They say that good things come to those who wait. A little over a year after their launch, you could say that Cardinal Black are testament to the power of patience, thought and persistence. A debut #1 single and E.P.; a first gig to a hometown capacity crowd at Cardiff Castle; back-to-back sold out Academy tours with Myles Kennedy, then The Struts; a highly-anticipated debut album, heralded by a live set recording in the Beatles’ legendary Studio Two at Abbey Road in London. An eventful 12 months for any band. It takes years, so the saying goes, to become an overnight success… Rewind to 2010 and the Welsh-born trio of Tom Hollister, Chris Buck and Adam Roberts were riding a wave of hype, hotly-tipped by some of the biggest names in rock - most notably Steve Winwood who invited the band to record at his storied Wincraft Studios. A triumphant live set at Sonisphere was followed by a flight across the Atlantic to begin work on their first record, with veteran manager Alan Niven (Guns N’ Roses) at the helm. The lure of the U.S. proved irresistible to the nascent trio but, as is often the case, expectation rarely mirrors reality and the band struggled to adapt to the new country, culminating in singer Tom Hollister unexpectedly calling time on the band before returning to the U.K.  “We tried to do the acrimonious split; creative differences and all that. We then quickly realised we were fairly reliant on one another,” says Buck. In the decade that followed, the lifelong friends cut their own individual paths whilst remaining close. Most notable has been the well-earned rise of guitarist Chris Buck, named in 2019 as ‘Best New Guitarist in the World’, who has forged a reputation as one of the most inventive and recognisable guitar players in music; winning plaudits from peers and the industry’s most iconic players alike. Drummer Adam Roberts found work as a first-call session player, whilst vocalist Tom Hollister moved into tour management - the three maintaining their musical connection by sporadically meeting up to perform together. It was just a matter of time then, before they were ready to make new music again. The writing and recording of new material began in 2020, under the name Cardinal Black, bolstered by the arrival of bassist Sam Williams. After announcing themselves with debut single ‘Tell Me How It Feels’ in May 2021, it was less than 24 hours before the track toppled Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds to take the #1 spot in the iTunes Rock Single Chart. Their 4-track eponymous E.P. quickly followed, also claiming the #1 spot on both the iTunes Rock Album Chart and Amazon Rock Best Sellers Chart. The debut album ‘January Came Close’ was released on October 28th 2022 and within 24 hours had also reached #1, this time on UK’s Amazon Album Chart - besting Taylor Swift’s new album in the process. In November, the band were tapped by guitar icon Peter Frampton, joining him on his Farewell UK tour and playing to capacity crowds including London’s prized Royal Albert Hall. In 2023, the band will once again embark on a nationwide tour including European dates and festival appearances. They may have taken the scenic route but Cardinal Black are finally here, and they've got plenty of stories to tell.

To an artist without the creative energy and laser-focused determina1on of Elles Bailey, it could all have been very different. But when you're the hardest-working woman in blues, rock and roots music, not even the tumultuous world events of the past two years were going to stop you from wri1ng several new chapters in a remarkable story.

The Bristol-based singer, songwriter and bandleader, who has powered her way to the forefront of the Bri1sh blues and roots scene in recent years, is excited to unveil her eagerly-awaited third album Shining in the Half Light. Crammed with vibrant originals brought to life with her A-list band, it's yet another significant step forward in a career already feted with awards and acclaim generated by her two previous studio sets, 2017's Wildfire and 2019's Road I Call Home.

Shining in the Half Light arrives on the heels of Bailey's typically extensive autumn tour of the UK and such preview tracks as 'Cheats and Liars' and 'Sunshine City.' For anyone who loves their combina1on of thought-provoking bluesiness and sassy rock, there is so much more where they come from. These are ten new tracks by an ar1st who, as she sings in 'The Game,' always dances to the beat of her own blues. She co-wrote the en1re album with a variety of collaborators and recorded it in Devon, with her band and producer Dan Weller. Tracking was completed just weeks before Elles gave birth to her first child and she sat in the hospital wai1ng room listening to mixes on the big day!

The height of the pandemic also gave rise to her series of cover version livestreams, Ain't Nothing But. The ensuing record was nominated as Blues Album of the Year at the UKBlues Awards 2021, where Elles was named UK Blues Ar1st of the Year for the 2nd year running. Let's also remember that Road I Call Home, recorded in Nashville, had been crowned Album of the Year at those awards, and its song 'Li[le Piece of Heaven' (wri[en with American greats Bobby Wood and Dan Auerbach) was UK Song of the Year at the UK Americana Awards 2020.

For the new listeners that Elles a[racts with every play, that voice was the silver lining of a poten1ally grave illness, when at just three years old, she contracted viral and bacterial
pneumonia, and had to breathe through a tube for 17 days. “Only with the real heavy touring did I start to really understand that it's such a big part of me,” she reflects. “I know how fortunate I am that I walked away with a husky voice. And my life.”

Aber residencies on the Bristol scene, her first EP Who I Am To Me came out in 2015, followed two years later by that full Wildfire debut. It was an exhilara1ng confirma1on of a unique talent already marking her card with passionate, visceral live shows. Two more years of touring and wri1ng later, Road I Call Home arrived as a remarkable companion with all the fire of the first set, plus maturity, perspec1ve and downright soulfulness.

Now back to the future, and the 1tle of the new album. “It's called Shining in the Half Light because there we all were, in this 1me of complete uncertainty, worry and isola1on, and yet ar1sts were s1ll pueng themselves on a screen, warts and all, and that brought people together,” says Elles. “I was so inspired by all the musicians, poets, ar1sts and everyone who were like, 'I don't quite know how to do me in this 1me, but I'm going to try anyway.' That to me is what the album is about. It is a record inspired by those who spread love in a 1me of heartbreak, happiness in a 1me of fear & connec1on in a 1me of loneliness.

Lyrically, Bailey has never pulled punches, and this 1me she's delivering knockout blows. Take 'Cheats and Liars.' “It's about the people in their ivory towers who made us feel like the arts don't really ma[er, and to go and retrain,” she says. “Thirty-eight percent of musicians, including myself, didn't get any kind of government funding, and some people lost everything. It's been so hard watching how arts has been undervalued at a 1me when that was what was bringing people together.”

For an ar1st who lives for live performance, lockdown brought its share of challenges, of course. Suddenly and unavoidably, aber gigging her way to prominence over several years, the road she called home was home. But as ever, she turned it into a posi1ve.

“It's the first full album I've made here in the UK, I was 6 months pregnant when I made it, and it was made right in the middle of lockdown,” she exclaims. “It s1ll sounds like an Elles Bailey record, but it does feel like it's expanded and been given a new perspec1ve.”

The record was made throughout December 2020, doing a week of pre-produc1on followed by nine days in Middle Farm in Devon. “It was a very different, yet exceedingly fulfilling experience,” she admits. “I've made records in Nashville and I was going to make this album there in May 2020, but obviously that couldn't happen. But I knew I had an amazing band here that could do an incredible job on this record, I just needed to find the right producer.

The search for a like-minded collaborator led her to rock producer Dan Weller, best known for his long working rela1onship with Enter Shikari. “He's not in my musical world at all, so that in itself was a huge step into the unknown” she confides. “But we cha[ed on the phone a lot through the summer, and just clicked. We both seemed to be on the same page with what we wanted to achieve from the album, and how best to go about it. I had about 40 songs, probably, and it was a case of really shaking the tree un1l we got these ten tracks. Then we just got in a room, played live and let the musicians do their thing, and built it that way.”

The musicians that feature are Joe Wilkins on guitar, Jonny Henderson on ivories, Ma[hew Waer on bass du1es and Ma[hew Jones on drums. The finishing touches were then added by ar1st Izo
Fitzroy who brought Andrusilla Mosely and Jade Elliot on board to immerse the album in their stunning, gospel-inspired backing vocals.

An exci1ng team of co-writers came on board, too, with three credits for Ash Tucker & Will Edmunds, who also wrote with Elles for Road I Call Home. She teamed with long1me guitarist Joe Wilkins to write the slow-flowing, philosophical 'Riding Out The Storm.' Other kindred spirits include guitar maestro Mar1n Harley, for the gentle and roman1c 'Different Kind Of Love,' and Ma[ Owens, co-founder of the hugely successful indie-folk oukit Noah and the Whale, on the aforemen1oned 'Sunshine City'. Alex Maile, Tamara Stewart and Bre[ Boye[ also have one each.

The album comes to a striking conclusion with its 1tle track, co-wri[en with Nashvilles, Craig Lackey, over zoom in May 2020. Its message, and its descrip1on of the 1me in which it was made, are delivered with restrained power. “Feel like we’re living where we can’t be seen,” sings Elles. “Here we are lost in the in-between, reaching out to each other through a cold glass screen, losing our grip on a dystopian dream.” As she says: “That's probably the only 1me that I was as direct as that. It's an album inspired and made in ‘lockdowns’, but I'm quite glad that it doesn't give that away too much.”

Shining In The Half Light is an album of self-realisa1on, but one that lets everyone share in its sense of realism and, ul1mately, posi1vity. “It's a new perspec1ve for me,” says Elles. “I have no idea what it would have taken to get me off the road. I think I would have found it really tough, taking 1me off to have a baby and watching everyone else s1ll doing their thing. So the fact that there was this forced stop, gave me the 1me to shib my perspec1ve, and that’s what this record is all about.

“This album has been about geeng to know who I am without the show, the stage and the splendour,” she concludes. “unraveling the layers and being ok with them, and learning to love each and every version of myself, and of course geeng to know this new version, being a mum! This whole record has been about finding a new way to do things, and seeing the blessings I have right in front of me. That's been really weight-libing and refreshing.”

The debut album from Beaux Gris Gris & The Apocalypse, Love & Murder, spurned Top 10 hits in genre charts across Europe. The album’s wide-reaching appeal earned it a #13 placement in the “Top 50 Albums of the year” by Classic Rock Magazine, describing it as “A sensual, vibrant cocktail”. Multi-award-winning vocalist, songwriter, & GROW VISION founder Greta Valenti is a Louisiana-born-and-bred creative with generations of family as artists and revolutionairies dating back before the Louisiana purchase. Guitarist Robin Davey was the youngest ever inductee into the British Blues Hall of Fame. He spent time as an artist on Atlantic and Interscope Records, and has recorded with a wide spectrum of artists from Mick Jagger to Katy Perry. Their rock outfit Well Hung Heart (OCMA’s Best Live Band) toured the USA opening for the likes of Fitz & The Tantrums, Twenty One Pilots, Foreigner, and Offspring. Check out BGG’s album ‘Good Times End Times’ on all digital platforms.

Connor Selby

Connor is one of the brightest talents on the UK blues scene. He has been voted "Young Artist of the Year" at the UK Blues Awards for the last three consecutive years (2020, 2021, 2022). He has an impressive venue checklist, including Wembley Stadium, where he opened for The Who in July 2019 and has since gone on to play Hyde Park, London, on a bill with Pearl Jam, Stereophonics and Johnny Marr in the summer of 2022.

Raised in an Essex village, he has trodden a path less travelled. From early years in Connecticut, USA, as a young child to Dubai, UAE, aged ten to fourteen, and Essex either side, with those young eyes soaked up the travels and the changes passing him by.

One thing that kept with him was his burgeoning love of American roots music. "I got interested in not just the music itself but the history and everything around it," he says. "I love the directness, the simplicity and earthiness of it," he adds. "I love really how down-to-earth; it is both lyrically and musically. I think with the blues, it's fundamentally about very basic human emotions. Things like sorrow and pride and exploring the way we deal with everyday situations and problems."

As a teenager, he devoured the music of Eric Clapton and Ray Charles - "Ray completely reshaped me as a person and the way I thought about music." But he also draws influence from old Delta records to soul artists like Sam Cooke, Bill Withers and the Stax sound to Jazz singers such as Billie Holiday and Frank Sinatra as well as singer-songwriters; Van Morrison, Townes van Zandt, Bob Dylan, Nick Drake and contemporary artists like Ray LaMontagne, Norah Jones and Foy Vance. 

The Greig Taylor Band are fronted by powerhouse Scottish singer Greig Taylor and include former John Martyn and The Big Dish drummer Dave Cantwell, bassist Nelson McFarlane and Kenny Clark on keys, and former Marianne Faithful and The Big Dish maestro Brian McFie on guitar.

Greig Taylor has been cited many times as not just one of Scotland’s hardest working musicians but one
of the UK’s finest blues styled vocalists, appearing with his band at festivals and venues throughout the UK and Europe, and featuring in a host of publications such as Classic Rock Magazine, Blues Matters & Blues in Britain, and on National television and radio (BBC Radio 2 / BBC Four Television).

Packing a punch, the Greig Taylor Band sound is a mesmerising cross-section of old and new blues, funk, and soul.