“Thin Ice is another classic Ed “The Shred” Clarke Riff”, says BR’s bass player Billy Dedman. “I’ll never forget when I first heard that riff. I was out walking on a particularly frosty morning when Ed sent a demo through to us. The riff immediately caught my attention. As I was messing about on this massive iced over puddle, inspiration hit, and I suggested we call this demo Thin Ice. The girls ran with that idea and wrote a song all about a loved one pushing one too many buttons!”
Brave Rival, who were recently nominated for “Best Emerging Blues Artist Of The Year” at the UK Blues Awards2022, recorded in the picturesque Surrey countryside at The Mayfair Studio. The band enlisted the talents of record producer and engineer Tarrant Shepherd, an up-and-coming maestro of the control room who cut his teeth with Brit Award winning producer Greg Haver and award- winning multi-platinum producer and engineer Clint Murphy.
For Tarrant, this was his first professional album under his own stewardship, and he left nothing on the table. This team was a match made in heaven, and one that was a long time in the making.
Originally scheduled for a spring 2020 recording session, Life’s Machine was unceremoniously put on hold due to the Covid-19 global pandemic. A situation which stung all the harder for Brave Rival as the first lockdown occurred mere weeks after a successful Kickstarter campaign raised the funding to record.
Undeterred by the social distancing measures which forced the band to stay at home, Brave Rival took to technology to continue writing songs (many of which feature on Life’s Machine).
“We didn’t want to just give up and hide away,” says co-lead vocalist Chloe Josephine. “We wanted to keep the momentum going and keep ourselves from going crazy whilst stuck at home. We would have regular Zoom calls as a band to work on song ideas. Our guitarist, Ed, came up with a guitar riff that he would record at home, then our bassist, Billy Dedman, or our drummer, Donna Peters, would record their parts at home and the song would grow organically.”
The additional year ended up being time well spent as it allowed the band to fine tune their craft, writing upwards of 50 songs, ultimately allowing them to select the best stand out songs for the 12-track album.
“It was important for us to ensure every song deserved to be on the album,” states the band’s bass guitarist Billy Dedman. “We wanted each song to be a true representation of us and our sound. This demanded the best performances from each of us and the best production. Joining forces with Tarrant really was the greatest decision we made as it allowed us to achieve both of those goals”
For their debut album, Brave Rival also collaborated with some incredible musicians to bring their songs to life. On Hammond organ and keyboards, they brought in the amazing Jonny Henderson (Ian Siegal, Matt Schofield, Elles Bailey).
“I was absolutely blown away by what Jonny brought to certain tracks,” says co-lead vocalist Lindsey Bonnick. “We let him do his thing with songs such as Heart Attack, Guilty Love and Without You, I just couldn't imagine them now without his signature flair!”
For the title track of the album, Life’s Machine, the band required a bit of melancholy drama and found it in the form of a grand piano at 13 Sound Studios, Somerset. “Ian Shepherd was entrusted with adding his emotive playing and style to the title track as well as the album closer, Long Time Coming. The extra layers on top really made the songs come alive for us” enthused the band’s guitarist Ed Clarke.
And finally, to round out the album, Brave Rival turned to the abundance of talent on the Portsmouth blues and soul scene. Chloe and Lindsey, together with six beautiful soul and gospel singers, created the Bravian Choir. Their parts were performed and recorded at St Mary’s Church in Portsmouth and the results were epic. “The sustain and natural reverb in the church was insane. I had goose bumps whilst watching them sing,” recalls Brave Rivals drummer Donna Peters, “After hearing the songs with the choir mixed in, I started tearing up! It made the songs so beautiful.”
With all the elements recorded and mixed, it was time to turn their sights on mastering. Brave Rival knew they wanted someone with the right kind of energy and found it with Katie Tavini (Ash, We Are Scientists, Nahli). “What attracted us to Katie, was her impressive work ethic and back catalogue for such a young age but equally, Brave Rival is all about female empowerment, therefore, it was important for us to work with other female professionals in a male dominated industry” remarked Chloe. “We are so happy to have found Katie, her final touches to our album completely blew us all away!”
ALBUM TRACKLISTING 1. Heart Attack (4:11) 2. Guilty Love (3:36) 3. Without You (4:34) 4. Run And Hide (3:50) 5. Come Down (5:58) 6. What’s Your Name Again? (4:50) 7. Secrets (4:54) 8. Long Time Coming (5:33) 9. Thin Ice (3:40) 10. Fool Of You (4:12) 11. Break Me (6:07) 12. Life’s Machine (6:13)
PRODUCTION CREDITS All songs written and performed by Chloe Josephine, Lindsey Bonnick, Donna Peters, Billy Dedman and Ed Clarke Recorded at The Mayfair Studio, Churt, Surrey Piano recorded at 13 Sound Studios in Kewstoke, North Somerset Tarrant Shepherd - Producer, Engineer, Mixer Rupert Peters - Assistant Engineer
BAND LINE-UP Chloe Josephine - Vocals Lindsey Bonnick - Vocals Donna Peters - Drums, Percussion Billy Dedman - Bass Ed Clarke - Guitars
Heart Attack Blues-Rock that will get your heart pumping, pulse racing and your chest pounding. A 'turn-it-up-in-your-car' track with a Floyd inspired middle 8. Intrigued?
Guilty Love Ultimate earworm, reminiscent of an eighties rock classic. A celebration of leaving a relationship that just isn't right for you.
Without You This is a sentimental song that explores the journey of loss and the longing for a loved one. It’s a song with beautiful harmonies, rocking guitars and driving rhythms with plenty of light and shade.
Run And Hide Adrenaline fuelled, high energy and catchy as hell. A great song to run to, especially from someone you don't like. Soak in the incredible drumming featured in this banger!
Come Down The lyrics to this epic tune were written in the bath after a gig about the inevitable post show blues. Expect an exceptional blues solo, spectacular vocals by Chloe Josephine and breath-taking moments from the Brave Rival 'engine room' - Donna Peters and Billy Dedman.
What's Your Name Again? Slide guitar? Check. Heavy riff? Check. Filthy theme? Check. ... Turn it up!
Secrets A gut punching rock anthem full of fury. Chanting encouraged for those who have ever been lied to and cheated on - 'three years, I've wasted!'
Long Time Coming A song you will feel you already know and love. Close and intimate heartfelt vocals that build to an outstanding masterpiece with our Bravian choir allowing Lindsey Bonnick to “take it home.” It’s a song about the longing and aching for home and family.
Thin Ice Industrial percussive sounds really take this song up a gear. With such a catchy, heavy riff, two-part fiery vocals, and a chant you'll be singing along to at the end, this song is hard to forget.
Fool of You Aretha inspired gospel intro leading to a funky groove with a dollop of soul and a splash of rock to make this number what it is. Listen out for the sexy bassline driving this song forward.
Break Me The story is told from the perspective of two women entangled in a love triangle. A unique slow blues rock tune featuring one of the best solos you'll hear and a gospel choir that takes it to another level. Fun Fact, the Bravian Choir was hand-picked by the band and recorded at St Marys Church, Portsmouth.
Life's Machine Written during the Covid-19 global pandemic, it's a heart wrenching, spine tingling and goose bump inducing rock ballad summing up how it feels to lose someone you love during such a gruelling time. One of two songs to feature a grand piano on the album, Life's Machine takes the listener on a journey through delicate verses and mournful choruses all building to an epic crescendo. The song ends with the sounds of ghost-like spirits with the cycle of life complete.
July 7 – Bullfrog Blues Club, Southsea, Portsmouth July 14 – The Beaverwood, Chislehurst July 31 – Uckfield Blues and Roots Festival 2022 5 August – Jolly Sailor, Southsea 26 August – Temperance - Leamington Spa 27 August – The Great British Rhythm and Blues Festival, Colne 16 September – Cheese and Grain, Frome (supporting Laurence Jones) 24 September – The Giffard, Wolverhampton 20 October – Tapestry Arts, Bradford (supporting Dom Martin) 21 October – Blue Funk, Rhythm & Blues Club, Manchester (supporting Dom Martin) 22 October – The Wharf, Stourport-On-Severn (supporting Dom Martin) 23 October – The Harlington, Fleet (supporting Dom Martin) 26 October – The Factory, Worthing (supporting Dom Martin) 27 October – Bourne Music Club (supporting Dom Martin) 28 October – Goin’ Up The Country, Chester (supporting Dom Martin) 29 October – The Mackenzie Hall, Brockweir (supporting Dom Martin) 5 November – Music Club, Coolham (Supporting Catfish) 11 November – Hallelujah Festival, Hartlepool 10 November – The Blues Bar, Tring 13 November – The Musician, Leicester 15 November – The 100 Club, London (Supporting Corky Laing) 16 November – The Bullingdon, Oxford (Supporting Corky Laing) 19 November – Parish Hall, Sedgefield (Supporting Corky Laing) 20 November – Whitby Blues Festival, Whitby 9 December – The 1865, Southampton (Supporting Laurence Jones