‘Anna is a Dancer’ by Harbottle & Jonas – music deserving of a long hard listen

(May 06, 2017)

I’m not a gambling man, if I were I would stake money on a bright future for Harbottle & Jonas. Possibly, some of the folk world hasn’t come across this duo, their album ‘Anna is a Dancer’ is my introduction, but once again I’ll take a bet they’re heading for wider recognition and quickly too.

Their music in many ways follows a classic folk touch with self-penned story-songs about places, Anna is a Dancer album coverpeople and experiences, then there’s a certain distinction that sets their sound apart. From crafting tunes around the words of Wilfrid Gibson, Rudyard Kipling and Cicely Fox Smith to writing their own songs with haunting melodies, Harbottle & Jonas are a duo delivering music deserving of a long hard listen. And the more you listen, the more the calibre of writing and performing becomes obvious, as does that distinctive style.

‘Northumberland’ combines the words of Hexham’s famous son Wilfrid Gibson with stirring music and memorable voices, they follow with a boisterous interpretation of Kipling’s ‘My Boy Jack’ with music from David Harbottle, who provides both words and music for ‘Song For Jonas’. The mood changes with ‘When The Devil Holds’ a slightly darker piece from Freya Jonas, the pace picks up once more with ‘North Sea Ground’ as Harbottle adds a fine tune to the nautical poetry of Cicely Fox Smith, while the title track ‘Anna is a Dancer’ another Jonas composition, is as riveting as it is intensely personal.

Playing on ‘Anna is a Dancer’ are David Harbottle (vocals, acoustic/ electric / bas guitars, drums, banjo) Freya Jonas (vocals, concertina, piano) with Jude Wright (cello, mandolin) Mark Nesbitt (violin) Andy Tyner (trumpet) Kris Lannen (vocals) and Ross Rotheroe-Bourge (drums - tracks 4 & 8)


Review: Tim Carroll

Click here to return to the Reviews page