ‘Don’t Pray For Me’ came about: “‘Don’t Pray for Me’ has been with the band from the very beginning, gifted by myself to John long before I joined the band and, legend has it, finalised within the band’s very first rehearsal. It has acted as both a showpiece and finale at every gig the band have ever played.

“The words can often be heard being sung back by the audience over the sound of the band playing, and connect us all in a very special way night after night. The song itself is one of reflection, acknowledging that there is good and bad in everyone but carrying a positive message of acceptance and mindfulness. We now invite you to join the family and connect with it in your own personal way.”

There was also an acoustic version of the ‘The Family, about which Day added: “We wrote this for our beloved, loyal, beautiful rivers family, our fans. When we play this live and look out into the crowd and can feel the love in the room, it’s an honest connection between those playing the music and those that make the music happen. We felt that a song with an honest but powerful message deserved an honest portrayal.”

Established in 2014, These Wicked Rivers is Derby’s entry to the new wave of rock and roll that is sweeping across the United Kingdom. Drawing influence from the well of rock legends and blues greats, the band have made quite an impact since their inception with their unique brand of blues-infused modern rock steadily picking up plaudits for their gutsy live performances across the UK.

The ensemble received a slew of positive reviews for their debut EP The Enemy back in 2015, and followed it up with 2017’s II, gaining them attention within the emerging UK rock scene as well as airplay on Planet Rock radio. Debut album Eden was released in May 2020 and a Classic Rock Magazine High Hopes feature as well as a coveted Track of the Week accolade.
The band embarked on their first headline UK tour in March 2023, taking their trademark Grandma’s Living Room stage set to the far corners of the UK. This was followed by a Planet Rock sponsored headline tour in December 2023, which saw momentum gathering with yet more sell-out shows across the country.

These Wicked Rivers has also announced details of their own limited edition signature Lonely Road gin, produced in partnership with premium spirits company Mercia Distillery.

Inspired by the track of the same name from their forthcoming album Force of Nature, Lonely Road gin is described as “a well-rounded botanical gin with hints of rosemary and citrus – best enjoyed with tonic over ice while contemplating what is, what was, and what could have been.”  Production is limited to 200 hand-numbered, hand-sealed bottles.

To celebrate the launch of the gin and their new album, These Wicked Rivers performed a special intimate acoustic show at Bishton Hall, Staffordshire, home of Mercia Distillery on 7th March. The evening consisted of gin sampling, music and mingles with the band.

Vocalist/guitarist John Hartwell said of the track from which the gin takes its name: “‘Lonely Road‘ was inspired by an intense feeling of isolation during the first lockdown, coupled with missing a recently broken down relationship. I usually take a long time constructing songs, thinking of the perfect way to phrase each line. With this song, I just picked up my guitar and played.”

Speaking of the collaboration with Mercia Distillery, Arran Day added: ”It’s an honour to have our good friends at Mercia turn our sounds into a beverage with the same love and passion that we put into our craft. It’s been such an organic and natural partnership and we are so proud of what we’ve created. We can’t wait to return to Bishton Hall in March to toast the new album with our very own gin! We hope you love it as much as we do.

You can check out the video for ‘Lonely Road’, filmed at Bishton Hall, here at RAMzine.

‘The Riverboat Man’ was an earlier new single, taken from the then-upcoming album Force Of Nature, on Fat Earth Records. Described as a “barnstorming tale”, ‘The Riverboat Man’ celebrates the underdog spirit, and champions those who dare to be different.

Vocalist/guitarist John Hartwell said of that single: “On the surface it’s a story but, as always, it goes much deeper than that. Rich in metaphor, it explores the darkness and light within us all. It’s a blast to play live and it’s been great to see such positive audience reactions to it at our recent shows.”

You can also check out the video to The Riverboat Man’ here at RAMzine, as you can previous single, the album title track ‘Force Of Nature’ with that one described as “uplifting, triumphant, unashamed blues rock with a bellowing chorus that just begs for a communal sing-along at the band’s raucous live shows”.

The video for ‘Force Of Nature’ sees frontman John Hartwell transformed from fauna to flora in nightmarish fashion, and he said of that single: “To me, this song is almost like a pep talk to myself, or to whoever’s listening, saying “You can do this”. It’s about not living in the past, regretting things that you can’t change, but moving on, moving forward and taking on the world because you are a force of nature!”

Guitarist Arran Day added: “Anyone that’s caught a live show this year will know the power this song has. It’s become a staple of how we open a ‘Rivers show as it showcases everything we do as a band. It encapsulates that feeling of when we step out on stage and see the ‘Rivers family looking back at us, ready to collectively blow the roof off whatever venue our chapel is for that evening.

“We were really passionate that we wanted the album recordings to express that power and connection that we all feel when we play live, and this is one of the highlights of that. Make sure to listen to it loud, as if you’re standing at the front row of a show”.

Fans can stream the singles here and order the Force Of Nature album here. 

Aside from their own touring dates, These Wicked Rivers will also be appearing as special support slot to The Answer on 20th June at Dingwalls.

Paul H Birch
Paul H Birch
RAMzine Senior Writer - Writer of fiction, faction and fact, has edited several newsstand magazines. He declares himself a hack for hire but refuses to compromise on the subject of music.

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