The Lowells prepare to play their first York show at The Leeman Rose, reports Gareth John

The Lowells are a Leeds based four-piece band who, under different names and formations, have been a feature of the Leeds music scene for more than two decades. The Lowells’ lead singer Chris Harland has flirted with commercial success in the past and now finds himself performing his timeless songs to audiences across the region through intimate and moving performances. Uncut magazine wrote: "an obvious comparison of blue-collar Springsteen and remarkably like Raul Malo (of the Mavericks) and Roy Orbison, and it doesn’t come much better than that" and the band perform only a handful of times a year with their first ever York show being at The Leeman Rose on Sunday October 15. Live, Harland presents his evocative range of lyrics and songwriting and introduces his work with gentle humour and rich storytelling. Gareth John took a few minutes to ask Harland about his music and about the forthcoming York show.

York Press: The LowellsThe Lowells

What or who are your main musical influences?

Lyrically, the key influence for me would be Joni Mitchell. I still feel she is under appreciated as a lyricist, and much lesser male songwriters of her generation still seem to garner more critical favour. As a band we draw inspiration from classic acts like The Band, Little Feat, Springsteen, Tom Petty and particularly The Heartbreakers through to The Smiths and bands like The National and Elbow. Vocally, I grew up listening to Springsteen, Van Morrison, and then matured into Southern Soul and 50/60s honky-tonk. My vocal style sits between all of that.

How would you describe your music?

There’s no doubt it comes from the ‘songwriter’ school in terms of emotional tone and content, but I hear 50/60s soul and r’n’b, elements of country, and bands like the E-Street and The Heartbreakers who, like us, support a single ‘lead’ singer. It’s grown-up melodic music that looks for repeated listens to unveil itself but offers enough melodic bounce to appear on first listen.

You’re playing several concerts over the next few weeks. How do you and then band approach preparing for these shows?

The band took a two-month break during summer to refresh the set, re-calibrate some of the songs and to examine the back catalogue to see what we might dust off. We have been passing music to each other and becoming familiar with some new material. Then it’s rehearsal. We have a fantastic creative space in Leeds to rehearse, and the band has used this room since its formation.

York Press: The Lowells - coming to YorkThe Lowells - coming to York

What are you hoping to get from your first York show?

It’s an exciting prospect to consider playing in front of ‘new ears’. We have a solid core audience in Leeds and Harrogate, but we haven’t played to a York audience, so we’re keen to see what comes back to us from it. We don’t have or drive a huge profile, and we play entirely original material, so this presents challenges and opportunities. Our job is to hold the interest of people who might have absolutely no experience of our sound, our songs or their meanings and encourage new listeners to see us again and pass the word to others that there is a band that’s worth seeing.

The Lowells play at The Leeman Rose, York on Sunday 15 October at 3pm. Free admission.