Report & Interview by WilfRaydo for CBBlues.com
And now for something a little different……………..
Henry's Funeral Shoe was formed by two brothers in 2008 from South Wales, inspired and influenced by many of the albums that singer/guitarist Aled Clifford had looted from his father's vinyl collection when he was growing up. The Who, CCR, Peter Green, Robert Johnson and the Beatles were favourites, and Aled quickly became a gifted guitar player, aided and taught by Ned Edwards, a long-time collaborator of Van Morrison.
Aled soon played with various bands, eventually doing some recording sessions for producer Ian Grimble, and even recording at the legendary Abbey Road studios. His younger brother Brennig started playing drums at nine. At fifteen he joined a local band, learning his trade by performing covers of The Clash and Thin Lizzy before moving on to writing original material. The dexterous brothers have finally joined forces to create some of the loudest soulful rock'n'roll to come out the UK in a long time.
The release of their debut album Everything’s For Sale in 2009 was met with rave reviews from the press and public alike and the band toured extensively throughout the UK & Europe on the back of this through U-Turn touring (The Sonics, The White Stripes, The Datsuns).
Single’s such as ‘Down the Line’ & ‘Don’t lose the rhythm’ have been used in a number of television programs in the UK, Europe and America most noticeable the 2011 American film ‘Puncture’ starring Chris Evans (Captain America, The Fantastic Four) the band started to build a loyal fan base throughout the UK and Europe and were even invited to play at Greenman Festival in 2010 alongside bands such as The Flaming lips, Billy Bragg & Doves.
2011 saw the release of the bands second album ‘Donkey Jacket’ which again was met by high praise from the press and media with MOJO & UNCUT magazine both giving the album *** stars CLASSIC ROCK giving it 8/10 calling it ‘Thumping good music with a timeless sound’ and BLUES MATTERS calling the band ‘One of the few authentic-sounding British blues-rock band touring the circuit today’.
|click photo to enlarge|
The video went viral on You Tube with over 1 million views in a week and over 7 million to date and was then picked up by Zodiak Media and used in the popular BBC THREE program Being Human.
On the live circuit the band are known for their high energy and engaging performances, and in 2012 were sharing the stage with such bands as Feeder & Reef at The Steelhouse festival ( hands down find of the Festival 2012 were Henry’s Funeral Shoe) & Status Quo at The Bulldog Bash Festival 2012 - Most promising band I have seen in the last ten years - Big Chris, festival organiser and the band were even invited to fly out and headline Friday night of ‘The Deep Blues Festival 2012’ which was held in Minnesota USA - What an amazing show, my crowd enjoyed every minute of these Welsh wonders - Chris Johnson (festival organiser)
Towards the latter part of 2012 into 2013 the profile of the band was beginning to rise more and more and it was at this point that the band received an e mail inviting them to fly out to Miami to play with none other than KISS & LYNYRD SKYNYRD on the legendary floating festivals ‘The Kiss Kruise & Lynyrd Skynyrds Simple man cruise.
The band played two flawless performances on each cruise attracting attention from the CEO of the festival who was impressed enough with the band to write them a written testimonial: “As the world’s leading headline music cruise festival promoter we get hundreds of quality bands applying to perform on our ships each year. This year’s surprise package was Henry’s Funeral Shoe. We plan on making them frequent performers on our music festivals at sea. They are something to be discovered for sure.” - Andy Levine (CEO of Sixthman)
2014 sees the release of the bands brand new E.P and then extensive touring of UK, Europe and America
Henry's Funeral Shoe is a glimpse into the future with a big nod to the past. When Wilf chanced upon this duo I was intrigued because I'd never heard of them. After I first viewed 'Empty Church' I was mightily impressed.
As the piece opened, the past rushed at me because I was carried back to the Marquee Club in Soho circa 1965 waiting to see The Who. Aled and Brennig Clifford looked like mods and they radiated the restless excitement, which typified the London R & B scene. But when they started playing the past hit the present and spoke well for the future.
Aled coaxed his modified Stratocaster into life, open tuned and ready to slide. His voice is a cocktail of Howlin Wolf, Edgar Broughton and Ian Siegal with a double shot of Welsh blues.
Brennig's drums thunder but he knows when to leave the spaces alone.
Henry's Funeral Shoe are young and exciting. They are hot. But, their performance has raised two important questions. (1) How can we get them to come to CBBlues land ?, and (2) Should I bother learning the bass guitar? What do you think?
( Ray, what are you doing – “ 1965 “ !!!! There goes our street cred ! Wilf )
The video shows the band playing EMPTY CHURCH in Tobacco Dock, London in September 2013
There are lots of other videos on YouTube for you to explore…..before you buy the CD’s !!
Aled & Brennig kindly offered to answer a few questions for CBBlues.
CBBLUES: Are there any other musicians in the Clifford family?
- HFS: Our uncle was a singer in a band for a few years. He sounded like Furry Lewis. Had some appearances on local TV. Our dad plays guitar.. or tries to when he's drunk. Ha ha
CBBLUES: Some great Blues names mentioned in your Biography. Do you both have favourites ?
- HFS: Aled - Always hard to chose a single one. Depends on how you feel that day. Today feels like Peter Green
CBBLUES: Do you both have “idols” you would like to be on stage with ?
- HFS: Brennig - Roger Daltry Aled - Tom waits
CBBLUES: You say “extensive touring” in UK & Europe for 2014. Anything planned near the Costa Blanca ?
- HFS: Aled. Well, we didn't spend enough time touring our second album, Donkey Jacket in Europe because we got offered to tour America a couple of times. So we feel like we have some unfinished business & want to get to as many places as we can to promote the EP. So hopefully we'll get on the road the end of this year & most definitely 2015. If any venues/festivals & promoters want to have us play then please contact us or our booking agent
CBBLUES: What music are you currently listening to?
- HFS: Aled - The extend version of, Then Play on by Fleetwood Mac. Townes Van Zandt. Immortal Technique, Rory Gallagher & Laura Marlin
Bren - Who's Next & Jeff Buckley
CBBLUES: What is your all - time favourite album & why?
- HFS: Brennig - The Who, Who's next, because it has Baba O Riley.
Aled - I honestly couldn't chose an album. It’s impossible. I love so many & it always changes. Sorry!!
CBBLUES: Which song, in your stage set list, do you both enjoy playing the most, and why?
- HFS: Aled - Hard to say. Depends how the audience are that night. Right now I enjoy Janice the Stripper pt1
Bren - HFS because it was the first song we wrote together & everyone sings along at the gigs.
CBBLUES: In most of your videos you ( Aled ) use a Stratocaster. Any other guitars in your “arsenal”?
- HFS: I recently bought a squire 52 re-issue telecaster. I have an SG copy that's great for slide but not comfortable to play. I also have a Japanese 90's start. Both my Strats are coil tapped & have Humbuckers fitted. I like a fat sound. The main guitar you see in all the videos is customised for slide with really heavy strings. It’s impossible to play it "normally"
CBBLUES: I am a slide guitar fanatic ( Derek Trucks – brilliant ). Aled - Is slide a major part of your style ?
- HFS: Nice man. Derek Trucks is amazing. Yes it is. Soon as I heard slide guitar it blew my mind & I always wanted to learn how to do it.
CBBLUES: Brennig – your drumming is amazing ! Who inspired you ?
- HFS: Keith moon & my old drum teacher, Derrick jones. He taught me everything I know.
CBBLUES: Is there another HFS album on the way?
- HFS: Not right now. We've just released the EP & we really wanna get back out on the road. We didn't get the opportunity to tour our last album enough in Europe. We have unfinished business with the road & wanna get back out. Our songs, set & stage performance are better than ever & we want to get out for people to see us in action. We're a live band & that's where the fun is for us.
CBBLUES: My co-reviewer has just had his first book published ( Ray Wilcox - Lock Down Blues ) Aled – any chance your short story ( from which the band’s name came ) will be published ?
- HFS: Congratulations, Ray. Where can I buy a copy? Would love to read it. A friend of mine just recently had his story made into a play & he's helping me with making it happen. But again, our main priority is getting on the road.
ATTENTION CBBLUES AFICIONADOS - Let’s try & get these two to the Costa Blanca ! Check out their CD’s “ Everythings For Sale “
“Donkey Jacket” and new EP “ Comfortable Skin “ and their website www.henrysfuneralshoe.com