It’s barely been two years since Grace and Aaron Bond had a musical epiphany. After eight years of making music largely as the fancy took them, the husband and wife team from Essex discovered they could make a pretty great Blues Rock sound. In fact, they liked it so much that the duo headed out on the roads of England in an old VW Camper to test out their new musical love – and then came Covid.
At this time you would expect the story to take a downward turn. Instead, the Pandemic proved to be the making of them. Proof of that is in a record-breaking four wins at this year’s British Blues Awards. Alongside Best Emerging Artist, Best Band and Best Album they also picked up the curious Most Inspirational Online Performance award. All of which makes both band, and album well worth a listen for all Blues Rock lovers out there (and I know there are many around Bonn area!)
I’m pleased to say that ‘We Fly Free’ is indeed a glorious disc. Its core (and maybe, just slightly, it’s a bane too, which I will return to) is a powerful, hard-driving dirty slide-riff sound delivered by Aaron to a jungle-drum rhythm backdrop. Play loud, and literally feel the good vibrations pummel you into Blues Rock Heaven as Aaron’s guitar meets Grace’s sweet strong vocals somewhere near a crossroads where deals of Blues Greatness are made.
If you love the rock duo sound delivered by Larkin Poe and Little Hurricane then When Rivers Meet is definitely for you. But that caveat that I suggested earlier? A number of the tracks are somewhat ‘samey’, born no doubt of the duo having discovered a sound they like so much. Long term they will need to bring more variety to the table, but that’s not to say there isn’t any imagination on the latest disc though. It’s not all grungy slide and swamp drum beats. They prove to be especially adept when heading into Folk-Rock territory on ‘Breaker of Chains’ and ‘I Will Fight’ with the former giving a glimpse of some fine vocal harmonies. Harmonies again shine on ‘Bury My Body’.
Plenty to enjoy here, and also plenty to build on for the next release for certain. As further proof that there is plenty of versatility and also the ability to work a song to their own strengths there is a magic version of the duo performing ‘Ring of Fire’ on YouTube that more than hints of some tasty musical diversions to come.
Grace and Aaron will also have to prove themselves as a genuine live band in the coming months. Songs on Facebook and YouTube feature just the duo, which looks good on film, but they will need to bring these songs on the road in a full Band format, I would hate to see songs where drums are such an integral part reduced to pre-recorded click-tracks. Can they deliver live? Fans in the UK should find out later this year as King King take When Rivers Meet out as their support act. Certainly, what’s down on this CD release indicates the UK potentially has a major Blues-Rock act readying itself to take the World’s stages by storm soon – Covid permitting of course. Recommended listening!