On September 2nd UK-5-piece Concrete Prairie release their self-titled debut album, via Good Deeds Music – an uplifting, thoughtful and rousing collection blending elements of UK country, folk, blues and Americana.

To be a great band you need memorable songs, fine musicianship, and a clear idea of what you are doing – and Concrete Prairie tick all those boxes with a vengeance. They’ve been described as ‘bruised Americana’, and they make use of fiddle, banjo and twanging guitar solos, but this is a distinctively English brand of Americana –  in which they tackle anything from London knife crime to the depression of living in a dreary English seaside town in winter. Lead singer and writer Joe describes the band as “socially conscious, aware of the world around us, and not afraid to go down a Country-Folk avenue…or to rock out”.

His subject matter reflects his own, often pained experiences growing up in a single-parent family, with his mother losing her life to alcoholism “so I’m acutely aware of how fragile the whole thing is…and then embracing it from there”. So the sturdy Bury My Blues, which deals with mental health issues, starts as an acoustic ballad before developing into a stomping, fiddle-backed celebration of life. Wine On My Mind is influenced by the problems that faced his mother, and all other addicts “and just jumping into their shoes for a song. Thinking about how it must feel for them”. And that, says bandmate Adam, is a key part of his technique “because it’s easy to write a song about the devastating impact of these sort of things, but it’s a lot harder to take another person’s point of view, taking it from their side and how they must be feeling”. Adam-penned Winter Town fits the mood perfectly with its atmospheric story of an out-of-season English resort, depression and suicide.

Elsewhere, Day By Day was influenced by the sudden death of a young friend of Dan and Joe’s, but instead of being a lament, the band have transformed the experience into a gloriously jaunty, banjo and harmonica-backed song about making the most out of life. New single Picking Up Pieces has a gutsy melody, and again mixes the bleak and the optimistic. It’s a song about fatherhood, and in particular Joe’s daughter, “how much I treasure her, how shit life can be, and the fact that I’ll always be there for her”. And then there’s the epic The Devil Dealt The Deck, a song that deals with the obvious unfairness of some people’s lives, and the fact that it’s the luck of the draw as to where you’re born, and who your parents are. It’s a boldly philosophical subject to tackle, and the result is a boldly adventurous piece that’s over eight minutes long, starts slowly, builds up, fades away and ends as another rousing celebration of being alive, with twanging electric guitar and fiddle swapping solos.

Since forming in Bath, Somerset Concrete Prairie have been busy building a fan base playing live across the South-West, with constant touring in towns like Bath, Bristol, Swindon and Salisbury (with some trips to London, including playing at the celebrated Half Moon in Putney) as they honed their live show, inevitably they got noticed – and invited to record their debut album at Peter Gabriel’s Real World studios, just down the road from Bath. They also attracted the interest of the distinguished producer and musician, John Reynolds who has worked with everyone from Peter Gabriel to U2, and from Sinead O’Connor to Damien Dempsey. Reynolds has produced exactly the album they wanted. It promises to launch Concrete Prairie as a major band on the Anglo Americana scene.

Concrete Prairie are Joe Faulkner, lead singer, guitarist and harmonica player, second songwriter Adam Greeves on vocals, guitar, mandolin and harmonica, and Dan Burrows, who adds harmonies, and plays bass and banjo. Then there’s Georgia Browne on fiddle and Tom Hartley on drums. And why are they called Concrete Prairie? “It’s English but with the influence of Americana. The brutalism of a city combined with the image of a prairie…”


‘Concrete Prairie’ is out September 2nd 2022. Pre Order here:


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