Rita Payne is something of a misnomer. Rita Payne is not, in spite of the name, a woman. It’s a duo from Doncaster whose names - Pete Sowerby and Rhiannon Scutt - have been fused to form ‘Rita Payne’.
“It’s an acronym of our names,” says Sowerby. “And the ‘ita’ in ‘Rita’ sounds like Peter.”
The duo play what they describe as ‘foot-stomping’ music, which nods to roots music, blues and folk. The Doncaster duo formed two years ago and have been working away on building their following.
“We wanted to concentrate on getting the material right and the songs sorted before we looked at the promotion side of things. We didn’t want to be an ‘all the gear and no idea’ band.
Already the pair have attracted a loyal cult following, selling out shows already.
“It’s been incredible,” says Sowerby.
But the biggest testament to the pair’s talent is not their following but the fact that music promoter Chris Wilson has decided o manage them. Wilson - who managed the Boardwalk for more than twenty years - has had numerous offers to manage bands during his career but he’s never taken up the role, until now.
Wilson was moved by Rita Payne’s musical diversity and adeptness, as well as the duo’s stage presence.
Rita Payne are also delighted by Wilson’s decision to manage them.
“We always wanted to play at the Boardwalk and to be managed by Chris is just something else. He is the loveliest man ever and really brilliant to work with.”
The pair have an efficient song-writing system too: “Rhiannon writes the music and I write the words. Our songwriting has evolved over the last year, however, and we’ve changed musically. We know what we’re good at now as well as what we’re not so good at.”
And being a dup, rehearsing is not the logistical nightmare that it is for most other bands.“We are an acoustic duo we can rehearse and writes songs pretty much anywhere. The other days we were doing a piece for BBC Sheffield and we ended up writing a song wheil we were there. We don’t have to worry about rehearsal rooms. As long as we have each other and a guitar we can play.”
They play at The Greystones (Fri).