Saving The Good Stuff Vol.1 is the ninth offering from the hardworking Harbottle & Jonas, with each release they continue to build and cement their reputation. Following on from the release of The Beacon in 2021 they have continued to maintain a high level of output with the albums Live At Acoustic Roots and Songs Of Love And Death – a collaboration of traditional folk songs with Reg Meuross.
Saving The Good Stuff Vol.1 though offers the listener something slightly different from fast-rising Devon duo Harbottle and Jonas, to be released in February.
Since the back-end of 2019 Dave and Freya decided to release a cover song a week on their social media platforms. Each song being a love note to the artists that the duo most admire. This weekly video series, aptly named Saving The Good Stuff began to gain momentum and their fan base started to take note and set aside five minutes each Sunday morning at 10am. The series title itself was inspired by a favourite song by Richard Thompson. Sometimes these songs were in the form of a live stream and quite often 100+ people from all over the world would tune in to watch these live streams. It felt like a community was beginning to grow and flourish.
Dave and Freya continued this tradition often whilst on tour. Whilst touring in Germany (March 2020), they had to hurriedly get back to the UK for what they thought might be a brief liaison with staying at home… we all know what happened next. Lockdown helped to stoke the creative fires of this entrepreneurial duo and they worked harder than ever – putting out two songs a week in between live streams, recording an album, participating in Global Music Match, veg picking for Riverford and releasing several other collaborative videos with artists such as Reg Meuross, Phil Beer, George Sansome and Paul Hutchinson to name a few.
Since the beginning of this unique project, Harbottle and Jonas have uploaded in the region of 150 videos across their platforms amassing more than a million views collectively. Some of these songs have since featured heavily in their live set and have become fan favourites. More importantly, a community had been established and following on from all of us being released from lockdown, Dave and Freya were humbled by the reaction they received from people at festivals, folk clubs and gigs. People would often say that these songs were a big part in getting them through some tough times, lockdown and never failed to bring a smile each Sunday morning.
This South Brent based couple are making a habit of recording from their home, located in the Dartmoor National Park. This is how ‘The Beacon’ was recorded in 2020, with Josh Best-Shaw acting as producer. This time around Dave was responsible for the recording, mixing and production with a little help from Josh in the latter stages. The 8-track mini-album, allowed Dave and Freya to collaborate with great friends, who just so happen to be fabulous musicians. Richard Trethewey who is a wonderful songwriter and Cornish Bard features heavily on the album with his wonderful vocals, often adding a third harmony and his very accomplished fiddle playing. Freya’s mum Jenny Jonas brings her haunting oboe to a couple of the tracks. Andy Tyner provides the beautiful mellow tones of the brass section and Claire Sutton provides her stunning cello playing. The artwork is a collaboration with local artist Louise Scammell and is a portrait of Dave and Freya’s favourite place to reflect, Penstave Copse.
Says Freya: “Over the past ten years we’ve been touring this fair isle of England, learning and gathering folk songs and tales of nature, traditions, sea songs and songs that resonant with an audience when sung as one voice”.
In a year that marks 10 years of writing and performing as a duo, Dave and Freya have become synonymous for their close-knit vocal harmonies and whole array of instruments, it has developed into their signature sound. Dave providing his deft acoustic guitar and banjo playing, Freya her fluid concertina and atmospheric harmonium.
Artists’ website: harbottleandjonas.com
‘Wild Mountain Thyme’ – an early live version:
14 – FOLK @ THE CORNER, SURBITON
2 – TWICKFOLK, TWICKENHAM
6 – THE OLD STABLES, CRICKLADE
21 – DOWNEND FOLK CLUB, BRISTOL
29 – MILLBROOK FOLK CLUB, CORNWALL
31 – DORKING FOLK CLUB
2 – BIGBURY VILLAGE HALL, DEVON
7 – NEW FOREST FOLK FESTIVAL
13 – DARTMOOR FOLK FESTIVAL
26 – BETWEEN THE TREES FESTIVAL, WALES
27 – THE TEMPERANCE, LEAMINGTON
28 – THE PLACE, BEDFORD