Leeds based group Fitzwallace have only been performing together since late 2013 but the exciting five-piece are already making serious strides in the UK Country music scene. Their blend of Country, Folk & Americana has seen them dubbed by BBC Radio Leeds as Leeds’ new favourite band and earlier this year they performed on one of the pop-up stages at London’s Country to Country festival. Comprising of Joe Martin, Flo Taylor, Will Sensicle, Harry Vernon & Henry Broomfield the band have a wide range of musical influences including the likes of the Zac Brown Band & Luke Bryan, through to Bellowhead & Seth Lakeman (via Johnny Cash!). That melting pot of sounds can be heard in Fitzwallace’s music, as can their sheer enthusiasm and desire to push Country into the mainstream.
The band’s debut EP ‘Treading Water’ released in 2014 was described by Emerging North as a ‘masterclass in British folk/country‘. Their follow-up release ‘Sweetheart’ was unveiled this week and features four more tracks which showcase the exciting sounds of this fast-rising act. It may be titled ‘Ballad Of A Star’ but the opening track is in fact a driving, mid-tempo track describing the travails of dealing with fame & fortune. With it’s stop-start rhythm, electric guitar flurries and strong group vocals it gets your musical pulse racing immediately. Gentler paced ‘Sweetheart Of Mine’ allows lead singers Joe & Flo to shine on an atmospheric track, dominated by vigorous mandolin.
Featuring a playful guitar riff & vivid lyrics describing the ‘wild country‘, ‘Golden State Of Mind’ is a wonderful combination of a traditional Country song with a zesty & thoroughly modern delivery. Managing to skilfully master both elements the track is an absolute delight, deserving more than the south of three minutes running time it is afforded. ‘Somebody New’ has a pleasing, airy & floating feel to its meandering melody. Echoing guitar chords and generous background vocals lend the track a plush, summertime sound.
‘Sweetheart’ looks certain to earn Fitzwallace a whole host of new fans, including New Country UK. As relative newcomers the band looks set to capitalise on the recent upsurge in the popularity of Country music in the UK, but what is hugely pleasing is they have resisted the temptation to jettison their earlier influences and fully embrace the Country-pop trend. Instead their sound is rooted in traditional sounds with a pleasingly light production, enhanced by a modern polish from five talented young musicians with a big future. (‘Sweetheart’ is available on iTunes UK now)