Americana music has been in the news on this side of the Atlantic a lot recently. It’s nothing new, though, European musicians have always taken the best of what the States has to offer and sold it back to ’em. The Travelling Band, then, are just another in a long line of groups whose harmonies and way with a melody see them tagged as alt-country or whatever. Us? We just think they’re ace… and in town this weekend. By Alan O’Hare.

The Traveling Band have been burning down the road for ten years. A decade of songs and singing hasn’t dimmed their appetite for touring or their thirst to keep on writing, recording and releasing new music, either. Sure, a recent line-up change may have slowed them down a touch, but they’re back and stronger than ever for a tour that has added pedal steel, brass, woodwind and strings to the mix.

A new record, their fourth, is imminent and the Manchester rattlers have also been releasing a series of cover versions to YouTube to celebrate their tenth anniversary: “Each song represents a moment in time for each year we’ve been playing music together,” says singer/guitarist/one-man-band Jo Dudderidge. “We hope they give fans an insight into some important songs that made us tick.” It’s a great idea and one that’s took in tunes from Iron & Wine, The Shins and Neil Young so far.

But new music is the currency that counts and The Travelling Band are ready to roll. “The new songs are very cinematic and there’s a lot of darkness in there,” reveals Dudderidge. “I’ve been writing a lot more on the piano, so there’s a new focus there.” We’re glad to hear it – as a packed and expectant Magnet will be ready to hear something old, new, borrowed and blue when the group arrive in town today…

Ten years… it’s something to be proud of isn’t it?
I’d say it is! We’ve given up a lot to keep it going and it’s not been an easy ride at times… the journey is the destination, though.

Absolutely. What do you remember about your previous journeys to Liverpool?
We’ve had some great times in Liverpool. We used to play with The Random Family in a church (St Bride’s) for the ‘Family Folk Up’ nights, do you remember them?

Of course… that’s where we first heard of you, I think.
I remember starting one show upstairs in the church and slowly making our way through the audience, down to the stage and singing A cappella!

Your records are good… but it’s on-stage your story comes to life. Is that what it’s all about for the band?
It definitely makes us tick, though we also love the studio too and now produce our music and other bands at our space in Manchester. It goes in cycles, I guess.

You’ve just come off the road in Europe, supporting and playing as backing band for Lissie. Good fun?
It was a real pleasure and probably our favourite ever tour. Norway was incredibly beautiful and we’ve been lucky enough to spend a lot of time there this year. The crowds are really great, and we love being on-stage, so playing two sets didn’t bother us… and the food was also amazing! Sleeping on a bus is fun, too, you wake up and you’re in a different town – my kind of living.

You’re a few albums and a decade in now – how do you approach picking a setlist?
Get to the venue, smell the stench of beer on the floor, take it all in and see how the night feels! We go with our gut about five minutes before we go on…

You’ll love The Magnet, then! Congratulations on ten years of playing and we’ll see you at the gig.
Thanks! This tour is going to be a nice mix of old and new songs – but we always try and entertain and not be too self indulgent. It’s nice that there’s a backdrop of nostalgia this time, though, so I’m sure there’ll be lots of stories to tell…

The Travelling Band
The Magnet, Hardman Street, Liverpool
Friday 14th October 2016, 8pm
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Pic by Dan Wiebe