Meet: Fiery Folk Punks Black Water County

Georgia Penny

After a three year hiatus from releasing their fiery folk punk, Black Water County return with a new single ‘The Only Life Worth Living’ which is the first in a string of singles to be released prior to the bands third album due later this year. We caught up with the band to find a little bit more about them as they look set to set many a stage alight with their raucous live shows this coming November and December.

Give us a potted history of Black Water County

Black Water County formed around 10 years ago (yikes) with a totally predictable origin story including a bunch of mates at a college house party and a lot of booze, all set to an unbeatable 2000s pop-punk soundtrack. The guys threw a set list of traditional Celtic tunes and folk-punk covers together and started gigging in pubs. 

Shortly after their first few shows, Shan was asked to jump in for a guest vocal on a duet, she showed up to practice with a tin whistle and the rest is history. It’s pretty mad to look back on the early days, we’ve played so many pubs we’ve lost count, and it feels so different to where we are now which is crazy to say we’re touring the UK regularly and playing in proper 300-500 capacity venues, as well as some pretty sweet festival stages all over the place. 

To date our biggest UK festival appearances have included WOMAD, Boomtown Fair, Beautiful Days, Belladrum, Black Deer, Tunes in the Dunes, Camp Bestival, Larmer Tree and Teddy Rocks along with hundreds of smaller UK festivals and festival slots across Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, The Netherlands and France.

In 2017 we independently released our first album, Taking Chances, and embarked on our first UK tour. Our second album, Comedies and Tragedies, came in 2020 and we recently announced the launch date for our third album, The Only Life Worth Living, for November this year.

In both 2016 and 2018, we won a place on Fireball’s Fueling the Fire Tour supporting Less Than Jake, Flogging Molly, The Bronx and The Skints amongst others, and then featured in Kerrang!’s coverage of the tour, received an endorsement from Fireball UK and also appeared on BBC radio stations with the single Rise and Fall. Speaking of which, that single has now reached over a million streams on Spotify, which we think is prreeeetttty damn cool! 

Who inspired you to start making music

I think we would all vary on personal influences but most of us would agree bands such as Green Day, Sum 41 and Avril Lavigne among many other pop-punk icons definitely played a massive part in our collective youths. After all, Black Water County was founded at a teenage house party so go figure. Later on when we found each other, we also took huge influences from the likes of Flogging Molly, The Pogues and Frank Turner which brings in the folky references you may know us for now. 

We’ve all been lucky to have musical upbringings and therefore take personal influences from so many walks of life. Brad is a keen 50s / 60s rock n roll fanatic, Tim loves his ska, Shan is passionate about hip-hop and heavy music, Gav has been known to enjoy a bit of prog, and Ollie would be thrilled with straight up pop-punk 24/7.

And the one or maybe two records that inspired you artistically

Drunken Lullabies by Flogging Molly
American Idiot by Green Day

If you’re trying to explain who you sound like to someone that’s never heard you, what do you say

A couple of the guys would say ‘Green Day with banjos’ but I think it’s a little bit more than that! We’ve got some (hopefully) nostalgic poppy chord progressions over fast, hard hitting drums with catchy melodies played on folk instruments! Having female / male vocals allows us to change the vibes up a bit. Oh, and we love a sweet, sweet harmony when we can. Hope that helps!
Tell us about your new single

The Only Life Worth Living, our most recent single, was released in June and is all about keeping an open mind, opening doors and moving forward. The song summarises our feelings coming out of a hard couple of years for both the band and the industry as a whole. To us, it means full ‘balls-to-the-wall’ energy because life is too short.

We recorded the track with our long term friend and producer Lewis Johns from The Ranch in Southampton using a variety of equipment guided by his expertise. Using the golden combo of a Marshall amp and Gibson guitar (among others) and a Yamaha recording custom drum kit, we hand created a solid track with rock roots. 

The next single, Cruel State of Mind, is due to be released on 28 July and has been about 4 years in the making. The song started as an idea somewhere between the first two albums and was revisited several times before its completion. Press and social marketing campaigns are in place for its release, along with a music video.

Cruel State of Mind is our own familiar love song for the ages, full to the brim of agonised imagery. We wanted to hammer home the feeling of thoughts going round and round your head with no respite. Despite the recent dystopian environment the human race has had to endure with the undoing of habits and the re-writing of thought patterns, there are some things that will never NOT be tangled up in the human experience. This exasperated love song serves us all, past, present and future.
Where can we get hold of it

Spotify and Apple Music 

Follow Black Water County:
Live show tickets:
Tell us how you write

The writing process varies slightly but an initial concept tends to be shared and worked upon between a couple of us. We still work closely with previous band member Russ who now lives in Sweden as he’s a fantastic songwriter. 

This idea is then shared amongst the group, and we get together for a rehearsal to refine the track, and each put our ideas across. We then record the song in demo format at rehearsal and go away to listen to the track and think of any final amends we might like to make. 

A lot of tweaking and additions come to us while recording in the studio, as you can imagine listening to each track 1000 times makes it easy to add layers of cool stuff as and when inspiration hits. Also, working with a super creative producer helps. Shout out to Lewis Johns at The Ranch! 

Tell us about your live show and how much did you miss it during lockdown

The live show has always been what it’s all about and what it all stems back to. It’s why we started, how we got through the middle bit and what we can probably do with our eyes closed now. There have been a few check points over the years where we get the chance to change things up a bit and refresh the live show, like set lists, uniform changes, cover songs, stage props and equipment. 

Just like every other band in the country and the world, when the lockdowns kicked in, we were gutted. We had actually just released our second album 3 days before they called the first one and the whole tour and promotion just shrivelled up. Yeah, it couldn’t come back soon enough.

What can we expect from you in the near future

We’ve got the new single and music video being released on 28 July which we’re super pumped about. We think it’s the most fun we’ve had (and the actual manual labour we’ve had to do) for a music video but it was so worth it.

After that, we’re hitting the UK festivals for the rest of the summer, a couple more singles to come out over the next couple of months and then the whole album is being launched with the tour of the same name in November. We’re culminating it with a hometown show at The Old Firestation in Bournemouth on 16 December where we’re playing the new album in its entirety. Cannot. Bloody. Wait.
Tell us your favourite records that are rocking your headphones / tour bus / stereo

Shan: Amyl and the Sniffers – Comfort To Me; Bad Nerves – Self Titled; Aurora – The Gods We
Can Touch; Turnstile – Glow On

Brad: Luke Combs – Getting Old; DISPATCH – America, Location 12; Foo Fighters – Wasting Light

Ollie: Alkaline Trio – Crimson; Stiff Little Fingers – Flags and Emblems; Trivium – Ascendancy

Check out the track ‘The Only Life Worth Living’, below:

Find out more about the band via their Website or Facebook



Thu 09 NOTTINGHAM Rescue Rooms
Fri 10 LONDON Camden Assembly
Sat 11 BRISTOL Thekla
Sun 12 PLYMOUTH Junction
Thu 16 LEEDS Key Club
Fri 17 NEWCASTLE Anarchy Brew
Sat 18 GLASGOW Audio


Sat 16 BOURNEMOUTH Old Fire Station

Tickets available from:

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