Harmony on the open road

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I'm not one for listening to music while riding the Bonnie out on the open road; one reason being Bonnie's straight through exhausts providing all the soundtrack you need.

However, I often have music playing while donning boots, jacket and helmet and often it's these tunes that set the mood for the ride.

I recently wrote a review for the Taylor and the Mason CD, and I was hooked on it; the soundtrack clearly in mind while enjoying a ride out on the open road.

Having pulled over at the catering van at Broxton roundabout for a mug of tea and a heavily buttered slice of fruit cake, I got reminiscing back to 2012 when I'd woken to the sound of the Dunwells, playing live on KBCO radio in Boulder Colorado.

I was amazed to hear these lads from Leeds being played on a USA mainstream radio station, but this is a whole different story which I'll save for another blog.

It was while I was checking out the KBCO playlist online, making sure I had not been dreaming or suffering jet lag, that I first came across First Aid Kit.

First Aid Kit's Emmylou was playing away on KBCO Radio, and what a track. I instantly thought they were American and had to find out more about them.

A quick Google and there it was; a Swedish duo that has been around for five years and was starting to make inroads into the mainstream arenas.

The harmonies and the quality recording were captivating; my kids actually bought me the album for Christmas that year and, I have to be honest, I didn't stop playing it.

The female duo sound was really becoming a favourite genre for me. I realised I have always enjoyed close harmonies, with many influences going back through the decades.

Back to 2010, when I had been involved in Triumph Live event, I helped to set up the Triumph Live BandBattle. The final was held at Triumph's Hinckley factory and, along with the Dunwells. I met a female trio, who have now become a duo, The Sound of Sirens.

At the end of 2016, I got to see them again playing live at the Soup Kitchen in Manchester. The gig at was a Sound of the Sirens one-off. They don't generally travel that far up north, and it was an excellent opportunity to catch up with the girls and enjoy a fantastic gig with a great audience and great support.

John Wood, their manager, I think he's connected in more ways than one, was also kept busy changing guitar strings during the gig, a regular job when the Sirens are gigging.

These girls are out gigging whenever they can and had massive exposure in 2016, but that hasn't been by luck It has been the result of all the hard work they put over previous years, creating a great sound, great lyrics, great songwriting and an entertaining fan base that is only growing with every gig.

I don't personally know First Aid Kit, but I've known both Becky Taylor and Sally Mason for a few years. I've watched them develop their sound, seen them play gigs, and the best part about it is they to enjoy their gigs. They laugh, they engage, and they are really talented.

Getting them to play their original material was always tough, they do some great covers but their original material is witty, pointed, and the imagery it creates can be rather startling at times.

It is delivered in such a great style with the melodies and harmonies deflecting the darkness of some of their lyrics.

The Sound of the Sirens relishes the journey they are on and especially 2016 with appearances on TGI Friday and the festival circuit.

Back in 2010, had the girls been successful in the Triumph Live Band Battle they would have supported the emerging Mumford & Sons and the legendary Stranglers on stage in front of at least 15,000 people along with The Dunwells.

They missed by a fraction, they have gone from strength to strength. If you want talented songwriting, great harmonies, great performances and a buzz at the gigs you attend, then check out Taylor & the Mason and The Sound of the Sirens. If you see them playing at any festival or venue near you, make sure you are there, it's good.

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