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  • David Bentley

Non-Nordic Sunday: Hebden Red Sox (UK) – ‘Days of Hope’ (single)

Last week we had Angel Olsen in this spot, a fan seemingly of the St Louis Blues Ice Hockey Team. This week I offer up Hebden Red Sox, which could be their equivalent in West Yorkshire I suppose, if we had any real interest in ice hockey here. More Rugby League I suppose.

Hebden Red Sox is Trish Clemit and Jessika Martin and they are a female duo from Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire, which just happens to be my favourite place on the planet and the subject of a visit every Sunday afternoon without fail, come rain or shine. If you haven’t heard of it, this small ex-textile town of 5,000 souls between Rochdale and Halifax set amidst amazing scenery, which could have died altogether if not discovered over again by hippies, New Agers, Bohemians, intellectuals and holistic types from the late 1970s onwards (although it was regarded as ‘unusual’ long before then), has been described as the fourth funkiest town in the world after competitors in Australia, Brazil and the USA.

Replete with small independent shops, restaurants, cafes, and galleries (there are zero chain stores and the only supermarket in town is a small Co-op, but of course that’s ‘of the people’), it has enough self-help groups to provide one each for everyone in the town. And they need that self-help because when the River Calder floods it does so in Biblical proportions. That’s why I won’t live there. I can’t swim.

Poet Laureate Ted Hughes lived just up the road in Mytholmroyd to the east and his American wife Sylvia Plath is buried high above the town to the west in the village of Heptonstall, in the eeriest Gothic cemetery you’ll see outside of a Dracula movie. Other really, really famous people? Ed Sheeran. Let’s leave it at that.

And of course it has the Trades Club, ‘an independent socialist members club’, not exactly a luxury venue but one which attracts top musicians to perform live from all over the UK and indeed the world.

But enough of the tourist board advert already. Trish Clemit was born and raised in Hebden Bridge and lived there for many years before she departed to travel around the world, experiencing many different and varied adventures which included working on a kibbutz and subsequently touring Europe and Scandinavia with her own ‘Percussion Orchestra’.

On her recent return to Hebden Bridge, Trish teamed up with the lately qualified BRIT school graduate Jessika Martin in order to form this song writing and performing duo and wrote and recorded their first tracks, including this one, ‘Days of Hope’, which is released ahead of a debut album scheduled for this autumn.

A short song, a little shy of three minutes, it is one of two halves. In the instrumental first part it could be the score to a romantic historical movie or even the adaptation of a Bronte novel; after all the sisters were based less than 10 miles north of here. In the second part, when they start singing of “Days of hope and dreams of equality” it could be the Hebden Bridge anthem.

I checked out a previous track as well, ‘Freedom’, which references northern English Morris Dancing but which comes across as more of a rocked-up Irish jig. It’s powerful stuff and I’m surprised I haven’t heard it on the radio yet (except that my radio is tuned to Radio 3 these days; fewer news bulletins, you see). It deserves national airplay, without question.

I did a quick check on gigs at the Trades Club and see they aren’t scheduled there yet. They soon will be.


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