THE sound of country music will make its way across the pond to Wigan when an up-and-coming band headlines a high-profile gig.
Fast-rising act Jess and the Bandits, which sees Texan singer Jess Clemmons team up with a group of British musicians to create a trans-Atlantic brand of country mixed with elements of pop and rock, will play at Robin Park in July.
The gig is one of a string of festival slots the five-piece will play across the country this summer in support of debut album Here We Go Again.
Jess and the Bandits will be supported by Wigan-born act Chris Bannister and Jess, who divides her team between the UK and Houston, says she is looking forward to coming to the North West.
She said: “We were really excited to be asked to headline and we can’t wait. There’s a lot of country music fans in Wigan so we’re excited to get people out to see the show.
“I think we’ve all been to the area separately but this will be our first time in Wigan as a band. We’re good friends with another musician from the borough and he was telling us what a great crowd comes to gigs, so we’re looking forward to it.”
Jess and the Bandits have become one of the most talked-about acts on the UK country scene, with their debut album entering the Official Country Chart at number six and the group playing the prestigious Country 2 Country festival in London.
The band has developed its own take on country but says its songs will appeal to fans of acts including Lady Antebellum, Carrie Underwood and Kelly Clarkson.
The four British band members, brothers Ricci and Louis Riccardi on drums and guitar, Dave Troke on bass and Steven Reid Williams on keyboards, met Jess while touring in support of The Overtones in 2012 and the group quickly realised they had such a strong chemistry they should form a full-time band.
Jess said: “I decided to go back to my roots and focus on country music about two years ago and meeting the guys was like the missing piece of the puzzle.
“We started playing together and writing and something just clicked with audiences, which is great. We’re actually a bit shocked because it’s something you hope for but don’t really expect.”
Jess and the Bandits are part of a rapidly-growing UK country music scene, and Jess says as an American steeped in the genre she is delighted to see groups from the UK achieving success and putting their own spin on this quintessentially American style.
Jess and the Bandits will come to Wigan for the gig which is being put on by Leisuretec, supported by Pemberton-born singer-songwriter Chris Bannister who has travelled Stateside to perform his music influenced by American folk and country sounds.
The concert will take place the day after the end of the Wigan Jazz Festival and enables music fans to get full use out of the transformation of the Robin Park Indoor Sports Centre into a plush gig venue.
Leisuretec director Phil Jameson said: “It takes two days to put all the equipment in for the festival so we thought we would do a tag-on event afterwards.
“Jess has a really strong voice and the band are really good musicians, I was very impressed with them, and Chris is also a great musician.”
Jess and the Bandits will play at Robin Park Indoor Sports Centre supported by Chris Bannister on July 13 from 7.30pm.
Tickets are £15, available by visiting the sports centre reception or the Haigh Country Park reception, ringing 01942 828271 or online from https://boxoffice.wlct.org
For more information about the band, visit jessandthebandits.com or www.facebook.com/JessAndTheBandits