Jon Boden shares new single ‘All The Stars Are Coming Out Tonight’

Photo by David Angel

Jon Boden, former front-man of the progressive folk eleven-piece Bellowhead, has announced details of ‘All The Stars Are Coming Out’, the new single to be taken from his forthcoming solo album Afterglow, set for release via Hudson Records on October 6, 2017. Afterglow is Boden’s first studio release since calling an end to Bellowhead, a 12-year project that culminated in a quarter of a million album sales and worldwide sell-out shows including the Royal Albert Hall.

Afterglow follows on from Boden’s 2009 solo concept-album ‘Songs From The Floodplain’ which lead him to be named as Folk Singer Of The Year at the BBC Folk Awards. Whereas Floodplain largely dealt with the rural setting, Afterglow looks to juxtapose this and immerse the listener within a post-apocalyptic, post peak-oil street carnival – a location of decaying buildings, burning oil drums and homemade fireworks, in which Boden tells the story of two lovers trying to find one another.

Speaking about ‘All The Stars Are Coming Out’, Boden says: “Without easy access to electric light and with a shortage of oil, our lives will again become bounded by the astronomical cycle of the universe, and our relationship with the stars will become closer, uninhibited by artificial light pollution. I wanted the stars to have a big presence in the album, particularly Orion who, as a ‘hunter’, is someone who our hero identifies with as he searches the city for a girl he knew once but hasn’t seen for many years.”

Across his career Boden has been awarded a record-breaking 12 BBC Folk Awards, earned through his work with Bellowhead and Spiers & Boden. Now touring as both a solo artist and with his band The Remnant Kings, Jon will perform in both incarnations again this autumn. Commencing with his solo tour at Pocklington’s Arts Centre on November 6, Jon will perform at intimate venues across the UK before ending at Ludlow’s Assembly Rooms on November 14. From here Boden will tour with The Remnant Kings, beginning at Gateshead’s Sage on November 17 and taking in a date at London’s Scala on November 22.

Full tour dates and further album details here:

BELLOWHEAD – The Farewell Tour (Navigator NAVIGATOR095X)

The Farewell TourBellowhead are really going out in style. The Farewell Tour comes in a lavishly packaged hard-back book containing two CDs recorded at various venues across the first half of the tour and a DVD filmed at the De Montfort Hall in Leicester. The audio recording is superb, clear and crisp and twenty-nine tracks are crammed onto the two discs which, unusually, caused me to turn the volume up to maximum. Mind you, my auditory nerves were burned out years ago but I do want an album like this to pin me to the back wall.

This being a show for an audience who want to bop their socks off, Bellowhead avoid some of their more experimental material. Thus ‘Whiskey Is The Life Of A Man’ is the only selection from Matachin and I was surprised at the omission of ‘Fakenham Fair’. That said, we do have Pete Flood particularly strange ‘Moon Kittens’ and they do find room for the marvellous ‘Black Beetle Pies’. ‘Fine Sally’ is a bit strange, too. Almost every track is taken at the gallop, ‘Captain Wedderburn’ being one of the few moments of relative respite on the first disc. That’s not to say that the playing is in any way sloppy – perish the thought – and the stage chat is kept to the absolute minimum. The editing gives the impression that the band move straight from one song to the next but they must have stopped for breath sometimes.

There are a couple of previously unrecorded tracks including the version of Richard Thompson’s ‘Down Where The Drunkards Roll’ that ends the video but they are merely  the icing on a very rich cake. What comes across is the sheer inventiveness of the arrangements – the swagger of ‘Byker Hill’ followed by the almost-Wagnerian ‘The Wife Of Usher’s Well’ and the not quite laid-back ‘Jack Lintel’.

The film has twenty-three songs, in a different order, and begins with spooky blue lighting and the equally spooky ‘Moon Kittens’. It shouldn’t work as an opener but it does, seeming to set up expectations in the audience. The filming can’t be faulted, getting close in on the players as well as giving us panoramic views – and there’s plenty of scope for that – but the “atmospheric” lighting gets a bit much at times. I feel that about live gigs a lot of the time, anyway. Oh come on, I’ve got to find something to criticise!

Dai Jeffries

‘Fine Sally’ – live at Leicester:

Bellowhead – the live album


Bellowhead’s final set of live dates will be accompanied by the release of a CD / DVD release, Bellowhead Live: The Farewell Tour, on 8th April 2016 (Navigator Records). This deluxe 2 CD+DVD compilation features 52 tracks recorded during the band’s November 2015 tour, along with a 24 page booklet.

Most dates on this last tour – which being on 13th April and finish on 1st May 2016 – were sold out soon after being announced last year, but a few extras are being released along the way and if you’re quick, there is still a chance to see one of the great live bands of the past decade. And you don’t have to take our word for it…

“The greatest live act in Britain” – Simon Mayo/BBC Radio 2
“Best live band we have. No contest” – fRoots
5 ***** “Invigorating and theatrical” – Songlines
4 ****  “Nobody does it better” – Mojo

BELLOWHEAD – Pandemonium (Navigator NAVIGATOR093)

BELLOWHEAD – Pandemonium (Navigator NAVIGATOR093)Even before the final farewell tour begins Pandemonium – The Essential Bellowhead hits the streets just in time for Christmas lists everywhere. The tracks were reportedly selected by the band themselves and cover the band’s career from E.P.Onymous to Revival.

Bellowhead didn’t launch themselves in a big way back in 2008. There was one gig, then another and rumours of more. I heard them in the early days in a venue that just couldn’t cope with their power – the brass mics were off but, even so, if you were on their side of the auditorium that’s what you heard. Jon Boden was brilliant – a quivering tower of energy, spitting out his lyrics, but no-one could honestly have predicted how big they would become.

Pandemonium is a real party album. It kicks off, quite literally, with ‘New York Girls’ (scheduled to be the next single), ’10,000 Miles Away’ and ‘Roll Alabama’ before throttling back a little with ‘Fakenham Fair’. It’s still a big song but the arrangement allows space for fiddle, melodeon and Pete Flood’s unique percussion to stand out with Paul Sartin’s oboe leading the playout. ‘Gosport Nancy’ picks up the pace again. ‘Betsy Baker’ is nearest they come to a gentle love song and ‘Let Her Run’, ‘Roll The Woodpile Down’ and ‘Yarmouth Town’ return to the nautical themes they so enjoy.

‘Prickle-Eye Bush’ comes from their first EP and is, to be honest, a song that I think is much overdone but Bellowhead do it well, as you’d expect, with funky melodeon from John Spiers. ‘Whiskey Is The Life Of Man’ is another relatively minor song while ‘Cold Blows The Wind’ eschews the usual mournful tone for a more anarchic style before ‘London Town’ wraps up the proceedings. And that’s it – until the lost recordings and the box set appear!

Dai Jeffries

‘New York Girls’:

Bellowhead – ‘Best Of’ album next month

Bellowhead - 'Best Of' album next month

To coincide with their recently announced farewell tours, and due to popular demand, Bellowhead will be releasing an album of some of the best loved tracks from the band’s five studio albums: Pandemonium – The Essential Bellowhead will be released by Navigator Records on 16th Oct 2015.

Pandemonium includes 13 carefully selected tracks by the 11 band members, designed to represent some of the high points of their stellar 11 year career. Crowd favourite ‘New York Girls’ will be released as the first single.

Track List

1. New York Girls (Hedonism)
2. 10,000 Miles Away (Broadside)
3. Roll Alabama (Revival)
4. Fakenham Fair (Matachin)
5. Gosport Nancy (Revival)
6. Betsy Baker (Broadside)
7. Let Her Run (Revival)
8. Roll The Woodpile Down (Broadside)
9. Yarmouth Town (Hedonism)
10. Prickle-Eye Bush (E.P.Onymous)
11. Whiskey Is The Life Of Man (Matachin)
12. Cold Blows The Wind (Hedonism)
13. London Town (Burlesque)


BBC Radio 2 has announced the recipients of this year’s Lifetime Achievement awards.







The two prestigious accolades will be presented to Clannad and Martin Carthy at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards 2014 in a ceremony being held at the Royal Albert Hall on February 19. The Radio 2 Folk Awards celebrate an important milestone this year – marking their 15th anniversary.

Legendary Celtic band Clannad, who will also be performing at the awards, comprises siblings Moya, Ciaran and Pol Brennan, and their twin uncles Noel and Padraig Duggan. Their music mixes the traditional and the modern, the past and the future. The band’s record sales exceed fifteen million since release of their eponymous debut in 1973. Towards the end of the seventies they recruited their younger sister on piano and harmony vocals. She worked on two albums and embarked on several tours with them before going on to establish her own highly successful solo career as Enya.

Clannad said:

“We are absolutely honoured to be recognised in this way by the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards. The BBC have been such great supporters of us since we first broke through in the UK with Theme From Harry’s Game. We are really looking forward to being part of the big night at the Royal Albert Hall.”

English folk singer Martin Carthy has remained one of the most influential figures in British traditional music. For more than 50 years he has been one of folk music’s greatest innovators, and has recorded more than 40 albums, with only 10 of these being solo records. He has recorded with legendary bands including Steeleye Span, Brass Monkey and Imagined Village to name but a few.

Martin Carthy said:

“I’ve just been lucky enough to follow my heart and pretty much do what I want over the past 50 years or so. If, along the way, I’ve been able to play a part, however small, in keeping the traditional music of these islands alive, then I consider myself a fortunate man.”

Bob Shennan, Controller BBC Radio 2 and 6 Music, said:

“The Radio 2 Folk Awards exist to celebrate the very best in folk music. Clannad and Martin Carthy have made magnificent contributions to Folk music over the years and are thoroughly deserving of these prestigious accolades. Many congratulations to them.”

In addition to the Lifetime Achievement Awards, Radio 2 has also announced that the Cambridge Folk Festival, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, is being awarded the Good Tradition Award. This award is given to a person, group or organisation for their contribution to the preservation, dissemination and continuance/ progression of traditional music over a number of years.

Radio 2 has also confirmed that Martin Simpson, Anais Mitchell & Jefferson Hamer and The Full English are set to perform on the night.

The awards ceremony at The Royal Albert Hall will see some of the biggest names in folk music come together under one roof to celebrate the UK’s thriving folk music scene.

The event will welcome a host of star guests, with Bellowhead, Suzanne Vega and The Fisherman’s Friends set to perform live on the night.

This year’s awards will see the addition of a new element – the Radio 2 Folk Awards Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame will recognise the special contribution of an individual to the world of folk music; someone whose impact and influence has had a lasting impression.

The first entrant to be inducted into the Hall of Fame is Cecil Sharp – widely regarded as being a key figure in having helped lay the foundations for the modern folk revival in the early 20th century.

The BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards will be broadcast live on Radio 2 from 8pm, and in vision via the Red Button and online at, with video highlights to follow the next day. The audience can also follow the event and get involved via the Radio 2 website.

The full list of nominees in this year’s Radio 2 Folk Awards are:

Folk Singer of the Year

  • Bella Hardy
  • Fay Hield
  • Lisa Knapp
  • Lucy Ward

Best Duo

  • Ross Ainslie & Jarlath Henderson
  • Josienne Clarke & Ben Walker
  • Catrin Finch & Seckou Keita
  • Phillip Henry & Hannah Martin

Best Group

  • Breabach
  • The Full English
  • Lau
  • Melrose Quartet

Best Album

  • Child Ballads – Anaïs Mitchell & Jefferson Hamer
  • The Full English – The Full English
  • Hidden Seam – Lisa Knapp
  • Vagrant Stanzas – Martin Simpson
  • Won’t Be Long Now – Linda Thompson

Horizon Award

  • Olivia Chaney
  • Josienne Clarke & Ben Walker
  • Greg Russell & Ciaran Algar
  • Georgia Ruth

Musician of the Year

  • Aidan O’Rourke
  • Will Pound
  • Martin Simpson
  • Sam Sweeney

Best Original Song

  • Love’s For Babies and Fools – Linda Thompson
  • None the Wiser – Chris Wood
  • Swimming in the Longest River – Olivia Chaney
  • Two Ravens – Lisa Knapp

Best Traditional Track

  • Codi Angor – Georgia Ruth
  • Les Bras de Mer – Catrin Finch & Seckou Keita
  • Mary Macdonald’s – Rant
  • Willie of Winsbury – Anaïs Mitchell & Jefferson Hamer

BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award

  • Hattie Briggs
  • Gentlemen of Few
  • Granny’s Attic
  • The Mischa Macpherson Trio