Meeting Muddy Elephant

Does the name sound familiar?  If you were at Warringtons Music Fest in June this year it should be , as they played a short, yet very entertaining set and stirred the crowd from a bit of a mid-afternoon slumber.

So who are Muddy Elephant? 

Following a sold-out gig at Telford Warehouse in Chester I caught up with them for a chat at the Cheesefields Festival in Latchford. Muddy Elephant are Sam on lead vocals and Rhythm Guitar, Warrington born Carlos on Lead Guitar, Matt on Bass and Harry on drums. The band officially formed in 2019 but the seeds were sown some years before when frontman Sam and Matt studied GCSE music together at school.

Describing their music genre as Indie/Rock with a sprinkling of pop, the band released their first single ‘Alice’ in 2019 and this D.I.Y recording relates to Alice Morgan, played by Ruth Wilson in the detective series ‘ Luther’ . Alice has murdered her parents (and their dog) – in such a calculated fashion, that not even Luther is able to prove her guilt, of which he is absolutely certain. Quite a macabre subject to write about but it shows the level of thought that frontman Sam invests into his lyrics and was perhaps, an indication of what was to follow in subsequent years.When you hear the band play ‘Alice’ in a live setting now in 2023 it demonstrates how the band have matured, it is a more complete and polished sound.

2020 was a busy time for the band, they released their second single ‘Helter Skelter’ –  a fast ‘Spandau Ballet’ sounding song with very strong vocals from Sam and lyrics that reflect another Groundhog day- that recurring situation in which events that have happened before happen again, in what seems to be exactly the same way, the 9 to 5 of daily life.   See what you think of it here;

‘Helter Skelter’ was closely followed by ‘Tusk’ and it is here that Muddy Elephant’s signature sound was being firmly established – fast tempo from a very tight rhythm section , driving- jangling guitars , excellent lead vocals again and solid backing vocals from Matt.  My mention of  “the reason for the lyrics of Tusk?”  was the only time I had witnessed Sam break from his jovial and relaxed demeanour as he alluded to the Ivory trade in this song,  and the lifting of the ban by Donald Trump , something he is clearly very passionate about. You can view the You Tube lyrics video here:

Quickly moving on to their fourth release ‘When in Rome’ in 2021- this is an easy going  ‘Summery’ sound, a nod to Indy Pop with occasional Viola Beach chords which are now difficult to avoid in this genre of music. When you go to see the band expect them to invite you to join in the chorus as this is a feel-good singalong song , it’s not hard , even for the mature reader!  Again, and through the power of You Tube , the lads can be seen enjoying themselves in this very well produced video which is a pleasure to watch;

Finally, this year the band released ‘Lonely’ and although you will only find the acoustic video of this on You Tube at the moment , they are working on the new video for release soon. In the meantime why not check out the track on Spotify for the ultimate audio experience of the band in their latest and final guise (with new drummer Harry ). ‘Lonely’ was another track recorded at Gareth Nuttall’s – The Lounge Recording Studio in Wigan, who also produced The Lottery Winners and Frank Turner , and what an excellent job he has done . You can hear the progress and development in a band that has settled down nicely .Witness the clever transition in tempo and dynamics between verse and chorus with riffs that border on Foo Fighters and as usual – superb, resonant vocals high in the mix. 

Just for a laugh I asked ” do you actually play anything slow?” and surprisingly they are planning something this year, but for now the band content themselves with a few covers to change the set tempo and I can vouch they do it very well , especially ‘Mardy Bum’ by the Arctic Monkeys.  With more and more gigs planned for the remainder of the year it would be a complete travesty if these likeable lads didn’t get more recognition from the record industry and an even bigger fan base. However, with their usual modesty Matt states their aim is to play full time , get noticed and do more festivals and if a deal comes their way so be it . For now they just love to play and they are certainly doing that this summer, they are an excellent and entertaining outfit who are working very hard and music lovers should catch them quickly and tell me I’m not biased!  

Readers can check out the band and follow them on any of the usual platforms:


Facebook – 

Instagram –

Twitter –

Spotify – search Muddy Elephant

July 27, 2023

Meet ‘The Raymonds’

Following a successful set on the bill at Woodfest on the 22nd July it was time to catch up with the lads for a quick chat in a wet tent off-stage ,and what a nice bunch they are.

The band line-up consists of frontman Finn Richards on lead vocals and rhythm guitar, Max Morrow on lead guitar, Evan O’Toole on bass guitar and Alex on drums, and with an average age of just 19-20 years old don’t let that fact mislead you as the band have matured considerably over the past 12 months. Hailing from the Warrington area it is hardly surprising that the feel-good vibes of songsters Viola Beach had a positive effect on their young lives, but apart from occasional guitar riffs in their own music there is no direct comparison. Moreover, there is a definite leaning towards Funk, and with vocalist Finn mentioning that their genre is probably more Funk/Pop, their collaborative approach to songwriting is clearly influenced by the likes of Prince, Earth Wind & Fire and Jamiroquai.

The band’s first single ‘Nights with You’ was released in July 2022 and with (what sounds like) Nile Rogers-type chords it is a very accomplished piece of work indeed and could have easily slotted in with the funk era of the late 70’s. In fact this is clearly the image that the band projects and garbed in flares,stacked shoes and short denim jackets they certainly look the part ( the author knows, he was playing in the 70’s!!). Their second single ‘Follow Your Nose ‘ was released in January 2023 and was recorded at the famous Motor Museum studios in Liverpool, also home to recording artists Oasis,The La’s and The Coral to name a few, and with Ben Harper producing they were in very good company. Lead guitarist Max mentioned this latest single was an ode to family holidays when he often inquired of his dad “where are we going?” to which he replied ” follow your nose and go” – it’s fascinating how lyrics can arise and this jaunty, summery tune is the type you would hear in a beach bar abroad and bring home with you. It really is a clever, catchy tune and quite unforgettable.

‘Follow your Nose’ was their opening song at Woodfest and people who were not familiar with the band were clearly lifted by it as another downpour threatened to spoil the day. However, the band were an absolute pleasure to watch as frontman Finn gyrated his way across the stage in true Jay-Kay/Prince style.with supreme confidence that belied his youth and was accompanied by a superb lead guitar from Max and a rock-solid funky rhythm section of Evan and Alex. Guitarist Max hinted at another single some time this year but if you want to hear more of the band again you can find them by logging on to their website and selecting the Spotify icon or by entering The Raymonds directly on Spotify but ensure you select the right band or you could end up with a bit of punk rock! 

Keep an eye on these hard working lads and catch them now is the authors advice, before the corporates snap them up and are given a chance to sanitize their music as they deserve every success in their own right in this fickle business.

July 25, 2023

Is life a musical #BalancingAct

If you are searching for a break from the ‘get rich quick – talent show’ saturated music scene , then you could no better than checking out Indie/Rock band @Balancing Act .

With 5 tracks on Spotify ranging from the high energy (and very well produced) ‘Before I Shoot ‘ , to the slower and more melodic ‘Rabbit Hole ‘ , think of a blend between Longview/Arctic Monkeys/Prefab Sprout and The Eels and you won’t be far off course!

Listen on headphones to hear the masterful effects , superb vocals and often angelic harmonies and you will be hooked. I can’t recall such an effective use of instruments and vocals since 10cc. I will be in the audience at #thedeafinstitute on the 7th Sept if I can get a ticket!

‘When Rivers Meet’ – you can expect to rock

Essex based, formed in 2016, husband and wife blues rock duo, When Rivers Meet, are Grace Bond – vocals, mandolin, and Aaron Bond – vocals, guitar.

This multi award winning powerhouse of a band genuinely needs to be listened to, whether blues is your thing or not, it’s a given you will be wowed by the sounds created by this all encompassing and musically explosive band. An amalgamation of the obvious blues and rock but with aspects of country, vintage jazz and often times retro gospel feel and glimmers of an almost psychedelic influence can be detected; powerful, very strong vocals and stunning slide strings are amongst a whole host of sounds, a multi faceted creation that is quite honestly mind blowing.

This EP collection starts as it means to go on – hits you from the first song – powerful, rousing, uplifting and utterly enchanting from the off and this is a theme which continues throughout. Mesmerising, bewitching and beguiling with real solid blues at its heart; evocative atmosphere wrapped around every song that transports us elsewhere. Exquisite rock kicks in and there’s the most encompassing Americana essence and feel that is seamlessly woven throughout. Each song takes us on a journey, alternating from heartfelt and emotive to moving, stirring and inspiring. The vocal is nothing short of incredible; Grace has a staggering range which seems effortless; a richness with honey tones but textural and a volume that extends out and reaches us from within each song. Aaron’s vocal is earthy, full, raspy and characterful. It adds another dimension; it brings that vintage feel; the combination of male and female vocals works brilliantly.

The haunting vintage sounds of ‘Free Man’ – Up-tempo with sweltering feels of Americana which conjure up images of sweeping dustlands and hazy days. There’s a country rock undercurrent which hooks you, pulling you in and keeping you there until its end.

Kill for your Love’ is a masterpiece; really heady, ‘down by the Mississippi River’ feels throughout this track, siren-like in its beguiling and fascinating sounds, almost cathartic and magical feeling. We could be deep in the bayou.

‘A dead man doesn’t talk’ is another atmospheric wonder; an entire feeling or essence is created; a soulful or melancholy sound but with a spirited heart and a brightness within; intense.

My personal favourite from this EP collection is ‘Innocence of youth’. It’s real old style blues, that ‘days gone by’, authentic sound. I get slight gospel feels, dust bowl, depression era Americana type feels; totally immersive; really captures the blues. The vintage or retro sounds are incredible!

When Rivers Meet – The EP collection

The Uprising EP

1.Free Man

2.Like what you see


4.Kill for your love

Innocence of Youth

5.Innocence of Youth

6.A dead man doesn’t lie

7.My Babe says that he loves me.


9.Want your love