When Rivers Meet // ‘Flying Free Tour Live’ // Album Review
The winds of change could not be more prevalent for When Rivers Meet as they release their debut live album, casting themselves under the ever pertinacious eye of an industry just waiting to pass judgment. Forming back in 2016 the British husband/wife duo have already clocked up high mileage on their act with a surfeit of awards and recognitions alike. Absolutely cleaning slate at the 2021 UK Blues Awards with a never-been-done-before four award scoop up saw them titled Planet Rocks ‘Best New Band’ as well as UK Blues Awards’ ‘Blues Album of the Year’, ‘Blues Band of the Year’ and ‘Blues Vocalist of the Year’ (Grace Bond). The accolades grow in tandem with Where Rivers Meets’ ever cementing clutch on the industry’s hearts and respect.
Following their 2021 release of their sophomore record ‘Saving Grace’, with a band in tow Grace and Aaron Bondstepped up into their own headlining tour domain. Over the course of three concerts during April-May 2022 they recorded material for their first live masterwork, ‘Flying Free Tour Live’, an exciting stint we rarely see from bands so early on in their careers. Though in Where Rivers Meets’ case, their 6 year continuous rise is already starting to feel like decades worth of best hits lining a likeable persona and unmatched aspiration. So getting my hands on the ‘Flying Free Tour Live’ record was a must.
The thirteen-song track list features a plethora of blues rocking tracks from their two EP’s and LP discography. ‘Did I Break The Law’ whips us into shape as an audience on the edge of an enthralling experience. Grace Bonds’ vocals draw us from get to go with her unfailingly rhythmic tones, the band’s live vivacity allowing her to dance above the original tracking with an exciting comfortability.
Where Rivers Meet then runs through their soul-infused track listing of quintessential WRM emoters. ‘Walking On The Wire’, ‘My Babe Says That He Loves Me’ and ‘Battleground’ continues in this grand form.
James Fox – drummer, keys and backing vocal extraordinaire – is a thundering force throughout, providing much of those live peripherals that deepen the studio originals with a hardened crunch.
The album then courses through ‘Don’t Tell Me Goodbye’, ‘Free Man’, ‘Lost And Found’ and ‘Innocence of Youth’ with a defining certitude. It’s easy to harvest what we consider to be a great live album and place those expectations upon the artist but Where Rivers Meet hits the nail on the head in both audience response and timely repute. The background cheering is warm and uncoercively becoming.
The last quarter of the album graces us with mellower tones. ‘Tomorrow’, taken from their first EP, is a special moment. Grace is the audible centre spotlight through just her voice, hammering holes into the audiences’ souls as they follow and recite with even more passion than those onstage.
‘Kissing The Sky’ comes to us with a roots’ier revived touch of southern twang. ‘Want Your Love’ is the 90’s blessed inevitable moment of the crowd sing along. They round up the gig with ‘Testify’ which brings Aaron Bonds to life as the guitar connoisseur in performance as well as in writing that he is.
The 30 second long applause leaves us on a fade out, suggesting the actual crowd reaction went on for much, much longer than the record lets on. It’s a gorgeously navigated round-up and a promise of much more to come.
The worth of procuring a live album is a feat that not many undertake. It’s not as much the songs being judged as it’s the artist. Here Where Rivers Meet put their best foot forward both unflawed and favoured. It’s tasteful and invigorating with enough tease to mentally indent the need to go to one of their shows. Where Rivers Meet head straight for the great seas.
The Flying Free Tour Live on 29th July 2022. The live album will be released on CD, DVD, vinyl, and digital. The CD and DVD will include a 12-page collectible booklet.
1. DID I BREAK THE LAW
2. WALKING ON THE WIRE
3. MY BABE SAYS HE LOVES ME
5. DON’T TELL ME GOODBYE
6. FREE MAN
7. LOST & FOUND
8. INNOCENCE OF YOUTH
9. BURY MY BODY
11. KISSING THE SKY
12. WANT OUR LOVE
GRACE BOND – VOCALS, MANDOLIN, FIDDLE
AARON BOND – VOCALS, GUITAR
ROGER INNES – BASS. MUSICAL DIRECTOR
JAMES FOX – DRUMS, KEYS, BACKING VOCALS
TOM JAMES – LIVE AUDIO RECORDING
ADAM BOWERS – MIX ENGINEER
MIKE – CURTIS – AUDIO MASTERING
WILL CARTER – COVER PHOTOGRAPHY
TERRY CROUCH – GRAPHIC DESIGN