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Bellowhead – Revival

Bellowhead – Revival

Britain’s most successful traditional folk act Bellowhead are 10 years old this year. Not only did they mark their birthday with two of their biggest sold out shows to date – in Manchester’s Bridgewater Hall on 19th April and London’s Royal Albert Hall on 20th April – they also announced from the stage at the Royal Albert Hall that they are releasing a brand new album in June and signing to legendary label Island Records.

‘After a decade together, we’re ready for some overnight success’ said band member Paul Sartin. ‘The chance to sign to Island is really exciting and we’ve worked hard to make our best record yet’.

New album ‘Revival’ features Bellowhead’s powerful and eclectic take on traditional English folksong. Unusually for them, there is also a cover, ‘Bright Lights’ by Richard & Linda Thompson that was itself released on Island in 1974. ‘I’d done half an arrangement anyway, said vocalist Jon Boden, ‘Then we’re sitting in the Island boardroom and there is a reproduction of the Bright Lights single cover on the wall and it just felt like the perfect choice’.

The release is the latest step in an ever burgeoning career that, in view of then being an 11 piece seemed destined to have a short lifespan. Early success with their first album ‘Burlesque’ included slots on Later and widespread critical acclaim. Third album ‘Hedonism’ saw them link up with acclaimed producer John Leckie and was recorded at Abbey Road, the album going on to be the best selling independently released trad folk album of all time. Leckie was also at the controls for the last album ‘Broadside’ which collected Radio 2 album of the year at the Folk Awards in 2013.

Bellowhead are widely praised for their stunning live shows and often acknowledged as one of the best live acts the UK has produced in recent years, wowing audiences in venues across the UK, Europe and North America and becoming a key fixture on the festival scene. In the process they’ve won BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards Best Live Act an amazing 5 times, as well as Best Group twice. They’ve also been Artists in Residence at London’s South Bank Centre for 5 years, hosted a Christmas special for BBCTV, launched their own real ale and, at the request of the producers, recorded new versions of the theme tunes for The Archers and The Simpsons.