“There are buskers that will make you cry, they’re so good”, according to cult Americana artist Andrew Bird. “And then there are buskers that will take you to a place where sound and energy merge to create a kind of spiritual ecstasy, a joyful affirmation of life itself.” CC Smugglers, who have made the transition from the street to the stage with consummate ease and considerable acclaim, exemplify the latter, and then some.
The Bedfordshire-based band started out as “guerrilla buskers”, hijacking queues waiting to see other artists, or commandeering underground trains and escalators. They got their big break by playing outside every UK tour date of the two-time Grammy Award-winning Old Crow Medicine Show. Not even a severed artery on his finger could stop frontman Richie Prynne – he delayed surgery to lead the six-piece on the audacious escapade. So impressed were the Old Crow Medicine Show with a “hugely engaging performance” (Sunday Times), they invited them to share their platform on the remaining dates.
Last summer saw the band selling out venues in their own right, and stealing the headlines at the Cornbury, Glastonbury and Camden Rocks Festivals, among others. They went on to play further afield at some of Europe’s biggest festivals including sharing the bill with Bruce Springsteen at the prestigious Werchter Festival in Belgium along with dates in The Netherlands, Germany, Czech Republic and more. 2017 started off with an appearance at the O2’s huge Country to Country (C2C) festival in London and a set at Eurosonic in The Netherlands, and they are confirmed for a run of festivals this summer including Cambridge Folk, Cropredy Festival, Montreaux Jazz and more.
Listen to CC Smugglers and you’ll hear the ghosts of American folk music, swing, jazz, country, ragtime and bluegrass. Listen more closely and you’ll hear contemporary touchstones such as hip hop, metal, dubstep, house and dancehall. Nothing is off limits for this outfit.