Let’s introduce you to the band…………..(in alphabetical order to avoid bruising egos!)
Ijaz Bhatti – Ijaz provides the ultra-high notes in the harmonies, (some of his performance can only be heard by dogs). Playing guitar, our ‘Silver Fox’ has ambitions to return to Glastonbury one day in an attempt to find his youth (and his mind) that he left there many years ago. Ijaz, is also our songwriter having already penned Atlantic Road and our new CD title track, “Trees on the Hill“.
Alan ‘Brin’ Brinicombe – Our lead guitarist and by far the coolest and best dressed member of the band. A man of few words which is just as well as they are usually barbed! Brin has been a guitarist for more years than he can remember and has played almost all genres of music in his time. His first gig was playing skiffle in the late 50’s in a band that traveled by bus, (public transport), to their gigs! That progressed to tours of the U.K. and the continent during the 60’s and 70’s in various rock and country music bands working with many major global artists. Brin’s freestyle ‘fills’ provide added musicality to our songs and our rendition of “This Isn’t England” wouldn’t be the same without his impromptu selection of random but well known tunes, (you need to be there!). Well known for being camera-shy, many have tried to take a photo of the whole band on stage…………….. and failed!
Paul Callow – Paul hails originally from Manchester but has lived most of his life in Reigate, Surrey. He plays ‘finger-picking’ style acoustic guitar and sings lead and bass harmonies. He started his musical career as a folk singer/guitarist in Reigate in 1968. He spent the early 70’s as a professional rugby player for Treviso in Italy where he also learned a love of opera. On his return to the UK, he qualified as a commercial pilot, initially flying the Scottish Air Ambulance in the Orkneys and ended up as a captain for British Airways. Over the years he has played in several bands singing Folk, Rock and Blues. Whilst still flying the occasional business jet, Paul owns the local pub, (our HQ),The Countryman Inn, which is where our band name originates.
Steve Cooksey – As well as singing lead and harmony vocals and playing guitar, Steve is unarguably our musical director. He tirelessly works out the harmonies for each song and then beats us if we get them wrong! Steve started singing as a choir boy at the age of 7 and hasn’t really stopped since. His love of technology as well as music led him into a career as a sound engineer, initially in London recording studios followed by a spell in the West End mixing sound for some of the top musicals before coming to Cornwall in 1991. He performed for many years in Blind Panic, a local duo, and built his own state-of-the-art recording studio near Launceston. Due to the huge advance in recording technology, the studio no longer exists but the musical creativity continues resulting in a fine debut CD for the band produced with a laptop in a small office!
Steve Gilbert – Singing both lead and harmony vocals, Steve is also the MC of the band giving him the opportunity of talking a lot and doesn’t he just! Having spent 30 years on stage as half of popular mobile disco, Platinum II Roadshow, it’s dawned on Steve that he has always been a frustrated musician (and some would argue that he still is!) He also handles a lot of the admin and is usually the first point of call for arranging performances.
Simon Wrench – Simon plays ukulele bass, electric bass and contributes various other instruments and occasional vocals both on recordings and in live performances. Hailing from Plymouth, he has played in many bands of all types over the past 35 years, firstly as a drummer and then concentrating on bass and guitar for the latter half of his career. He was a founder member of the Plymouth stalwarts ‘The Barracudas’ and he’s also appeared with Cornish bands, The Backdoor Men, Silverback and Blacktop Deluxe. He has even been a last minute stand in with both Al Hodge and the Cornwall Youth Jazz Orchestra (not all of them!). He’s certainly been around the block!
He now lives in Launceston with his wife Christine, two dalmatians and a parrot.