British/American duo ‘A Different Thread’ deliver an intoxicating blend of Beatlesque Folk Rock meets Gillian Welch Dark Country.
It’s not every day you meet someone in the street and decide to tour the world with them, yet, ‘A Different Thread’ has done just that. Traveling songwriters; Robert Jackson (Lichfield, England) and Alicia Best (Durham, North Carolina, USA) first sang together in 2016 while busking in the streets of Galway, Ireland. Inspired by the songs that have criss-crossed the Atlantic over the generations in true folk fashion, they joined forces and went full throttle on a tour that spans across the UK, Europe and the US (and even down to Guatemala and back); living on the road, penning new songs and cultivating their own unique blend of folk, country and blues, or as they call it: British-Americana.
Their “Beautifully evocative harmonies” (American roots UK) harken back to ages past (which is no surprise, given that Rhiannon Giddens taught Alicia her first murder ballad in 2003) and give a nod to old country stars of the 50’s and 60’s as well as the folk revival movement of the 70’s. Echoes of The Everly Brothers, Johnny Cash and June Carter, Bert Jansch, Neil Young, Bob Dylan and the Beatles can be heard in their work as well as more contemporary artists such as The Wood Brothers, Arcade Fire, Fleet Foxes, The Cranberries, Alison Krauss and Willy Mason.
With the duo playing over 6 instruments between them their sum is very much more than their parts and live shows have been described as “Intriguing and fascinating” (Three Chords and the Truth). Alicia’s driving suitcase drum kit and Jackson’s stirring acoustic guitar keep the pace moving, while the (often improvised) fiddle and harmonica combo, gives their music an impulsive edge.
After winning first prize in a competition at Shrewsbury Folk Festival in 2017, the band made a UK splash last year by performing on one of the main stages. On their recent US tour, they were featured on NPR’s: The State of Things with Frank Stasio (WUNC) and the Blue Plate Special (WDVX) in Knoxville TN. On Sept 13th 2018 they self-released their debut album 'On A Whim', produced by North Carolina Native: Jeff Crawford (Mandolin Orange, Mipso, Josh Moore, Skylar Gudasz). The record features session players from the North Carolina 'Triangle' area including Omar Ruiz-Lopez (Violet Bell) and Rusty Smith (Four Tops, The Temptations).
Traveling and change are common themes in ‘On A Whim’, their songs tell tales of adventure, bitter-sweet romance and synchronicity with “Thought provoking, well-crafted lyrics” (Gordon Giltrap) and a “Strong and soulful voice” (FATEA magazine). “What is it I’m doing here?”, Jackson asks in the album’s title track, “It must be time to face my fears”. The song was written in New York City and he finished it upon returning home. It deals with taking a risk, leaving comforts behind and longing for change. In ‘Carolina Song’, Best writes: “Change can’t come too soon” when talking about her own home town of Durham, NC and the fight against racism, inequality, and gentrification.
2019 sees A Different Thread continue their vigorous tour schedule: Following a winter in Guatemala they return to Ireland for the month of May before touring the UK for the summer festival season. In September they are leaping back over the pond to the USA for another tour of the east coast and beyond.