The Occasional Orchestra

 

This band of men and woman hail from across the Midlands and Southern Counties, getting together on Occasion to produce some of the finest and most distinctive Indie Pop Folk music available in the UK.

Led by singer/song writer Darrell Mitchell who has been performing his idiosyncratic stories about love, heartache, passion and real life in present and past times for more than twenty five years. The distinctive sound of the electric and acoustic Bouzouki, and twelve string electric and acoustic guitar are provided by Jon Taylor. Jon also occupies the role of Director for vocal harmonies and arrangements. Darrell and Jon have been collaborating for many years in a variety of bands including Home and Abroad,The Simpletons and Edna.
 

Tracy Feist would be the first to admit that she is relatively new to the world of writing, recording and performing music. But don’t let that fool you, Tracy plays a major role working closely with Jon and Darrell to provide the essential vocal harmonies that are an intrinsic part of T.O.O sound. The drummer’s seat is occupied by Kenny Stone. Kenny has been with T.O.O for two years and brings with him a depth of percussive knowledge that he has acquired during his twenty five year apprenticeship at the kit. Darrell, Jon and Kenny first worked together in the late 80s and early 90s in both Home and Abroad and Edna before diverting onto individual projects and ventures.

James Watson is a well-respected and much in demand London based musician and producer, who joined T.O.O just before the new album Clever Bones was recorded. The addition of James and his keyboards has enabled the sound to evolve from the band’s previous album release 22 Arches.

The most recent addition to the line-up is Kevin Tynan, a very fine exponent of the bass guitar. Another London based musician, Kevin brings a wealth of musical knowledge and experience gained working across the UK in a variety of musical arenas but most notably with London based band The Provisos.

 

CD REVIEW By Richard O’Hagan for R2 Magazine

 

The Occasional Orchestra

 

“Clever Bones”

 

 “Every once in a while, a recording comes across the desk of a jaundiced, jaded reviewer which not so much melts their heart as makes them feel profoundly guilty that they've acquired something so good for free. It doesn’t happen very often, but Clever Bones manages that rare feat.

What sets this second outing from the collective fronted by singer and songwriter Darrell Mitchell is sheer uplifting exuberance. Around a central theme of England past and present, Mitchell and company craft thirteen tracks which never fail to delight, even when dealing with serious issues.

Opener ‘Spitfires’ sets the tone, both musically and in the use of a clever historical imagery which even the likes of Paul Heaton would be proud of, as The Occasional Orchestra find a comfortable niche as ‘the Mumford & Sons that you don’t want to punch’. Especially fine is ‘Paint The Truth’, with its juxtaposition of childhood innocence and the horrors of war, whilst ‘Killed By Northern Soul’ could be the most tongue-in-cheek song ever written. There’s nothing dramatically new and different about what The Occasional Orchestra do, but they just do it better and with more style than most.”

 

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