UK roots band THE GREAT WESTERN TEARS roam the same musical landscape that Springsteen inhabited during his Nebraska & Tom Joad journeys and are fueled as much by the ramblings of Kerouac as they are by Neil Young. While their songs owe a debt to the pantheon of American Roots music it is their distinctive Anglo-Antipodean point of view that sets them apart from their contemporaries.
Their debut album "Tales from the Tallows", released in November 2016, expertly captures the warmth and integrity of their finely crafted country folk tales.
The LP takes its name from the rugged and beautiful Tallows beach in Australia's coastal haven of Byron Bay, a place that held a magnetic sway over lyricist and lead vocalist David Waterhouse through his late teens and twenties. This is a collection of truly, and at times brutally honest, story songs that chart a life lived perpetually on the road between the Northern and Southern hemispheres falling in and out of love with both people and place.
Born of multi-instrumentalist Garry Richardson & lead vocalist David Waterhouse's desire to explore the intimate and acoustic side of their songwriting partnership, they quickly gathered a full band around them, and what was initially destined to be a stripped back guitar and vocal album, became a project of much greater depth and range.
Kurt Hamilton's pedal steel playing is integral to the band's soundscape. Rather than ploughing the familiar furrow of Country music licks and tricks, he uses his instrument to create widescreen themes and big hooks that add rich texture and
atmosphere to the strongly grounded compositions.
Fern Thornton already had years of Country, Blues and Rock n' Roll duetting with husband Waterhouse behind her, but inviting childhood friend Jodie Cooper to join the fray completed the sound of the band. Cooper adds a genuine soul satisfaction to feel good songs, such as ‘Binky of the Bay’ and ‘Hang my hat’, and poignant melancholy to the more introspective ‘A Part of You’.
Coming from the same close knit Oxford Americana scene that has seen the likes of Ags Connolly and The August List emerge in recent years, The Great Western Tears themselves have been key players in invigorating and promoting that scene, hosting the Country Folk songwriters circles and more recently the infamous Roots Ramble pub crawl sessions.
Following a keenly-received self-titled EP in the summer of 2015, the band built up a head of steam on the gig circuit and 2016 has seen them play in exalted company at Country 2 Country festival at London's 02 Arena, and receive airplay from Bob Harris for the early single ‘Not The Losing Kind’ on his Radio 2 show.
Whilst "Tales from the Tallows" is, at its heart, a contemplative and laid back record, The Great Western Tears live show has rapidly grown into something much more expansive and suggests a great future entertaining large festival audiences on sun-drenched evenings both in the UK, and further afield.
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