Trembling Bells are 21st century troubadours who know their history, joyously attempting to synthesise traditional folk forms with the bathetic romanticism of country music, the deceptive complexity of medieval music and the swagger of classic Rock. Frank Sinatra, Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen are the guiding lights in a music that embraces British folk-rock, American roots and electric psychedelia. They are on a quest to connect with the core tradition of Song and live deep within its mysteries … a rhapsodic celebration of the power of Song.
In Spring 2012 the Trembling Bells are playing, singing and duelling with Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, performing a new collection of songs written by the Trembling Bells some of which appear on the forthcoming collaborative album ‘The Marble Downs’, out on Honest Jon’s on April 9th 2012.
In this album Alex Neilson has synthesized his love of seat-of-your-pants improv and raw folk into his songwriting with the Bells. While Bonnie has long since shed the Appalachian dirt of his earlier records to enter a fertile period of grace. Now these paths converge on ´The Marble Downs´ – a triumphant exercise in major key ensemble playing concerned with minor key heartbreak, and a marriage of some of the most mercurial and imaginative musicians of our time.
Trembling Bells have enjoyed much success since their inception in 2008. The band have gained favour with such musical titans as Joe Boyd, Paul Weller and the The Unthanks as well as unanimous critical acclaim for their first three albums, Carbeth and Abandoned Love and The Constand Pageant (all on Honest Jons records). They featured heavily in the Wire cover story alongside Alasdair Roberts documenting the emerging experimental folk scene in Scotland (Caledonia Dreaming, March 2010), while also being mentioned in Rob Young's book, Electric Eden.
“The group do cast their net wider than British folk. The pounding punk-prog number Otley Rock Oracle, channelling Mountain's Nantucket Sleighride, belongs by virtue of its hallucinatory folkloric narrative. Cold Heart Of Mine's blues harp connects Americana with its European roots and Hastings' raga like licks look East. In the 21st century nothing can exist in splendid isolation. The Constant Pageant offers a poetic incantation of British identity far brighter than Michael Gove's proposed GCSE history syllabus.” (Stewart Lee)
Trembling Bells' third album 'The Constant Pageant' had a bounteous spring 2011 release. With reviews and praise coming in from folk publications, the mainstream music journalists and Stewart Lee who invited them to play at his Southbank festival with Mike Heron (Incredible String Band). From its very first notes, the album flies the flag with a more confident, anthemic sound than ever before. on a quest to connect with the core tradition of Song and live deep within its mysteries … a rhapsodic celebration of the power of music.