Jon Boden has become the stand out performer of his generation of traditional folk artists, but one whose repertoire extends far beyond the boundaries of the genre.
Most recognisably he was the lead singer (and one of the principal arrangers) of the multi-award winning Bellowhead, one of the most exciting live acts of recent years. Over 12 years Bellowhead achieved a level of critical and commercial success unmatched by any other band working in English traditional music in the last three decades. In 2015 Jon announced that he had decided to leave the band and on May 1st 2016 Bellowhead played their final gig.
Since 2009 he has also performed with his own band The Remnant Kings, performing both traditional folk music and Jon’s own work featured on his second solo album Songs from the Floodplain – a bleak but hopeful view of a post-apocalyptic world, a subject revisited on Afterglow (2017), his first new album after leaving Bellowhead. The Remnant Kings re-formed in July 2017 in an expanded 10 piece line-up to debut Afterglow at Cambridge Folk Festival. In 2019 Jon recorded and released the album Rose In June with that same line up, featuring a mix of traditional and newly written songs and tunes.
The links between a speculative regressed future and folk music was something further explored in BBC Radio 3’s The Essay. In addition, within the traditional folk scene, he has played in a duo with fellow Bellowhead member John Spiers for over a decade.
Throughout Jon’s folk music there is a commitment to social singing and he’s actively promoted this via his involvement in Royal Traditions and Soundpost, two Sheffield based organisations. In addition from 24th June (Midsummer’s Day) 2010 for one year, he undertook an ambitious project called A Folk Song A Day where he released a song every day, the tracks later compiled into monthly albums.
Outside of folk he has composed music for both theatre and film, most notably two Royal Shakespeare productions at Stratford: Merchant of Venice (2008) and A Winter’s Tale (2012). In 2013 he was commissioned to compose a version of Little Musgrave to be performed alongside Benjamin Britten’s work of the same name at Aldeburgh. In addition he performed the Juliet Letters with the Sacconi Quartet at the Bristol Old Vic. He also appears in Richard Curtis’s film About Time and has contributed music to the score. Autumn 2013 also saw the debut of a new BBC2 comedy series Count Arthur Strong for which Jon composed and performed the signature music.