“Tales of Two Counties” will be bringing their unique “Rockgrass” sound to this year’s Great British Rhythm and Blues Festival after winning through nationwide auditions to appear alongside Blues legends including Courtney Pine, Avery Sunshine, Coco Montoya, Davina & the Vagabonds and The Revolutionaires.
The band, three Lancashire lads and one Yorkshireman, are one of only seven of the UK’s best unsigned Blues artistes to have been selected to play at the festival in Colne, Lancashire, over the August Bank Holiday weekend. Recently named as Europe’s Best Blues Festival for the second year running, it is expected that around 26,000 people will flock to the town during the four day Festival when the town transforms into the “Blues Basin “of Britain.
Founder members Graham Thompson, 24, from Hebden Bridge and Jayke Cox, 24, from Rawtenstall, met as music students in 2009. Graham went on to write and record his own songs and play mandolin as a session musician while Jayke also had a solo career as a singer/songwriter.
They teamed up in 2013 and recruited drummer Danny Loftus, 24, and double bass player Joe McManus, 23, both from Burnley. They recently appeared at the Edinburgh Fringe and are about to record their first single and album.
Graham, who is the main singer and songwriter, describes their sound as “Rockgrass – imagine high-energy, foot-stomping rock and roll and folk meets bluegrass”. They won their place at the festival after a series of live auditions for the Jessica Foxley Unsigned initiative.
The project was set up in memory of Jessica, a talented young musician who died in a car crash at the age of just 21.
Her parents, Paul and Margaret, established the initiative five years ago as a lasting memorial to their music- loving daughter, giving young musicians the chance to perform live alongside established music stars.
Said Graham: “It’s an absolutely amazing festival, the best of its kind in Europe, and it could really help us to push on. We know about Jessica’s story and that makes it even more special”.
Pendle Leisure Trust, who organise the Festival, were inundated with musicians wanting to audition. Festival organiser Alison Goode said: “The standard of the musicians who applied this year was remarkable.”
For the last 26 years, Colne’s Great British Rhythm and Blues Festival has drawn in both national and international lovers of blues music with the bands chosen now earning their opportunity to write themselves into the legacy.