2nd June 2018

The Rising Souls: reinventing Frankie Miller for the 21st century


Frankie Miller is one of British music’s great unsung heroes. As soulful as Paul Rodgers, as charismatic as Rod Stewart, as wild as Phil Lynott, the gravel-voiced Scot has never got the widespread respect he deserves. Edinburgh outfit The Rising Souls are here to fix that.

“I’m a massive Frankie Miller fan,” says singer Dave Archibald, whose band play Ramblin’ Man’s Rising Stage. “He’s majorly under-rated I got into him through my dad. We’d be out in the car and he’d have Frankie Miller on while we were driving, or Paul Rodgers or James Dewar, the guy that sang with Robin Trower. I love all that late 60s. early 70s, bluesy, soulful music. We try to do that, but make it a wee bit heavier.”

The – ahem – rising four-piece are doing a great job. Their soulful take on rock’n’roll does indeed echo to the greats of the past without merely replicating them, while Archibald is a vocal powerhouse whose blues-soaked rasp could easily go toe-to-toe with those of his heroes.

Ironically, Archibald started out as a drummer, passing through various long-forgotten bands before swapping the drum stool for a mike stand and forming The Rising Souls a few years ago. Their music was originally acoustic-based – their first two full-length albums, 2014’s self-titled debut and 2016’s Yardbird were stripped back and smoky.

But a line-up change prompted the band to beef up their sound, as heard on 2016’s Set Me Free EP and two recent standalone singles, the slow-burning Escape and the punchy Roulette Roulette – the latter accompanied by a video based around a bare-knuckle boxing match.

“That was a crazy video,” says Archibald. “It was directed by a guy in Edinburgh named Danny Bonnar. We sent him the song and said, ‘Do whatever you want to do with the video.’ just decided and we’ll do what you do. So he decided a fight scene. Funny thing is, it’s not really about fighting, that song. It’s about cheating. But not me personally,” he adds with a laugh.

Archibald admits that the band’s hometown isn’t a hothouse for rock’n’roll bands. “You’re kind of out there on your own,” he says. “Glasgow’s got a good music scene, so we’ve tried to play there a wee bit more than in Edinburgh. But it’s getting better. There’s a few bands coming through, some good venues. And it feels like the kind of music we’re doing is on the rise, with bands like Band Of Skulls and Rival Sons.”

The Rising Souls – completed by drummer Reece Braid, bassist Roy ‘Kelso’ Laing and new addition, guitarist Oscar de la Cruz – are currently working on songs for a new album. They plan to record demos before their appearance at Ramblin’ Man – in fact Archibald promises the band are thinking of dropping a few new songs into their set. As with any new band, there’s a lot of work to do – but The Rising Souls are ready to step up to.

“We’ve not got a label right now, so we’re doing everything ourselves,” says Archibald. “We’re coming up with the money ourselves to make the record. You’ve got to go out and gig as much as possible to get the funds together. That’s the hard bit – hard but enjoyable.”

The Rising Souls play the Rising Stage on Saturday June 30