There is something smugly satisfying about discovering music that you like and then discovering that you are not alone, that other people like it too.
In the case of When River Meet, it turns out that quite a lot of people like the sound created by husband and wife duo Aaron and Grace Bond. As I write this, news has just come in that their track ‘Battleground’ has been nominated by Classic Rock Magazine as their track of the week.
I began to hear about When Rivers Meet about two, maybe more, years ago. Not through some major marketing campaign on their part but from musicians and people I know in the industry mentioning them. The sort of marketing you cannot buy – peer recommendations.
When I first saw them play, it wasn’t their stage presence that impressed me so much as their relaxed demeanor off stage. They are about as unpretentious and normal a couple you could hope to meet. Yet when they take to the stage, they become this rock’n’blues powerhouse who can captivate an audience – and there are only two of them!
Their debut album ‘We Fly Free’ will be released on November 20th and I have been lucky enough to get my hands on a pre-release copy. In truth I’ve been listening to it a lot, not wanting to sully the sound they have created by interrupting it to write mere words!
The opening track ‘Did I Break The Law’ sets a blistering pace with its tribal rhythm and powerful vocals that are rapidly becoming Grace’s trademark sound. In my little black book of fantasy musical duets I have Grace Bond and Beth Hart…. backed by Aaron Bond and Joe Bonamassa on guitars.
‘I’d Have Fallen’ slows things down beautifully with its mournful chorus and wonderful backing harmonies. I am no bass player, but I am certain that in ‘Breaker of Chains’ I am hearing echoes of a certain Mr McVie’s opening to his well-known tune made famous by the BBC in the F1 coverage. If I am not mistaken, that had ‘chain’ in the title too! On this track it is Aaron who takes lead on vocals, reminding us that When Rivers Meet would not work without both voices. Individually they are both good but together they produce far more than the sum of the parts.
In the slow numbers this album is pure soulful, moody blues. Erie and dark at times, you can feel the tumbleweeds rolling past – ‘Friends of Mine’ and ‘I Will Fight’ evoke these feelings. In the fast numbers there is such joy and headbanging energy, nowhere better than the title track which starts off innocently enough then rips at your senses.
Now that I have actually gone and written words about this album I realise why it has taken me so long. The album demands attention. It is not something you can play in the background. ‘We Fly Free‘, the title track is a celebration of where they are on their musical journey. They had a UK tour planned just before lockdown hit, had just quit their jobs to become full time musicians. Although the songs were written in a pre-covid world it is almost as if this album is screaming ‘Stuff you Covid, We Fly Free.’
When I spoke to Grace and Aaron back in May (click here) they were resigned to the fact that they would have to be online musicians for a while, thirty plus weeks on and they are still live streaming every week – catch them on their Facebook page.