The Devon-base folk duo are touring their latest album, the Watchmaker’s Wife, playing Liverpool’s Christ the King Social Club, 9 March, and Doncaster’s Roots Music Club, 10 March.
Tell us a bit about your sound and your influences.
We are a dynamic yet sensitive mix of styles such as folk, bluegrass and jazz. The combination of instruments – double bass, guitar, mandolin and bouzouki – with carefully crafted vocal harmonies adds up to a show that is different from anything you have heard before yet feels familiar and comforting.
How have you evolved as a band over the years?
When we started playing together, we explored the songs that I had been singing solo for years. So that really consolidated our original sound. We recorded our debut album Miranda Sykes & Rex Preston in 2011. A couple of years on we met a wonderful guitarist from the States called Grant Gordy. That changed our sound, with bluegrass influences for our second album Sing A Full Song in 2013. Third album in and we have started to explore Rex’s songs – a new approach for us both.
Were there any alternative band names?
No! It was an obvious!
What are you up to at the moment artistically?
We are preparing and rehearsing for our spring tour and looking forward to revisiting some back catalogue songs too.
How do you stand out from the crowd in a saturated industry?
I think the mixture of double bass and mandolin is an unusual pairing and not one that is industry standard. Enough to stand out from the crowd? We are always working on that one!
What’s on your rider?
A bottle of cold white wine – wheat-free option for Miranda and salad/sandwiches for Rex and Miranda’s touring husband/tour manager Dan. We aren’t very rock and roll yet!
Tell us about your worst live show.
A conference for drug companies. They tried to recreate a “folk festival” for one night only. It was awful. We were playing on a rave truck with limited distorted sound, they had placed a few fire bowls and hay bales around for people to sit on but at the same time they were having dinner and quite understandably were more interested in chatting to one another and staying at the bar.