When Lucy Ward was writing and recording the songs for her second album ‘Single Flame’ she was conscious that she would struggle to reproduce the sounds she was laying down in the studio in her solo performances. “I loved making Single Flame”, says Lucy, with that trade mark twinkle in her eye. “It was a really exciting to build up the songs, adding some organ here, a violin part there, using drums to drive some of the songs along and indulging in creating the lush harmonies that modern recording techniques allow”. Single Flame was recorded over a period of six months with producer Stu Hanna and was well received on release with the Guardian awarding it four stars and MOJO Magazine rating it number two in their annual chart of folk albums.
“It very quickly dawned on me” said Lucy, who has recently been nominated for the award of ‘BBC Folk Singer of the Year’, “that I really wanted to do justice to the music on the album and as a solo artist I simply wouldn’t have enough hands to play all the instruments at once!”.
So Lucy set out to create a band that would help bring her dramatic and atmospheric songs to her growing army of fans and to a wider audience. Now the Lucy Ward Band is complete and ready to take to the road. First on board was childhood friend and long time collaborator bassist Sam Pegg. Sam, who has studied bass to masters level, played on both ‘Single Flame’ and also Lucy’s debut album ‘Adelphi Has To Fly’. To complete her rhythm section Lucy turned to drummer Steve MacLachlan. Steve regularly performs with The Willows and provided the drums on ‘Single Flame’.
The classically trained Joy Gravestock, who has recently been accompanying Lucy at many of her solo gigs, provides fiddle and occasional harmonies. Also providing harmonies and various instruments is Heidi Tidow, half of the highly respected folk duo O’Hooley and Tidow. Completing the band on keyboards is the other half of O’Hooley and Tidow, the excellent Belinda O’Hooley. Belinda, who started her career with Rachel Unthank and the Winterset, has recently been touring with the great Nic Jones and with Heidi has just released ‘The Hum’.
With such an experienced and talented line up watching The Lucy Ward Band live cannot fail to be an electric and atmospheric experience. “I’m so excited!” said Lucy, “We’ve all played together, at some time, in different line ups and rehearsals have gone brilliantly, we have a laugh, drink lots of tea and then make beautiful music together. I’m so looking forward to going on the road with a band, it feels so rock n’ roll”, she laughs, “ but I’m not sure we will be wrecking hotel rooms or smashing our instruments on stage, we’re all a bit too sensible for that!
Anyone who has seen Lucy, the solo artist, will testify to her brilliant and engaging stage act. One festival director put it like this “Lucy has a breath-taking presence on stage. Her totally unpretentious outlook and her warmth melts the hearts of audiences wherever she performs. Her disarming personality, strong, pitch perfect delivery and the maturity of her songs can reduce an audience to tears, but a Lucy Ward set will always send you away feeling uplifted.”
So where can you see The Lucy Ward Band?
04 Apr All Hallows Church, Leeds
09 Apr Cecil Sharp House, London
11 Apr The Limelight Theatre, Aylesbury
12 Apr The Green Room, Welwyn Garden City
14 Apr The Junction, Cambridge
15 Apr The Guildhall, Leicester
16 Apr The John Peel Centre for Creative Arts, Stowmarket
18 Apr The Guildhall, Lichfield
19 Apr Folk at the Hall, Trelawnyd nr Rhyl
21 Apr Henry Tudor House, Shrewsbury
25 Apr The Grand Pavilion, Matlock Bath
04 May Bristol Folk Festival
Visit Lucy’s website for fuller details and ticket links here: www.lucywardsings.com