Headline Act: When Rivers Meet

When Rivers Meet are comprised of husband and wife, Grace, and Aaron Bond.  Grace sings lead vocals and plays mandolin and fiddle while Aaron Bond plays guitar, bass, drums, and sings backing vocals. Both of them sat on what looks like a very comfy sofa and answered our Headline Act question.

Simple things first – where are you guys from?

Aaron – I’m originally from a small town in Norfolk called Downham Market, and Grace is from Ely, Cambridgeshire, but we live in Essex now, near Colchester.

How did you meet?

Aaron – We met in my local pub. Grace started her first shift behind the bar on a Friday night. I walked in and saw her for the first time and thought Wow, I’m going to talk to her, and the rest is history.

How long have you been playing as a band?

Grace – It took us a while before we started playing music together. We had our own separate projects going on. Aaron was in a couple of rock bands and I was in a few different bands including a touring Meatloaf tribute band that was cool. We suddenly realised after some time that we really should do something together. So we must have been writing music together now for about ten years I guess and only decided to take it serious about two years ago when we quit our day jobs, bought an old VW panelled van then converted her ourselves so we could go out and play everywhere we could. Which was great until March 2020.

Before you get sick of being asked… where does the band name come from?

Grace – Before we were married, we were Holmes & Bond (Holmes being my maiden name). We didn’t like the idea of Bond & Bond as it sounds more like a building firm or some kind of sticky substance. We were in Sardinia on holiday and were looking for a band name. Believe it or not it was one of the hardest things to do, for us anyway. We were standing over this ravine overlooking where two rivers met and we thought, “That’s us, we are the rivers converging and making our music.” Hence the name.

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What are your influences?

Aaron – The very first CD I ever got was John Lee Hooker, the Riff in Boom Boom Boom just got me hooked, I’ve been a fan of the blues ever since. But my other influence is Classic Rock. Bands like G’n’R, Nirvana, Metallica, Led Zeppelin, Thunder, Free, the list goes on.

Grace – My influences were the legendary soul singers like Dusty Springfield and Aretha Franklin. But I’ve also been majorly influenced by the likes of Bonnie Rate. When I met Aaron he got me into Classic Rock

Describe your music. What makes you unique?

Aaron – We class ourselves as blues rock. And we like to think what makes us unique are our voices, harmonies, and instruments i.e., the fiddle and the resonator mandolin.

Do you have any particular lyrical themes?

Aaron – We tend to write about life experiences either ours, people we know or what we’ve read about. We like to keep the lyrics open to interpretation and there is always more than one or two meanings behind the stories we’re telling.

What’s your live show like? How many shows have you played?

Grace – Before lockdown we were playing as many gigs as we could fit in. We were playing pubs, clubs and Festivals. Literally anywhere that wanted original music. We loved the fact that we could just roll up in our van and play a gig to great crowd. We always like to think that we put on a bit of a show and we love it when you see people enjoying themselves, especially when there singing your lyrics back to you, it’s just an amazing feeling. 2020 was going to be a big year for us gigging, but unfortunately like everyone else we were thwarted by March. That’s when we decided to go online and play a gig on Facebook. It was very strange to start with, but the reaction we got was awesome. So we did it again the next week and have been doing it ever since, every Saturday night at 8pm.

What’s the wildest thing you’ve seen or done at a live show?

Aaron – When we played at “Nothin but the Blues” bar” in Soho we had a very spiritual experience, and I’m not talking about whiskey unfortunately. We were half way through our set when all of a sudden two tables in front of us where people were sitting just flew across the room. The look on people’s faces were just shock, there was no way that they had even touched the tables. It was weird. The whole room was literally in shock.

What kit do you use / guitars do you play / etc.?

Aaron – I have a Gibson Les Paul standard and now have a custom 335-style guitar. I also play a 3 string fretless Cigar Box Guitar which I also had made for me. I use a Marshall tube amp, a blues driver, reverb and tremolo pedals. That is basically my set up.

Grace – I play a very old German violin and an Ashbury resonator mandolin.

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What, if anything, are you plugging/promoting at the moment?

We just released our debut album in November 2020 and we have received amazing reviews from that, including getting the number 4 spot best Blues albums in Classic Rock magazine and having tracks from the album played on Planet Rock and BBC Radio 2. Were still going live every Saturday night at 8pm on Facebook for our live stream. We’re on all social media platforms including Facebook, Spotify, Instagram, and Twitter.

What are your plans for the next 6 months or so?

As well as continuing our live streams we have started to write a new album which we intend to record in the spring and release later in the year.

If you were second on a three-band bill, which band would you love to be supporting and which band would you choose to open for you? A chance to plug someone you’ve toured with, or a mate’s band we’ve not heard of before!

Aaron – I don’t know, but we would love to support the likes of Thunder, Joe Bonamassa, or G’n’R would be the ultimate for me.

Header photo by Rob Blackham

Check out this month’s Headline Act Playlist on Spotify and YouTube

When Rivers Meet: facebook | twitter | instagram | spotify | youtube

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