Spiers & Boden play Brighton and Portsmouth with new album out

Spiers & Boden take in Brighton and Portsmouth as they launch their comeback tour – seven years after they last toured as a duo and 13 years after they last recorded an album together.

Spiers & Boden by Elly Lucas
Spiers & Boden by Elly Lucas

John Spiers and Jon Boden are back with a brand-new 13-track album Fallow Ground plus a 23-date UK tour including Tuesday, October 5 at Brighton’s Komedia (01273 647100).

They are also playing The Wedgewood Rooms, Portsmouth on Wednesday, October 6.

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Spiers & Boden first rocketed onto the music scene in 2001, quickly winning a clutch of BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards and went on to become one of the best loved duos on the English folk scene and beyond. They continued until 2014 until their creation, the folk juggernaut Bellow-head, got in the way.

As John Spiers says: “So it has been seven years, but it has been considerably longer than that since we last recorded new material together. It wasn’t a difficult decision to start again, really. When we knocked it on the head, there was always the plan to come back again. The reason we stopped doing it was entirely down to the timing, to time with families, to Bellowhead. There are always pressures when you are working with different bands. I had the two things and Jon had the two things plus solo projects. Between us, the kids were primary-school age and it was a fairly sensible decision to let something go.

“But then Jon gave me a ring about two years ago and said ‘What do you reckon? Is it about time?’ The album (came out) on September 17. We finally got around to being able to be in the studio in May this year. We were hoping we were going to be able to do it a lot earlier than that, but we couldn’t get together. We did quite a lot of prep work on emails, and it was good preliminary stuff to do, but obviously that could never replace doing proper rehearsals. It doesn’t work in the same way, but it is a good way of just knocking ideas about. But then we found time to get together and we were able to work through the things we had discussed. The lion’s share of that was in April, and it has been great.

“I really like the new material that we have come up with, which is obviously the only way I have got of judging it! And the recording process was so easy. We have played together for so long. We first played together in 1999 and we worked together until 2016. He knows where I am going and I know where he is going, and the big rehearsals we had before we recorded were really productive.

“Obviously it is not the same. We were slightly different people when we last recorded together in 2008 so obviously it doesn’t sound the same. We always felt a bit of pressure to impress when arranging things, and I think we have learnt since then that it is not always helpful to the music. If you listen back to our earliest music, we were trying to prove ourselves a bit too much in places. I don’t think we do that now. We are more sitting back and letting the music do what it needs to do. That’s not to say that there are no arrangements on the album. There are plenty. But there are tracks where we have left room for the tune to breathe.”