Rob Heron & The Tea Pad Orchestra don’t care what genre you choose to put them in – western swing, country blues, ragtime hokum or whatever else– as long as you understand that they’re 100% sincere and 100% immersed in this stuff. This is no lazy pastiche, no dressing up box. They live and breathe this music and want you to get immersed with them.
The Tea Pad’s sound draws on a myriad of influences – from Bob Wills to Django Reinhardt, George Jones to Tom Waits – yet ultimately sounds like nobody else, that North Eastern Swing style that’s utterly their own and changing all the time.
Across the four wonderful albums – 2012’s “Money Isn’t Everything”, 2014’s “Talk About The Weather”, 2016’s “Something Blue” and the brand new “Soul Of My City” – the band have constantly added new flavours to their sound: Heron in particular is a vinyl obsessive, always fired up about some new passion – calypso or boogaloo or whatever this week brings – and that eclecticism feeds into their songs, with the new album adding twangy 60s guitar tones and modernist R&B styles.
In November 2018 the band released their single “Life Is A Drag” on Germany’s Migraine Records ahead of their upcoming album “Soul Of My City”, which was released on Tea Pad Recordings in February 2019.
Joining Rob Heron (vocals and guitar) is Ben Fitzgerald (guitar), Tom Cronin (mandolin and harmonica), Colin Nicholson (accordion) and Ted Harbot (double bass) and Paul Archibald (drums).
The Reprobates have crept into Bristol’s counterculture music scene under the cover of night, before seizing it by the lapels, and shaking it to the core. With their raucous, rambunctious, rhinestone-free country tunes their songs are packed with hooks and killer choruses.
Now in its fifth year, River Town brings the music of America’s heartland to the south west in a summer celebration of roots and Americana music. With a vibrant programme of blues, bluegrass, country and gospel, 2019’s series is packed full of performances from global icons and rising stars.
In 2019 the River Town series takes place at venues across Bristol including St George’s
Bristol, The O2 Academy, SWX, The Winston Theatre at Bristol University SU and The Crofters Rights,
and also makes its first foray into Bath with two performances at The Forum. With artists including k.d. lang, Lucinda Williams, The Shires, The Mavericks, Keb’ Mo’ and Jerron ‘Blind Boy’ Paxton, it’s the most ambitious programme yet.
River Town began in 2015 under the banner of Bristol Americana Weekend and under a co-producing partnership between Colston Hall and St George’s Bristol presented Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell, Larkin Poe, Police Dog Hogan, Dan Penn & Spooner Oldham and many more outstanding artists of American roots music.
The festival returned after wide-spread acclaim in 2016 to feature Elvis Costello & The Imposters, Mary Chapin Carpenter and the now internationally famous The White Buffalo.
In 2017 we launched the festival for a third year under the new name of River Town and showcased some of the finest blues, gospel, country and bluegrass, from across the pond and closer to home in Colston Hall, St George’s Bristol and for the first time in O2 Academy. Three UK greats – Paul Carrack, Nick Lowe and Andy Fairweather Low – joined forces in a rare trio performance that celebrated their shared love of American R&B, soul and country. The compelling singer songwriter Martha Wainwright performed along with R&B powerhouse, gospel legend and civil rights icon Mavis Staples. Plus performances by duo The Shires with crossover stars Ward Thomas brought country-pop to Bristol.
In 2018 the festival expanded across the city as part of our Colston Hall Presents programme, showcasing events taking place in venues across Bristol during the Hall’s Transformation project. In it’s fourth iteration River Town’s line-up featured music icons Graham Nash and Rosanne Cash alongside The Barr Brothers, Steve Earle & The Dukes, The White Buffalo.