Real good authentic blues outfits are incredibly difficult to come across these days but Jenny Wren & Her Borrowed Wings are leaders in the field of modern yet vintage R&B. Their style sounds like it could’ve been lifted from a prohibition-era speakeasy with a reputation for powerful vocals and masterly musicianship.
They recently released a brand-new studio album of originals called The Girl on The Bike (Are You the Girl on The Bike?). The album sparked claims that anyone who listened to Jenny’s powerful and raw vocal would instantly fall in love, such is the calibre of her voice.
This trio are fast becoming a name throughout the British and European blues circuit and they are here to tell us all about it. Enjoy!
Aldora Britain Records: “Hi Jenny, how are you doing? It’s great to have you involved, I’m a massive fan of your vintage style. This is the first time we have chatted so I was wondering if you could tell us a bit about your music career to date and how you came to be making music with the Borrowed Wings?”
Jenny: “I started playing music in bands when I was about seventeen years old. I have an eclectic taste, so I have played a variety of styles on a variety of instruments; funk, rock, bluegrass, traditional Irish folk music and the blues, amongst others. I wanted to get a bluesy trio together, I approached my old friend, and great player, Ben Fisher (resophonic guitar) and we started mucking around with some ideas. In 2013, whilst playing in a six-piece bluegrass band, I had the pleasure of meeting Ben Gallon (acoustic guitar), another great musician. The three of us had our first rehearsal in October 2013 and almost from the very first beat, Jenny Wren and Her Borrowed Wings was born in earnest. We recorded our first album, Dead Man’s Hat, six months later and started our musical adventures with a sixteen-date tour of France in June 2014.”
Aldora Britain Records: “Your style if firmly rooted in the blues. It has a very retro feel to it, I would say the 40s or even the 30s. What draws you to this era and style of music? What kind of records and artists influenced you?”
Jenny: “We are all fans of blues music, and we describe our band as acoustic rhythm and blues because of the feeling, energy and emotion that it exudes. However, we don’t necessarily think of ourselves as retro at all. There isn’t any attempt to play a particular style or to be rooted in a specific era. We are influenced by anything that we like the sound of and we are happy to put anything in the music that we can make work with our line-up. Our sparse acoustic instrumentation may be reminiscent of a bygone era but sometimes we are playing country funk!”
Aldora Britain Records: “You recently brought out an album entitled The Girl on The Bike (Are You the Girl on The Bike?). My question for you is, who is the girl on the bike?”
Jenny: “I was asked once upon a time if I was the girl on the bike, by a local eccentric. According to our album title, that question remains unanswered.”
Aldora Britain Records: “Can you tell us a bit about the album, how did it all come about?”
Jenny: “The Girl on The Bike (Are You the Girl on The Bike?) is our third album, following our debut with Dead Man’s Hat and then our second, A Soup. We all write songs, and we play live together a lot, and we have just returned from a 26-date tour of Europe. The albums build up from our writing and live performances in a very natural way.”
Aldora Britain Records: “There are a few tracks that stand out for me, one of them is, of course, ‘Cast Out The Snake’, which has already featured on an AB Records compilation, however, I think my favourite may be ‘Balls Mad’. It really sets the record up well. What is this song about, what’s the story behind it?”
Jenny: “We never like to be too explicit about our song meanings, as we prefer to leave a listener’s interpretation up to them. Both of these songs are influenced by our great experiences together whilst travelling and playing music. Sometimes these experiences are marred by an individual or two and we express our dissatisfaction in the songs. There is no denying that there is much pain, honesty and emotion being expressed within our music but, as with the two songs you mentioned, and many others, there is a playfulness and energy about a lot of them too.”
Aldora Britain Records: “What’s up next for you and the Borrowed Wings?”
Jenny: “We are currently working on new material for the fourth album. In the long term, we will just carry on making the music that we love, and enjoying the experience of listening to each other, and hope that more people catch on!”
AB Records: “Favourite artist?”
Jenny: “An impossible question to answer. Jimi Hendrix, BB King, Bob Dylan, Nina Simone, Van Morrison, and so many more… how to choose?”
AB Records: “Favourite album?”
Jenny: “Astral Weeks, Van Morrison.”
AB Records: “First gig?”
Jenny: “Status Quo, but Ben Gallon’s was Shakin’ Stevens, so he wins that one.
AB Records: “Style icon?”
AB Records: “Favourite film?”
Jenny: “Rear Window.”
AB Records: “Favourite up and coming artist?”
Jenny: “The Twisty Turns but keen observers may consider that cheating.”
Thank you to Tom for featuring us, and for his efforts towards independent new music.
You can download the full issue from Aldora Britain Records here –