News Column

Far from bone idle ; The ongoing rise of Cornwall's musical son

October 16, 2013


CORNISH music fans are well aware of the might of Brother & Bones, but now the rest of Europe is catching on.

The band, led by St Ives songwriter Rich Thomas alongside percussionist Robin Howell, also from the Cornish town, release their powerful To Be Alive EP across the world on November 4. I spoke to Rich as he was setting up for one of the band's biggest gigs yet, playing with The Boxer Rebellion at The Forum, London.

He said: Our sound is very dynamic live but trying to catch it on record has been a slight chink in our armour.

We've definitely got closer on the new EP, which has made us more confident about going into the studio this winter to make an album.

Hard to pigeonhole, Brother & Bones are both epic and understated, at times a James Blunt it's OK to like, at others Jeff Buckley with the firepower of Queens Of The Stone Age.

The new five-track EP, with standouts To Be Alive and Lost As One, is the best example yet of Rich's extraordinary voice, which runs the gamut from whispered croon to ragged-throated roar; a modernday John Martyn.

That voice is Brother & Bones' emotive secret weapon.

Their mix of folk and blues with a snarling punk energy and two- drummer tribalism is a natural successor to Ben Howard's slow-burn crossover.

Rich added: We supported Ben at Shepherd's Bush Empire, which is one ticked off for the list for me as it's my favourite venue.

As part of an incessant tour which sees them visit almost every major town and city in Britain, Brother & Bones return to their home from home with a gig at The Acorn, Penzance, as well as Plymouth's White Rabbit next week.

The plan is to hammer it and hammer it in as many towns as humanly possible, and then come back and play larger venues next time, added Rich.

It's important for us to come back and play in Cornwall as we know how important the support has been down there - we definitely still fly the flag for Cornwall.

For those of us who have witnessed Rich grow from a youthful solo performer playing small Cornish pubs to an awe-inspiring frontman, the rise of Brother & Bones is an absolute joy.

It's no surprise they were named Best Live Band at the Live Music Awards 2012. You can see the band at Penzance's Acorn on Thursday, October 24, and Plymouth's White Rabbit on Friday, October 25. To Be Alive EP is released on Monday, November 4, via the band's own Last Step Records.

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