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Ida Mae is a rootsy Americana band formed by husband and wife duo Chris Turpin and Stephanie Jean Ward. The couple formed the band after dissolving their hard-rocking British blues band Kill It Kid after three critically acclaimed albums.
Ida Mae started as a simple, acoustic guitar-based two voices Americana and British blues songwriting outfit. Working with multi-instrumentalist, producer, engineer, mixer and songwriter Ethan Johns the duo refined their sound. Recording in England in the city of Bath at the Peter Gabriel founded studios provided the perfect environment to get in tune with the rootsy, organic sound their debut album needed and deserved. Vintage guitars were always close at hand, but it wasn’t all old school during the sessions. Drum machines and synthesizers were used providing a nice juxtaposition of old and new that gave their debut album Chasing Lights its unique sound.
Chasing Lights was inspired by duo’s sojourn to the American South. It’s the culmination of Turpin and Ward’s journey from the alt-rock band Kill It Kid into the country blues of Robert Johnson, Son House, Charley Patton, and others, a musical path that’s proven fruitful in a very short time.
Turpin and Ward wanted to transition to making the kind of music that inspired them personally: rural, early twentieth-century country and Piedmont blues. Blues legends such as Robert Johnson, Mississippi Fred McDowell and “Blind” Willie McTell were the types of artists that inspired Turpin and Ward.
The band’s name, Ida Mae, was even initially coined when Turpin asked Ward to sing an old Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee song by the same name. Coincidentally, that ended up being the first song that the pair harmonized on together.
While Delta blues isn’t exactly the type of music that sets social media afire or generates global fan interest Turpin and Ward are content to follow their muse. Despite rooting the sound of Ida Mae in the blues the duo insist that they are still inspired and influenced by the more traditional and rock and roll artists that many of their peers claim allegiance to. Led Zeppelin, Fleetwood Mac and the Grateful Dead quickly come to mind as influences that Ida Mae is putting a new spin on with their sound.
With Chasing Lights Ida Mae is beginning to generate fan interest and recognition that they achieved more than a decade ago with their previous band. It’s just that this time they are doing in their way and making the kind of music that they once dreamed of sharing with the world.
Now residing in Nashville Ida Mae have been logging road miles opening for Greta Van Fleet and Blackberry Smoke.
Ida Mae discography
Chasing Lights (2019)
Sacramento’s K-ZAP 93.3 FM plays Ida Mae. All part of 50 years of Rock, Blues and More, 24-7 on our station’s stream at K-ZAP.ORG/LISTEN/
Check out Ida Mae’s new single “My Girl is a Heartbreak.”