Ida Mae Brings British Americana Across the Pond

In this episode of the Essential Conversations podcast, Ida Mae joins Ann Delisi to talk about their blues influences and relocating from London to the U.S.

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Ida Mae is an alternative folk band originally from London. The husband-and-wife duo, Chris Turpin and Stephanie Jean Ward, combines American blues with atmospheric vocal harmonies.

Blues legends like Robert Johnson and Blind Willie McTell were among Turpin’s biggest influences, he says.

“I just became obsessed. They all became my heroes, very, very quickly. There was nothing that compared to it, in my mind.”

“A little later on … I kind of realized it wasn’t really my music to play. So that’s why we’ve always kind of shifted and tried to change it in what we do.”

In 2019, they released Chasing Lights, recorded at Real World Studios and produced by Ethan Johns.

The duo then made a big gamble and decided to relocate to Nashville from London.

But, while getting a connecting flight in Iceland, the band got the news that the head of their label had left, and all of the other bands on the label were being dropped.

They were given the option to stay with the label, but decided to leave, citing previous issues working with large record labels.

Ida Mae also landed a fantastic gig opening up for Greta Van Fleet, playing to the largest crowds in their career.

“It was a baptism by fire for us, and we learned a lot,” says Turpin.

In this episode:

  • Taking a big chance relocating to Nashville from London
  • Making their 2019 album, Chasing Lights
  • Recording at Real World Studios
  • Opening up for Greta Van Fleet
  • The connections between Motown in Detroit and Northern Soul in England

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  • David Leins
    David Leins is a Podcast Coordinator and Producer at WDET. He also oversees the StoryMakers program. When he isn't making radio and podcasts, David is probably on a hike somewhere marveling at the trees.