While the UK sweats and struggles to come to terms with a record-breaking heatwave, there’s still one river refusing to run dry. When Rivers Meet continue their free-flowing surge into the blues-rock reservoir with their first ever live album – The Flying Free Tour Live.
Following the release of their sophomore album Saving Grace at the back end of 2021, husband and wife duo Grace and Aaron Bond were also baptized three times at the UK Blues awards in May 2022. Scooping vocalist of the year, band of the year, and album of the year, not to mention a top 10 finish in Blues Rock Review’s top 20 albums of 2021, they dived headfirst into their first 17-date headline tour in April and May.
Undoubtedly another significant part of this river’s course, this live album embraces the power, momentum, and exhilaration of the band. According to Grace, that was always their ambition. “We wanted to capture some of the incredible moments. We’ve always enjoyed listening and watching live recordings, and it’s been a dream of ours to create our very own.”
With 13 tracks taken from their two EPs and two LPs, this is a live recording that meanders beautifully. From the outpouring of rich harmony vocals and sneery slide work (both guitar and mandolin) on “Walking on a Wire”, to the beautiful melody of “Tomorrow” which sees the besotted crowd gamely trying to compete with Grace’s silver-tongued blues voice, the live energy breathes new life into their already stellar back catalog.
I suspect tears were somersaulting everywhere during the tender moments of “Don’t Tell Me Goodbye” as Aaron once more gets a share of the vocal spotlight. There’s a clear emotional connection with the audience, no doubt helped by the quality of the songs which are steeped in adulation.
I first heard “Battleground” here in the UK on Planet Rock Radio and it’s an absolute banger that gets down and dirty in all the right places. “Testify”, the first single from their second album closes the show and it’s another legacy song from the couple. A crunching telecaster and organ combination, thunderous drums, the shimmer and force behind Grace’s wail, all finished off with a rapturous round of applause.
Undoubtedly the most exciting blues-rock duo since The White Stripes, Grace and Aaron Bond are a formidable pairing addicted to making huge waves in the blues-rock world and are evidently just as inspired under the lights. More shows have already been penciled in for October — no matter how full the river, it still wants to grow.
The Review: 8.5/10
Can’t Miss Tracks
– Did I Break The Law
– Don’t Tell Me Goodbye
The Big Hit