In this BFBS Original Music Special, I (Ernie Rowe) chat with Gary Stringer, the singer, and Jesse Wood, the lead guitarist, with the band Reef.
Gary’s older brother is in the Royal Air Force, so I am predicting some serious ‘crating’ when Gary gives him a shout out on Forces Radio BFBS.
"He does love it and he does everyone proud.
"I think back here in the UK we're all stoked with what the soldiers do and I'm really proud of all of you."
Along with Dom Greensmith on drums and the massively-bearded Jack Bessant on bass, Reef have just released their first album in 18 years, Revelation, and it is one of the most eclectic albums I have heard in ages.
There is an unbelievable mix of styles, from old skool Atlantic, with Reef’s cover of 'How I Got Over', formerly recorded by Aretha Franklin; to the title track, 'Revelation', which can even out-foo the Foo Fighters for sheer unbridled, hard-rockin' joy.
The first track released from 'Revelation' is the country and western style 'My Sweet Love', a duet with American musician Sheryl Crow.
I challenge you not to be singing along by the end of the first chorus.
An unlikely pairing, but one facilitated by superstar producer George Drakoulias, who has previously worked with The Black Crows, Primal Scream and Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers.
It was his genius influence over the whole project that opened the band’s eyes to artists they had never heard of like The Staples Singers and pushed the band’s boundaries beyond what has gone before.
Jesse Wood is married to radio and TV star Fearne Cotton, with whom he has two children, Honey and Rex.
It was his famous father, Ronnie Wood of the Rolling Stones, who first inspired him to pick up a guitar.
Although he grew up with his late mother, Krissy, Jesse told me it was a real rush to see his father on stage on the Steel Wheels tour in Philadelphia in 1989.
“And there he was, fist-pumping the air going HOOOOORAAAAYYY! And I thought, yeah, I’ll have a bit of that."
There are so many more factors involved in Reef going on tour now, not least of all the large number of kids they’re leaving behind at home; although in Gary’s head, it wasn’t as hard as you might think to get away. He told me:
“I think the key, Ernie, and this is my tip for men or women listening, is don’t ask, just go.”
The band are gigging now, with 'Terrorvision', 'The Wildhearts' and 'Dodgy' on the 'Britrock Must Be Destroyed Tour', with an Australian solo multi-gig trip later this year.
Listen below to see how warm, generous and downright Reef-tastic these two fellas are when they just want a natter.