Brave Rival is England’s new rock-and-blues juggernaut. Portsmouth’s UK Blues Award-nominated band features Chloe Josephine and Lindsey Bonnick on vocals, along with Ed “The Shred” Clarke, who plays lead guitar with punchy solos and rock riffs. Lastly, Billy Dedman (bass) and Donna Peters (drums) provide the rhythmic backbone.

Brave Rival spent the UK Lockdowns developing new material via Zoom calls and Google Drive. The amount of material helped them create their debut album in 2021, recorded at Mayfair Studio with producer Tarrant Shepherd. Brave Rival’s debut album (funded via a kickstarter campaign), “Life’s Machine” was launched on May 6, 2022, with the first song, “Guilty Love,” pre-releasing on February 11. The video link for this ends this feature.

It’s a pleasure to get behind some exciting new talent, and this is a band on the way up, exciting with a sound that blends blues into soul and rock. It was vocalist Lindsey who joined Rock the Joint Magazine for a talk about where things are heading and just how good life can get!

We started talking about the band and, for the uninitiated, who Brave Rival are.

Lindsey- We are a five piece blues rock and soul band with a tagline of “blues rock and power soul”. That’s not a parasol, but a powerful soul !  We are from Portsmouth, but we get all over the place. Portsmouth has a really great music scene at the moment, and we are proud to be a part of that… We are this mix of styles and don’t like to be boxed in a category. There are heavy blues and rock influences.

Turning to the album, Brave Rival are not currently with a label. They are independent and put out their own material. I noted with Lindsey just how impressive the first studio piece is for a band creating their own momentum.

Lindsey- We are absolutely independent. Mind you, we have only been going officially with this line up for three years, and “Life’s Machine” came out in May 2022, so it’s not been out long at all yet. We are currently on tour with it and it is going really well. We are thrilled with the response and feedback we have had from the album. We actually just released the third single from the album, and that one is called Thin Ice.

The link to Thin Ice is also included here, and the sound of this one is terrific, controlled by the rhythm section and power vocals that are right up there with the best. Turning to the single “Guilty Love,” it has a great video (and a strong funk sound) with it as well, showcasing the sense of fun the band has. However, you have to feel a bit sorry for the girl in the bath, with all the musicians around her!

Lindsey-She loved it! No need to worry, she’s a model, so she was fine! That video was great fun. In actuality, those two actors came to us about two days before that shoot. We were supposed to have two separate actors for that filming, but they couldn’t make it as they injured their faces on a night out and caused panic. But these two were recommended to us and they were very professional. We got everything done in one day and they were great-be sexy, have an argument now, whatever and they just did it. We worked well with them… At first, it was supposed to be a different concept. The band was all squashed into different parts of the house, then we had the idea of a couple having a row and being intimate, then rowing. That was the premise for the video and the first debut single. It’s a song about turbulent relationships, maybe a love affair that shouldn’t really be happening.

These are great videos for a new band, confident and slick for a band clearly enjoying what they do. Turning to songwriting, this is a band creating their material and writing everything in house. 

Lindsey- It comes naturally and the inspiration can come from any of us. One of us may write a riff, or maybe the lyrics first and then a guitar part to go with them. It’s never the same and every time it’s completely different, which is nice. We come at it from all angles… so it’s all our material. We do a couple of covers in the live show, but you only see those if you come to the live show. This tour is to cover the album.

We talked about how difficult it was during lockdown for musicians to manage, and how hard it has been post lockdown with “everything backed up.” Lindsey spoke about the loyal fan base the band has and how lucky they are in this. They have fans who have been to every one of their headline shows, and they become like extended family. They buy the merchandise and pass the word around. This took the conversation toward the live album that came out just before lockdown. This is Live at the Echo Hotel.

Lindsey- We were lucky to get that out. It wasn’t the plan. The plan was to go to the studio in April 2020, but everything changed.

We noted that visually, at least with the two female singers up front, the band reminded us of Heart, although Brave Rival doesn’t sound like Heart. We also felt we had to compliment the drumming of Donna Peters, and it was great to see a female with the sticks.

Lindsey- She is a beast! And if you come and see us live, we don’t just play music, we are the entertainers!

So, with this in mind, Rock the Joint Magazine would tell all our readers to find a live show and check out Brave Rival live. They are on tour around the UK at the moment with some great gigs on the way, all the way from Leamington Spa to Wrexham, with dates all the way through to the end of October currently planned.

Mark C Chambers

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