An award-winning duo from Gloucestershire, Ray Hughes and Sian Chandler have wasted no time in getting their music heard in venues around the UK, playing a multitude of shows and festivals up and down the country.
Within their first year they were awarded the ‘5 Valleys Folk award’ and in the following year also picked up the ‘Folkstock Arts Foundation’ award for best live performance.
They have toured in Europe and in the USA, including a sell out show at the Bluebird Cafe in Nashville, Tennessee.
Sian was born in Cirencester, while Ray Hughes is a native of Dublin, and their sound has been likened to that of The Civil Wars, Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlings.
They met in 2004 and played in a five piece Folk rock band called ‘Just To Annoy Ray’. When the band folded in 2008, they began playing covers as a duo, which marked the beginning of their musical adventure as The Black Feathers.
Sian and Ray married in 2012, and whilst on honeymoon, they designed the band logo on and the music soon followed.
The ability to write songs that are both modern and ancient is very rare among artistes today and their perfectly paired voices intertwine effortlessly to, creating a sound combining elements of Folk, Roots, Alt-Country and Americana. With Hughes’ guitar work supporting the kind of harmonies often only heard in family bands. Their music quickly draws the interest of listeners, along with their captivating chemistry on stage.
This close collaboration became the backbone of The Black Feathers’ sound. Whether playing to a 1500 strong audience, or to 80 people crammed in to a public house, The Black Feathers give an intimate performance that draws the listener in to a special, strong and unique bond between two people.
December 2013 saw the release of Strangers We Meet, the duo´s debut, 5 track EP, which gained national airplay on BBC Radio2, as well as warm reviews from national music press, including an interview in The Sunday Times. The Telegraph also listed it as one of the best albums of the year.
The Black Feathers kicked off 2015 with a tour of Germany, Holland and Denmark before chalking up 60 dates in the UK and knuckling down to work on, and record their next much anticipated debut album ´Soaked to the Bone’.
Officially released in February 2016 on Blue House Music, the album made the top 40 in the Official Charts Company Americana Chart. It received some five star reviews in the music press both online and offline such as Rolling Stone Germany and Music News. The Album also won ‘Debut Album of the Year’ in the 2016 FATEA Magazine Awards.
Three singles were released from the album. ‘Down By The River’ and ‘All For You’ received regional and online radio play including BBC Radio Gloucestershire and Amazing Radio. ‘Winter Moves In’ was released in aid of Marie Curie, with 100% of the proceeds going to the charity. The single also received regional radio play as well as being played by Tom Robinson on BBC Radio 6.
The official music video for ‘Winter Moves In’ won an award at Portsmouth Film Festival for ‘Achievement In Art’ in September 2016.
The album also includes a version of ‘Make You Feel My Love’ written by Bob Dylan.
They then went on to win ‘Best Duo’ at the G.S.M.C (Graham Steel Music Company ) Awards that same year.
They were interviewed by Bob Harris on the “Under The Apple Tree Sessions” and were featured in two documentaries on BBC Radio 2 and BBC Radio 2 Country, as well as being interviewed in The Sunday Times alongside The Shires and Ward Thomas.
Having already built up a loyal following in the UK, The Black Feathers have been spreading their wings across the US. They have performed at Philadelphia Folk Festival and AmericanaFest, and have also been awarded official showcases at the North East Regional and Far-West Folk Alliance conferences.
Being one of the most exciting mixed duos around, The Black Feathers are highly regarded and respected on the scene, and have supported Ray Davies at The Colston Hall in Bristol and toured with Eddi Reader both in Ireland and Northern Ireland. They have also shared a stage with artists such as Heather Peace, Ward Thomas, Ben Ottewell (Gomez), Luke Concannon (Nizlopi), Jim Moray, Paper Aeroplanes, Kim Richey, and Gareth Dunlop.
In closing, Sian and Ray tell us here at the BCA that they have a new single and a live album in the pipeline, and feel these are exciting times for what FATEA refer to as “a duo of undeniable talent”.
The BCA would like to thank The Black Feathers for their time and we wish them every success for the future.
For more info on The Black Feathers, head over to their website and check out their socials for news on upcoming releases and events.
The Black Feather’s music can also be found on https://blackfeathersuk.bandcamp.com/
To find out where you can hear The Black Feather being showcased all this week, check out http://britishcountryairplay.co.uk/artiste-of-the-week