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Bluesman from Downham Market and his wife scoop awards

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Downham man Aaron Bond and his wife Grace are enjoying great success of one of the country's top blues duos.

Aaron and Grace form When Rivers Meet, who have just been named the winners in no less than four categories of the UK Blues Awards.

They scooped Best Band, Best Album, Best Newcomer and Most Inspirationall live act in an extraordinary coup.

For former Hillcrest and Downham Market High pupil Aaron it was beyond his wildest dreams.

Nominations are made by key stakeholders in the blues community, such as BBC DJ Cerys Matthews, and then voted on by the public.

Aaron said: "To be honest we were blown away to be nominated. We only came on the scene last year, but to win was just crazy good! I didn't know what to say."

The success may have owed more than a little to their free Rock The Lockdown shows on facebook every Saturday at 8pm broadcast live from their studio (converted from a garage at their home in Brightlingsea in Essex).

That attracts a devoted following and has helped popularise their music for a band that takes its name from a sign spotted on holiday in Sardinia ("A name was the hardest thing we had to do," he said).

Aaron met Grace 17 years ago when she was a barmaid at the Live and Let Live in Downham. Music was immediately the bond between them. They have been married 10 years. He is a guitarist and she plays the violin and resonator mandolin (a metal version fitted with a pick-up mike).

Grace hails from Littleport but Aaron, who before he became a full-time musician was a carer working with people with autism, said: "I was born in King's Lynn, and lived in Downham all my life until we moved down here. My family still all live there and I return back regularly, at least before lockdown.

"Brightlingsea is just like Downham. Just by the coast.

"I'd always liked rock but I just stumbled across the blues. It was John Lee Hooker's 'Boom Boom Boom'. As soon as I heard that riff I just absolutely fell in love; I'd not really heard the blues before that.

"That is what we strive for in our music, a beat, a riff and killer vocals."

Aaron and Grace write their own material, sometimes in concert with their producer Adam.

The first album and winner of the Best Album category was 'We Fly Free'. They are currently in the studio in Ipswich making a new album which will be released in November.

They intend to go out on tour from September as a duo and then later with a band. In November they are playing support to fellow blues rock band King King and they will have their own headline tour from April 2022.

"I keep urging them to sort out a date at the Corn Exchange in Lynn, that would be brilliant."

Their album and previous EPs are available on Spotify and other streaming services. The new album will be on CD and vinyl.

"You have to have a physical product," said Aaron, "it is not the same without it."

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