Jo Harman Headlines Chelsea Under the Bridge 21 January
In an increasing ‘music by numbers’ world how refreshing to see a line up of not one, not two, but three ‘best in class’ artists of rare credibility and sincerity when US Grammy Winner Mike Farris, UK Soul/Blues/Roots Diva Jo Harman share a double bill at Fulham’s prestigious Under The Bridge venue, for London Blues Festival, supported by upcoming Northern Irish blues/roots protégé, Dom Martin.
JOINT HEADLINERS JO HARMAN (UK) AND (EXTENDED) BAND/ MIKE FARRIS (USA)
Widely regarded as Europes most credible – and indeed, uncompromising, artists – Jo Harman has been described by the Daily Mirror as ‘UK’s best female blues/soul voice’. An artist who, according to Classic Rock, writes ‘lip bitingly beautiful songs’ whilst Blues Magazine aptly report ‘Harman’s music, not least as transmitted by that voice, simply mainline the human soul’. With an enviable CV main stage at some of the world’s best Festivals and venues, Harman many industry fans include Rag N Bone (‘one of our finest talents’), Huey Morgan (‘sometimes you hear a voice that leaves you speechless…I am!’) and Michael McDonald (‘hearing Jo sing is a spiritual experience‘). Indeed, McDonald offered to duet with Harman on her masterwork ‘People We Become’ album – no little kudos from a man whose previous female duet partners numbered Aretha, Joni, Carly, Patti and Chaka (surnames not required!). As roots bible ‘No Depression’ remarked ‘other critics have made comparisons with Joni Mitchell and Carole King – this is not hyperbole, there is something very special here’. A Jo Harman performance can often be less of a musical concert, more an emotional adventure.
Tennessee’s Mike Farris is another ‘one of a kind’ talent . A talent that was rewarded with a Grammy for his ‘Shine For All The People’ which was followed with the equally revered ‘Silver and Stone’ album of last year. Mixing gospel, rock, soul, blues and more, Farris is a true powerhouse performer of whom Rolling Stone declared ‘(his) supersized voice (is) filled with the electricity of Saturday night and the godly grace of Sunday mornings’. UK’s own respected elder and tastemaker Bob Harris advises “I truly believe that Mike Farris is one of the great artists of today. He sings the truth with a depth of feeling that warms my heart and touches my soul” whilstAmerican Songwriter Magazine confirm “There aren’t many current male singers who use their voices to soar, float and deliver material with the spiritual commitment of Mike Farris”. A reformed addict (sober now for several years) Farris has faced down his own demons and embraced his personal angels in equal measure and these experiences inform and underpin his uniquely sincere and heartfelt voice and musical message to inimitable effect.
SPECIAL GUEST DOM MARTIN (NORTHERN IRELAND)
Although a young man new to the scene, it would be wrong to think Dom Martin hasn’t paid his life and musical dues. Brought up in the often tough, but community driven, streets of Belfasts, Northern Ireland, Dom traded his craft for years locally without a (self confessed) clue how to break into the (international) music business and possibly with too much humility to try. ‘Discovered’ by current manager Fenton Parsons, Dom has made a fairly ‘meteoric’ rise in terms of todays industry, with his first ever EP release attracting BBC 6 music and BBC Radio 2 support – including a converted session with Cerys Matthews – and, quite rightly, he now has a number of international tours and Festivals in the book for 2020. His jaw droppingly – entirely natural’ sounding, and unforced/unschooled – skill on acoustic guitar, matched with an authentic ‘Belfast blues’ voice, brings to mind comparisons with many from John Martin to Rory Gallagher, with nods to many in-between, not least perhaps the likes of Van Morrison and Foy Vance. Dom really is one to watch and quite rightly specially selected by both Jo Harman and noted promoter Adrian Gibson to be the special guest opening act of this bill showcasing the very best of the international blues/roots/soul/rock/singer songwriter scene.
On the evening itself, Jo Harman will be playing a full set, with an extended band, plus the incredible US Grammy Winner Mike Farris will be joining her on stage for a few tunes, following his own solo performance (a tour de force in itself!). With the wonderful Dom Martin, flying in from Belfast especially, to open up proceedings this will be some night at a prestigious, award winning London venue! Something of a Festival, within a festival, indeed, a limited number of half price early bird tickets are now available at a truly bargain price £11 plus booking fees.