Monday, November 13, 2023


Father/daughter duo Then & Now, to release new album, Aces, Angels & Devils mixing country roots with a vast array of musical styles


By Bobby Martin

What happens when you mix country and rock roots from a father/daughter duo with an age gap of more than 45 years, with sounds incorporating heavy guitar riffs, cello, flutes, keyboards and trumpets along with a steady bass and drum rhythm section? You’ll get Then & Now- a group from South Africa featuring Graham and Tori Ferreira, that is releasing an eclectic mix of music on their new album titled Aces, Angels & Devils.

Graham, 77, and his daughter Tori, 31, both have dynamic backgrounds in the musical world. While their styles were drastically different, with Graham singing and writing country tunes and Tori deep into the punk and metal music world, the two share a common bond of being able to put together unique, creative music. 

Then & Now released the album Tales of Long Street in 2022, which is mostly country and rock, but includes accordion to give it a bit of a Mediterranean feel. The newest album, Aces, Angels & Devils is a whole new ballgame. The opening track sets the tone, with an extended psychedelic sounding guitar intro that leads into Tori and Graham trading off on vocals.

One song on the album titled “Angel or a Devil?”, is a gritty tale complete with mesmerizing flute with a catchy chorus led by Graham. He sings, “When she comes to me at midnight, I don’t care what you say. Angel or a devil, love her anyway.” It includes a blistering guitar solo by Fraser, before Graham repeats the chorus, driving it home to the listener. 

Another track, “Year of the Dog,” is one that Then & Now is proud of, saying it is “creepy” in the best of ways. The lyrics go: “It was the year of the dog when I was born, on the wings of an eagle in the eye of the storm, flying high above the world, looking down from afar, so here I am and there you are, we must follow our own star. Easy come and easy go, if you listen carefully you’ll know, which way the wind is going to blow.”

While Then & Now has generally played their own tunes, they do have one cover on the new album - the fun Bobby Bare sung drinking song “Tequila Sheila” that was a hit in 1980. The track has a Tex Mex feel, with trumpets and all.

The album has touches of classic rock, alternative rock, psychedelia, swing music, a latin flavor and, of course, some country vibes. You can chill to it or dance to it, but one thing is for certain: it is unique. Tori calls their sound “unpredictable,” with Graham agreeing, adding that they are “different and creative.”

“It’s actually very rocky, got some blues in it as well, and not just stuck on the country genre,” Tori said.

Graham added, “The essence is still country. Country is all about telling stories.”

Graham explained that he started playing tunes in Cape Town in the 1960s, successfully at that, and that a lot of the music he writes goes right back to that time. Then Tori came along, and she has been playing music since she was a young child, with Graham saying he gave her a guitar at the age of three.

She developed her own musical style and has a background in performing arts, playing for various bands in her teens. She joined a punk band and played in a metal band - quite the opposite of her father’s style. However, later in life she and her father realized they could take their music to the next level together.

About four years ago they decided to collaborate and put together a band to showcase the music written by Graham, who also goes by Papa G.

“We were always Then & Now - kind of a name that Graham came up with as a nod to our age difference,” Tori explained.

Graham said that he isn’t the typical 77-year-old, he has plenty left in the tank, saying that he envisions his farewell tour coming at the age of 105. 

Graham is a master of the rhythm guitar, plays harmonica and belts a deep country twang to his vocals. Tori, who plays rhythm guitar and ukulele, has a wide vocal range that lends to the new modern sound they have put together. Then & Now is described by Graham as “country fusion”, and it has sounds of country, rock, blues, reggae, Latin rock and progressive rock all rolled into one.

The band’s lead guitarist is Marc Fraser, who the Ferreiras raved about due to his heavy metal riffs and wailing guitar solos. Fraser has been heavily involved in the writing of their new album having written most of the melodies for the songs and of course the guitar solos. Terrance Welch plays the drums, using an electronic percussion called the Octapad. Mark Marais is on the bass, driving the band’s tempos, and new to the band is Bronwen Milford, who is a classically trained flautist, pianist and cellist. She bringing a whole new element to their sound, as her background is in philharmonic orchestras.

Then & Now isn’t just about them, they said, but could be a generational band with Graham envisioning the project going on for many years. 

“One of the big things about the concept of Then & Now is that we are busy building a brand, and that brand will continue,” said Graham. 

Be sure to check out the music of Then & Now and be on the lookout for Aces, Angels & Devils coming soon.






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