Two Fingers Of Firewater
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Two Fingers Of Firewater

Guildford, England, United Kingdom | SELF

Guildford, England, United Kingdom | SELF
Band Rock Americana

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This band hasn't logged any future gigs

Jun
04
Two Fingers Of Firewater @ The Glad

London, Not Applicable, United Kingdom

London, Not Applicable, United Kingdom

May
31
Two Fingers Of Firewater @ Cherryfest

Tilford, Not Applicable, United Kingdom

Tilford, Not Applicable, United Kingdom

May
30
Two Fingers Of Firewater @ The Bandstand

Southsea, Not Applicable, United Kingdom

Southsea, Not Applicable, United Kingdom

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This band has not uploaded any videos

Music

Press


They may sound like a barn dance band from the wild west, but these chaps hail from Guildford (that’s Surrey folks). That said this long haired outfit have a sound many rustic new acoustic outfits would kill for. This is jolly, sometimes Gypsy / Irish styled folk bathed in memorable moments of Americana, as well as the largely sublime slices of hazy 70’s pop rock . A superbly entertaining and accomplished album - music-dash.co.uk


Although most Americana fans would probably think of Georgia rather than Guildford when thinking of the deep south, this eponymously-titled debut from an enormously promising Surrey quintet serves further notice that the British roots-rock rearguard action remains potent and vital.

'Two Fingers Of Firewater' was recorded in the band's own converted studio (actually a unit of a local strawberry farm) during the winter with only a lone paraffin heater for company. Considerably more austere than the kind of sunkissed LA conditions that birthed pioneering country-rock albums such as 'Sweetheart Of The Rodeo' and 'The Gilded Palace Of Sin' of course, but if you shut your eyes and immerse yourself it's hard not to imagine a nudie-suited bunch of honchos tearing up Topanga Canyon when you hear grittily authentic, steel-soaked tunes like 'I'm Not Sad' and the glorious 'Endless Highway' with its' honky-tonk piano and pedal steel meister Alex Chappelow apparently morphing into Sneeky Pete Kleinow before your very ears.

Listening to songs like these and their shuddering, express train hoedown version of the brooding, trad.arr 'Satan Your Kingdom Must Come Down' then you know you're in the company of youngsters who understand the finer points of their chosen genre's history. Crucially, though, TFOF are anything but mere copyists and during the course of this hugely engaging 40 minutes, they prove they can turn their hand to everything from swerving, low-riding ratchet-y rockers ('South Bank Girl') through to finger-picked folk tenderness with Gallic touches ('B Mando'), stridently heavy power pop with guitarists Alex Chappelow and Jon Clarke duelling mightily ('The End') and even an excursion into OST-style atmosphere courtesy of 'The Beginning"s feedback fuzz. Versatility, it seems, is certainly the watchword here.

Naturally, it's all done with love and skill, and even when the influences are easy to spot (dig that wonderfully spangly, 12-string Roger McGuinn-style guitar at the end of the great 'The Night Ends'), these songs are performed with a contemporary energy and sprit that's TFOF's own. Hell, they've even got the style and grace to leave us with a dog-eared, but hugely likeable 'morning after' country-blues canter called 'The World Can Turn', which - with its' yawning steel and gorgeous tinkly piano from Stephen Price - could be be Two Fingers' very own 'Roll Another Number For The Road'. And it doesn't get much classier than that.

'Two Fingers Of Firewater', then, is undoubtedly a very good start indeed. It proffers a passionate, if slightly ramshackle and very live sound which only makes it more compelling and convincing as it rolls along. Whether you take it neat or on the rocks, it slides down easy and then provides you with a very pleasant kick afterwards. - Whisperin & Hollerin


As their name might suggest, Two Fingers Of Firewater are a band to be listened to when you're slightly the worse for wear, staggering back from the bright lights of the city after a night on the tiles.
To say they sound better this way both does them a disservice and describes them honestly. On first (sober) listen, they come across as a slightly more country-influenced Pogues, flirting with dirty folk but in a fairly conventional way. Down the old firewater, give them a second chance and there's something much more in their low-fi country blues.

From the opening bars, based around the 1920s gospel standard (and Uncle Tupelo favourite) Satan Your Kingdom Must Come Down, they sound ridiculously American for a band that hails from Guildford. Part Mexican strings, part rough-hewn delta blues, part Flying Burrito Brothers, part the kind of band you imagine Jack White would like to discover and keep in a cage, they are completely, utterly, totally not the sort of band you'd stumble across at Guilfest and yet the same time, they wouldn't be out of place if you did.

A perfect sample of their wares can be experienced from the eighth and ninth tracks alone - I'm Not Sad represents the aural equivalent of the traditional, Stetson-hat-and-plaid-shirt end of country music, while its successor The Beginning is a minimal, white noise soaked, haunting post-rock interlude that makes Smog and Will Oldham sound cheery and tuneful.

It's the juxtapositions that make the album so interesting. First time round, Two Fingers Of Firewater take you by surprise and fool you into thinking they're a bit disjointed and unformed, but like the after-taste kickback of a particularly good whiskey, by the second listen you'll realise that it's this very disjointedness that makes them interesting. They do Led Zep axe solos on The End and channel The Byrds on (the probably not coincidentally titled) The World Can Turn. What more do you want?

With pedal steel guitars, banjos, mandolins and accordions, they've sold their souls on a crossroads a long way away from London's commuter satellite towns, with hammond organ keyboards amid vocals that don't sound anywhere as near incongruous as they should.

The band has already supported Hank Wangford, will be playing Secret Garden in June and Keilfest in August. Outdoors, under the festival sun, they're definitely one to catch.

- musicOMH,com


Formed in 2005 in the South East of England (Godalming actually), you’d swear Two Fingers of Firewater (TFOF) were born within the sound of KGSR 107.1 in Austin, Texas. Their sound is authentically American – whatever that may sound like, but you’ll know it when you hear it.

The last track here ‘The World Can Turn’ is one of those tracks that could so easily have been done by Ryan Adams as indeed so could ‘Lonely (and the Rest)’. Whilst the songs are interchangeable, and I mean that in a good way, they tend to stand up on their own too. What does that mean – well if you take TFOF out of the equation the tunes could be sung by a number of alt.country artists and they’d still keep an Americana’s fan interest.

These guys cover country rock, classic rock, chuck in a bit of bluegrass and still manage to keep your attention from wavering too far. And for aging hippies like me this is a good thing. They seem to have a hankering for music made before their tender years allow; as demonstrated on ‘Endless Highway’ that echoes The Byrd’s’ (complete with the jangly guitars) ‘Sweetheart Of the Rodeo’ with some Wilco thrown in for good measure. There’s plenty of pedal steel and mandolin for the traditionalists whilst also allowing for a more modern rock sound. Your typical archetypal alt.country/Americana.

Some excellent duelling Fender Rhodes and distorted guitar saves ‘South Bank Girl’ as the vocals are somewhat strained, but this isn’t a common problem for the rest of the album, so they can get away with it on this occasion. ‘The End’ shows off founder members Alex Chappelow’s and Jon Clarke’s guitar playing and there’s even a tiny slice of Roddy Frame’s ‘Small World’ opening up the final aforementioned track.

And the opening beat of ‘Satan Your Kingdom Must Come Down’ comes straight from the muzak played when KGSR is in advertising breaks which can’t be heard when listening to the station over the internet. Mind you it is a traditional song from the 1920’s so perhaps that’s where KGSR pinched it from first?

The South (of England) rises again? - AmericanaUK


One of the friendliest and easiest festivals I've ever been to (well organised too).

Country and bluegrass music was well represented with the likes of the excellent Haley Sisters (from the UK) and the wonderfully anarchic Special Ed & The Shortbus (from Virginia). But there was plenty of general 'americana' and great songwriters on offer too. Highlights for me were Sam Baker (headlining with his full band - absolutely stupendous), Devon Sproule, and UK-based Two Fingers of Firewater. - AmericanaUK


The show itself was my personal favorite in that the place was packed to the rafters and people were standing mere feet from us and hanging on every word and note ...

The promoter Peter was great and very accommodating (though next time Travelodge ok?) and our support band Two Fingers of Firewater was talented, knowledgeable and passionate about Americana music and country music in general. - Eve Selis Band Tour Blog 2008


Guildford based country roots rockers join that select group of British country-rock acts that sound both original and authentic, without trying to sing in an American accent.

Joining the hallowed ranks of British countrv-rock acts such as the Redlands Palomino Company, Southpaw and Buchanan, Two Fingers Of Firewater have with their self-titled debut made inroads in redefining the genre. Slightly more rock than country, this young five-piece play a variety of instruments and in fact have been known to swap from one instrument to another during live shows, the drummer swaps to guitar, bassist to drums and so on. Anyone who witnessed their live show at the inaugural Maverick festival will surely agree with me and say that they were one of the highlights of the festival, certainly myself and a certain well-known radio show host were seen dancing maniacally long into the night. Of the eleven tracks, all are penned by assorted band members, only a smidgen of the opening track is their take on the traditional Satan, Your Kingdom Must Come Down combined with their self penned Bandit. Endless Highway comes from the writing school of Gram Parsons and shows just how good British country rock can be.

Let me introduce you to the band: Jon Clake on guitar, banjo and lead vocal, Alex Chappelow on pedal steel, guitar and mandolin, bassist Tom Harding, Stephen Price can plays just about any keyboard going and the whole thing is held together by the rock steady beat courtesy of James Sacha on drums and vocals. Clake and Chappelow are the main songwriters but the whole band can have input when it comes to lyrics.

We are taken back to the 1960s with South Bank Girl, this song has a great sing-a-long chorus, well it certainly did at the Maverick festival and I've got the photos to prove it. Just right to get any well-lubricated crowd up and dancing. The Night Ends follows in similar vein, showing a distinct nod to the Byrds - great harmonies and lovely guitar make this a real highlight from the album. It's also good to hear an instrumental that showcases the above-mentioned musical dexterity, B Mando is the track and what a great listen it is. As the title suggests mandolin plays the lead role backed up by superb accordion and piano from Stephen Price, it all builds to a superb cut. Played live, this track could go on forever as far as I am concerned as it shows just how good these guys are on their instruments.

Trombone No 1, I'm Not Sad and The Beginning are all good tracks that show that Two Fingers Of Firewater have a long and successful musical career ahead of them. With the rocking The End we see a band that could quite easily attack the indie charts. Moving away from their country side, this track showcases the twin guitar attack from both Alex and Jon - acid rock at its best. Still in their early days as a band I just hope they stick with it and get the recognition they deserve. This release would fit well towards the top in any music fan's CD rack.
JHS

- Maverick magazine


Extract:
There was a fairly equal mix of their own excellent songs from their first album plus some old Americana classics that pleasingly lost nothing in being performed by this young band. The pinnacle was reached with their incredible performance of Satan, My Kingdom Must Come Down, a song that I had thought was definitively covered by Uncle Tupelo.

The beauty of this version, as with most of their covers, is that they have taken a song whose power is in the eerie lyrics with just a sparse acoustic backing and turned it into a song that an incredible amount of previously unknown power. This was done by adding a backing that includes beautifully played accordion, as well as mandolin, guitars, drums and the propulsive driving bass line of Tom Harding.

Whereas Uncle Tupelo's recorded version clocks in at barely two minutes, Two Fingers of Firewater's album version is four and a half minutes long. Live is a completely different matter. This evening it seemed to reach an epic length, dying down and then being lifted again to an even higher degree of eeriness over and over again.

They are fast becoming a superb live band with no obvious weaknesses and they have several exceptional songwriters in their line-up, particularly Jon Clake, who also handles lead vocals that are perfectly suited to this genre, plus acoustic and electric guitars. Tom Harding, who, handles most of the backing vocals, has a great ability to keep his bass propelling their sound along and allied to James Sacha's excellent drumming, they make an excellent team without which a lot of the power would be missing. Then there is Stephen Price, whose keyboards seem to fill in all of the spaces, along with his excellent accordion work. Last but not least is Alex Chappelow, another strong songwriter, who is obviously happy on anything with strings, playing pedal steel, guitars and mandolin, all equally well.

The beauty of their playing is that they don't try to do anything too flash, there are no histrionics on any of the instruments, merely good strong playing that enhances their excellent songs.

Highlights are difficult to name, simply because they made as good a job of covers such as the Band's The Weight, Gram Parsons' 100 Years From Now and Hank Williams' classic Move It On Over as they did their own South Bank Girl, The Night Ends, and the maybe one day classic Endless Highway. The covers should give the uninitiated some idea of what to expect when they see them. They definitely won't be disappointed if they have any feeling for country-rock, altcountry, Americana.
- Maverick magazine Nov 2008



Two Fingers of Fire Water are an interesting proposition, based around the exceptional pedal steel guitar of Alex Chapplow and forming in 2007 they are neither completely country nor altogether alternative. Its impossible to pin them down to only one of the genres within Rock n Roll and it is with alarming ease that they go from country rock to classic rock even throwing some bluegrass in there sometimes within the same song! The outcome of this cross pollination is not the dirge it could have been in lesser hands but is in fact an album that is fit to burst with excellent song writing and infectious tunes.


'Endless Highway’ is a delightfully laid back country rocker whisking the listener off to some deserted highway deep in the American Midwest. The Ryan Adams esque tune 'Lonely and the Rest’ cant help but put a smile on your face with its wonderfully layered melodies.

The band utilize 21st century attitudes towards more traditional instruments such as the use of modern effects to give the mandolin a new lease of life like the intro to 'B Mando’, a blue grass based instrumental lovingly crafted and more than capable of holding the listener’s attention with numerous textures and some incredible playing.

To hold the band in contempt for not straying too far from their influences would be foolish as their knack for good songwriting is plain to see especially on the drifting 'The Night Ends’ with its jangly guitar and sing-along chorus and 'Trombone 1', a delicious slice of southern tinged rock.

Its in the final stretch of the album the band kick into a more meaty rock n roll gear with the fiery upbeat 'The End’ that really gets the juices flowing bringing to mind the Eagles at their rawest.

Admittedly this albums appeal could be limited in the UK as the Country scene it will inevitably get lumped in with isn’t as vibrant as it is across the Atlantic which is a shame as it is genuinely entertaining slice of rock n roll in its many forms. - music-news.com


Discography

New album recently recorded in the bands own studio (on a farm in rural Surrey). Songs To Listen To will be released in February 2011 with a lead track "Ride Out" released for download and radio play in January 2010.

Debut self-titled album "Two Fingers Of Firewater" album available since May 2008. Tracks with most radio play are "Lonely (and the rest) and "I'm Not Sad". Tunes include “Endless Highway”, a slice of country rock influenced by the Byrds’ Sweetheart Of The Rodeo. Chappelow’s pedal steel playing on the track was described as “pure Sneaky Pete” by contemporary steel legend Paul Brainard of Richmond Fontaine. “The Night Ends” is a jangly guitar-driven account of another hazy night out while the 60s sounding “South Bank Girl”, features duelling synthesiser and distorted steel guitar. The album opens with a version of "Satan, Your Kingdom Must Come Down", a traditional bluegrass number from the 1920s, that segues into a raucous folk tune led by mandolin and accordion. More progressive tracks include "B Mando", an instrumental that begins with the warped sound of delayed mandolin that belies the true bluegrass nature of what is to follow.

Photos

Bio

Management by Peter Christopherson, Crossroads Music
Booking: Available
Winner Best live Act in Guildford Brit Awards 2008
Nominated: British Country Music Awards 2010 - Best Americana Act

National radio play by Bob Harris (BBC Radio 2) who described the band as "a very very good British band. Chaotic, but wonderful".

Bob Harris live radio session booked for January 2011.

Two Fingers of Firewater are a young band who combine musicianship, experimentation and a collaborative ethos to everything they do. They've added wah-wah mandolin to 1930s folk songs, torn up stages with Rolling Stones accomplice Al Perkins and proved that there is a place for trombone in rock'n'roll.

Formed in 2005 by school friends Jon Clake (vocals/guitar), Tom Harding (bass) and multi-instrumentalist Alex Chappelow and augmented a few years later with the addition of drummer James Sacha and keyboard player Stephen Price the band write catchy tunes that range from last order laments (I'm Not Sad) to classic summer pop harmonies (State of Daydream).

In 2007, after playing every pub in South East England that would take them, Two Fingers of Firewater recorded a set of "demos that got out of hand" in a giant refrigeration unit on a Surrey strawberry farm. Gideon Coe played tracks from the resulting album on BBC 6 Music as did Radio 2's Bob Harris, calling them "a wonderful British band". An energetic live outfit, they've played hundreds of shows from Bristol to Dunblane, and made numerous appearances at the Luminaire in London. Two Fingers of Firewater's love of the steel guitar attracted attention from the legendary Al Perkins (Gram Parsons, The Rolling Stones) who's described the band as "a remarkable young British outfit" and "as fine a bunch of musicians and people as you will find". In the spring of 2009 Two Fingers of Firewater joined Al for a revue-style tour of the UK.

Extensive gigging, experiments in the studio and devouring records by artists as diverse as Vampire Weekend, Big Star and Gene Clark has broadened the band's sound and ambition far beyond the alt.country stylings they started out with. In December 2009 Two Fingers of Firewater returned to the farm they froze in making their first recordings. They took advantage of a new studio complex they helped build in the same chiller unit where they first recorded together. Working with the Deadstring Brothers' Spencer Cullum as producer and loaded up with songs that display a new maturity and varied influences, they've crafted a timeless sounding new album that will delight anyone who loves playful songwriting and warm melodies but is also unafraid to rock.

Twelve festival sets in 2009 included the 2nd stage at Guilfest and main stage at Maverick, Riverside, Secret Garden Music Festival and others.

September 2009 saw the band touring the UK with Bloodshot Records artist the Deadstring Brothers.

This view of TFOF from The Gilded Palace Of Sin - Brighton's torch-bearers for our music - sort of sums up our last few months activity and the kind of thing you can expect from gigs and festival appearances over the summer months. Look out soon for news of our autumn tour.

Two Fingers of Firewater are a band we've wanted to work with since hearing their debut album earlier this year. Drawing on the three great eras of country (Carter/Cash, Byrds/Band and Jeff/Jay) they push all the right buttons. Sure, they wish they'd been born in Georgia not Guildford, but we won't hold that against them. Pedal steel, mandolin, banjo, accordion all feature and they've some barn-storming tunes (plus some choice covers).

Their album has a ragged quality that I really warmed to: they've left some of the warts in, and it's all the better for it. Opening your debut album with a cover might not always be advisable, but their rout of Satan, Your Kingdom Must Come Down (Carter Family: check, Uncle Tupelo: check) is more a statement of intent. Morphing into their own instrumental, Bandit, it suggests they're aware of their influences but willing to take them somewhere original too. Of their own songs, we get Buritto's-influenced 'tears in your whiskey' tunes (I'm Not Sad) and almost prog-leaning country-rock (The End).