The Hiding Magpies was an idea of mine for a while as songs were stockpiling up, and it was only until late 2016 when recording started for the making of the first album, The Hiding Magpies. Recorded mostly by me and Ben Gonzalez (and a few friends guesting on the album) a band needed to be formed to perform the album live. After having the album mastered by Matt Arnold at Hilltown Studios, it seemed a good idea to ask Matt about his brother Dan. Dan having once played for a group called ‘Fruitless Forest’ where he played country-esk guitar licks, seemed the perfect fit as the man to play guitar for The Hiding Magpies. Shug and Mike had already played in Rock N Roll cover bands with me over the years, so it seemed the right idea to have the two of them as the rhythm section. It’s like having our very own Mick Fleetwood and John McVee!
“Its hard playing original music” says Jake Dixon - front man and lead singer of the band. “In an age where it’s easier financially to be in a function band, to stick to your guns and sing about things that are sometimes very personal, that can be a challenge”. That challenge is something THM have embraced and are rolling with the punches. “We are primarily an Americana band” says Mike Smith, the drummer who once toured with Chuck Berry. “What we are finding is that wherever we go, whatever audience we play to, there is an overwhelming sense of enjoyment. We recently played at The Great British Folk Festival on the main stage in front of about 2000 people and although we are not a ‘folk band’ we still got a great reception.”
The band kick off their UK tour on the 23rd August at the Duck and Drake in Leeds and on the 24th play one of their most exciting gigs to date on the main bill at the Great British R&B festival in Colne. Dan Arnold, the lead guitarist knows how much of a big deal it is for them. “When you grow up in Colne, if you like music, you’re counting down the days to the August bank holiday. The ‘Blues Festival’ is in its 30th year so it’s all most of us have known.”
“Most of us!” Chirps up Shug, the bands Bass player, who has been part of Colne’s music scene for over 30 years. Shug is no stranger to big stages, like Mike, he has played all over the world in his time as a musician. “There is a great balance. Mike and I have been in bands together for 20 years and its great to be playing with Jake, Jack and Dan”.
Originally our good friend Ross Munro was the keys player for the band. He played on the record and everyone loved what he did. However, after a year of gigging and playing shows around the UK, Ross fell heavy with commitment from University. Since his leave from the band we've had our very own right hand man and space captain of the band Jack Herbert, on Hammond, Piano and backing vocals. We all knew about Jack and how good he was, but it was as if he came out of nowhere but he came to us at the right time. Since the band have formed, The Hiding Magpies have supported the likes of Martin Barre (ex-Jethro Tull), Hawkwind and Port Isaac’s Fisherman’s Friends. We continue to record and tour around the UK and in October 2019 the band embark on their major UK tour.
Jack Herbert, the keys player is excited about travelling around the country playing original music. “Its something that musically can’t be replicated. You can play whatever you like but there’s nothing like people hearing your music for the first time”
The band have 15 dates around England, from Liverpool to London to Leicester playing songs from their first album and upcoming second album, which they are launching a kickstarter to support. Jake’s feeling particularly positive about fundraising
“We feel it’s the right time to make the second album. Everywhere we go people are asking ‘Where can we find your new songs?’ ‘How can we listen to that song?’. Since we recorded the first album, we’ve written about 20 new songs. We’re riding a real momentum wave and we want to keep riding that for as long as possible. The band have 60 days to raise £2900. We are looking for any donation, big or small. It will help us more than you could ever imagine!”
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