photo credit: Gordon Woolcock, Pavillion Theatre, Gorleston
The Vagaband are an East Anglian sextet who are at the forefront of the region’s vibrant roots music scene, picking up praise for their incendiary live shows and soulful songwriting.
In March 2023, The Vagaband released “Beautiful World”on their Eggsong label. The album comes four-plus years after the release of the dark “full bodied and city sullied dramas” (Americana UK) of ‘Something Wicked This Way Comes’ to shine some light in these troubled times.
Just like the voices of lead singers Jose McGill (think oak-aged whiskey) and Yve Mary B (mountain spring water), “Beautiful World” is an album of contrasts. From the back-porch duet of opener ‘I’m Not For You’ through to wide-screen epic closer ‘Into the Blue’, the band move from small moments of domestic drama to cosmic country and everything in between. Classic 70s rock from both sides of the Atlantic rubs up against far older, and also more contemporary, sounds to create something at once familiar and yet of their own making.
A collection of stories, “Beautiful World” tells of depression, break-ups, and even murder on their southern-gothic take on folk standard ‘The Unquiet Grave’, and yet the sheer rush of joy on cuts ‘Avalon’, ‘Desdemona’ (both channelling Rumours-era Fleetwood Mac) and the Southern rock-meets-White Album of lead single ‘Into the Blue’ remind us that yes, perhaps it is a “Beautiful World” after all.
The Vagaband’s previous releases are:
“Town &Country” 2012
The debut album takes the listener from ragtime, through the horn-driven soundtrack of New Orleans and on to the open landscape of reflective Americana. There is however an underlying Britishness to the sound.
“Medicine For The Soul” 2014
Optimism gives way to cinematic arrangements telling dark tales inhabited by drunks, dead-end seaside towns and troubled souls. The title track is an ode to late Texan songwriter Townes Van Zandt.
“Something Wicked This Way Comes” 2018
A gritty soulful feel that retains a British pride. Think Americana meets ‘The White Album’.
“Ten Bells Waltz” – The Vagaband Youth Orchestra Live 2019
This Arts Council-funded project opens with a short Vagaband-only set, followed by an orchestral collaborative
performance of eight reworked originals, cherry-picked from the band’s three studio albums.
“White Noise” – EP 2021
A fresh comment on information overload from social media that’s overpopulating our senses and dividing opinions.