Reviews Zone

The Blue Lena: Darkwood (Severnlands Records) 18th November 2023


  • NOVEMBER * Album of the month *


5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)


Let’s not beat about the bush here. What a superb band. What a superb album. The Blue Lena is the band. “Darkwood” is the album. But what a surprise…

Why surprised, Emma? I’m glad you asked, Emma! Surprised…. because when a band are labelled Southern rock and are not from the deep South of the US of A, and it turns out they are from the UK, my heart sinks, and more often than not, the sound created is about as near to Southern rock as I am to winning a Pulitzer prize for my writing.

But in this case, this seven-piece have it nailed bang to rights and have crafted an excellent 12-track debut album –  yet another surprise that a sound so accomplished and such strong material is not their third, fourth or beyond album, but is their first. Bravo.

Often rock bands pop up and they may have a good guitar player, they may have some decent songs, but the vocals can often lack punch and power and let the side down. Not in this case. Peter Yeomans is a find. In fact all seven of them play their part very well and there is palpable chemistry oozing from the grooves on this record.

Roll call: Peter Yeomans: lead vocals, Fi Channon: vocals/percussion, Nick Singleton: lead guitar, Richie Yeates: guitar/harmonies, Matt Raynor: keyboards/harmonies, Martin Raggett: bass, Jon Clayton: drums.

This is how the band describe themselves: “Imagine if Free was a southern rock band and Fleetwood Mac were singing harmonies for them…Imagine if Bruce Springsteen had written those infectious songs of real life, love and loss in small town England.

“Now imagine those songs being performed with soul and passion by an exciting 7-piece rock band of experienced musicians – all soulful vocals, bluesy guitars, Hammond organ, and rock ’n’ roll grooves! Welcome to The Blue Lena.” Free? Hmmm. Fleetwood Mac…..Springsteen? You make your own mind up…

Read more below…

The Blue Lena is based around the songwriting partnership of vocalist Peter Yeomans (ex-High Treason) and Nick Singleton (ex-The Firebyrds).

The pair started writing and recording for this album in the Pandemic lockdowns in their own studio in the woods, hence the title of the LP. The band get their name from the car that Keith Richards owned, which he called The Blue Lena after singer Lena Horne.

They dropped the first single, “Last Chance Saloon” taken from the album, before three-track EP “Severnlands”, and later the track “Sanctity” as a further single.

I think my personal favourite from the album, which offers some light and shade to the rockier stuff that I bet this lot could do in their sleep, is the more laid back, “Only When She’s Dancing”. A super piece of writing.

The band definitely have more than just Southern rock as a string to their bow by the way – they are bluesy too and could also fit into Americana and country categories with ease.

This release thoroughly deserves recognition and props far and wide, and we had zero hesitation about making it November’s ‘album of the month’ and giving it our maximum five stars.

I bet you a pint of Drambuie and a cheese sarnie that this outfit blow the audience away at the two upcoming UK festival appearances later this month and early December. Wish I was gonna be there. I’ll just keep spinning the album until I do get to experience them live, hopefully next year….

  • Saturday 25th November 2023 – Winterstorm Festival (Scotland)
  • Saturday 2nd December 2023 – Planet Rockstock (Wales)


Review by Emma Ledwell



1 out of 5 stars (1 / 5) ‘Dull Zone’
2 out of 5 stars (2 / 5) ‘OK Zone’
3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5) ‘Decent Zone’
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