Introducing Common Tongues


I would like to introduce you to a folk band who are new to my CD collection called Common Tongues. I discovered this band while at the Great Escape Festival in Brighton but was unable to see them. I was gutted as I heard their track called ‘Solitary Thinker’ which I found refreshing and musically captivating.

Tom Anderson (guitars/vocals), Oli Hinkins (guitar), Andrew Stuart-Buttle (violin/keyboards), James Drohan (drums) and Beau Barnard (bass) are the guys that make the music happen and are collectively know as Common Tongues. James from the band told me how they all got together:

‘Tom and Oli grew up together in Cambridge and moved to Brighton to put the band together. The rest of us met them through various friends and recommendations.’

I followed the guys on Twitter and I found out they were playing another gig after the festival. I jumped at the chance to see these guys live! I will confess, before the gig I had only heard two of their tracks but both had such a great sound, how could they disappoint?

The gig itself was in a small venue which gave it a cool intimate feel, and I was ready to see what this band had to offer. Wow! These guys sounded amazing, such an energetic performance filled with great harmonies supported by some great music. When I say great music, these guys can seriously play! Everyone of them sounded great which collectively produced some great musical moments. I’ve got to say that Andrew played the violin like a rock star, he was relentless!

The guys looked like they were having fun with their cheeky banter between songs which made the gig that extra bit more enjoyable. My only fault with the gig was I wished it was a bit longer, but there’s nothing wrong with wanting more. Here is a band that is guaranteed to entertain and I highly recommend you see them if you get the opportunity.

While at the gig, I bought a copy of their EP ‘Tether & Twine’ which I couldn’t wait to hear as their live performance had me well and truly converted as a fan. The EP is too short but what it lacks in tracks in makes up with a great collection of music that I am so glad that is part of my collection.

Each track gives us something different but includes some great lyrics with the catchy folk sound that this band produces. I keep mentioning the music, but it’s one of the reasons that I really enjoy this band. This is a collection of musicians who individually have great talent but when you put it together it is something special. Vocally they have a deliver some great harmonies which support how great these guys are together. Tom’s vocals are another one of the many highlights as he has a great control switching from a great delicate tone to amazing power which is used to deliver the emotion in the music.

My highlight of the album was going to be ‘Solitary Thinker’ but the more I listen to this EP this changes to ‘Praying to God’. This track just gets better with every listen and I love the gentle intro, the great harmonies and the overall feel of the track. Tom vocals have great emotion in this track which he uses to deliver some great lyrics.

This EP has a charm about it that makes it hard to resist and I can’t recommend it highly enough. I asked James a few more questions about song writing and his favourite track off the album:

‘My favourite element of song writing is the whole thing! We spend forever trying our hardest to get them as near to what we consider perfect as possible. I guess that the original core of the song is the most important thing to get right and then everything builds out from there.

As for my favourite track, that’s really hard question as so much time and energy goes into each song. Each one’s like a child to some extent…or at least a badly behaved puppy! Personally, I’m very proud of Cold as the devil but that’s not to put it above any of the other tunes.’

So what do Common Tongues have planned for the future?

‘We’re all set to so back into the studio in August so there’s a lot of writing and rehearsing going on. We’re also prepping up for various festivals around the UK and Europe including Cambridge Folk Fest so very much looking forward to that. The EP is hopefully getting a Europe release towards the end of the summer so will, fingers crossed, be back out on the continent for another tour fairly soon.’

This is a band that is firmly on my radar and can’t wait to hear their future releases. Also, I’m hoping to catch them perform live next time I’m down in Brighton. If you like you music with natural folk talent then this is a band for you. I highly recommend you get to see them live as this is a band who is guaranteed to bring a musical performance that you will not forget. These may have been Brighton’s best kept secret but I think the secret is out!

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