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Sandi Thom

March 2010

SHE believes the British Secret Service may be responsible but in her new flat on the River Thames, Sandi Thom is unable to get a signal on her mobile.
It’s why she’s walking to a nearby cafe, away from the MI5 HQ, to talk. And she has plenty to say because not only does she have a new home, but a new record label, a new album and a brand new sound.
Well, an old sound that’s new to anyone who may have enjoyed her first two albums Smile...It Confuses, which followed the single I Wish I Was A Punk Rocker to the top of the UK charts, and The Pink & The Lilly.
Merchants and Thieves, Thom’s third, is a blues album.
“It’s a lot to do with the fact that I’m an independent artist now,” says the Scot, who was signed to Sony BMG but now runs her own label.
“I call the shots, there’s nobody harassing me to meet deadlines or to write a particularly commercial song. It’s refreshing to make an album that you like listening to.”
She quickly adds: “I enjoyed writing the first two albums but it’s good to move on.
“And it’s good for people to know about me. It’s a lot darker than the other two albums. There’s a lot about loss and regret. I’m a deep person,” she adds, laughing.
Being dropped by a major label helped her as a songwriter, she says.
“I’d gotten to the point where life was just a little too sweet. And when you get to that point it’s hard to sing sad songs with passion and honesty.”
The blues, she says, has always been one her favourite music genres.
“The first CD I ever stole off my mum was a blues compilation. I remember hearing Black Magic Woman and that’s how I discovered Fleetwood Mac. I love Peter Green’s style of playing. So there’s always been that in me, it’s just that now I’ve been given the opportunity to do what I want to do it’s come out more.”
She namechecks Robert Johnson and Delta blues but the current prince of blues, Joe Bonamassa, has been as big an influence as anyone.
“He’s a friend of mine and on a tour last year he lost his voice so he needed someone to stand in for him. Because of that I got the chance to support BB King and Steve Winwood and be part of this blues world that I’d never been a part of before. It was that which cemented my change in direction.”
Bonamassa appears on her new single This Ol’ World, due out next month. It’s taken from Merchants and Thieves, which is to be released in May.
Prior to then she has a tour that includes Nottingham’s Rescue Rooms, a swift return to the city for Thom, who supported Bonamassa at the Royal Concert Hall in November.
“When I did Joe’s dates, the reaction at first was like ‘What?’,” she remembers.
“Then we got on stage and the reaction was brilliant. The cool thing I’ve found from entering this new world of the blues is that they’re the most dedicated fans I’ve ever come across.”
She adds: “There were so many people who didn’t know who I was, which was really refreshing.”
There aren’t many female blues players around so you could be a the blues pin-up?
She laughs: “That’s sweet. I’d quite like to be the next British blues pin-up.”

Who Sandi Thom
Where Rescue Rooms, Goldsmith Street
When Friday April 23, 7pm
Tickets £12, 0871 310 0000

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