They would never of guessed, whilst Jon Boden and John Spiers sat in a traffic jam back in 2004, that the instant brainwave they had would lead to 4 studio albums, 18 award nominations and various festival headline slots.
Yet here they are, 9 years later, with their latest album Broadside, which has reached number 16 in the UK album chart and won the prestigious BBC Radio 2 Folk Award for Best Album. These accolades have been thoroughly justified.
The album itself took several weeks to record at Rockfield Studios in Monmouth, produced by John Leckie, one of the most famous producers in the world having worked with The Stone Roses on their debut album. The professionalism and attention to detail is apparent throughout the entirety of the record.
…the wash board gives it that gritty, Geordie edge…
I’ve shortlisted a couple of songs that really stood out to me on the album, starting with the opening track Byker Hill. A stimulatingly unsullied track, with each instrument individually launching into effect, the deep and defiant vocals from Boden and company power their way through the crescendo of fiddles and percussion. The use of the wash board gives it that gritty, Geordie edge they were looking for. A loud and proud start to a fantastic album.
Next is my personal favourite, Roll The Woodpile Down, a more traditional sea shanty. The exquisite fiddle playing mingled to perfection with Paul Sartin’ oboe breathes vigour and vitality into the track, the strident inspiring massed vocals permeating a sense of happiness and solidarity. The foot-tapping qualities make this song an excellent sing-a-long in a field full of festival goers.
…jolly narration sails the song along on its sea shanty tale…
10,000 Miles Away, the first single release on the album, begins with a spirited drum roll to announce its entrance, followed by the buoyant banjo picking abilities of Benji Kirkpatrick. Boden’s jolly narration sails the song along on its sea shanty tale, his natural showmanship shining through the clamour of countless instruments once again.
Finally, Lillibulero is a fascinating song about coming across the devil and defeating him, using all of Leckie’s musical background and history to produce this fantastic song, with its quiet-loud-quiet tempo. All of the bands elements come together spectacularly to create this very fun and upbeat song.
…growing stronger every day…
It seems like the hype surrounding Bellowhead is growing stronger every day, as they are becoming not only British folks most recognisable name, but most loved as well.