Having a piano composition played on BBC Radio 2 after an ad hoc submission would be a great start to any musician’s career. Piano was then Hampshire-based composer and musician Rob Sword’s main instrument, but he had simultaneously been experimenting with the sanshin, a three stringed Okinawan instrument which he had discovered during nine months’ work and travel in Japan. After Rob discovered the alternate guitar tunings of artists such as Beck and Nick Drake, he was inspired to apply his self-taught sanshin technique to the guitar and soon found a new compositional voice and a vehicle for his songwriting.
After graduating from university, Rob joined an 8-piece folk ensemble to which he also enlisted his girlfriend Rachel Thomas and her younger brother Simon as singers. Simon demonstrated great talent to Rob as a vocalist and guitarist and, after performing in the band together for some time, the pair started collaborating on some of their own songs, distilling the music into simple guitar-based arrangements that were inspired by the sparse textures of early Appalachian folk. During a period of travel around India in early 2014, Rob resolved to focus more intently on this new collaboration and, after returning, organised a number of performances and recordings for the duo under the moniker ‘Sandtimer’. Rachel also contributed backing vocals to a number of their songs.
After a year of performing on the British acoustic circuit, Sandtimer’s recordings came to the attention of indie label Folkstock Records, who have collaborated with the duo on the release of ‘Different Seas’, their debut EP. With songs from the record getting airplay on stations including BBC South, BBC Wales and a number of independent radio stations on both sides of the Atlantic, Sandtimer’s mixture of acoustic rock and lyrical folk has resonated with their existing following as well as engaging new listeners.
More info on Sandtimer can be found at https://www.facebook.com/sandtimermusic/
Please also listen to our player where you’ll find a track from their new EP Different Seas