JON BODEN – Afterglow – Hudson Records HUD004

AfterglowFolk royalty Jon Boden’s latest album, Afterglow, is an excellent follow on from Songs From The Floodplain, which was released in 2009, and was Jon’s second solo album. Jon is a twelve time BBC Folk Award Winner who partnered celebrated concertina player John ‘Squeezy’ Spiers in Spiers and Boden, fronted Bellowhead, and comes out to play with his Remnant Kings now and again.

Afterglow is a story of urban lovers after dark. The ten fabulous tracks portray a journey after dark into the early morning leaving the previous night behind – their adventures into the night and what they experience.

The album starts with ‘Moths In The Gaslight’ – in true Boden melodic style then leading into the title track and bringing in a drum beat. ‘Wrong Side Of Town’ brings in the traditional Boden irregular beat we all know and love. ‘Fires Of Midnight’ is a spoken lyric in the traditional style of Boden. One of my favourites, ‘All The Stars Are Coming Out Tonight’ is a foot tapping track including fiddle, bodhran, Cajun and all!

‘Dancing In The Ruins’ includes off-beat rhythm and an electric guitar taking the listener into ‘Burning Streets’ telling the tale of the lovers escaping down the back streets to a racy beat. The penultimate track – ‘Yellow Light’ – has Jon’s traditional concertina, cello and quietens the mood down after the night’s activities. Afterglow ends with a track entitled ‘Aubade’ – the dawn is now breaking bringing the end of the night, the birds are now singing heralding in the dawn and a new day.

An excellent album as we would expect from a master of his craft. Ex-Bellowhead members Paul Sartin, Sam Sweeney and Ben Nicholls (Seth Lakeman Band) are involved on this album as are members of The Remnant Kings together with producer Andy Bell, and recorded in Sheffield. As always, Jon Boden’s albums are vivid and give beautiful imagery in the lyrics. This album is no exception to his pure talent.

Afterglow is now on general release. Available as a single CD, a de luxe version and a vinyl version and from the 6th November Jon is on tour solo. Jon while the Remnant Kings are touring in November from the 17th.

Jean Camp

Artist’s website: www.jonboden.com

‘All The Stars Are Coming Out Tonight’ – official video:

VIDEO WALL 6

The videos have been flooding in again so here’s the first of the latest batch.

We’ll begin with Louis Brennan’s film for ‘Bit Part Actor’, a track from his debut album, Dead Capital, which will be released in the spring.

Next is Jon Boden with a live version of ‘Bee Sting’ from his new album, Afterglow.

‘Hideaway’ is Shrewsbury singer-songwriter Dan Owen’s latest single. Dan has been getting a lot of good press recently for his soulful voice and blues guitar.

The Magic Lantern, aka Jamie Doe, has released this video for his new single, ‘Holding Hands’ from his latest album, To The Islands.

Finally for now we have a golden oldie from The Teesside Fettlers.

‘Ring Of Iron’ was sent to us by former Fettler Adrian Beadnell who has a song called ‘Past’ which he’d like everyone to hear. There is a video that you can find at  https://www.facebook.com/saltburnvoice/

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: http://folking.com/jon-boden-announces-new-solo-album-tour-dates/

Jon Boden announces new solo album

Jon Boden

Jon Boden, former frontman of progressive folk eleven-piece Bellowhead, has announced details of his new solo album Afterglow, set for release via Hudson Records on October 6th. Afterglow is Boden’s first studio release since calling an end to Bellowhead, a twelve-year project that culminated in a quarter of a million album sales and worldwide sell-out shows including the Royal Albert Hall. Boden will return to the stage at this year’s Cambridge Folk Festival (July 27th-30th), where he will debut Afterglow as part of his guest curation.

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 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 the album concept, Boden says:

“Like my previous album Songs From The Floodplain, Afterglow imagines a near-future world where the luxuries and comfort of 21st century life have become scarce, and a harder, simpler existence now prevails. Afterglow is the story of a couple who are trying to find each other in the middle of a bonfire-night street carnival in a crumbling, derelict city. I had a wonderful time recording it in Sheffield with the help of my band the Remnant Kings and Andy Bell in the producer’s chair.”

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 6th, Jon will perform at intimate venues across the UK before ending at Ludlow’s Assembly Rooms on November 14th. 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 22nd.

Artist’s website: https://www.jonboden.com/

‘Moths In The Gas Light’ – all we get so far:

VARIOUS – From Here: English Folk Field Recordings (From Here Sitw005)

From HereThey may be newcomers to the scene, but Stick In The Wheel are certainly making their mark, not just with their own recordings and associated artifacts, but in their involvement with the folk world in general, and the traditional in particular.

Band members Ian Carter and Nicola Kearey serve as curators, collaborators and producers for this collection of new live recordings by both the great and good and some of the lesser known luminaries in the genre. The remit for those involved was to record songs that explored either place or their musical identity, culminating in a gathering of field recordings captured in locations as diverse as a stone cottage in Edale, a bank vault and a garden at Robin Hood’s Bay using just two stereo microphones and with no subsequent overdubs.

As you would imagine, the tracks are stark and raw, first up being ‘Bedfordshire May Carol’, chosen by performer Jack Sharp, leader of psych-folk outfit Wolf People, as it supposedly originated just a few miles from where he grew up. Next up, Eliza Carthy leads a flurry of more familiar names with a self-penned number, ‘The Sea’, a new setting of the broadside ballad found in Manchester’s Chetham Library and featuring on her current album, the initial pizzicato fiddle giving way to more robust playing. She’s followed by one of the veterans of English folk, John Kirkpatrick, applying his accordion to a song from his lengthy repertoire and a folk club staple ‘Here’s Adieu To Old England’, while his sometimes musical partner, Martin Carthy, also chose a number he’s recently reintroduced back into his sets, ‘The Bedmaking’, a familiar tale of the abused and cast aside servant girl. fingerpicked here to a halting rhythm.

Sandwiched in-between is one of the rising stars of the few folk firmament, the Peak District’s Bella Hardy, who went to 19th century collection The Ballads and Songs of Derbyshire for ‘The Ballad of Hugh Stenson’, setting it to a more upbeat tune than the hymnal adapted by Jon Tams, while, another member of folk royalty, Jon Boden puts his squeezebox to work on a contemplative take on 19th century drinking song ‘Fathom The Bowl’.

There’s a couple of spokes from the Wheel, both unaccompanied, Kearey delivering glottal version of the much covered ‘Georgie’ and Fran Foote ‘The Irish Girl’. They’re not the only numbers to be sung naked as it were. BritFolk alumnus Lisa Knapp has a lovely treatment of the tumblingly melodious ‘Lavender Song’, while, also from the female side, Fay Hield tips the hat to Annie Briggs with her choice of ‘Bonny Boy’.

On the other side of a capella gender fence, Geordie folkie Stew Simpson mines his Newcastle roots for ‘Eh Aww Ah Cud Hew’ (which the accompanying booklet helpfully translates as “Oh Yes, I Could Pick At The Coals”), Sam Lee turns the evergreen ‘Wild Rover’ on its head to transform it into a slow, sad lament rather than more familiar rollicking rouser of Dubliners and Pogues note, and, from Wales, a deep-voiced Men Diamler closes the album with ‘1848 (Sunset Beauregard)’, a self-penned political protest ballad about Tory policies. The remaining unaccompanied track is actually a duet, Peta Webb and Ken Hall joining voices for an Irish in London in the 50s marriage of Ewan MacColl’s ‘Just A Note’, about the building of the M1, and Bob Davenport’s account of the dangers of ‘Wild Wild Whiskey’.

The three remaining tracks are all instrumentals. Bristol’s acoustic instrumental quartet Spiro are the only band on the collection and provide their self-penned ‘Lost In Fishponds’, apparently about getting lost en route to a gig, joined here by North Wales violinist Madame Česki, while Sam Sweeney brings his fiddle to bear on two tunes. ‘Bagpipers’, one of the first things he played with his band Leveret, and ‘Mount Hills’, an English dance tune from the 17th century. Which leaves Cumbrian concertina maestro Rob Harbron to provide the third with a pairing of ‘Young Collins’, a Costwolds’ tune learned from Alistair Anderson, and, another from the Morris tradition, ‘Getting Up The Stairs’, which, by way of a pleasing synchronicity, he actually learned by way of John Kirkpatrick on the influential Morris On album.

It more than does the job it set out to achieve, and, likely to loom large in end of year awards, fully warrants a place in any traditional folk fan’s collection.

Mike Davies

Artists’ website: www.stickinthewheel.com

Stew Simpson – ‘Eh Aww Ah Cud Hew’:

JON BODEN – Painted Lady (Navigator Records NAVIGATOR098)

2016 sees the 10th anniversary of Jon Boden’s first solo album Painted Lady, which is being re-issued to mark the event.

This is an album of love songs, of a sort,  but certainly not chivalric love or the deep love of long-term relationship.  Instead there is a feeling of furtive, perhaps seedy love.  As he sings on ‘Blue Dress’ “Wear your blue dress tonight, Meet me down behind the graveyard, Bring your cigarettes, Wear your leather boots, Go down where the rushes grow.”

Later in the same song we hear lines which even blur the lines between potentially right and potentially wrong without ever finding out who is taking the lead in events. “You’re the only girl for me, in this whole wide world. When I see you in school, I think we should run away.  Don’t care what the teachers say.

On the track ‘Drunken Princess’  he sings a lullaby to his love but we are never sure if this particular girls exists as anything other than a glossy photograph.  As Boden was to show three years later in Songs From The Floodplain  he excels in exploring dystopian, bleak worlds.

The reworking of Whitney Houston’s ‘I Want To Dance With Somebody’ works very well.  Slowed down and stripped back to a minimal backing it becomes a plaintive cry of loneliness and a desperate search for love.

This is possibly not an album for the finger-in-the-ear traditionalist.  As Boden was to go on to show in his other works and collaborations he is not going to be constrained by anything as artificial as a musical genre.  He both sings and plays all the instruments on the album, easily moving from folk to blues and even including some rock and electronica.  Of course the standard of playing is superb throughout.

This is an album to get if you want to complete a collection, or to track the development of an artist over time, but it more than stands alone as an excellent piece of work from one of the most innovative and creative musicians there is.   The album is available to pre-order now, through Propermusic, with a release date of 30th September.

Tony Birch

Artist’s website: http://www.jonboden.com/