One of the founders of The Small Faces and The Faces, Ronnie Lane, after leaving the latter band named his new outfit SLIM CHANCE, to reflect his perceived chances of commercial success. Some of that band's songs, however, can and should now be considered classics.
Ronnie Lane died at the painfully early age of just 51-years-old in 1997 but his old band, due to their love of the music, have reformed and are currently an amazing live act, whose members are all fine singers, musicians and showmen, playing a vast array of instruments, performing the songs that they themselves helped to create as well as others that Ronnie Lane wrote.
The release of the film ‘The Passing Show’, the 2004 concert at the Royal Albert Hall with Pete Townshend, Ronnie Wood and Paul Weller, and more recently the re-release of classic Slim Chance material by Island/Universal Records, have led to a resurgence of interest in Ronnie Lane’s music and the band Slim Chance. In the last five years, the band – "reformed but unrepentant!" – have played many club and festival dates around the country, and released two albums on their own label, Fishpool Records.
The line up now features original members Charlie Hart, Steve Simpson and Steve Bingham. They are now regularly joined by Geraint Watkins on keyboards (who has worked with Nick Lowe, Dave Edmunds, Van Morrison, Mark Knopfler, Paul McCartney, Roy St. John, Shakin' Stevens and most recently Status Quo), Brendan O’Neill on drums (who was in Rory Gallagher's band) and Ronnie’s old (label)mate from Immediate Record, Billy Nicholls ("Would You Believe", "London Social Degree", etc).
As Mojo magazine says, this "sounds like music made with drinks in hand and wide smiles on faces". Indeed, as another review rightly states, "the loose, unassuming, but forceful spirit of Ronnie Lane permeates everything, from the vintage sound of Kuschty Rye with its Motown-esque bass figure and the good-time cover of Leadbelly's Duncan & Brady, to the end-of-the-night lick applied to the chart hit Ooh La La and, indeed, the originals from their delight-drenched new album".
Opening the evening will be country rock troubadour ASH GRAY. Born in Pittsburgh but raised in Austin, Texas – "music capital of the world" – his parents originally moved to the US from Yorkshire, and he divides his time pretty much evenly between the UK and US. Ash is the owner of a warm, versatile set of vocal chords that lend themselves to a variety of songs that range from melodic Beach Boys late ’60s, early ’70s experimentation to uptempo country rock as well as a little blues and much else besides, all done with equal conviction and believability. A talented musician who never seems to take the easy way out on his incredibly melodic mélange of everything from country rock to psychedelic pop music with various other rootsy influences chucked into the mix.