Jess and The Bandits – 20 Questions

Jess and The Bandits are a new country band which is 1/5 Texan and 4/5 British. Having just released their debut album ‘Here We Go Again’ and with live dates in the UK, we thought we would ask the band to take part in our tailored 20 Questions series. Here are their responses:

Jessica Clemmons (Vocals)

  • Tell me about ‘Wanted Man’ please

I love this song. I was sitting in a room with Jeff Cohen (Sugarland, The Band Perry) and James T Slater (Carrie Underwood, Tim McGraw, Martina McBride) in Nashville. I had a few ideas of songs I wanted to write and one of them was about a woman being aggressive and going after the man she wanted. It strangely took on a old west theme and before we knew it we had this fun, sassy, and sexy song! It’s one of my favorites to perform!

  • You are performing on the UK festival circuit at festivals such as Cornbury Festival and Ramblin Man Fair. Without giving too much away, what can a festival crowd expect?

We will definitely throw in a cover or two of our favorites and it’s all about bringing a party! We love to rock out on strange and hope that when people leave they think, “wow… That was awesome! Where do we get their music??”.

  • What apparel suits you?
         A great pair of cowboy boots. That’s a must have for this Texas girl!
  • The radio is playing…what song would you cross the room to turn UP and what song would you cross the room to turn OFF?
         Haha that’s a great question. I would always turn up Lady Antebellum’s ‘Long Stretch of Love’. To turn off, it would have to be, ‘Honky Tonk Badonkadonk’ by Trace AdkinsBonus Question: What is your favourite track on your new album ‘Here We Go Again’ and why?That is such a hard question. It’s like being asked to choose your favorite child. It’s impossible. I do have one that is special to my heart and that would be ‘What If’. It’s probably one of the most personal songs I’ve ever written.

    Dave Troke (Bass)
  • Do you have a favoured stage bass? What strings do you use?

My 1963 fender precision bass. DR sunbeam strings.

  • Name a great recording including in the title 1/ Red 2/ White 3/ Blue (artist / title / source album for each please ) and explain why chosen.

Red Eyes / The War On Drugs / Lost In The Dream – It is impossible to not listen to this and lose yourself in its hypnotising hook.White / Odd Future, Frank Ocean / The OF Tape Vol. 2 – So soulful.

Blue / Joni Mitchell / Blue – A true gem.
  • Suggest an ‘expanded edition’ album release where the additional cuts impress you…and why?
Cherry Red Record cans always be relied upon for interesting additional album cuts on their classic re-releases.
  • Two tickets suddenly arrive for a live performance, they are for someone you have always wanted to see…which act or artist? And which numbers will be hoping to hear?
Alison Krauss and Union Station. I’d hope to hear “Forget About It”.

Bonus Question: What is your favourite track on your new album ‘Here We Go Again’ and why?
Ah that’s a tough one! I love the energy from ‘Ready Set’. It really gets the audience going.

Ricci Riccardi (Drums)


  • Three tips for a novice drummer please:

Practice everything slowly and get it right before playing faster/learn to sing and play another instrument/ do your homework for every gig and for your drumming and musicianship in general.

  • Suggest a song that reminds you of your childhood – and why might this be?
      Come on Eileen – I used to dance to it as a child.
  •       Name an actor or actress who made a listenable song recording – and what’s the appeal?

The Blues Brothers (Dan Ackroyd and John Belushi) Awesome songs and great film. Not sure if they sung on the soundtrack.

  • Can you dance? Do you dance? How do your family rate your dancing? 

      I like dancing, I think I’m Justin Timberlake but I know I’m not. I have groove though!Bonus Question: What is your favourite track on your new album ‘Here We Go Again’ and why?

      ‘Love Like That’. The melodies are beautiful and I love the story behind it.

Louis Riccardi (Guitar/Harmonica)

  • Which makes of harmonica do you favour and why?

Hohner Special 20. Sweeter tone and a little easier to bend notes. Second choice, Hohner Marine Band cause I’ve got a favourite of mine in E blues.


  •  Willie Nelson or Willie Dixon? (Say something about both)

Hard to say, both amazing, but gonna go with Willie Dixon just cause I love the whole Chess Records thing. Alot of my first gigs were spent playing ‘Little Red Rooster’ and Hoochie Coochie Man’.

  • Which artist did you go to see perform with low expectations but ended up impressed? Where and when was this?
Dorian Concept, Glastonbury last week. One man DJ producer guy who was off the chart!!
  • Is there a book or novel that you would like to create songs or the score for? Why is this?

      Can’t say there’s a specific book but I’d definitely love to get into writing film music. I love to write instrumentals and love creating textures with sounds. I really enjoyed the soundtrack for Black Hawk Down, so to be involved with something like that would be incredible.Bonus Question:  What is your favourite track on your new album ‘Here We Go Again’ and why?

‘Wanted Man’. It’s an awesome play. Although I think I’ve said ‘Love Like That’ before, so maybe I should say all of them Winking face

Steven Reid Williams (Piano/guitar)

  • Where in the world in your opinion is live music best received? What venues appeal?
 Anywhere that you have a captive audience. I love performing in an arena simply for the fact that it’s an arena but beautiful theatre’s have an intimacy where you find people are there to hear the music.
  • Name a TV series where the theme music was better than the actual shows and do you know who created or recorded it?

The theme tune Minder. The song was a hit but the TV show wasn’t that great. 

  • Two or three songs with great actual endings (not fades) by The Who or The Beatles? Or both acts!
      Elanor Rigby by The Beatles

Baba O’Riley – The Who 

  • Has a radio DJ anywhere (and any era) ever impressed you and if so why?

      Bob Harris of Radio 2. He has always played some of the most legendary music and has a real ear for fantastic songs that tell a storyBonus Question:  What is your favourite track on your new album ‘Here We Go Again’ and why?

      ‘You Can’t Stop Me’ because I love the melody in the chorus and the harmonies are killer.
Pete Sargeant
Jess and The Bandits debut album ‘Here We Go Again’ is out now. Jess and The Bandits are performing the following shows in the UK and Ireland this year:

Saturday 11th July- Cornbury Festival, The Great Tew Park, Oxfordshire, United Kingdom

Monday 13th July- Robin Park Arena, Wigan, United Kingdom www.

Saturday 18th July- Summertyne Festival (co-headline with Callaghan), The Sage, Gateshead, United Kingdom

Saturday 25th July- Ramblin Man Fair, Mote Park, Maidstone, Kent, United Kingdom

Friday 4th September- Cottingham Folk Festival (Supporting The Shires), Driffield, Cottingham, East Riding of Yorkshire, United Kingdom 

Friday 16th October- Live at The FSA Festival, Preston, Lancashire, United Kingdom 

Saturday 24th October- Whelan’s (Headline Show), Dublin, Ireland

Tuesday 27th October- The Louisiana (Headline Show), Bristol, United Kingdom

Wednesday 28th October- The Borderline (Headline Show), London, United Kingdom

Thursday 29th October- Brudenell Social Club (Headline Show), Leeds, United Kingdom

Friday 30th October- Gullivers (Headline Show), Manchester, United Kingdom

Saturday 31st October- King Tuts (Headline Show), Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom

Saturday 21st November- Live at The Plus Size Fashion Awards

Saturday 18th June 2016- Towerfest, Durham, United Kingdom 

For more information visit:

(Thanks to Jess and The Bandits for taking part in the 20 Questions series, Jeremy Williams-Chalmers at Sonnet Music for making this possible, Kieran White and Glenn Sargeant for question contribution)