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Sunday 13 September 2015 @ 02:00pm :  -
Rob Heron and the Tea Pad Orchestra

photo: Archie MacFarlane

Rob Heron and the Tea Pad Orchestra are one of the hardest working bands in the UK roots circuit...

...with thousands of touring miles under their belts, they have earned themselves a sizeable fan base in the UK, Europe and beyond. Based in Newcastle Upon Tyne, they play their own brand of Western Swing, Blues, Gypsy Jazz and Country, or “North Eastern Swing” as they''ve coined it.

Their style is more eclectic than most, influenced by early 20th century American music, with the addition of “razor-sharp” solos, great arrangements and original songs; their music harks back to a golden age whilst staying perfectly modern. The songs are penned by Rob Heron, a crazy fool for country music and a full time dandy-cowboy. His songs are full of character, satire, and good old fashion hollerin’.

The band, an hot six-piece, features Ben Fitzgerald (guitar), Tom Cronin (mandolin), Colin Nicholson (accordion), Rob Blazey (double bass) and Paul Archibald (drums).

Their debut album, ‘Money Isn''t Everything’, caused a sensation when it was released in 2012, winning a host of rave reviews – many of them 5-star. Their second album, "Talk About The Weather" (released July 7th 2014) is also gathering some notable radio play and reviews.

The best way to experience Rob Heron and the Tea Pad Orchestra is at a live show



"That''s one hot band right there!"~ Huey Morgan, BBC Radio 2

"Each young member of this band are amazing musicians who play with both passion and a sympathetic regard for the history of the genre. In Rob Heron and Tom Cronin they have two songwriters that neatly combine modern topics with a quality old-school arrangement. From start to finish, Talk About The Weather is a fun romp, with some wonderful Gypsy jazz guitar flourishes, harmonica that will make your hair stand on end, and Colin Nicholson somehow manages to make the accordion listenable.” ~ Maverick Magazine

"On this, their second album of skewed Texas swing, gypsy jazz and hot, humorous country blues they’ve added reeds and horns for a big, thick sound, but their spontaneous combustion is always unstoppable. The chord sequences, rhythmic chops and zesty lyrical fun pour out in Drinking Coffee Rag and their YouTube video track High Speed Train. Six retro-cool lads from Newcastle, having clever fun.”~ Scotsman On Sunday

"With relentlessly upbeat tempo and generous dollops of humour, Money Isn''t Everything is a light hearted affair, but it is great fun. Individual Tea Pad Orchestra solos are mostly short, but razor-sharp, while Heron''s singing has the fullness and brio to make his stories sparkle. They are surely best enjoyed in a saloon or dance hall. ~ Songlines Magazine

"The six debonair young bucks who comprise the band – decked-out in retro-suits and ties that resemble the typical bootleggers’ garb – have immersed themselves in a whole range of musical styles. This year looks like it could well be the year that this backward-sounding, forward-looking young band steps up a level or two. They have paid their dues on the live circuit and have become a popular draw by admirably sticking with their own sound. I would imagine that future festival exposure would be a certainty, at the very least, but if they can stay together the wider world is likely to sample this intoxicating brew." ~ Evening Chronicle

"Rob Heron evokes the spirit of Bob Wills and Django Reinhardt with a quintet that shuffles and boogies with panache. Infectiously good-humoured" ~ 7/10 Uncut Magazine

"With a plethora of instruments to make up the body of sound, special mention is reserved for the mandolin licks an chops which punctuate tastily throughout the eleven track album. The retro recording sound is captured perfectly on this album; Rob Heron & The Tea Pad Orchestra continue on their train of, as they call it, ‘North Eastern Swing’, fusing country, western swing and ragtime into a fun-packed production” ~ fRoots Magazine

"Out of the growing UK scene of bands with early American music influences, I''d say Rob Heron & the Tea Pad Orchestra are most likely to be the gem. I mean to say that they have one of the more original sounds budding. There is good songwriting with dynamic and unique instrumentation for the style. It''s only magnified by the their clever arrangements. Most importantly they feel the old music but they''re more concerned with speaking in their own voice, like you should, instead of someone else." ~ Pokey LaFarge

"Originating from Tyneside and playing pinpoint accurate period ragtime blues, this six-piece, made up of members from as far afield as Warwickshire and the Orkneys, shine on their debut album, whether it be bemoaning the current financial mess of the nation on Bank Failures, extolling the virtues of sharing a tub in Hot Bath or feeling the effects of alcohol on Hangover Blues. They also cleverly mix their Southern states sound with a recent scrapyard blaze in their home town on Great Fire Of Byker." ~ Daily Express