CC Smugglers – New Roots Music

30 May

newrootsmusic

I’m a little late in bringing this to you hot off the press but it is well worth telling you about anyhow. The CC Smugglers are…

Mr Richie Prynne – Hollering & Harmonica
Mr Ryan Thomas – Lead Guitar
Mr Sam Barret – Rhythm Guitar
Mr Dan Edwards – Double Bass
Mr Carl Fredricksen – Drums & Percussion
Mr Dave Marks – Keys & Trombone

They are a 6 piece rag tag alt. Country rock outfit from Bedforshire. I first saw them play at a Stortford festival in Essex three years ago and there and then they became one of my favourite bands.

I have a lot of admiration for these guys, their persistence and motivation alone is outstanding. Where other bands have peaked then disappeared for what ever reasons the CC Smugglers have kept going, held strong and stayed true to the music they are clearly passionate about. They never seem to stop, Not even severed fingers or broken limbs could stop them. They are constantly gigging and looking for new ways to make sure people take notice, whether that be writing jingles and baking cakes for Fern Cotton, following on tour and busking outside every show of The Old Crow Medicine Show and Seasick Steve, amongst other things of a befitting manor that give an deserving nod to the history of their idols and peers.

February saw the release of their debut album “New Roots Music”, an album that I have been looking forward to hearing for the best part of three years. and it certainly didn’t disappoint. On First listen I was delighted to be familiar with with most of which I had seen them perform live. It had only been perhaps 5 times but their are songs are so catchy they are impossible to forget after just one listen. I will say that initially I missed the energy that you get when you see the lads live but this should simply encourage you to go and see them live if you haven’t already. The album has bags of energy but seeing them live is another experience altogether.

The album is beautifully crafted with a multitude of instruments, great lyrics and vocal hooks. Stand out performances for me from the album are trad song Reuben’s train, the Balkan vibes of ‘Temple of Bloom’  the romantic Bread and Water and the high energy of Travelling man and Jealous man featuring guest vocals from Mandy Peregrym.

You can check out the album here where you can also purchase it along with a limited amount of tee-shirts! (there are only 4 tee-shirts left!)

 

 

I caught up with lead singer Rich to ask a few questions and found some of the songs that influenced a few of the lads.

When and how did you guys first meet and form the band?

I pulled in friends from school, who had all gone their separate ways. I decided I wanted to form a band and didn’t settle until it happened. Dan and Ryan came back from Australia, our guitarist from Brighton, and our drummer from our friends band. It all worked well. Several replaced members later the solid core are still going strong!

Who and what are your influences?

Every piece of music has the ability and potential to influence, and that’s how I look at music. I hate writing off whole genres, or even specific songs, I’ll rarely say I dislike it, and try to always digest any music. Quite directly, we are influenced by Old Blues men, Old time American folk, swing, jazz, country ragtime and bluegrass. But also down to hip hop, hardcore techno/dubstep reggae… If I’ve listened to it, then its probably influenced us somehow.

With so many of you in the band how easy or difficult is it for you
to organise regular band practices and tours or regular gigs?

It can be hard. When we first started out, it was hard to persuade people to commit to the level it requires, but I’ve always pushed hard, and led by example. If no ones practising, I’ll be there on my own writing or recording, and you just have to hope that with time everyone believes in the project enough to pull together. When you have 6 people chasing each other up to practise, you become very productive, but that requires good team morale, which can take a while to build on.
Also there are always bills to pay, and organising full time commitments, around full time jobs is tricky. You’ll learn to use a rota system, and I think you have to accept when people can’t do stuff and carry on without them. If you kick off cos someone can’t come to practise, it just annoys them. Better to keep going with out them. If they feel they’ve been left behind, they’ll soon catch up!

We’ve seen you bake cakes and write a jingle for Fern Cotton and follow Seasick Steve and The Old Crow Medicine show on tour busking outside of their gigs. What exciting shenanigans can we expect from you this year now that your album is released?

Haha, yes, shenanigans, quite. Well we are in talks with some major labels, and have just been taken on by Jon Arnison (Previously managed Merillion, Noel Gallagher, Gabrielle). I am currently writing an album, which has been requested by the labels in light of a state-side deal.
That aside we are working our way to playing the Nashville Americana Music Conference.
And early summer, the feature length documentary about our Old Crow expedition will be released.
Also there is a small chance Seasick Steve might get a little visit from us sometime soon for old time sake.

Are there any acts that you have seen recently that we might not
have head of that we should know about?

Not really, I’ve had my head stuck in this new album for a month, but for good measure, what I are bin mostly hearin is – Pokey Lafarge, Chance McCoy, The devil Makes three. That’s a good start if you’ve not discovered any of those guys before

Can you all pick one song that you would say is key to you having
become a musician?

Rich

How tricky there’s so many things, like the first time I heard an electric guitar (Petty Fly for a white guy – Offspring) at 11yrs, that shook my world.
Before then, from the age of 8, I was hanging round the tape stall at the market, spending the money I earned cutting the grass, on Bill Haley, Elvis, Buddy Holly and Chuck Berry tapes. Before then, my very first singles I bought were ‘PJ and Harvey – Let’s get ready to rumble’, and ‘Mr Blobby – the blobby song’. An man I loved those tapes. (Remember what I said about everything having the potential to influence? Cheers Blobby!)
Before then I used to get taken to listen to my Grandads swing band practises, he’s a trumpet player and my God Father Geoff Shovleton was a guilbert and sulivan opera singer, and would sneak us in thru the back.
Then of course there was the obligatory ‘greebo’  Punk/Metal/Rock phase that helps so many kids thru adolescance (my first CD album being Best of the Beast – Iron Maiden)
So, so many, But if I had to choose one, it would be Mr Sandman by the Chordettes. I used to put this on every night for years on my tape walkman and fall asleep to it. When I hear it now, it transports me to an age where my imagination was still taken up with sword fighting, building dens and climbing trees. Hearing that song flicks a very sentimental switch in me. Good innocent times.

Luke

Tough to name just one. Mannish Boy by Muddy Waters. The family used to have a cassette called Blues Brother, Soul Sister in the car, and when it was just me and dad we’d play that song over and over.

Dan

Ante Up – MOP or The Man Comes Around – Cash because I loved the sound of the guitar at the beginning of the song. It made me want to learn it and play it.

Sam

Black dog-Led Zeppelin Because the guitar riff is fucking epic. It was also the first album I was bought.

Dave

Agadoo because of the awesome mullets

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