Spiers & Boden
Jon Boden – winner of the Folk Singer of the Year at the BBC Folk Awards 2010
Described by The Guardian as “the finest instrumental duo on the traditional scene” and twice winners of the BBC Radio 2 folk award for Best Duo, Spiers and Boden have made the genre of spontaneous, punky English folk very much their own stomping ground. Loud, proud, and with just a few acoustic instruments, they create a multitude of textures upon which they present traditional stories and dance music which have taken them on to the main stages of major festivals.
“Technically they stand head to head with the best of their generation…Jon Boden plays fiddle with an earthy vigour that’s utterly compelling and sings in a frantic breathless manner as if the hounds of hell are taking lumps out of his backside, while John Spiers harmonises and plays urgent driving melodeon to a very high standard indeed…halfway to reinventing the style without even realising it…” fRoots Magazine
“Dynamics, drive and passion” BBC Radio 2 folk website
The irrepressible performances of John Spiers and Jon Boden have ensured they are in high demand with venues and major festivals through out the world and past performances have included, in the UK, Cambridge Folk Festival, WOMAD and Larmer Tree Festival and abroad have included Roskilde Festival (Denmark), Nordsjofestivalen (Norway) and Namest Nad Oslavou (Czech Republic).
Their fifth album, Vagabond, was released on Navigator May 26th 2008. The eleven tracks on the album focus on the role of the itinerant and outsider, a theme prominent in traditional material, from ‘Robin Hood’ to the ‘Beggar Boy’.
Winners of the Best Duo category at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards in both 2004 and 2006, and a Critic’s choice nomination at the BBC World Music Awards, and nominees for the same award in 2009, John & Jon are also founding members of the wildly ambitious eleven piece big-band folk phenomenon, Bellowhead (BBC Folk Awards for Best Live Act in 2005, 2007, 2008, Observer Top 20 albums of 2007).
They are currently Artist in Residence at London’s Southbank as part of Bellowhead, an appointment which has led to a series of performances on The Southbank including a sold out show by Bellowhead to over 1,000 people in the Royal Festival Hall Ballroom in December 2007.
They have also enjoyed a long-term collaboration with Eliza Carthy as The Rat Catchers and performed on her Nationwide Mercury Prize nominated album Anglicana.
Jon Boden (singer, fiddle, guitar, stomp-box) follows in the footsteps of many of the great folk-singers with his theatrical style. Born in 1977 in Chicago, he grew up in Winchester and graduated in Medieval Studies from Durham and Composition for Theatre from the London College of Music. As well as forming half of Spiers & Boden and singing lead vocals in Bellowhead, Jon has also found time to release his own, self-penned album of contemporary indie rock songs, ‘Painted Lady’.
John Spiers (melodeon, concertina) was born in Birmingham and grew up in Abingdon (home to one of the few truly traditional morris sides) with a morris dancing father. He has a Masters degree in Natural Sciences from King’s College Cambridge and has carved his own space in the folk scene with his unique blending of traditional squeezebox styles with his knowledge of contemporary dance music to create an infectious acoustic groove which provides the infectious rhythm of Spiers & Boden.
“Anyone who needs convincing that the current folk revival is becoming as intriguing, varied and experimental as it was back in the 1960s should check out the remarkable career of John Spiers and Jon Boden. In just a few years, they have established themselves as the finest instrumental duo on the traditional scene, and the contemporary equivalent of Martin Carthy and Dave Swarbrick….” The Guardian
In spring 2011 they embarked on a 10th anniversary UK tour across March-May including five shows in Ireland and a 10th birthday party at Shepherd’s Bush Empire on Weds 11th May. The tour was followed by the release of ‘The Works’, an album of re-recorded highlights from their career so far featuring special guest performances.