One of the most hotly anticipated performances at this years Black Deer Festival is Far From Saints. They are a new band featuring Kelly Jones of Stereophonics and Patty Lynn and Dwight Baker from The Wind and The Wave. Far From Saints instantly enamoured audiences with their debut track ‘Let’s Turn This Back Around’. Their self-titled debut album will be released on 16th June 2023 and Kelly and Patty joined me to talk about their formation and record.
Stereophonic and The Wind and The Wave met for the first time several years ago Jones explains, “I first met The Wind and the Wave in 2012 or 2013, in America, we were touring an album called graffiti on the train and Patty and Dwight opened up for us. Then seven years went by and I was doing a solo tour and I asked them if they wanted to come over to do some of the solo shows with me. When they came over, we reconnected very quickly. We started writing songs together and did a cover version of Tom Petty and Stevie Nicks which I think confirmed that the two voices worked really well together.”
They knew they had something special from the moment they first sang that cover song together, Jones says. “The guys got off a plane and they came straight to our rehearsal space. We sang that song, fresh off the 10 hour flight. I think instantly you hear the two voices together. That was obviously exciting, I’ve never really sang with a female voice before. I really liked their records, and Patty’s voice, but then watching the show every night, I was on the side of the stage with Dan my manager he said you really should do something together properly. The first song we wrote was ‘Screaming Hallelujah’ and it became quite obvious how easy the songwriting process was together. It was just a very organic, natural way of making music.”
Lynn and Baker were delighted that Jones asked them to write with him, “I never expected you to ask us to write with you,” she says. “That was very exciting for us. So we never thought it would turn into a record. That’s honestly, the purest way to write in my opinion.”
When they had the songs together, the recording process didn’t take long at all. “The recording session was very, very short, it was only a few days. We sang the records together live, and then sent it to a bunch of guys in Nashville, to do some pieces. It took us nine days to record it and about four years to bring it out.”
Their debut track, ’Let’s Turn This Back Around’ went down a treat with fans and industry folk alike. It received its first play from Bob Harris at Radio 2 and was named as Jo Whiley’s Infatuation before being added to the Radio 2 playlist. Lynn tells me the story behind it, “It is about two people in some kind of relationship, who are going through a hardship, and wanting to fix it and make it better for both parties. We had another musician friend who was going through a hard time with his wife, he was on tour quite a bit and it creates a unique dynamic between a couple of being apart for a long time and then coming back together. Not only musicians go through this, people in the military too. It initially started as us writing about someone else’s experience, then it was like, oh, I can relate to this as well.”
Though both Lynn and Jones have had long and successful career within the music business, it has been daunting stepping out with a whole new project. “It’s exciting because it feels like I’m starting again,” Jones says, “Opening up for big acts, stealing their fans and being finished by 8.15. You can just sit back with a beer and watch somebody else sweat it out for two hours. So that part is quite exciting. It’s also really nice to get opportunities to play some very different kinds of festivals, like the Americana festivals on different stages at different festivals that I’ve never been able to try out before because of the nature of music in the band. The most exciting part for me is just the new opportunities and doing it from a brand new perspective.”
However, for a ‘new’ band, they are doing well with sold out shows under their belts and playing esteemed venues like The Royal Albert Hall before their album has even hit the stores. They’re also going on tour with Kings of Leon. Lynn comments,“It’s funny you say that. A normal new band experience is not opening for Kings of Leon and on the Black Deer festival. That is not a typical new band experience. I’ve done a lot of headlining tours but also opening up for other acts is just part of what I’ve always done in my career. And like Kelly said, go steal their fans and make them yours. I’m very excited to open up for Kings of Leon. They’re amazing – my husband’s favourite band, and he kind of wants to be there. It’s fun to start over with Kelly, and to just continue on this little ride.”
Those first few gigs they have done together though have proved daunting. “We didn’t really see each other a great deal in between because the record was done in 2019 and then it was like two years of nobody traveling anywhere,” Jones explains. “The first time we played any of these songs live was last Wednesday, then we played the Albert Hall on the Sunday. I think we’re all fans of the album and now we realise that we’re actually on the album, we have to learn how to play the thing! it goes back to when you collaborate making a record and you’re not every part of it, you end up listening to it as an audience member. It’s a very different process.”
It means they have had to really focus on stage in order to get the songs right. “I’ve been guilty of thinking all sorts of things on stage,” Jones says. “But the one thing I said when we came off the Albert Hall gig, I felt completely present for the whole time, which is rare. I think it was because we had to concentrate so much on what the show was because we’d never played it before. I did feel very present. It’s hard to do for the full duration of a gig. You can end up thinking about your dinner.”
Lynn shares her experience, “Sometimes it can definitely be like a car ride where you get in the car and then you suddenly arrive where you’re going and you don’t remember the in between at all, which is scary because you are in the driver’s seat. But I felt very present this time as well. Probably because I was just really trying not to mess it up.”
Though they are on this new journey together, they take time to reflect back on their separate illustrious careers so far, picking out their favourite moments. “I guess the proudest part is maintaining friends and family with my crew,” Jones starts. “Some of them have been with us for over 25, 26 years. And also keeping the band going that long, in a fresh new way. So I guess the proudest thing is to maintain something that people have still got an interest in and it picks up new fans along the way, you know, there’s still kids discovering the band for the first time. There’s still people my age and older who discovered the band in 1986. So yeah, it’s maintaining something that’s quite hard. It takes a lot of work, so that’s the proudest achievement I think, keeping our family of people together and everybody wanting it as much as you want it.”
For Lynn it’s more about the privilege of connecting with people on a daily basis. “For me it’s more the whole story. It’s remembering playing to people, sticking with it and staying true to myself, throughout the whole thing. Telling my perspective, sharing my life experience within the songs and connecting with people all around the world. It makes me feel like I’ve done something with my life. To connect and relate to other human beings.”
Far From Saints’ self-titled debut album will be released on 16th June 2023 available on CD, LP and digital formats. They will follow their debut headline show at Earth Theatre on June 5th by supporting Kings Of Leon at their two headline shows at Wrexham FC on May 27th and 28th. The band will then play three outdoor shows as special guests to Paul Weller, as well as Black Deer Festival in June.