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Entries in Bellowhead (4)


A Christmas single from Bellowhead

Single release: Christmas Bells / Jingle Bells
Release date: 1 December 2013
Label: Navigator
Listen: on official website

Bellowhead release a new single, ‘Christmas Bells/Jingle Bells’ on 1st December 2013. This follows three successful singles from their top 20 album ‘Broadside’ which was released in October 2012 and went on to win Best Album at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards.

Jon Boden says “‘Christmas Bells’ is based on the mummers play ‘Christmas : his Pageant Play, or Mysterie of St. George’ written down by a Mr. H Slight and published in 1842. It seems perfect for Bellowhead, linking Father Christmas with the tale of St. George & the Dragon. Mummers plays were found all over England up until the Second World War and many Christmas mumming traditions carry on to this day. ‘Jingle Bells’ is rather better known as a song, though what is not so well known is that it was initially written in the 1850s for American Thanksgiving day celebrations. It’s ours now though!”

To crown a hugely successful twelve months Bellowhead will be embarking on a major tour of the UK throughout November. The excitement continues into 2014 with the publication of a beautiful Bellowhead songbook in March, by Faber Music publishing house, and the band will also be celebrating their 10th Anniversary with two special concerts at The Bridgewater Hall, Manchester (April 19) and London Royal Albert Hall (April 20).

"One of the most exciting live bands in Britain” The Telegraph

“Surely the best live act in the country” The Independent


BBC Folk Awards 2013 - compilation of tracks by nominees released on 28 January

BBC Folk Awards 2013

Album release: BBC Folk Awards 2013
Release date: 28 January 2013
Label: Proper Records
More info / tracks: on Proper Records website 

This year, for the first time, the Folk Awards will take place in Glasgow during the Celtic Connections festival. It will be broadcast live on BBC Radio 2 and streamed via the BBC Red Button service on Wednesday 30 January 2013, 7.30pm - 10pm.

28 January 2013 sees the release of an annual compilation featuring the nominees for the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards plus bonus disc of the 10 semi-finalists in the BBC Young Folk Awards. This is the most comprehensive collection of the current favourite, rising and, as yet, unsung stars of the folk world. See below for track listing.

CD 1: Bellowhead - Roll The Woodpile Down / Hannah James & Sam Sweeney - The Farmer's Cursed Wife / Anaïs Mitchell - Tailor / Duncan Chisholm - Unknown Air / Kathleen Macinnes - Tha Sneach'd Air Druim Uachdair / Katriona Gilmore & Jamie Roberts - Doctor James / Nic Jones  - Texas Girl's Lament At The Funeral Of Her Father / Emily Portman - Hatchlings / Rura - Mary / Kathryn Tickell - Small Coals 

CD 2: Lau - The Bird That Winds The Spring / Maz O'connor - Caw The Yowes / Ross Ainslie -- Lullaby For Mel / O'hooley & Tidow - Gentleman Jack / Luke Jackson - Last Train / Karine Polwart - King Of Birds / Blair Dunlop - Billy In The Lowground / Kathryn Roberts & Sean Lakeman - The Ballad Of Andy Jacobs / The Unthanks - Black Trade / Sam Lee - Wild Wood Amber / Treacherous Orchestra - Sea Of Okhotsk 

CD 3: Greg Russell & Ciaran Algar - Working On The New Railroad / Thalla - St. Andrew's Flight / Last Tango In Harris / Luke Jackson - More Than Boys / Graham Mackenzie & Ciorstaidh Beaton - Father Eugene's Welcome To Cape North; St Kilda's Wedding / Mae Bradbury - Shiver / Jack Pout - Breaking Of Old Branches / Matt Tighe - Were You At The Rock?;  The College Groves / Rosie Hodgson - Liverpool Lullaby / The Crosstown Trio - My Heart Is Holding Up A Shield / Hugh Sheehan & Jack Mccaugherty - The Night Before

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Bellowhead return with 'Broadside'. Out 15 October on Navigator / Proper

Album release: Broadside by Bellowhead
Release date: 15 October 2012
Label: Navigator Records via Proper Records 

Bigger, bolder, brassier and more brazen than ever, Bellowhead blaze back with their mighty new album, Broadside.

While all things Bellowhead tend to be an event, Broadside is a positive spectacular, taking some of the wildest, most joyous and iconic songs in the richly colourful canon of the folk song tradition…and turning them upside down and inside out with their unique mix of drama and theatre, instrumental virtuosity, verve, humour and blind cheek that has seen them spearhead the new folk boom. 

Their third album Hedonism was the highest selling independently-released traditional folk album of all time, yet the new one, Broadside (a title that rather cunningly melds an early form of printed song sharing with an appropriately nautical reference to firepower) is set to eclipse it with its thrilling arrangements and non-stop party spirit.

Like Hedonism, Broadside is produced by the great John Leckie, who has previously done wonderful things with The Stone Roses and Radiohead; he’s now effectively captured all the explosiveness that has established Bellowhead’s undisputed reputation as one of the planet’s most exciting live bands and replicated it in the studio. In this case that studio is Rockfield, where Freddie Mercury once held court. Indeed, at one point the massed vocals even evoke Bohemian Rhapsody and Freddie would surely have identified with the electrifying dynamism and sense of fun conjured up by this very special band. 

A couple of the tracks are based on songs that initially found common currency in the form of those printed broadsides – the gruesome romp Black Beetle Pies for one and the spooky ballad The Wife Of Usher’s Well (all death, ghosts and “earthly flesh and blood”) for another.

Weirdness also abounds with Betsy Baker, a vigorous tale of unrequited love, while some of the most venerated songs of the folk revival – Northumbrian mining song Byker Hill, the Copper Family classic Thousands Or More, the rocking sea shanty Go My Way and The Old Dun Cow - the knockabout tale of being trapped inside a burning pub – are revived in startling ways. They may be familiar, but they’ve never sounded like this before. There’s even an irresistibly bonkers take on Lillibulero, a satirical song set to a tune attributed to Henry Purcell, on which the band flex their considerable muscles and gleefully explore their seemingly bottomless box of magic tricks, emerging with storming vocals, blitzing percussion, rampaging strings and mad, bad brass. 

Broadside, their fourth album, writes another extraordinary chapter in the story of Bellowhead, which began in 2004 when a disparate group of characters who initially knew one another from informal pub sessions thought it might be a good wheeze to pool their widely varied backgrounds, influences and talents and form a big band… just to see what happened. Even they couldn’t have imagined the results as their funny little enterprise -incorporating top-notch jazz, world, folk and classical musicians and a swathe of brass, strings, squeezebox, percussion and anything else that seemed like a good idea at the time - swiftly expanded into a gung-ho 11-piece line-up. Four albums, a glut of awards, sell-out tours and a long trail of thunderous festival appearances down the line, they’ve transported folk music into hitherto unknown territory, introducing a whole new audience to it with them. 

“The greatest live act in Britain,” says BBC Radio 2’s Simon Mayo. “One of the best live bands in the UK…or anywhere,” says Jeremy Vine. And the hordes of dancing fans grinning and singing along and treating every gig as a party clearly agree.

That party gains even more momentum with Broadside for, while some of the songs may appear graphic and brutal, this is above all, an album driven by a lust for life. And that’s a subject close to the heart of Bellowhead.

Bellowhead UK Tour

The album will be accompanied by the band's biggest ever UK tour (6th - 24th Nov). The 19 dates include Bellowhead's first show at Roundhouse, Camden's world-renowned venue (7th Nov). For tour dates, see the live section of the Bellowhead website.

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