During the first lockdown, Pete Riley, Steve Balsamo and Andy Collins began a series of regular Zoom meetings. Over time, these meetings became an outlet for their creativity as Collins explains: “Originally we started these sessions to shoot the breeze and put the world to rights but we quickly started sending each other voice notes of song ideas on WhatsApp during the week that we worked up on the Monday sessions.” The result is a forthcoming debut EP from the group, from which ‘Turn This Thing Around’ is the second single release. It’s upbeat, uplifting and, above all, brilliantly tuneful. The group’s melodic harmonies are engaging and absorbing, drawing us into a positive, hopeful response to the challenges they faced as musicians. Balsamo explains how the song came to be written: “It goes without saying the last couple of years has been devastating for lots of people, especially those in the arts. ‘Turn This Thing Around’ is literally about what we did on the writing sessions – pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps, making a stand by doing what we do, making some good music and moving forward regardless.”
A rich, full sound is created with the support of Nigel Hopkins (Chris De Burgh) on Hammond Organ and Gavin Griffiths (Fish-Marillion) on drums. The song also features backing vocals from Platinum-selling American singer-songwriter Edwin McCain, who Riley toured with in the late 1990s and has worked with many times since. Riley says: “We were looking for another voice to harmonise with me, Steve and Andy and I reached out to Ed who jumped on it and has done a beautiful job for us.” It’s an effective combination, with the vocal performances of all involved being a highlight of the song.
‘Turn This Thing Around’ is a dynamic, optimistic response to the pandemic, created as a direct result of the dire circumstances we have found ourselves in. It’s a refreshing song and the debut EP from Balsamo, Collins, Riley early in 2022 will be one to watch out for.