Introducing By The Rivers UK Reggae Band

By The Rivers

Going from opening for the Specials on their 15 date arena tour, by personal invite from the band no less, to number 2 on the UK iTunes Reggae Album Charts to opening for Maxi Priest, Dawn Penn, Musical Youth and John Holt could make any young band lose a sense of themselves rather quickly. Especially when you consider that the members of the band range in ages from 18-24 and formed just a little over a year and half ago (although some have been playing together in other bands for many years). Not bad for a bunch of white lads from Leicester eh?

Formed in September 2010 By The Rivers seem to be taking it all in stride as a semi-resurgence of live rootsy Reggae acts liven up the UK scene again. The band was formed by Nile Barrow and Jordan Birtles, who have been friends since birth as M48 but quickly became a 6 piece built around more of their love for reggae than anything else.

The tunes so far are sung with an obvious passion for uplifting lyrics about everyday life in a catchy rootsy reggae style with a modern slant. Reminds me of Chris Murray style social commentary. The name of the band itself is a play on the names of the 2 main musical architects of the bands sound having names of famous rivers – The Nile and Jordan rivers specifically.

United Reggae did a recent interview with the band where they talk about how the support slot on the Specials tour came about:

We had a gig supporting Neville Staple in Derby, and after the show, Neville asked for a CD, so I gave him an EP and a business card. A few days later I received a phone call from him saying he loved the EP, and would pass us on. Not too long after, I got a call from Lynval Golding, saying he was really liking our sound, and would see about getting us on the tour… By The RiversThe next thing we knew, we were being asked to play a 15 date UK Arena Tour supporting The Specials, and it was incredible!!

They’ve released two EP’s – ‘EP1’ and ‘EP2’ – both produced by Peri Birtles (Jordan’s older brother) and a new single “One Word” which are available from their Bandcamp Page. All are worth picking up in my opinion if you go the digital route. The covers alone are simple and remind of of early 80’s post punk covers which isn’t a bad thing at all.

The Monograph UK website
did a review of their first 2 EP’s where they said:

They have captured all the essence of the typical reggae sound and feel effortlessly, but combined it with a slightly more modern influence and haven’t lost the ‘local boy’ charm.

One of the favorite tunes so far is “Rocksteady” from EP2. Check out this video of them from 2010 playing it acoustically. Any fan of Chris Murray will instantly fall in love with the style of the tune.

They are currently in the studio working on their debut album for release later in 2012.

If you’re near Holland, Germany or Denmark in April check em out as they open for the Slackers:
19th – (Acoustic set) Melkweg w/ The Slackers – Amsterdam, Holland
22nd – (Acoustic set) Hafenklang w/ The Slackers – Hamburg, Germany
23rd – (Acoustic Set) Beta w/ The Slackers – Copenhagen, Denmark
24th – (Acoustic Set) SO36 w/ The Slackers – Berlin, Germany
25th – (Acoustic Set) Underground w/ The Slackers – Cologne, Germany

Connect with the band via their websites:

I've been involved in the Los Angeles music scene since at least 1995 going to shows, promoting, spinning records and running labels. Ska and Early Reggae are my passion among other things of course.