A ROCK and country band from Chorley are playing shows and are about to release an album after a break of two decades.

Red Moon Joe, who formed in 1985 before splitting up eight years later, garnered a strong local following and toured Italy and Ireland.

The band combined the energy of punk rock with the melody of country music and in 1990 released their only previous album, Arms of Sorrow on the iconic Run River Records label which was home at the time to the likes of Bert Jansch.

When two of the original members, singer and guitarist Mark Wilkinson and guitarist Dave Fitzpatrick, met up at a wedding in late 2011, they decided to play a few of the old songs which in turn led to a full-blown reunion with drummer Paul Casey also rejoining the group.

Mark said: “When the band got together again the chemistry came back immediately. None of us were rusty.

“Our comeback gig was at The Imperial pub in Chorley on Boxing Day 2011 and it went really well.

“The place was packed and it was lovely to see many of our old friends and fans there, many of whom had brought their kids along too.

“Afterwards we decided to continue, we all thought there was unfinished business with Red Moon Joe, so we did several more gigs last year and recorded the album.”

The band also added multi-instrumentalist Steve Conway and David A Smith as bassist.

The group release their new album Midnight Train on March 8 with a sold-out launch party the following evening at the Gillibrand Arms.

The album will also be available from iTunes, Amazon and Malcolm’s Musicland on Chapel Street, Chorley.

Mark added: “Some of the songs are inspired by Chorley’s nightlife.

“For instance Valediction is about the fantastic pubs we see closing in the town and the erosion of working class culture.

“It’s the music we’ve been promising for a long, long time.”

ABOVE: The band performing a concert in Leyland last summer