January Blues – Henry’s Funeral Shoe

Henry's Funeral Shoe were inspired by blues and classic rock 'n' roll albums 'borrowed' from singer/guitarist Aled Clifford's father's vinyl collection.

Anita Awbi
  • By Anita Awbi
  • 24 Jan 2012
  • min read
Henry's Funeral Shoe were inspired by blues and classic rock 'n' roll albums 'borrowed' from singer/guitarist Aled Clifford's dad's vinyl collection.

Influenced by the likes of Robert Johnson, Peter Green and The Who, Aled and Brennig Clifford, two brothers from South Wales formed a band to play 'some of the loudest soulful rock'n'roll to come out the UK in a long time.'

Second album Donkey Jacket has received great reviews and the band's songs have featured in film and television - Down The Line was used in the Chris Evans film Puncture while Dog Scratched Ear will be in episode two of the next series of BBC3's Being Human.

M caught up with Aled who gave us the lowdown on how Henry's Funeral Shoe got started, inspirations and what's up next for the band.

How and why did you get together?
I'd  been involved in bands and as a solo artist for over ten years and after my quitting my last band I decided to take a break for a while as I'd lost my enthusiasm. But my brother being ten years younger was full of it and wanted to start something. I wasn't keen but as soon as we starting jamming it was instantly fun so we went with it.

Was it a conscious decision to have a bluesy sound and how did you come to it?
No, we didn't have any agenda other than to have fun and write songs.

Do you listen to old blues/rhythm n blues/rock 'n' roll records for songwriting inspiration?
We're listening to all the classic bands, The Beatles, Stones, The Who, CCR, Little Feat. Rock 'n' roll and blues is the bloodline through all good music so it'll come out in any band that's trying to make music. I'm listening to a lot of underground hip hop at the moment. Immortal Technique is the most important rapper to happen in years. He's an inspiration. It's not the best musically, but his lyrics and delivery are immense.

What equipment do you use and are there any particular reasons for your choice?
We've got a five piece drum kit, Laney valve amp (has to be valve), hand made mojo fuzz, delay, whammy pedal and three different guitars in various tunings. We use a lot of toms to fill out the sound and I play mostly fingerstyle so the bass notes ring out. This all helps give a bigger low end sound because we don't have a bass player.

Where was your first live show and what was it like?
Our first live show was on some waste ground by a friends house with friend's bands. There was a marque with a stage the boys built. We only had four songs written but it was loads of fun.

Do you have any tips for performing live?
Our best tip is give it everything and have fun. People wanna come to watch music and forget about the day job and whatever else they've got going on. Our job is to entertain.

Is there a scene in your area playing your kind of music?
There's no scene as such. Most of the best bands I know are friend's bands. There are some good bands around in the Valleys, more so than in the city, I'd say.

What's next for the band?
We're currently trying to promote this album as much as possible and get a booking agent in the UK. We're hoping to get more festival bookings here too. We do okay on the continent but can't really make a go of it here. We're hoping it"ll change this year.

What bands/artists are you into at the moment?
Ry Cooder and Immortal Technique. Something old, something new.

Harmonica solos - yes or no?
Oh yeah, and if it sounds like Charlie Musselwhite, then all day long!

Watch the video below to Henry's Funeral Shoe - Stranger Dig and a spectacular 3D live performance in France!