Meet the Band

Image of Niki Amos

Nicola Amos

Nicola has loved singing for as long as she can remember! Her parents would play all sorts of records from Abba to Ella Fitzgerald. She found she could pick up these different singing styles effortlessly from an early age.

Starting her career singing professionally as a session singer, Nicola received high praise and encouragement from Nashville producer, Neal James, who remarked “This girl has one of the most commercial voices I’ve heard in a long time.” 

It was actually Sheryl Crow who inspired Nicola to pick up a guitar and write her own songs:
“I heard the song, All I Wanna Do, for the first time on an interview with Sheryl: I brought the two albums she had out on that day and had a guitar in my hands by the end of the week!”

Along the way, Nicola has gained experience as a solo artist and backing singer in a number of bands. This has given her the opportunity to sing varying genres of music: bluegrass, country, rock, pop and soul. She is currently the lead female singer in 50s and 60s Watford based band, Jukebox. 

Most recently, she featured with the famous singer/songwriter, Russ Ballard singing some Sandi Shaw hits at a celebratory gig, along with Bob Henrit of The Kinks and the man who wrote many of Sandie’s hit songs, Chris Andrews. 

Winding Road is her favourite musical venture to date and features highly authentic reproductions of Sheryl Crow’s music:
“To sing and play the music of my favourite artist, with a great bunch of talented musicians, is sheer joy! Sheryl has inspired me in many ways; she’s a strong, intelligent woman. She is also an accomplished and gifted song writer and musician. Her songs are just as strong now as they were when they were first released. Her music career of over thirty years speaks for itself.”

Image of Mick Steed

Michael Steed (Steedy)

Michael’s first taste of the global stage came in the late 80s when he became the bass player in English cult goth rockers band, Flesh For Lulu, playing on their extensive US tours. 

He has also seen a lot of Europe and The Far East. He has toured with an array of national music treasures such as Love Affair, Chip Hawkes, Marmalade, The Rubettes and Mike Pender, as well as with artists Phillip Goodhand Tait, the widely banned Judge Dread and American Blues legend Junior Wells. It was Junior who gave Michael the nickname ‘Dusty’ after his penchant for playing the dusty end of the neck.

When back at home, Michael enjoys playing with local acts such as Bill Hurley and a selection of high calibre players including Wurzel from Motorhead, Spider from The Pogues, Gypie Mayo, The Big Figure from Dr Feelgood and Ian Gibbons from The Kinks. He is one of the few bass players to gig with both drummers from The Kinks, Bob Henrit and Mick Avory.

Michael has had stints in The Rocky Horror Show, The Blues Brothers and Into The Shadows. Most recently, he has been on tour in Europe playing in singer/songwriting legend Russ Ballard’s band. 

He brings a wealth of talent and experience to the band and has an uncanny ability to recall any tune once he has listened to it. Like Roger, he brings a sensitivity and musicality to the band that is essential for playing this genre of music. He also knows how to rock ‘n’ roll when required. An essential part of the engine room he also has the charm and an eclectic sense of humour that makes the band so much fun to be in. Michael, who loves playing this music, has often said:
“This is a band that any musician would want to be part of!”

Image of Roger Jacobs

Roger Jacobs

Roger started playing the drums at 13, following in his father’s footsteps who was a big band drummer. By age 22, he was playing professionally with an 8-piece soul band in London nightclubs.

He went on to play in Germany for a year, continuing in nightclubs and US Army bases, supporting Artists such as Joe Tex and Jimmy James, before coming back to tour the UK with artists including Del Shannon, Johnny Tillitson & Soloman King.

In 1978 Roger played a UK support tour with Sad Cafe (Everybody Hurts) before a nationwide UK and Ireland tour, plus an Isle of Wight summer season with a showband throughout 1979. 

Chart success and television appearances followed in the early 80s in Germany with Leicester band, The Dots. 

After retiring from pro work, Roger continued to play with the 11-piece soul band, The All Crucials, as well as bands such as The Bollards, Juan Lauda and The Business. An association was struck up in these bands with Michael Steed, and the two played together in chart topping band, Love Affair. 

Roger brings both subtlety and raw power when needed. He is the engine room (along with Michael on Bass) the gives the band the drive and energy that the music needs. A truly musical drummer that has an instinctive and dazzling feel for the music of Sheryl Crow.

Image of Rob James

Robert James

In the late 70s, Rob studied classical guitar at The Colchester Institute for Performing Arts. During this time, he joined funk band 5am, playing the US Air Bases and venues in the South East. 

Throughout the 80s he played classical guitar on a number of commercial sessions and he played his own arrangements of popular standards on the hotel circuit. He then joined local semi-pro pop covers band, Hedgehog, and also played gigs as a sideman for artists doing theatre tours, including American soul singer George McCrae (Rock You Baby) and founding Supremes member Mary Wilson. 

Continuing a varied musical journey through the 90s to the present day, Rob has continued to work with many local bands and has learnt to handle any style of music.

Leading up to joining Winding Road, he has continued to study and play classical via soul as well as a stint with Cuban and Tex-Mex and Zydeco. A consummate player who demonstrates an intuitive understanding of Sheryl’s music, he brings the authentic sound and the recognisable licks that keep us all well focused on that Winding Road.

Image of Mike King

Mike King (Kingy)

Mike started playing keyboards and piano in his very early teens, at the age of 11. Being far too young to drive at the time, his father would run him to gigs from the age of 13 where he started to learn the craft of a touring musician:
“I was doing things at the age of 13 that other school kids couldn’t even imagine. I mean, how could I explain to my mates at school that I just earned a tidy sum down the pub backing some guy in a frilly shirt and velvet bow tie? Surreal!”

These days Mike still loves music and has played and toured most musical styles. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Music from Colchester Institute where he performed classical concerts playing Debussy and Ravel through to massive tours with Marti and Kim Wilde. There was also a little diversion in soul and pop in some notable gigs with Jeane Carne, The Real Thing and the Detroit Emeralds. Mike also toured with and worked with comedians ranging from Norman Wisdom, Ken Dodd and Joe Pasquale on one-off dates and UK tours.

He has an extensive set up and virtually a keyboard for all occasions. He has his own recording studio where he takes on various session and sound design projects. Here, he is closely associated with Dave Mascall’s Acid Lounge as live keyboardist and synth player as well as featured soloist on the recordings which have made it to the top of the modern Soul charts.

Winding Road is the latest project and his most favourite to date:
“Playing these songs has been an education and has taught me to appreciate the power of a well-crafted song. I gained an immense amount of respect for Sheryl’s writing throughout studying the songs. I also marvel at Nicola’s natural ability to not only cover the numbers but to put her own stamp on them. You can see she loves to sing this stuff and it’s a pleasure to work with her along with the other guys. We are making some beautiful music here!”

Image of Freddie Francis

Freddy Francis

Freddy brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the band. Having worked all over the world as a professional musician, he has chalked up sessions with Rick Wakeman, Tina Turner, The LSO and The Jonny Patrick Orchestra.

He has also retained a creative flair throughout the years and has published and recorded a great deal of original material and worked on TV sessions. Having recorded at Abbey Road in London, he brings an excellent pedigree and wealth of musicality to the group.

Freddy has a characteristic sound that adds a dynamic fullness to the group and provides the icing on the cake for Nicola’s dynamic vocals. With an energetic approach to life and a sense of humour that keeps everybody on their toes, he keeps the band as well entertained as the audience at times. A sheer pleasure to play with and a wonderful human being with many a story to tell.