The Fisherman’s Friends announce their tenth album

The Fishermen's Friends

“All roads lead to The Fisherman’s Friends!” So said  broadcast legend and long-time fan, Jo Whiley on the BBC’s Glastonbury coverage just after the boys had sung their Cornish hearts out on the Avalon Stage to rapturous applause from a packed crowd.

And who can argue? This year they’ve reached 104,000 followers on Facebook, signed a fifth album deal with Island Records.  On top of the 50,000 concert tickets they sold last year with another 250,000 sold for Fisherman’s Friends: The Musical, while their two feature films have grossed $15 million at the UK box office.

This year kicks off with the release of their tenth album All Aboard. The music is a mixture of floor fillers from the 18th century and a couple of rogue ones from the 20th & 21st thrown in for good measure, this album is everything you want it to be; with stirring songs from the sea, often poignant but mostly foot-stomping, rip-roaring fun!. This album also coincides with their 2024 tour ‘Rock The Boat’ which is already sold out and includes a headline show at the Royal Albert Hall.

The Fisherman’s Friends are excited to get back to what they do best – singing from the heart.

“That’s where we belong, singing live. It’s all about sharing the songs we love with the people we love to see, our wonderful audiences up and down the land”, says founder member, bass man Jon Cleave – Cleavie to his ship mates.

“We have to say though, the Albert Hall will be a bit special. Thirty years ago some of us were there with the Cornish Male Voice Choir, then we went back with the band a couple of times as guests of Show of Hands and we played there at the BBC Folk Awards in 2014, but this will be our first show as headliners. Not bad for a band of part-timers from Port Isaac, is it?”

Fans can expect a trademark catch of sea shanties and maritime work songs from a repertoire of almost 200 titles as The Fisherman’s Friends are joined by two new musicians, Marcus Bonfanti and Simon Johnson, playing a collection of instruments including bass, banjo, mandolin and resonator guitar.

The theatre tour got underway on 19 January by the sea in Chichester and plots a course around the country to finish in Poole on 12 May, back within sight of the sea. After a summer break, the band pick it up in Birmingham on 5 September and on to Gateshead, Manchester, Bristol, two shows in Truro, Brighton, London, Cambridge, York and Edinburgh.

It all seems a very long way from the group of fishermen and their friends who first gathered in 1990 in a sitting room in their native Port Isaac to sing the Cornish songs of the sea that were part of their lives. It took a while, but before long they were ‘discovered’ by the wider world, caught a million-pound record deal, and gate crashed the charts with a Top 10 album in 2010. So began a well-charted voyage of discovery that has taken in ten albums, a BBC Folk Award, best-selling book, TV documentary and prestigious performances from The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations to Hyde Park Proms in the Park and 80,000 rugby fans at Twickenham… all while holding down day jobs.

And through it all they’ve remained exactly what they were when it all began back in that sitting room in Port Isaac – fishermen and their friends.

The Fisherman’s Friends are: lobster fisherman Jeremy Brown, author and shopkeeper Jon Cleave, smallholder and engineer John ‘Lefty’ Lethbridge, builder John McDonnell (a Yorkshireman who visited Port Isaac more than 30 years ago and never left), Padstow fisherman Jason Nicholas, filmmaker Toby Lobb and potter Billy Hawkins, they will also be joined by two very talented musicians Marcus Bonfanti and Simon Johnson.

Artists’ website:

‘I Saw Three Ships’ – official video:

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