On Saturday 24 January from 8pm, James Santer features Eyes for Gertrude on his BBC Introducing show in Devon, while down at the Louisiana in Bristol, their album Residential Bliss is being launched with a live performance with support.
Eyes for Gertrude are Chantelle Pike, from Rockbourne, Hampshire, and Hannah Dean, originally from Rugby, Warwickshire, now based in the UK’s South West. They met at Devon’s Dartington Art College in 2008 and started writing music together, emerging with Chantelle on lead vocals and guitar with Hannah on piano, accordion and accompanying vocals.
Canada became to Eyes for Gertrude what Hamburg was to the Beatles when the band infiltrated the Canadian music scene with three months spent captivating audiences with their live shows in 2010.
Triumphs continued for the band as UK music industry made Eyes for Gertrude finalists in the 8th Musicians Benevolent Fund Songwriters Awards in 2012.
The duo returned to the UK to complete their music degrees at Falmouth University, Cornwall, before returning to Canada. The duo then composed the musical score for a play that was performed at Toronto Fringe Festival.
Here is one of their videos for Messing Around, a single the new album.
In 2014, Eyes for Gertrude also performed at the Larmer Tree Festival and featured live on BBC Radio 4’s Loose Ends show, whose luminary presenter, Clive Anderson said of the band: “Excellent – very stylish videos”.
Inspired by the powerful, musically fused sound of K.D. Lang, Eyes For Gertrude submitted their demo online to Lang’s renowned producer, Ben Mink, based in Vancouver, Canada. As a multi-instrumentalist whose former band supported bands including Led Zeppelin and Muddy Waters, in the studio, Mink produced and put his signature strings to Eyes for Gertrude’s debut album Residential Bliss.
Ben Mink agreed to work with Eyes for Gertrude as he, ‘…was frankly stunned at the high level of songwriting, arrangements and vocal performances’.
Due for release in January 2015, Residential Bliss echoes a rich spectrum of musical references which narrate personal experiences set against the madness of everyday life. Album launches are set for the Louisiana in Bristol on 24 January 2015 and in Fordingbridge, Hampshire a week later.
Among the many acts and variety of performances appearing at Glastonbury 2014, Tony Hardy’s ‘Top 30 Moments of the Festival’ included performances by Jack White, Sam Smith, Dolly Parton and British female new country pop duo Eyes for Gertrude, who Hardy rated for their, “quirky, observational songs, illuminated by delicious vocal flourishes”.
Tony Hardy had already shortlisted Eyes for Gertrude for Glastonbury’s influential Emerging Talent competition, saying: “Eyes For Gertrude immediately stood out for how well the duo’s voices complement each other; the first pure, strong Nashville, and the second offering English Rose delicacy.”
Eyes for Gertrude’s sound is timeless and contemporary, conveying both humour and melancholy with haunting harmonies and a fusion of broad musical roots skewered with a memorable, melodic pop riff sensibility.
Here is a review of the full album on a new blog Red Lips Music.
Tom Robinson of BBC Radio’s 6Music says:“Highly likeable band persona, tasty production, GREAT singer”, while Bath Magazine wrote, “Eyes For Gertrude continue to impress and addict audiences wherever they play.” Meanwhile, Sound of Confusion were convinced that “If they told you they were from Tennessee you’d probably believe them.”