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John Spiers with EFFRA
August 7, 2016 @ 5:00 pm
John Spiers is a melodeon and concertina player with a passion for traditional music, particularly that of the Thames Valley and the Vale of the White Horse where he grew up. Mainly self-taught and influenced by both local musicians and leading players in the folk world, he has developed a very exciting and danceable style on his instruments which retains the raw rhythm of the morris while developing tunes in exciting and musical ways. John is also a composer and many of his tunes have been adopted and played in music sessions up and down the country, something which he is very proud of!
After leaving university John Spiers started busking in Oxford as a way to make some money while he was deciding on a career. Local Folk sessions became an irresistible habit and it was at one of these sessions that John first met up with Jon Boden. The pair quickly formed an intuitive partnership and their first album – ‘Through & Through’ was released in 2001 to very warm reviews in the folk press. From 2001-2004 the duo’s popularity rose from folk clubs to festival crowd-pleasers.
In 2002 John was asked to record on Eliza Carthy’s Mercury nominated album, ‘Anglicana’ and soon afterwards became a full time member of Eliza’s band. Working with Eliza led to touring all over Europe and Australia as well as high-profile TV work.
In 2004 the duo with Jon Boden was expanded for a project that became known as Bellowhead. This 11 piece folk big-band has risen to the top of the folk world and crossed over into the realms of mainstream music. In 2007 Bellowhead became Artists in Residence at London’s Southbank Centre working collaboratively on several performances including The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner and also hosting several themed one-off concerts and two infamous New Years Eve parties at the Royal Festival Hall. On the band’s 10th anniversary they sold out the Royal Albert Hall for a celebratory concert. They also played in Hyde Park for BBC Radio 2’s Festival in a Day alongside ELO, Blondie, Paloma Faith, Billy Ocean and Chrissie Hynde.
Up until 2014, Spiers and Boden also continued to tour successfully and have produced 6 studio albums.
Mixing infectious dance tunes with incredibly sensitive and moving slow airs, John’s solo shows are a mixture of traditional material and his own compositions interspersed with an easy-going, humorous and informative banter.
£13 (advance) / £15 (door)