In the beginning - Arbre....
Brothers Phil, Peter and Paul Caffrey have been singing together for most of their lives. Whether it was at family parties or in the front garden to impress their neighbours in the Holy Cross area of Wallsend – they needed no excuse to sing.
Their professional singing career began when they secured a recording contract with DJM records - home of Elton John. Their band 'Arbre' was hailed as Britain’s answer to the Eagles, but after making two critically well received albums and touring with Fairport Convention and Jim Capaldi amongst others, they went their separate ways.
The brothers then recorded for Phonogram records with noted producer Gus Dudgeon (David Bowie, Chris Rea, Lindisfarne, Elkie Brooks) but commercial success still eluded the Caffreys.
Phil Caffrey continued to write songs and it wasn’t long before he had a new band ‘Caffrey’ to perform his material. Whilst they gained a good local following for their melodic rock – headlining at Newcastle’s Mayfair Ballroom – it was Phil’s songwriting that gained the attention of major music publishers. This resulted in Kiki Dee recording a song he had co-written with another respected local musician - George Lamb.
After the demise of Caffrey, Phil kept his hand in by providing backing vocals for such diverse talents as heavy rock band Saxon and local hero Jimmy Nail, whilst still writing songs.
In the early nineties he formed ‘The Lion’s Share’ with his two brothers but again widespread acclaim eluded them.
And that could have been the end of the story, but...
In 1999 the brothers decided to form one more band together. Booking into Newcastle’s Cluny Studios with the cream of local musicians including Jim Hornsby (Prefab Sprout, Prelude, Pete Scott), they began to record. Simultaneously, they began to play live gigs.
Buoyed by the critical and public acclaim afforded to their live shows (standing room only is the order of the day) they released 'The Caffrey Brothers" (Get Rhythm, 2000) nationally, following growing demand.
In March 2001 the Caffreys added Tyneside drummer Trevor Brewis (Dance Class, Jimmy Nail), Londoner Geoff Lincoln (Archie Brown & the Young Bucks, Kathryn Tickell, Billie J Kramer) on bass and Newcastle's Alan Stevenson on guitar to start work on their new album. Now performing regularly, they supported Lindisfarne at Bents Park, South Shields to an audience of 14,000. Meanwhile, the bands' profile continues to rise across the UK, playing festivals and venues way beyond their native North East.
The band played two sell-out gigs at Newcastle's Live Theatre in 2002 to promote the 'Face on My T-Shirt' CD, and headlined the Orange Wow Festival in June of that year (in 2001 they drew the festival's largest audience with over 3,000 people).
2004 saw the release of the band's latest CD 'Storm Before Calm', promoted by more sold-out concerts at The Live Theatre.
In 2008, Geoff Lincoln moved on to pastures new, and was replaced on bass by Michael Bailey (The Billy Mitchell Band, The Peter Donegan Band, Steve Daggett Trio & Morgan Le Fay).
Confidence is very high with the Caffreys at present, as Phil points out:
"We still have that hunger for acceptance. Obviously, years of experience grounds us in reality but, put us on a stage alongside anyone you care to mention - anywhere - and we can capture that audience. This is a living breathing band now and we're really up for it."
There is no doubt that with the quality of songwriting, playing and those magnificent three-part harmonies (still very much intact from their Arbre days), the Caffreys are very much a force to be reckoned with - on stage, on record or on the radio.