Jon Boden has become the stand out performer of his generation of traditional folk artists, but one whose repertoire extends far beyond the boundaries of the genre.
Jon Boden is best known is the lead singer and main arranger of the progressive folk juggernaut Bellowhead. After twelve years, a quarter of a million album sales, seven singles on the Radio 2 playlist and selling out hundreds of venues throughout the land and beyond, including notably the Royal Albert Hall, Jon announced in 2015 that he wanted to move on. The rest of the band decided not to continue without him. Bellowhead played their final gig on May 1st 2016.
As a total contrast to the eleven-piece Bellowhead, autumn 2016 sees Jon launch his first ever solo tour. His solo career goes back to 2006 with the release of his album Painted Lady (to be re-released with new bonus tracks in 2016 to mark the album’s tenth anniversary) followed by the critically lauded Songs From The Floodplain which led to him being named Folk Singer of The Year at the 2009 BBC Folk Awards. He has toured several times since then with his own band The Remnant Kings, but this will be the first time he has performed entirely solo.
The show promises to incorporate elements from the wide creative span of his career to date – from the self-penned pop songs of Painted Lady, to the funked-up power-pop arrangements of folk songs that characterised Bellowhead and Spiers & Boden, to the post-Apocalyptic song-world of Songs From The Floodplain, to unaccompanied ballads as featured on his mammoth A Folk Song A Day project in which he recorded and released 365 folk songs in one year across 2010-2011.
Widely respected as an interpreter of traditional song, the solo shows will also showcase Jon’s instrumental talents on fiddle, guitar and concertina, as well as his trademark ‘stomp box’ which he and John Spiers introduced into to the world of traditional music in 2001. Through his solo work and his work with Bellowhead and Spiers & Boden Jon has won eleven BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards – more than any other artist. His solo shows will provide an intimate insight into a man of many and various talents and promises to take the audience deeper into the song worlds of traditional music and of his own song writing.
‘Jon Boden chose to refloat his solo career with a Thursday night headliner that demonstrated he’s lost none of his slightly bonkers flamboyance.’ Songlines review of Cambridge Folk Festival 2016
‘The Ham also featured Jon Boden, formerly of Bellowhead, who was without a doubt the highlight of the week for us. He held the crowd for over an hour and a half, alone on stage with his plethora of instruments… filled with a mixture of songs from Bellowhead, traditional folk tunes and songs from Boden’s solo career. He came back for two encores at the end – the first time we have ever seen this happen at Sidmouth.’ Culture Vultures review of Sidmouth FolkWeek 2016
My Towersey: Jon Boden
No stranger to Towersey, Jon Boden struggles to remember the number of trips he's made to the festival, in one guise or another.
"I remember the first time John [Spiers] and I played and it was quite revelatory. There’s always a good attitude at Towersey, they’re good at quite experimental programming, and they put us on at midnight, on the big dance stage. It was just fantastic! All the younger festivalgoers came in, tanked up, and they just danced like it was an indie gig! Pogoing! It was a revelation for us – this was pre-Bellowhead and that experience informed, made and inspired Bellowhead … this desire for a band that can be pogoed to late at night.
"I remember our instruments cut out at one point, and the only thing you could hear was my stomp box, so I was kicking that – bang … bang … four-to-the-floor – and the audience didn’t seem to notice at all, they just kept dancing. It was an interesting, entertaining and educating experience, we learnt what audiences need to dance … not very much!," he laughs.
Catch Jon Boden in Venue 65 on Friday night (25 Aug 2017).
Jon's new solo album, Afterglow, will be released later this year.