When Rivers Meet "Aces Are High" Makes Chart History
Award-winning rock duo When Rivers Meet, comprised of husband-and-wife Aaron and Grace Bond, are the first independent UK blues act to have an album in the Top 10 of the Official UK Album Chart with their third studio album "Aces Are High.".
When Rivers Meet Spring 2024 UK Tour
Hot off the release of their critically acclaimed third studio album “Aces Are High”, award-winning rock duo When Rivers Meet, comprised of husband-and-wife Aaron and Grace Bond, are pleased to announce their “Aces Are High” Spring 2024 UK Tour.
When Rivers Meet "Infected" Single
To coincide with the Friday 13th October release of their highly anticipated third studio album “Aces Are High,” the award-winning blues rock duo When Rivers Meet are pleased to announce the release of the album’s fourth single “Infected” released on their own independent record label, One Road Records.
When Rivers Meet "Aces Are High" Album
Award-winning blues rock duo When Rivers Meet’s new album “Aces Are High” is released on Friday 13th October via the band’s independent label One Road Records. The album is available to pre-order.
Like all the best stories in rock ‘n’ roll, the epic journey of When Rivers Meet has never been plain sailing. Right now, the acclaimed Essex-based blues-rock duo Aaron and Grace Bond stand on the brink of their latest career peak, releasing fearless third album, Aces Are High, shaking stages on their Breaker Of Chains headline tour, toasting a third consecutive victory as UK Blues Federation Band Of The Year and pulling an army of fans along in the current. But over that four-year ascent, too, these sworn lifers have rolled with the punches – from industry burnings to global lockdowns – that make them cherish the view from the summit more than any overnight sensation.
“Aces Are High is basically about how we feel so lucky and privileged to do this for a living,” explains Aaron of the new album’s fuzzed-up title track and mission statement. “To be living at a time when we can be independent and get our music out there is amazing. We can’t wait to release this record for everyone to hear.”
Rewind to a Norfolk pub circa 2009. Entering each other’s orbit for the first time, Aaron and Grace instantly recognised in each other their own missing puzzle piece: not just a romantic life partner to trust implicitly in an industry full of sharks, but the musical counterpoint that would turn them from jobbing professionals to a questing creative entity dubbed “electrifying” by Guitarist Magazine and “a band to ride shotgun with” by Classic Rock.
“We were looking for each other,” reflects Aaron. “And we found each other in my local pub. That’s what the song ‘Perfect Stranger’ off the new album is about. And she still hasn’t killed me yet.”
“We’d never met, but it felt like we already had,” remembers Grace. “I was in Meat Loaf tribute band and had my own country band. Aaron was doing different local rock bands. But in the end, we said, ‘If we’re going to do something together, it should be originals.’ Then we had to go through the process of learning not to write shit songs. That took a really long time…”
In those early years, the duo’s rootsy output was unrecognisable from the thunderous grooves of Aces Are High. “When we started out together, because I play mandolin and violin, it ended up being folky Americana,” says Grace. “But one night, we were watching Tyler Bryant support Guns N’ Roses and I said to Aaron, ‘What the hell are we doing? This is what we love. This is our thing’. That same week, Aaron went and bought a Gibson Les Paul and we wrote ‘Free Man’, which is one of our most popular songs.”
The reinvigorated partnership fell rapidly into a groove, channelling the titans of classic rock but always spicing their songs with the unexpected. To hear When Rivers Meet is to experience fist-tight synergy in action, with Grace offering larger-than-life vocals, mandolin, and violin, while Aaron paints with seismic lead, hypnotic cigar box licks and harmonies that stop all the clocks.
“Cream and Led Zeppelin were massive influences and we’re both big Rival Sons fans,” explains Aaron of their era-spanning influences. Grace nods: “I’m a huge fan of Jay Buchanan. My earliest influences were soul singers like Dusty Springfield. Then I discovered Paul Rodgers and the bluesier side.”
Having released debut EP The Uprising in April 2019, lockdown barely broke the band’s stride (in fact, a regular livestream rocketed their profile, scoring over half-a-million views from 100-plus countries and building a fanbase that now boasts 134k social followers and 25k fan club members).
At last, in November 2020, as the world emerged blinking into the sunlight, the duo pulled the trigger on debut album We Fly Free (No.1 on the iTunes Blues Album Charts), before 2021’s hard-rocking sequel Saving Grace hijacked the mainstream (No.5 UK Official Album Downloads Chart).
“We’ve got our own army and if there’s a public vote, they really get behind us,” says Grace. “We won the Best Album for Saving Grace from Planet Rock last year – and even beat Iron Maiden! It’s ridiculous but great at the same time.”
It’s all been building to Aces Are High: the third album that doubles down on what first pricked up our ears, while shredding expectations of this genre-crossing band. Convening with producer Adam Bowers (who also plays bass, drums, and keys) at their usual haunt of The Boathouse Studio, the pair followed their instincts and pursued their boldest songwriting to date.
“Good bands evolve from one thing to another,” considers Aaron, “and I think we’re kind of doing the same thing. I don’t think any artist should write for other people – and I’m taking that from David Bowie. If you can’t write for yourself, you’re not putting your soul into it, it’s not authentic and people can see through it. This new album has so many influences.”
“There’s more colours on Aces Are High,” agrees Grace. “I think we’re getting more confident in our sound and songwriting. We really enjoyed the writing process this time. I think we’re moving away slightly from just classic rock and blues. The new stuff is a bit artier – and there’s definitely more fuzz.” Aaron nods: “I’ve just bought a Big Muff pedal.”
There’s no doubting the attitude of heavy-rocking cuts like ‘Infected’, ‘Seen It All Before’ and ‘Play My Game’ – the latter accompanied by a riotous music video that sees the duo swindle a card shark and wheelspin away from a pub on the wrong side of the tracks.
“‘Infected’ is about making your own path and not being told what to do by The Man,” says Grace. “We wanted a psychedelic vibe in the chorus, almost like you’re floating. ‘Seen It All Before’ goes furthest off our normal track, with a fuzzy guitar line and a vocal melody with production around it. The ‘Play My Game’ video is like Bonnie and Clyde. Aaron even got to drive my brother-in-law’s Mustang as the getaway car!”
Elsewhere, the band shift gears constantly, whether that’s the country-touched acoustic balladry of ‘Golden’, the Nashville-tinged shimmer of ‘By Your Side’ or the thrilling staccato chop of the aforementioned ‘Perfect Stranger’.
“Our relationship with somebody had ended and we knew we weren’t going to see him anymore,” remembers Grace. “So, Aaron wrote the ‘Golden’ lyrics, and the music came straightaway. We had this vision of the song needing a choir, and we just threw everything at it. As for ‘Perfect Stranger’, we tried to not make it sickly – and I think it might be my favourite.”
With the Aces Are High material now rattling speakers and shaking stages everywhere from the UK festival circuit to Joe Bonamassa’s Keeping The Blues Alive Mediterranean III Cruise in August, everything is flowing the right way for When Rivers Meet. “Looking back to 2019, when we really started as a duo, it’s so surreal to think that now we’re on our third album,” reflects Aaron. “And when you see people singing the words back to you – my God, that’s so emotional.”