Local R’n’B five-piece Carl North & The Lonely Hearts are gearing up for their latest headline performance in Manchester at Gullivers this December. Possessing a raw and bluesy sound, the band are still fresh from a debut UK tour earlier this year and have just released new single ‘Blood to Bleed’ – Listen below! We caught up with the up-and-coming cohort ahead of their latest show.

// Hello Carl North (and The Lonely Hearts!) How would you describe yourself as an artist?

We are a 5-piece (sometimes 6) rhythm and blues band. We mix the best bits of Chess Records’ American Blues with British Blues of the 60’s – and throw in a more up to date bite and influence. We are a live band through and through and in our early months were fortunate enough to support some of our biggest influences, including Matt Andersen and C.W. Stoneking. Fans of these seemed to have really got involved with our sound as we’ve since sold out headline shows in Manchester. We love making our live shows as up-tempo and lively as possible (minus the odd lonesome country song or two…)

// Where do you like to hang out in Manchester?

We’re not too fussy when it comes to places to hang out in town, there’s so much on offer. ‘Bunny Jackson’s Juke Joint’ on First Street is a favourite, it’s always got good music on and if you catch a live band playing, you’re always in for a treat. Otherwise, we tend to find ourselves down near Oxford Road station area; Temple Bar, Britons Protection – and now the new bar YES which is a pretty good addition to that area. 

// What is your favourite song to perform? Why?

Like I said, our set is quite lively so it’s generally up-tempo and a lot of fun to play. A definite favourite is our debut single ‘Off Guard’. It’s still our most popular recorded track yet so we tend to kick off the set with this one to get everyone moving early on, you can take a listen on our Spotify! There’s a couple of tracks in our set where we like to jam and have a bit of a laugh with each other, it’s nice to be playing a style where we can adapt and change things as we’re playing. We like to think that each of our tracks has its own flavour and originality so it’s always nice to get a good reaction to our own take on a cover tune, which we try to make our own as much as possible. As a Live act it’s great to get a crowd up for moving and singing along.

// Do you have a favourite venue in Manchester?

A personal favourite is Deaf Institute. I’ve had the pleasure to play a few really special shows there, both solo and with the band. Whether the crowd are moving to the music or they’re super silent, the atmosphere is always electric. There’s something just pretty special about that venue. Otherwise we’re all big fans of Gulliver’s which we’re excited to be headlining and closing what’s been an amazing year for us on December 7th. Definitely sad to hear of the closing of Ruby Lounge. It was the first place we ever played in as a band, not to mention countless other great shows we’ve played there and attended – it’s going to be a real shame to see it go.

// If you could master one instrument, what would it be?

Definitely Trumpet. I’m really into Jazz and particularly trumpet – a lot of the old Jazz music of the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s. Miles Davis, Chet Baker, Louis Armstrong…I’d love to be able to play some of that. I do own a trumpet but it’s one of those instruments that, when you’re learning, is just way too loud and it sounds like something dying. Living in a flat has made it way too hard to practice, maybe it’s best to be left for the pros…

// Where do you see yourself in the next 12 months?

We’ve had a really great 12 months this last year so it’ll be interesting to see what happens going forward. We’ve got some pretty big plans in the pipeline and some really cool shows yet to be announced. We’ve done some small tours this year and tested the waters outside of Manchester so we’re working on getting something a little longer in the diary across the UK. Recording-wise, we’ve got plans for a bit more of a bodied release, rather than the singles we’ve done previously. More to be determined on that one.

// Dream band or artist to share a stage with?

Definitely some of the big Blues artists of the past, Muddy Waters, B.B. King, or James Brown. Sadly, that couldn’t happen obviously, so I’d say now we’d love to share a stage with the likes of Tom Waits, Nathanial Rateliff, The Black Keys or Vulfpeck. I could go on and on, there’s a never-ending list it seems. To be fair we’ve already had the pleasure of playing with some of idols and hero’s, so we are doing quite well so far.

// Best takeaway in Manchester?

Easily Popolino’s on Oxford road I reckon. But it all depends on the night, can’t say we’ve ever had a real bad takeaway up here.


Carl North & The Lonely Hearts perform at Gullivers on Friday 7th December. Tickets are available here.

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