On the radar: Broken Witt Rebels

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
Matt Parker

Matt is a freelance journalist who has spent the last decade interviewing musicians for the likes of Total Guitar, Guitarist, Guitar World, MusicRadar, NME.com, DJ Mag and Electronic Sound. In 2020, he launched CreativeMoney.co.uk, which aims to share the ideas that make creative lifestyles more sustainable. He plays guitar, but should not be allowed near your delay pedals.