On the radar: Broken Witt Rebels

Southern-fried riffing from the heart of the Black Country

Er, hot dang? On first listen to Southern-rocking Broken Witt Rebels' dust-clad outlaw jams, you'd be forgiven for thinking that they hail from Birmingham, Alabama, as opposed to the Midlands…

"We've never said, 'We want to be a Deep South band'," says guitarist James Tranter. "I joined the band and I introduced a lot of bluesy riffs and this Southern guitar feel. [Back then] lot of their songs sounded very British.

We keep getting more bluesy and Southern-sounding and we're exploring that more and more

"Then Dan [Core] found this vocal style and it's just stuck. It's a natural thing, which we absolutely love. Now we keep getting more bluesy and Southern-sounding and we're exploring that more and more."

The band's geographical roots - hailing, as they do, from the seat of Sabbath - are not glazed over though. James and Dan's real talent is blending their seemingly opposing laid-back Southern vibes, with a harder-edged take on blues rock. Check out the storming Low, from new EP Georgia Pine, as a prime example.

Down with Low

"I love the riff from Low," enthuses James, when we ask him for a favourite. "It's heavy and I think it's the perfect start to the EP. It's so catchy. I can play it to people and days later they'll come back singing the riff, so I'm really proud of that."

James' personal musical roots lie in a line-up of classic rock guitar's usual suspects and the band's own jam-heavy work ethic owes something to those 70s road warriors.

"It's so important that we all know what each other is doing, emphasises James. "I know Luke [Davis] and JD spend a lot of time just jamming by themselves, locking the bass and drums in. Me and Dan [Core, vocals] love to go in our own direction through songs, but we can always rely on that strong rhythm section."

James also picks his gear - an Epiphone Casino and a Fender Blues Junior "in tweed, because it makes it sound better!" - to reflect a similar mix of aural grit and determination.

"In terms of pedalboard, I'm quite a minimal person," refl ects James. "I use an Ibanez Tube Screamer, the EHX POG and a Jim Dunlop wah. It's really basic, but I've found it's really effective. I don't take this away from any guitarists that like to play behind lots of reverbs and delays, but for me, I want people to hear how I'm playing and hear what I'm doing!"

  • For fans of: Rival Sons, Blackberry Smoke
  • Hear: Guns
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