How many Jo(h)ns can you fit in a room?
Several weeks have passed now since Ninebarrow graced the stage of Folk at the Froize so I apologise for the tardiness of this blog. Life get hectic, don’t it. Also, this could get confusing because I am going to be refering to three forms of musically talented humans called Jo(h)n(s) over the next few paragraphs … so just to clarify … 1 is Jon of Ninebarrow. 2 is Jon Hart, sound engineer (on a night off) and 3 is Camilla Johns of Johns and Nowak. So here we go…
Jay and Jon (1) were lovely guys from the off, lots of smiles plus the grace and professionalism of a team who have been working the folk circuit for years. They even bought their own sound system along (resident sound techie Jon (2) felt very lost that evening without a job to do … although he helped to hold up the bar which is quite an important task so I’ve been told). We quickly discovered that Ninebarrow had been nominated for the prestigious BBC Radio 2 Horizon award (the same one that Sam Kelly won last year shortly after his appearance at FATF). How cool is that?! Two of our FATF acts nominated for such an amazing award (we like to host folk royalty).
Jon (1) played a plethora of instruments, swapping between piano, harmonium, guitar, ukulele and bazouki (which doesn’t like being tuned … or even being an instrument apparently) 🙂 Being a ukulele player myself, I was particularly captivated by Jon’s (1) skills on the ukulele, which had the sweetest tone to it. (Check out ‘For a time’ on youtube … just beautiful … love it when the stomp comes in). Jay’s sweet soaring harmonies flowed gracefully over the top of Jon’s (1) strong vocal delivery. A carefully thought out and intelligent set with captivating tales of British folk lore. I have to say, up until that night, I never really appreciated how diverse an instrument the harmonium is. Jon (1) very deftly played a fast tune on it towards the end of their set … I just assumed a harmonium was for long drawn out drones … so now I know better. Thanks for educating me, Jon (1).
Johns (3) and Nowak (spoken Novak) were our opening act … a duo from Bristol and Bath … again really cool, friendly people who just love to make music. Strongly grounded in the Americana traditional style, Camilla (Johns (3)) and Andy (Nowak) met at a bluegrass festival and their music has since blossomed into a captivating, accomplished live set. Camilla’s delicate mandolin work, coupled with Andy’s guitar skill and awesome strength of vocal were mezmerising. To be honest, in sound check I was almost bowled over by the strength of Andy’s voice. When he started singing, considering they were sharing a mic, and he was a good foot away from it … the power was just insane (and he didn’t seem to be putting in any effort at all). Camilla added a careful sprinkling of soft vocal harmony over the top. The duo performed a few classic Americana cover songs and also some of their own tunes which are available on their EP released in 2016.
All in all, just a beautiful evening of quality music.
If you missed this event, I sincerely suggest you look up these two wonderful acts. Go to see them live and buy their music! You won’t regret it. Here are some handy links to help you along the way …
Shop for Ninebarrow album(s) (plus books and shirts – proper merch … pros)
Shop for Johns and Nowak EP (with really funky artwork)
Anyway, enough of my mumblings. See you all at the next FATF.
Over and out.