When Rivers Meet
"Shaken, not stirred." Well, the husband-and-wife team of Grace and Arron Bond have just done that by breaking into the Planet Rock radio playlist. It’s no easy feat for an independent act to break into a station that goes for a certain type of sound that is dominated by the 70’s/80’s heavyweights such as the likes of Deep Purple or Bon Jovi. Their recently released toe tapper of a single, ‘Battleground’, is the song pulling the punches. Due to be released on Friday 20th November, ‘We Fly Free’ is their debut album, following a couple of EPs ‘The Uprising’ and ‘Innocence of Youth’, where a gem of a ballad called ‘Tomorrow’ lives, but doesn’t die.
Very earthy with plenty of grit, the When Rivers Meet sound does offer something different from the rest of the Blues/Rock acts around today. Grace brings extraordinary Rock and Soul vocals, mandolin and violin, whilst Arron provides vocals and various guitars. The album was recorded at the Boathouse studio in Suffolk with producer Adam Bowers who also played drums, and shared bass/keyboard duties with fellow musician Robin Breeze.
Opening up, slide guitar groover, ‘Did Break the Law’, comes out all guns blazing, followed by the sinister sounding ‘Bound for Nowhere’, which had me looking to see if Clint Eastwood was going to pop in for a whisky shot. 'Walking the Wire’ returns to the Bluesy slide guitar with a belting chorus where both Grace and Arron blend and interweave on the vocal line. 'I’d Have Fallen' drops the tempo with an interesting use of beats around an almost Def Leppard style guitar riff. If you imagine you were sitting out on the prairie watching the sun go down, then this would capture the atmosphere perfectly. Their first single, ‘Battleground’, as already mentioned, drops in at No.5, followed by ‘Kissing the Sky’. Taking a more Classic Rock direction, Grace pulls the mandolin from the box for the solo break, plugs into a Marshall and we duly set sail.
‘Breaker of Chains’ sees a dual vocal attack, with Arron more dominant in the mix over a switch to the darker side of Americana Blues. Treading through the swamp, the combo work it well. The anthemic, ‘I Will Fight’, loads up initially with a pinch of piano to build mid-section and closes out how it began. ‘Bury My Body’ could fit quiet happily into a Spaghetti Western, kicking off with acoustic guitar and whistling (similar to what Guns N’ Roses executed on 'Patience’), then layering up the instrumentation along with dual vocal harmonies. ‘Take Me to the River’ brings Arron back on main vocal, the slide guitar fires up and Grace gives her mandolin another airing. ‘Friend of Mine’ sees the arrival of the cigar box guitar for a stripped-down Blues number which gives you the real feel of ‘When Rivers Meet’. They close out with their thunderous drum and guitar heavy title track, ideal for festivals to come, sometime in the future.
A cool collection of songs and musicianship ticking all the boxes in the Blues/Rock genre, while maintaining a live feel throughout. Indeed, check out every Saturday at 8pm, where you get an hour of live music, beer sampling and shout-outs - especially if you tip!