Though somewhat atypical for a group rooted in country to find success in the UK, it is par for the course when it comes to the unlikely group Jess and the Bandits. The Bandits met Texan favourite Jessica Clemmons, the opening act, during a 2012 tour while playing with The Overtones and instantly bonded over their mutual love of Country Music. As they began to play together more and more, it became painstakingly clear that their chemistry was flawless.
Made up of brothers Ricci and Louis Riccardi on drums and guitar respectively, Dave Troke on bass, Steven Reid Williams on keyboards/guitar and of course Jessica Clemmons on vocals, each member of the Bandits brings with them a storied history of country creativity.
Far from home, Jessica Clemmons hails from Houston, Texas, however UK audiences have fallen for her soulful and passionate work so much that she’s become something of an honorary Brit. The country singer got her foot firmly in the door whilst wowing arena audiences on Boyzone’s BZ20 tour, and on other outings from the Overtones to the Stylistics. Jess graced the BBC Radio 2 playlist last year with ‘Single Tonight’ and sent social media into a spin when she performed her show-stopping female take on ‘Wichita Lineman’ on Terry Wogan’s Sunday morning show.
The band spent the majority of 2014 on the road, with performances at Country 2 Country, as well as The Isle Of Wight Festival and a support tour with Pete Molinari. Later in the year Jess re-joined her co-writing team in Nashville including Jeff Cohen (The Band Perry, Sugarland), James T. Slater (My Daughters Eyes’), Brian White (Rascal Flatts) and producer Larry Beaird (Dolly Parton, Faith Hill). These Country credentials are especially displayed on the group’s much-anticipated album ‘Here We Go Again’ which debuted at #6 on the Official Country Charts upon its release in March 2015.
Resulting in a collaboration with high street fashion retailer Evans, who used the single Nitty Gritty as the official anthem for their #StyleHasNoSize campaign and announcing Jessica Clemmons as their official ambassador, a role previously held by Beth Ditto and Chaka Khan, the band embarked on their debut headline tour to close 2015. They also found loyal fans in Aled Jones, Lorraine, Matthew Wright, Sir Terry Wogan and Bob Harris, who invited the band to talk and perform on their shows.