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New and Unsigned: Huck and the Handsome Fee

Lauren Corona


Huck and the Handsome Fee are a talented unsigned band from Oxford. They play bluesy, often mournful Americana music, and they play it well. Drawing inspiration from Nick Cave and Tom Waits, they are an unlikely band to have been created from (some of) the ashes of legendary Oxford sludge rock band, Sextodecimo, but unlikely in a good way.

The band line-up is Humphrey “Huck” Astley on vocals and acoustic guitar, Tamara Parsons-Baker on vocals and acoustic guitar, Bat Halliday on bass and Tommy Longfellow on drums. Tamara was a later addition to the band, but her vocals are a welcome, harmonising beautifully with Humphrey’s deep voice, which falls somewhere in between bratty and tortured. Huck and the Handsome Fee rather impressively self-funded a shoe-string US tour in the summer of 2010, and they have a variety of wonderful pictures accumulated from life on the road.

There is, as yet, only one release from Huck and the Handsome Fee, a five-track EP, recorded by Martin Newton at Studio 101, known only as the 2010 EP. The highlights of which are Scorned Blues, which starts slow and haunting before kicking in to a glorious crashing racket, and Christine, a song inspired by Stephen King’s story about a bad, bad car. An honourable mention should also go to the beautiful, yet melancholy, The Fall.

No future releases are currently scheduled, but if you are lucky you can catch them live, and I for one would hope to hear more from this band in 2011.