British country music has seen a resurgence in recent years, not least due to the success of duo The Shires. Hengistbury hail from Dorset and although they are indeed a male / female duo (Pete Briley and Jessie Mary), they have a sound all their own. Formed in 2017, this still new band released their first album, Add Another Minute in 2018 and look set to go from strength to strength in both live shows and recordings.
The album has a traditional country feel mixed with a modern sensibility that incorporates both bluegrass and an electronic influence whilst still retaining the element of storytelling that is so closely associated with country music. Beautifully blended vocal harmonies float and swirl over catchy, mostly upbeat melodies, all the while showing you some very witty lyrics. “Bet my green eyes and skinny jeans” being just one example and surely a nod to Crystal Gayle’s worldwide hit on the theme of brown eyes.
The first track, ‘Shooter on the Mound’ is unbelievably catchy and has the thing I look for most in a new song: danceability. I dare you to listen to this song and sit still! It has also one of the most honest lines about new love in a song – “I can’t love you any more than I do”. When newly in love, this is precisely the emotion that is felt, simply not being able to love more than you currently do. By the second song, ‘Tired of Playing Fiddle’, the emotion has changed and the love is no longer new, or perhaps not there at all.
Before you read on, Hengistbury is giving a FREE download of “Shooter on the Mound”, to Angry Baby readers. If you’re not already subscribed to Angry Baby, just pop the email address that you’d like it delivered to here and it will be on its way to you straight away, together with a bumper collection of music that has been shared by Angry Baby. The music comes from outstanding artists that you may not have heard before. With a mix of rock, pop, folk…you name it…there’s bound to be something new that floats your musical boat, and all for free! What’s not to like about that?!
‘My Body Ain’t A Temple’ displays Hengistbury’s talent for lyric writing with “I guess I’m getting old and so I should ‘cos I ain’t never been good”. Good might lead to a body like a temple but surely not being good is more fun? This track comes towards the end of the album and follows a period of slower, more meditative tracks. The return to a more upbeat pulse brings with it some of the duo’s more electronic sounds. The result is country twinned with pop and is an intriguing look to the direction Hengistbury might take their music next.
As befits a new band within a somewhat overlooked music genre, the advice for aspiring musicians, give us a look into the creative process:
“Create what you like, and don’t be afraid to open the window.”
Add Another Minute was released on October 19 2018. Get your copy here.
Catch Hengistbury live here. Or if you can’t make it, follow them at:
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