Dole queue duo set for album launch

Rita Payne, left Rihannon Scutt and Pete Sowerby.
Rita Payne, left Rihannon Scutt and Pete Sowerby.

A CHANCE meeting at the dole office has led to two Isle jobseekers embarking on a totally unexpected career - as full time musicians.

Pete Sowerby and Rhiannon Scutt, both 23, had both returned to the area after completing their university studies.

But though Pete had a degree in drama and a masters degree in sports journalism, and Rhiannon had a degree in music technology, neither could find a job.

In fact, Pete reckons he may have notched up something of a record to his name after applying for 329 jobs without even being offered an interview.

But the couple, who had been at South Axholme School together and had both played in the school wind band, met again on the steps of their local job centre after another fruitless search for employment.

They formed their own band Rita Payne, a combination of their family names, and have spent the year playing gigs and recording their debut album.

Vocalist Pete, who lives in Belton, said: “We both agreed that we had to do something about making a living.

“We decided to team up as a duo and got some gigs performing covers.

“But we both hated that. We soon realised that we wanted to write and perform our own songs.

“And that is what we have been doing for the last 12 months.”

Over the last year they have begun to make a name for themselves on the acoustic music scene throughout the region.

Pete added: “In fact we have played at more than 100 gigs since March. It has been busy and hectic.

“But it is great fun - and more rewarding than looking for jobs that aren’t there.”

Rhiannon, of Epworth Road, Owston Ferry, who plays guitar and sings, added: “We have really appreciate all the lovely people who have been willing to help us out, not to mention surprised.”

Despite the busy work schedule they still found time to go into the local Wavelength Studio to record their debut album Stories from a Suitcase.

Produced by percussionist Keith Angel with former Kate Rusby Band member Andy Seward on double bass, the collection will be introduced to the public at a special show at Doncaster Ukranian Club on Saturday.

The duo played one of their earliest gigs at the venue and also appearing on the bill will be 13 Women, a skiffle group made up of three men.

Copies of the album will be on sale at half price for those attending.