New sound of

Michael Shanagher and Andy Bache, who are Blackpool band Troubadour
Michael Shanagher and Andy Bache, who are Blackpool band Troubadour
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If you’ve been a regular gig-goer in Blackpool over the last five years or so, chances are you’ll have seen Troubadour.

Andy Bache and Michael Shanagher are well known on the local music scene, and have had plenty of success since getting together in 2007.

They’ve played the Lowry, for starters, shared stages with the Levellers and Newton Faulkner, and had a track off debut album Carnival Town used in BBC drama Waterloo Road.

But like all good acts they aren’t prepared to rest on their laurels and carry on exactly as they are. They want to expand and improve their sound and to that end have shaken things up a little by adding a new member, Chris Tweedie. It means the new album – the band’s second, due out next Easter – will have a different sound.

“I think it’s going to sound a lot fuller, bigger, and some of the songs are quite beat orientated – so it’s still a singer-songwriter album but there is a groove to it all,” said Michael.

“We wanted to develop more as a band and having drums on some songs enables us to play around a bit more.”

Andy adds: “We’ve been doing well but we wanted to develop and do something that would help us festival scene, maybe get a few more slots higher up the bill.

“Having a drummer has made the songs, both our old and new material, a bit more bouncy, given them more energy and taken it down a new route.

“A lot of the new songs are more upbeat than some of the older stuff. We’ve been rehearsing hard and we’re really pleased with how it’s going and how we’re sounding.”

Andy and Michael, though, remain at the core of everything the band produce.

They formed Troubador in 2007 after meeting at the school they taught in Poulton. Both in their 30s, they discovered a shared love of folk-roots music and began to write songs.

Mike, who lives in Thornton, plays guitar, is the lead vocal and does most of the songwriting. Layton-based Andy plays bass. “And also some acoustic guitar, banjo, harmonica, tin whistle ... basically Mike will say I need this instrument and I have to learn it!”

The pair still teach by day but harbour dreams of going further in the music world.

“It would be nice if it grew a bit and there’s still time I think,” added Andy. I think age isn’t as important in the folk scene as it is in other genres. We are fully aware that we are past the Top of the Pops stage but I think we’ve still got a lot to offer.”

The debut album came out in 2010. One song – Shelter – was played on BBC Radio Lancashire, which led to it being selected by the makers of Waterloo Road.

“We got plenty of Corona in that night and crowded round the TV to watch,” said Michael.

“It was played right at the end, in quite a key scene. The BBC have contacted us again and said we should send them future songs because they might be interested in using more of our material.”

Work on the second album is well underway and the lads hope to have it out at Easter.”

The next Troubadour album should definitely be worth waiting for. Check out a song on Youtube called By The River if you want proof of the talent this band has.

Roll on the next record.