Jon Boden has become the ‘stand out performer of his generation’ (The Guardian) 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 saw Jon launch his live solo career with a performance at Cambridge Folk Festival in July 2016, followed by dates the next week at Snape Proms and Sidmouth FolkWeek. His recorded solo career goes back to 2006 with the release of his album Painted Lady (re-released with new bonus tracks in October 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 was the first time he performed entirely solo.
‘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
He followed the festival launch with a 14 date tour in November 2016. The response was over-whelming with sold out shows and standing ovations.
‘Boden plays a vast variety of instruments as we veer from mysterious love songs to dark, poetic tales, amid hints of soul, electronic and thrilling guitar thrash’ - Mojo **** stars
‘Nothing seemed too far for Boden – whether it was singing accompanied merely by handclaps, or performing a cover of Whitney Houston’s 80s hit I Wanna Dance With Somebody (one of the new, bonus tracks on Painted Lady), the music electrified the audience and held the room in silence.’ Cherwell (Oxford University’s student publication)
‘Jon Boden solo is certainly something not to be missed, a variety of instrumentation and song, the dramatic gestures of a rock concert – not something you often get from a solo folk performer’ Americana UK
The show incorporated 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 also showcased 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 provided 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.