In spite of their name, there’s nothing broken about Sheffield’s folk-rootsy outfit the Broken Saints.
In fact,the band is very much a well-oiled machine - one that never stops.
Live, the band has a big sound - with guest fiddle player, drums and keys while on record the sound is controlled and calm.
But the Broken Saints lead double lives, as guitarist Steve Kay explains.
“Our days usually start at 5pm. We all work in serious jobs but that’s okay.”
He said: “Our days don’t end with us putting our feet up. Life is too short to just live for two days off a week, I don’t understand it when people dread Monday - every evening is a ‘day’ for us.”
The album - When The Music Stops - has been in the making for several years. Its cover - an old man leaning against a piano with a crossword, against a backdrop of a picture of Kay and vocalist Ryan Wilson - nods to the band’s musical qualities, which is rootsy with cryptic lyrics.
“People are always looking for something different though the fascination with Americana and rootsy music has been going in the folk world for a long time. Bands like Mumford and Sons came along and opened it up to a much broader audience, which is great, because they are introducing that music to a new generation of people. But really bands have been playing in this style for a long time.”
Broken Saints’ influences are disparate, Kay points out.
“Our influences are all very different. I love lots of instrumental music, for example. I think it makes your brain work more, but Steve and Ryan like completely different stuff as well.”
The principal lyricist is Ryan Wilson, though lately writing has become a lot more democratic for The Broken Saints, according to guitarist John Slater.
“Ryan generally writes from experience, that’s what he knows best and he’s quite a poetic writer who knows what he’s talking about. His lyrics aren’t always easy to interpret though - there’s always a layer of something that makes it unclear. Now though we do more of the writing together. We’ll email each other lyrics.”
Other songs seem to write themselves, he says.
“We gigged a new song the other night for the first time and the song seems have come out of a jam.”
This week, for a selection of live shows, the three-piece have recruited additional players including Christina Lloyd on fiddle.
“It’s been great so far rehearsing with additional musicians,” says Slater. “Having Christina on fiddle really adds something special to the sound. It’s brilliant working with people like that because it makes you play slightly differently and makes you reevaluate the songs.”
But on the album it’s just the three of them. “It can be liberating having fewer people in a band, and we bring in different instruments as well so it’s a rich sound, ” says Slater.
That sound can be heard on The Broken Saints’ album, When the Music Stops, which is out now.