Everyone looks forward to having a bit of time off over Christmas – spending a few precious days with loved ones, going out to lots of parties, or just enjoying not having to go into work for a little while. For pop and classic vocal quartet Blake, however, the break is even more eagerly anticipated.
“The last date of the Love Lifts Us Up tour is coming up and we’ve done 60 or 70 shows, so we’re really looking forward to it,“ says baritone Jules Knight. “We started back at the beginning of this year and to us it doesn’t seem like a tour, more a constant stream of dates. Our tours are getting bigger every year!“
But when the band – completed by Humphrey Berney, Ollie Baines and Stephen Bowman – finish their last UK gig, at the Beck next week, there will be no time for putting their feet up – they are off to do six dates in the Philippines in December and then the touring starts again in late January to promote their fourth studio album, Start Over.
Released on February 11, 2013, the album continues Blake’s tradition of compiling a selection of timeless love songs but also signals a change of direction for the group, being their first pop album.
“It’s really different,“ says Jules. “There are ten original songs on there, which is new for us as traditionally we’ve done a lot of covers. It’s very poppy, very contemporary, and has quite a new sound. But it’s also got flavours of the Bee Gees and the Beach Boys, so it sort of mixes the old and the new.“
The album includes original work by Diane Warren, who has written for Aerosmith and Cher, as well as covers of The Eagles’ Desperado, Amazed by Lone Star, To Make You Feel My Love by Bob Dylan and Beautiful Night by Paul McCartney.
The record is certain to delight the boys’ many existing fans who will remember when Blake launched their first album in 2007, just six months after reuniting on Facebook. And So It Goes went straight to Number One in the classical album chart and into the Top 20 in the pop charts.
Since then they have produced three more studio albums, performed all over the world and won legions of fans, including Shirley Bassey, Katherine Jenkins and Kate Middleton.
Their latest album has taken them more than two years to put it together because they had to wade through the almost 400 songs that had been sent to them.
“We chose the ones we thought would work best with our voices and our treatment of songs,“ Jules says. “We’re really proud of it.“
- Blake are at the Beck Theatre, Grange Road, Hayes on Sunday, November 25 at 7.30pm. Details: 020 85618371, www.becktheatre.org.uk