Rook and The Ravens

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There was a reason for going to the Lord Combermere last Thursday night — it was to have a drink with friends for Reubadub's birthday. Reubadub?

Reubadubs is the promotor responsible for fetching in to the village some of the best bands we have seen here. To most he is known as Reuben Palin, who shortly will be leaving the village to take up a post in Pembrokeshire.

Well, what a way to say goodbye, (until he is back for the Audlem Music Festival at the end of May at least) putting on Manchester band Rook & The Ravens. They have visited before, so those that knew, knew they would be good. Disappointed, oh no, more to the contrary, from the first chord struck the band left us all in no doubt they were in the Lord C.

What was to follow though, really caught your attention, taking the volume out completely top drummer John B. Major put his feet up on his Bass Drum as Tom Cartledge (keys), along with guitarists James and Joe Fay delivered harmonies reminiscent for me of the Felice Brothers.

The three vocalists in this band all lead in their individual ways, but when they come together their voices really pull together to create an etherial resonance.

Their music is fun, edgy at times and emotional at others, so well crafted it's a pleasure to hear. Though I reference the Felice Brothers, Rook and the Ravens have that British edge, and I'll use The Kinks as one point of reference, The Byrds another, with later global influences of the likes of Bon Ivor.

To see and hear the quality of bands and artists here in the Village is one thing, I have also had the good fortune to see and hear a lot of artists over the last few decades of all areas of musical styles, and I do not say this lightly when I say that Rook and the Ravens are up there with the ones I listen too, and that includes a lot of major artists.

The Travelling Band, The Dunwells, The Reads, The Folkwits, Heavy Weather etc have really shown that we don't have to rely on the music industry to put out the bands we should listen to when they want us to. It's already out there on your doorstep, in Audlem's case every Thursday at the Lord Combermere, and over the weekends at the Shroppie Fly.

A varied tempo set showcasing the Rook and The Ravens versatility and musical influences, a self assured and articulate band of individuals it was a pleasure to have had play here. Roll on Friday 1st June when they will be back at the Lord C for the Festival, hopefully with CD's!

#Rook and The Ravens
Dave Brodie — Bass
Tom Cartledge — Vocals, Keys 
James Fay — Vocals, Guitars
Joe Fay — Vocals, Guitars
John B. Major — Drums

Rook and The Ravens' alternative rock bristles with dark intent amidst a Technicolor landscape populated by tough guitar pop, shiny harmonies and several stories of keyboards built on an unwavering rhythm foundation.

2009's self-released debut album Sixteen Holes in Sixteen Souls set the scene for the new band, marrying pop hooks with a brooding melancholy. Received well by media and fans alike:

"Young, bold and unfathomably talented" (High Voltage)

"Articulate, edgy, blistering and self-assured" (BBC)

"Rook and The Ravens impress with versatility reminiscent of The Byrds and Traffic" (The Independent)

Ian H

Audlem Online Music Correspondent