THE leader of a London-based folk/pop band who are being described as the new Mumford & Sons admits it is difficult to ignore the high praise his group have collected.
Critics have been lining up to applaud the five-piece, who perform in Hawick and Peebles as part of a forthcoming Scottish tour.
Among their fans is Bruce MacGregor, BBC Radio Scotland’s Travelling Folk presenter, who said Bard were “Going to be one of the hottest tickets this year”.
But writer Theo Bard, from whom the five-piece take their name, is more focused on his audience’s enjoyment rather than gathering plaudits from journalists and broadcasters.
He said: “It’s tough just trying to ignore the comments, particularly when they are complimentary.
“Mostly we just try to ensure that we deliver a great night out, both in terms of the musical experience and the overall objective, which is to entertain, regardless of your tastes.”
Bard have previously played in the Highlands and Orkney and launched their album The Springtime Fool at Celtic Connections, as well as playing live on BBC Radio Scotland during the festival.
Theo added: “It’s our first time in the Borders with shows in Hawick and Peebles. I have heard great reports about those venues from other musicians we know who have played them.
“We have fans in Innerleithen and Melrose who keep in touch with us and it’s going to be great to meet up with them again.
“Since Celtic Connections, we have hooked up with one of the best agencies in the country and the momentum has continued to gather pace, through continual hard work and commitment.”
The band first gained attention with spots at high profile festivals such as Glastonbury and Cambridge,
Since then, they have launched a debut album to widespread acclaim, with 2012 potentially a career-defining year, with even more extensive tours of England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland, and offers to take their music to America and Canada. A busy summer lies ahead after the Scottish tour with appearances scheduled at several big outdoor events such as Larmer Tree Festival.
In the midst of such a big year, it would be understandable if apathy began to creep into their performances.
But Theo is adamant Bard will not let the quality of the shows – or the entertainment value for their crowds – drop.
He said: “We set out to gain a reputation as a band that likes to entertain on a whole range of levels.
“If you keep the standard high, no-one should go home less than happy.
“We get the strongest buzz when we are in front of an audience who are obviously enjoying themselves. The more that comes across, the more we put into each show.
“It’s a win-win scenario and when the word-of-mouth that follows is positive, that’s what pleases us the most.
“It’s always best to build a name for yourself that way, and with no disrespect to the critics and reviewers, it’s what the people say that counts.”
Bard play at the Heart of Hawick at 7.30pm on Friday, June 29. Tickets are £12 or £10 for concessions and can be bought by phoning 01450 360688.
The Eastgate Theatre in Peebles also hosts Bard at 7.30pm on Thursday, July 5. Briefs are £13 and available from 01721 725777.