Friday, June 21, 2024

When Rivers Meet & Testify

UK British Blues Award-winning husband and wife duo When Rivers Meet return to the music fold with their sophomore album Saving Grace, to be released by One Road Records on Friday 19th November.

Ahead of that comes new single, ‘Testify’, taken from the forthcoming album, and its accompanying video that you can watch here at RAMzine – Plus, there is news of a headline tour between April and May next year, with Troy Redfern due to appear as special guest.

Based on its title one expects ‘Testify’ to be gospel invested, and having heard the song ahead of its release we can confirm the use of organ plays close to that theme, however the harsh driven rhythm guitar sound is more akin to garage punk rooting it in a less Everglades-inspired mode. More so, and with each passing chorus an earworm grows larger as Grace Bond’s voice belts out soulfully in high register.

Saving Grace follows hot on the heels from the band’s critically acclaimed debut album We Fly Free that was released in November 2020, and their previous two EPs, The Uprising and Innocence of Youth. The past year has been a non-stop thrill-ride for When Rivers Meet, featuring Grace Bond (lead vocals, mandolin, violin) and Aaron Bond (guitar, vocals).

When Rivers Meet set a record first in May 2021, by becoming the first-ever artist or band to win four awards at the UK Blues Awards including Blues Band of the Year, Blues Album of the Year, Emerging Blues Artist of the Year, and Most Inspirational Online Performance of the Year. When Rivers Meet were also voted “Best New Band” by the listeners of Planet Rock at the radio station’s The Rocks Awards.

 “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,” said Grace Bond. “We also wanted to keep a live, authentic vibe to the new album to retain the energetic feel in the music.”

“We wanted the album to have more of an upbeat rock feel,” remarked Aaron Bond “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!”

As with their debut album, We Fly Free, much care and attention has been given, not only into the song-writing, but also the production on each track, and telling a story from start to finish.

“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,” said Grace.  

As with their previous album and two EPs, the new album Saving Grace was recorded at the Boathouse in Suffolk with producer and engineer, Adam Bowers.

“He just gets everything we do and want,” said Grace.  “As Adam says, ‘Bring me a drawing, and I will colour it in’, which is a great analogy of how we work together.”

They set out to produce a blues rock album with a more upbeat, punchy, and exciting sound and the tracks featured on it are as follows:

‘I Can’t Fight This Feeling’, ‘Never Coming Home’, ‘He’ll Drive You Crazy*’, ‘Don’t Tell Me Goodbye’, ‘Do You Remember My Name’, ‘Have No Doubt About It’, ‘Eye of A Hurricane (Friend of Mine Pt. 2)*’, ‘Testify’, ‘Shoot The Breeze*’, ‘Lost & Found’, ‘Talking In My Sleep’, and ‘Make A Grown Man Cry*’.

The record was mastered by Mike Curtis, about which Aaron commented, “the mastering is always the most exciting part of the process. We always look forward to receiving the mastered tracks from Mike.”

As with all their previous recordings, Grace, Aaron, and producer Adam have massive input with instrumentation. Aaron plays guitar and sings vocals, Grace sings vocals, plays mandolin and fiddle, while Adam plays bass, drums, and keyboard and pretty much anything else that Grace and Aaron need added including trumpet on specific songs.

“It’s a case of going into the studio with a song,” reflected Grace. “Aaron will play it on guitar, I’ll lay down the vocals, whilst Adam adds the drums. We start to get a feel as to what the song is and what it means, it then grows from there into the direction we think it should go.

“Sometimes it can take a while before we get the right feel for example the drums or the tone of the song. But we always have a clear plan for each song going into the studio and a good idea on the feel that we want to create. Our ethos is that we keep it sounding authentic, whether that be vocals, instrumentation, or any effects. It’s always got to sound organic and real.”

Saving Grace has a more upbeat rock feeling than We Fly Free,” said Aaron. “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.

“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.”

When Rivers Meet’s passion for blues rock shows through with an underpinning of traditional blues and classic rock. The duo make a concerted effort to keep to a genuine, gritty sound using authentic techniques, including tube tape echo and reverb chambers, which have created a live sound that keeps a truly vintage vibe that not only has energy but is also a true representation of the ever evolving sound this duo produces.

A Saving Grace  pre-order and single pre-save are available by clicking here. For ‘Testify’ itself  go here  and the album here.

 On Wednesday 8th September at 10am UK time, the general public can take advantage of Planet Rock’s 48-hour ticket pre-sale  by clicking here. Then as of Friday 10th September 10th, tickets will then go on general sale via The Gig Cartel here.

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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