I really don’t know why it’s taken me so long to dedicate a whole blog to these guys. I’ve mentioned them before and would love to be blogging better news about them, but sadly, this may be one of my last chances to get my memories of these guys down in writing…… and pictures….. and videos.
Meet the boys…… The CC Smugglers.
Richie in the middle is the one responsible for forming the band 10 years ago. He is the lead vocalist and plays rhythm guitar, harmonicas and banjo.
He’s actually been dragged home by my daughter Murron after a night out on the town, to jam in our garage until the early hours of the morning.
Not that I’m complaining!!
He’s quite welcome to drag the rest of the boys round if they ever want to jam together in the future.
Sam, on the right, I know from work and he is one of the nicest guys you could ever wish to meet. He’s also incredibly talented. He does vocals and plays rhytm guitar and fiddle.
The tall guy on the left of Richie is Dan and he does vocals and plays the double bass.
The guy in the hat is Ryan and he does vocals, lead guitar, dobro and banjo.
The guy in between Ryan and Sam is Tom and he does vocals, accordion and is one of the most talented piano players I’ve ever heard.
Then, last, but not least, on the extreme left of the photo is Iain who does vocals, drums and percussion.
I have had the privilege of seeing these guys in concert at least 5 times in the past (yes, I’ve lost count!) and I am pleased to say that I will be seeing them again in Cambridge on 1st November and I have also just secured tickets for their last EVER gig together back here at Esquires in Bedford on 19th December.
I say last ever, because after 10 years and some extremely bad luck in the last couple of years, the guys are calling it a day.
I remember the first concert. It was October 29th 2016 and my daughter was working on one of the doors at our local music venue, Esquires. It was Halloween weekend and fancy dress was optional. A friend decided to do some wicked makeup on us and Murron talked me into going along with her and having some fun for the evening.
She managed to get me a free pass into the main stage to see a band called the CC Smugglers.
So I stood at the bar in the main stage, on my own, and I waited.
I wasn’t disappointed. They were amazing. They were talented, catchy, enthusiastic and I needed to find out more about them.
I was lucky enough to see them again in December the same year as they did a tour rehearsal show on one of the smaller stages at Esquires. It was announced last minute so had a smaller audience and this time I dragged my husband along. He was hooked too.
That cemented my following of the band and I took every opportunity to see them from that point onwards.
A couple of years ago they decided they wanted to record and release an album and they wanted to fund it themselves. They used a company called ‘Pledgemusic’ to raise funds and they asked fans to buy merchandise.
All seemed to be going well for them. They were nearing the stage where the album could be recorded and released when the unthinkable happened. Pledgemusic went bust and ran off with their money.
That was really the beginning of the end for these guys, and in an interview for the ‘Bedford Independent’ this week, Richie states…
“Financially, it’s the end of the road for us,”
“The collapse of Pledgemusic cost us £20,000 and then we cancelled the How High tour after an incredibly traumatic bereavement that hit the whole band really, really hard.”
“We’ve given it ten years and we’ve thrown absolutely everything into this. We’ve sacrificed so much and everyone’s just emotionally drained.
“We’ve made a call to prioritise our relationship as friends over success in the industry.
“There’s no reason why we shouldn’t get back together at some point in the future, but for now, it’s time to call it quits.”
In the last ten years they have come close to a major record deal on two occasions. Releasing an album under their own control has seen them being played and interviewed on National radio and they have toured festivals across Europe and just as they are on the brink of well deserved fame and fortune, their luck runs out.
I am absolutely gutted for the guys. If I won the lottery, I would be backing them all the way!
I was lucky enough to be at their Album Launch Party and the start of the ‘How High’ Tour and I cannot wait to see them again on November 1st as they finish the re-arranged tour.
I will also be there at the final gig at Esquires on 19th December, a gig that sold out in minutes and meant that they added a penultimate gig on 18th December.
It is going to be a very emotional evening.
So for now, I will leave you with a few of my own photo and video memories.