The Fisherman's Friends dedicate new album One and All to tenor Trevor Grills who died in freak accident

 

Cornish sea shanty singers The Fisherman’s Friends are to release their first new material since the death of one of their number in a freak accident in February.

Tenor singer Trevor Grills, 54, who sang with the traditional folk group from Port Isaac, Cornwall for 16 years, died as a “result of severe head injuries” in hospital following an accident at the G Live theatre venue in Surrey that also killed the band’s manager Paul McMullen.

The group’s second album, One and All (the follow-up to their self-titled debut) was recorded days before Grills was killed.

The group has only performed once since the tragedy, at Grills' funeral service, and say all future tour dates have been shelved for the rest of the year while the group considers its long-term future.

Fisherman's Friends singer Jon Cleave said One and All would be dedicated to his friend's memory in an interview with PA.

Grill has posthumously been given lead vocals on the first single to be released from the new record, “Mary Anne”. Cleave, 54, described hearing it: "Trevor's voice is very sweet, it had a peculiarly individual quality of its own.

"When you hear that now, it's a very emotional thing for all of us. Even if we sought to replace him with another singer - which we don't plan to - we would never find a voice like that."

The award-winning band were a surprise hit in the UK top ten album charts with their debut selling more than 150,000 copies and confirming their position as the fastest-selling traditional folk act ever.

Regular festival appearances and starring roles in television commercials followed. They played on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury festival two years ago.

One and All, the new collection of 14 songs, was originally due to be released at the end of March, with a video for “Mary Anne” filmed three weeks before the tragedy.

Cleave said there had been "a lot of discussions" about the group's future together since February, although he said there are no plans to perform again this year.

He said: "We meet every week, we don't sing, we just chat stuff through. It was terrific to be able to do that.

"You don't get over these things. You never forget it, but you do come to terms with what's happened and its effect on you.

"I hope there's an energy and a joy in our singing. It will be very difficult to think of doing that together without Trevor.

"However, in due course we will consider it."

Cleave said the band members had been "absolutely overwhelmed and astonished" by the support from fans across Cornwall and around the world, with many urging The Fisherman's Friends to continue in Grills' honour.

"It's been very heartening to know people want us to sing again," he said.

"I hope we sing again, that's my personal hope. I think we will get into a place where eventually we can.

"Although we will never get over the whole thing, I think we will be able to do it, and when we do it will always be with due regard for what we did before Trevor."

The group decided to name the album One and All, based on the motto from the Cornish coat of arms, in memory of 54-year-old father-of-three Grills.

Cleave said: "I am sure we all have subtly different feelings about what the album represents. To me, it's a tribute to him as a singer, a good man and a friend.

"We were undecided on the album title - we thought 'All Aboard with the Fisherman's friends.' Then this dreadful thing happened.

"Trevor, in his own quiet way, was very good at handling the rest of us in the decisions. He would always underline the team ethic, which stretches back to the old Cornish motto.

"There is no finer tribute to the way he was than to call it One and All - that's the way he used to be."

The album and single will be released via Mighty Village/Universal on 19 August.

Additional reporting from PA

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