Gentlemen of Few were formed along the South-East coast of England in 2009, founded by four young musicians who each found a vast pleasure in their ensemble work as students. They shared a broad and varied history of musical experience between them, spanning multitudes of genres, styles and formats, opening up plenty of avenues for them to explore.
Unknowingly, they drew close and familiar with the raucous energy and excitement they unearthed from American Roots, Rock and Bluegrass songs and these they played loud and fast.
Though, in this time, powerful stories and meaningful words that spoke to them were collected from areas of music like folk and blues, which followed them closely when the boys began putting pen to paper.
They spent days and nights, inseparable, above scraps and segments of early songs, helping one another get the inside out, singing to small, intrigued, audiences. They worked, they played and they had fun and before long, they were busking on pavements, asking pubs for half an hour slots, and performing classics, contemporaries and originals in whatever building would have them. The typical growing pains of a band.
Since the earliest days of their formation, these boys have grown together, struggled together and learnt together, facing everything as friends and brothers and experiencing, already, more than they could ever have hoped. 2012 saw their first record released as a six-track Extended Programme named “For All We Know” which included some of the boys’ earliest songs. And it was with a great deal of help that they held a launch of the EP in their home town of Deal which, after so much preparation, was a complete success, a sell out show and had helped the boys establish themselves as a prominent local act.
The four-piece, however, were still eager to build and craft music and words that gave them that same, immense pleasure. They never stopped writing and, even as the performances starting getting longer, louder, more frequent and further afield, they started to test their abilities both as instrumentalists and as songsmiths.
Two songs were chosen for the winter single release of 2013, “The Damage of Time” as its A side and “Room to Grow” as its B. The Single was named “Room to Grow without the Damage of Time” as the tracks were picked for a combination of their tonal, musical values but also for the truth and honesty that both songs spoke to the four boys. They were woven together and released as a two-track single alongside a second sell-out show with downloadable tracks. Since then, almost all of Gentlemen of Few’s work has been made available online from stores such as iTunes, Amazon, Playstore, Deezer and many more.
But it wasn’t long before they soon seized an opportunity to get themselves involved in BBC Radio 2’s Young Folk Award 2014 competition. A late application after weeks of work and then weeks of waiting saw the four boys through to an extensive semifinal weekend in 2013 up in Cumbria where they shared an incredible few days with some wonderfully talented musicians and song writers. Much was learnt, memories and friends were made but the boys’ journey ended as one of the Final three acts in London, coming home with little less than plentiful airtime on Chris Evans’ BBC Radio Breakfast Show and Simon Mayo’s BBC Drivetime, a vast array of events and festivals and a truly irreplaceable experience.
Word had spread, far enough that their travels had taken them to almost every county in England including venues such as the Winter Gardens in Margate, the Marlowe Theatre in Canterbury, the Royal Albert Hall and the Garage in London and festivals like Boomtown Fair, Tiree Music Festival and Secret Garden Party, supporting the likes of Internationally renowned artists such as The Beat, The Blockheads and Hayseed Dixie and yet, amidst these numerous and sporadic events, the Gents rustled up a small team, including the tireless Paul Norris and Duncan Forward and the boys’ great friend, Alex Byrne and took themselves on a tour up the country, playing festivals, pubs and street corners. It was then, they discovered Scotland, where the total majesty of the country enraptured them all. It was there, they played to an almighty rabble of Scotsmen, who received them just as loudly with an astonishing response.
And it was those few, final nights by the side of Loch Lomond that, needless to say, made the boys fall in love with that country, and they found plenty to write about when they returned home.
So with hundreds of hours travelling up and down the country and inside pubs, clubs, halls and houses, the Gents had collected a good number of songs and a deep urge to craft another record.
The skill and the equipment came from Cornwall inside a docked barge along the Penryn River. His name was Matt Tweed and was the sound engineer for Gentlemen of Few’s new eight-track EP, “The Way and the Return”. Matt, the Gents and their trumpeter spent a week living, sleeping and recording on that boat, working every day to complete their songs. Then, on July 4th, once the recording, editing, designing, marketing, producing, organising and rehearsing was complete, they released it as a live performance launch at the nationally renowned Leas Cliff Hall in Folkestone with a lineup of supporting acts; Ab and the Underclass and Sam Mummery, who have all been very good friends to the Gents. Months and months of preparation and the night was a huge success, with everyone on-stage for a maddening finale and an emotional send off for which all who were involved felt deeply grateful, which could only have happened with friends like Oscar Lloyd, James Pooley and George Burns on Brass, Will Freed on Drums and Ivy Trojanowska on Fiddle, the unrelenting fans and formidable families facing everything with them every step of the way.
The boys are all deeply, deeply thankful.
Since then, the Gents have been performing more than ever, racking up a mighty following stretching right up the country and working and performing nonstop with musicians like their regular Trumpeter, James Pooley and Violinist, Ivy Trojanowska, incorporating and exploring the dynamics that new instruments and new heads will bring.
With more and more plans for their future, the Gents would like to invite you to join them on their adventures and share in this very human of things, music.