Big Big Train is an independent progressive back which was formed in 1990 by Andy Poole and Greg Spawton.
Big Big Train signed to the GEP label in 1994. Two albums were released through GEP, Goodbye to the Age of Steam (1994) and English Boy Wonders (1997) but money and line-up problems led to the band deciding to call it a day. First, however, there was a 'tidying-up' album to finish (Bard, released in 2002) which brought together most of the remaining unrecorded BBT songs.
Bard was released on the band's own independent label and Big Big Train began to become aware of the potential for funding and releasing their music outside of the traditional record-label model. Rather than splitting up, the band invested in their own studio, and recruited a new singer, Sean Filkins, Two further albums were released in 2004 and 2007 (Gathering Speed and The Difference Machine.)
After the release of a remade version of English Boy Wonders in 2008, work began on a new album which was to be called The Underfall Yard. For this release, which was to show a new direction in the band's lyrics and music it was decided to refresh the Big Big Train line-up. A new vocalist called David Longdon was recruited and Nick D'Virgilio became the band's drummer.
David Longdon had come to the band's attention after recording two songs for a solo album by Martin Orford (formerly of IQ). Nick D'Virgilio, then with Spocks Beard, had guested on two songs on The Difference Machine album and his technique, feel and musicality was just right for the band's new approach. Also playing on The Underfall Yard (as a guest) was Dave Gregory, former XTC guitarist and a friend of David Longdon.
The Underfall Yard was released in the dying days of 2009 and proved to be a breakthrough for Big Big Train. With favourable reviews of the album and coverage in Classic Rock and the newly published Prog magazine and with a stronger and more confident progressive rock scene in which to release music, BBT began to make headway.
After the release of the 40 minute Far Skies Deep Time EP in 2010, Dave Gregory became a permanent band member and the line-up was strengthened further by Danny Manners of the Louis Philippe band on keyboards. The two volume English Electric albums were released in 2012 and 2013 and were subsequently brought together as a double album called English Electric: Full Power.
The band went on to win 'Breakthrough artist' at the Progressive Music Awards held at Kew Gardens in September 2013 and also won a number of Classic Rock Society awards. They have also received national airplay in the UK on Radio Two primarily through Bob Harris.
Live performances at Real World studios in August 2014 were filmed and will be released on DVD and Blu-Ray later in 2015. Big Big Train were joined at Real World by Rachel Hall (formerly of Stackridge) on violin and Rikard Sjoblom from Beardfish on guitar and keyboards. Rachel and Rikard have now joined the band to complete the line-up which will play at King's Place.
David Longdon wrote the lyrics and performed vocals and Nick D'Virgilio played drums on the newly recorded version of Steve Hackett's Spectral Mornings which was released as an EP in April 2015. The EP featured Steve Hackett, Rob Reed, Tina Booth and Nick Beggs.
A new Big Big Train EP called Wassail is due for release in June 2015 and the band have begun work on a new album called Folklore which is scheduled for release in early 2016.