Telford band Savannah: We’re minor celebs in our home town

Telford indie band Savannah play The Anstice Memorial Hall tonight to launch their new EP Here and Now.

Ahead of the gig, The Ticket chatted to guitarist Jason Lewis about the band’s career so far and what the future holds.

Savannah has already appeared on The Ticket’s Unsigned page and their popularity is steadily on the rise.

The band, which comprises Liam Ball on vocals (pictured, left), Jason on guitar, drummer Harry Neat and Ellis Holmes on bass, had just played Cafe Nero in Shrewsbury, supporting Nordoff Robbins, a music therapy charity for vulnerable people.

“We’ve played The Anstice once before to launch a single. That was sold out, but this show’s going to be even bigger and better. It’ll be celebration for the Savannah community of fans as well as our family and friends. We’ll be supported by Blackpool four-piece The Slumdogs and Cole Parker,” says Jason.

“This EP is a collection of our best tracks, highlighting the best of British rock ‘n’ roll. It’s also our first release with new bassist Ellis Holmes, who joined us a year ago and was the missing piece in the Savannah puzzle.”

Produced by Wolverhampton’s Gazz Rogers, the EP’s released on Savannah’s own label Hartfield Studios, which they’ve had for a few years. The studio has also worked with artists including The Charlamagnes and Tinned Astronaut.

“We’ve all dropped everything to focus on the band apart, from our drummer, who still works part time in Morrisons,” says Jason. “Even when we’re playing Wembley he’ll still have to go to work at Morrisons as he loves it and they love him. But we’re all dedicated to this band and see it as a way of life.

“Once you’re involved in this it becomes a great community, we’re always meeting to plan stuff – as well as going to the pub a lot.” Savannah has devoted plenty of resources to building an online presence. Jason explains: “We want to introduce people to the ‘Savannah way of life’, while promoting the importance of great songs and shows.”

This year Savannah still has more than 40 UK dates to play. However, in December they’ll focus on playing in Shropshire with a host of dates around the region. The group also performed a concert at the top of the Wrekin, attracting more than 350 fans. They even managed to overcome the difficulties of getting all the sound equipment to the top of the vantage point.

“Because Shropshire isn’t known as a cultivator for musical greatness, we feel like we’ve had to work much harder to develop our fan base from nothing. We’ve built it through playing pubs,” says Jason.

“It’s good to return to our home town after being on tour. However, we do feel like minor celebrities when walking around Dawley.

“I’m sure that when we play The Dulcimer in Manchester there will be 20 or 30 people but we can come back to Telford and play to 250. The bonus is that without a spotlight on Telford we can develop our songs and live set to be the best it can be. Then we can hopefully break into the cities in the spotlight.

“There’s a real lack of original acts in the area, however Alexandra Jayne from Newport is great as is Cole Parker.”

Tonight’s gig takes place at The Anstice Memorial Hall, which has been recently reopened after it was bought by Madeley Town Council for £88,000. The money was provided by the Community Pride Fund through Telford and Wrekin Council.

Ticket details can be found at Enquiries for Hartfield Studios should be directed to Jason on 0797134 7103.

Daniel Earl

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