“Manchester’s great next hope? They ought to be.” Metro
Led by the gifted song-writing, impeccable playing, and honeyed harmonies of vocalists/guitarists Adam Gorman, Jo Dudderidge and Steve ‘Snaf’ Ballinger, The Travelling Band’s shimmering blend of cosmic-country-pop, folk, and bar band rock has made them one of the most talked about artists to emerge from the Manchester music scene in many a year. Drawing on influences like Gram Parsons, The Louvin Brothers, CNSY, and Nashville Skyline-era Bob Dylan, The Travelling Band have built a strong loyal cult of followers in their home city, although this 6-piece are, musically, more West Virginia than Withington, spiritually closer to Tennessee than Tameside and couldn’t be any further removed from the conceived idea of Manchester’s rich musical lineage if they’d tried.
The Travelling Band’s story starts not in this rainy city though, but, oddly enough in South America, Brazil to be precise where guitarist Steve was on holiday and playing some songs in his hotel room, when, in a simple twist of fate, he was overheard in the next room by a New Yorker called Richard Ross. Rich was so impressed by what he had heard that he arranged and paid for Steve and his musical buddies from Manchester to come to New York and record their music with some producers he knew. Little did the band know though, that waiting for them at the studio would be legendary producers Eric ‘Roscoe’ Amble and Tim Hatfield, responsible in their time for albums by the likes of Steve Earle, Ryan Adams and Regina Spektor.
It was here that debut album, Under The Pavement, was created. Amble and Hatfield’s considered, subtle production is accessible enough to prick up the ears of the mainstream but bows to no trends. Shimmering, twang-pop melodies and gorgeous harmonies bask in a gentle psychedelia which lends the album an otherworldly glow. Utilising the rich talents of three separate songwriters tracks such as Biding My Time, Desolate Icicle and forthcoming single Only Waiting, whilst rooted in the earth reach for the stars, the group realising Gram Parsons’ “Cosmic music” aesthetic in its truest sense, not bad for a bunch of mid-twenties limeys…
Having returned from recording the album in New York, they began to create waves locally. Starting their own night (Sideways Saloon) at Manchester’s latest hip venue Deaf Institute, The Travelling Band installed themselves as the house band, bemusing before finally winning round the city’s cognoscenti, inviting like-minded artists from home and abroad to play, mixing up Appalachian folk songs, The Beach Boys and Devandra Bernhart on the decks whilst stretching their songs out to Focus-esque lengths on stage. Because, like any folk-country band worth their salt, The Travelling Band are most at home on stage, so it’s no wonder then that the band were this years winners of the Glastonbury New Talent 2008. Whittled down from countless original entrants to a final twelve, they impressed a panel, including Glastonbury’s Michael and Emily Eavis, Q editor Paul Rees and Radio One’s Huw Stephens to claim a slot opening the Other Stage at this year’s festival. It was all in a days work for TTB, as whether they’re playing a show to a few thousand revellers or to a bunch of locals at The Railway in Ramsbottom, their winning brand of wistful harmony-laden tunes will melt the coldest of hearts.