Rob Heron & The Tea Pad Orchestra – new album

Photograph: Ian West
Photograph: Ian West


Label – Tea Pad Recordings   Cat. No. – TP-003  Release Date – July 7 2014
The UK’s finest purveyors of Western swing, country blues and ragtime

With their debut Money Isn’t Everything (2012) having received numerous plaudits, summer 2014 sees the eagerly anticipated release of Rob Heron & The Tea Pad Orchestra’s second album Talk About The Weather.

Following three successful tours of the UK and Ireland, Talk About The Weather sees the band making a natural progression from their debut. Rob Heron’s songwriting is even more engaging, quirkily satirical, the band’s ever impressive musicianship yet more refined. And the variety of musical styles covered broader still, featuring as it does a healthy dose of upbeat ragtime numbers, a couple of straight up country songs, a crooner, and a mambo!

The subject matter explored in the band’s songs is a key part of their identity, and the new album of mostly original songs covers such disparate topics as the Great British weather (hence the title), coffee, the proposed HS2 rail network, arcade gambling, rogue landlords and kitchen utensils!

One of the hardest working bands on the UK roots circuit, with thousands of touring miles under their collective belts since forming in 2010, Rob Heron and the Tea Pad Orchestra have deservedly earned themselves a sizeable fan base in the UK, Ireland and beyond.

Based in Newcastle upon Tyne, they play their own brand of Western swing, blues, Gypsy jazz and country, or “North Eastern Swing” as they’ve memorably coined it.

Drawing on an eclectic range of styles and influenced by early 20th century American music, with the addition of “razor-sharp” solos, irresistible arrangements and an expanding repertoire of original material; their music harks back to a golden age whilst staying perfectly modern.   The band’s songs, full of character, satire, and good old fashioned hollerin’, are primarily penned by enigmatic front man Rob Heron.

In addition to Rob Heron (vocals, guitar), the white-hot six-piece comprise Ben Fitzgerald (guitar, vocals), Tom Cronin (mandolin, harmonica, vocals), Colin Nicholson (accordion, vocals), Rob Blazey (double bass, vocals) and Paul Archibald (drums, kitchens utensils, piano), with the majority of the band meeting while studying Folk & Traditional Music at Newcastle University.

The 2012 release of their debut album, Money Isn’t Everything was followed by a string of dates supporting Pokey LaFarge, where the band played to large audiences in venues such as Brighton’s Concorde, London’s Koko and Manchester O2 Academy.

The release of their newest record, Talk About The Weather in July 2014 will be supported by a summer full of festival appearances and selected club dates, followed by an extensive tour of the UK, Ireland, and mainland Europe in the autumn.

Artists’ website: 

Praise for Money Isn’t Everything (2012)

“With songs of escapism, booze and exotica, there’s a definite retro feel here that harks back to the dichotomy of the jazz age when the bright young things partied and the working class worked. A great debut.” Blabber ‘n’ Smoke

“Originating from Tyneside and playing pinpoint accurate period ragtime blues, this six-piece, made up of members from as far afield as Warwickshire and the Orkneys, shine on their debut album.” Daily Express

“MONEY ISN’T EVERYTHING is as authentic as anyone under the age of 70 and not born and bred in New Orleans has a right to produce.” No Depression

“With relentlessly upbeat tempo and generous dollops of humour, Money Isn’t Everything is a light hearted affair, but it is great fun. Individual Tea Pad Orchestra solos are mostly short, but razor-sharp, while Heron’s singing has the fullness and brio to make his stories sparkle.” Songlines