Ida Mae is not an old blues singer — or even a person in this case. It’s the musical handle for the British duo of Chris Turpin and Stephanie Jean Ward. But if you’ve heard the husband-and-wife duo’s work, you’d know Ida Mae actually kind of suits them.
Their first two albums — 2019’s Chasing Lights and 2021’s Click Click Domino, both recorded in their former adopted home of Nashville — featured a southern-fried blend of rock, blues, southern soul and folk that would slide right into a mixtape with Led Zeppelin, The Kills, latter-day Tom Waits and most of Jack White’s bands. For their latest release, however, new parents Turpin and Ward have gone home, literally and artistically. Recorded in just a few days, Thunder Above You finds the duo and their producer Ethan Johns adding more British folk to the mix, resulting in their most diverse and dynamic disc to date. A few weeks before the album landed, the duo got on Zoom from overseas to talk about third albums, taking creative risks, their secret new project, which one of them is a dictator and much more. Enjoy.