The Gig Cartel - Artist profiles: Cardinal Black

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Cardinal Black

‘We’re the oldest new band in the world.’ - Chris Buck, Guitar / Cardinal Black

They say that good things come to those who wait. A little over a year after their launch, you could say that Cardinal Black are testament to the power of patience, thought and persistence.

A debut #1 single and E.P.; a first gig to a hometown capacity crowd at Cardiff Castle; back-to-back sold out Academy tours with Myles Kennedy, then The Struts; a highly-anticipated debut album, heralded by a live set recording in the Beatles’ legendary Studio Two at Abbey Road in London. An eventful 12 months for any band. It takes years, so the saying goes, to become an overnight success...

Rewind to 2010 and the Welsh-born trio of Tom Hollister, Chris Buck and Adam Roberts were riding a wave of hype, hotly-tipped by some of the biggest names in rock - most notably Steve Winwood who invited the band to record at his storied Wincraft Studios. A triumphant live set at Sonisphere was followed by a flight across the Atlantic to begin work on their first record, with veteran manager Alan Niven (Guns N’ Roses) at the helm. The lure of the U.S. proved irresistible to the nascent trio but, as is often the case, expectation rarely mirrors reality and the band struggled to adapt to the new country, culminating in singer Tom Hollister unexpectedly calling time on the band before returning to the U.K.

“We tried to do the acrimonious split; creative differences and all that. We then quickly realised we were fairly reliant on one another,” says Buck.

In the decade that followed, the lifelong friends cut their own individual paths whilst remaining close. Most notable has been the well-earned rise of guitarist Chris Buck, named in 2019 as ‘Best New Guitarist in the World’, who has forged a reputation as one of the most inventive and recognisable guitar players in music; winning plaudits from peers and the industry’s most iconic players alike. Drummer Adam Roberts found work as a first-call session player, whilst vocalist Tom Hollister moved into tour management - the three maintaining their musical connection by sporadically meeting up to perform together.

It was just a matter of time then, before they were ready to make new music again. The writing and recording of new material began in 2020, under the name Cardinal Black, bolstered by the arrival of bassist Sam Williams.

After announcing themselves with debut single ‘Tell Me How It Feels’ in May 2021, it was less than 24 hours before the track toppled Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds to take the #1 spot in the iTunes Rock Single Chart. Their 4-track eponymous E.P. quickly followed, also claiming the #1 spot on both the iTunes Rock Album Chart and Amazon Rock Best Sellers Chart. The debut album ‘January Came Close’ was released on October 28th 2022 and within 24 hours had also reached #1, this time on UK’s Amazon Album Chart - besting Taylor Swift’s new album in the process.

In November, the band were tapped by guitar icon Peter Frampton, joining him on his Farewell UK tour and playing to capacity crowds including London’s prized Royal Albert Hall. In 2023, the band will once again embark on a nationwide tour including European dates and festival appearances.

They may have taken the scenic route but Cardinal Black are finally here, and they've got plenty of stories to tell.

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