A taste of the American South, via Ely, Cambridgeshire
When Rivers Meet - husband and wife Aaron and Grace Bond - are a blues rock duo from the East of England.
Often abbreviated as WRM, the duo consists of guitarist and singer Aaron Bond, who was born and raised in Downham Market, and his wife Grace (lead vocals, mandolin and fiddle), who hails from Ely.
The couple have been together 16 years and now live in Brightlingsea, Essex. They released their debut album, We Fly Free – recorded at The Boathouse Studio in the Suffolk countryside – last November.
The 12-track, entirely self-penned album has been highly praised by magazines such as Classic Rock and Blues Matters and the first single, Battleground, was added to the main playlist on the UK’s leading classic rock radio station, Planet Rock.
In late November, the band – who have also put out two EPs – followed up with a second single, Did I Break the Law, which was played on BBC Radio 2’s The Rock Show with Johnnie Walker.
WRM will release their third single, Walking on the Wire, later this month. In these non-touring times, Aaron and Grace present weekly Facebook live streams called Rockin’ the Lockdown and hope to get back out on the road in 2022 – having toured the UK in their self-converted VW camper prior to the pandemic.
“It’s been a bit of a crazy lockdown period for us, to be honest,” says Grace, who cites Led Zeppelin, Bad Company, Free and Rival Sons as major influences. “We released our debut album in November and we started live streaming back in March last year – and it’s kind of all blown up for us since then.
“We’ve had over half a million views now on our weekly live streams on Facebook and we’re planning our tour for 2022, so it’s pretty exciting.”
Aaron says the tour is set to start at the end of April next year. Will there be a Cambridge date? “For sure, definitely,” he replies. “We’re looking for a venue for around 300 people, standing.”
Grace interjects: “We both absolutely love Cambridge because I’m from Ely originally. I used to work in Cambridge and had many good times there.”
The pair say that ideally they are looking for somewhere between The Portland Arms and The Junction’s J1, in terms of size.
“We might need something a bit bigger than The Portland Arms but then The Junction’s pretty huge, if I remember the Motown nights I used to go to there,” laughs Grace.
Aaron, who says that it was John Lee Hooker who first got him into the blues, notes that the duo are in the process of finishing up the video for their new single – “and yesterday,” announces Grace, “we found out we’ve been nominated for four UK Blues Awards.”
The pair reveal that “pretty much all their videos” have been filmed near where they live in Essex.
“We’ve just filmed another one, for Walking on the Wire, which comes out next month,” says Grace, “and that’s been the same kind of socially distanced, outside, countryside job.”
Grace notes that during lockdown, WRM have been “recording, live streaming, filming videos, or working something out online to do in between”.
Aaron adds that he and Grace are working on a new album to release later this year. He notes that they have a room in their house where they have all their instruments, but do not record there.
“When we do our live streams, we’re still just streaming off our iPhones, so we’re not very technical, but it works,” says Grace. “We do that from home every week, on a Saturday night.”
WRM’s producer and ‘third member’ is Adam Bowers, who also played bass, drums, organ and piano on the debut album (extra instrumentation came from Robin Breeze).
“He lives right on the River Orwell, just outside Ipswich – and he literally lives off the land and doesn’t go out,” says Grace, “so we were still able to record and be safe.”
With such a strong American influence in their music, have Aaron and Grace been to the US to perform? “We haven’t, no,” says Grace.
“We’re supposed to be going this year; we’ve been invited to go over and play at [blues singer/guitarist] Buddy Guy’s club in Chicago, which would have been amazing – but of course everything’s gone out the window.
“But we will be going over there as soon as everything settles down, so we look forward to that a lot.”
Their new single, Walking on the Wire, will be released next Friday (February 26).
Catch the band’s live streams on Saturday nights at 8pm on facebook.com/whenriversmeet.
For more, visit whenriversmeet.co.uk.