News about new music and reimagining the songs we know
After a period of relatively extreme, if understandable, artistic inactivity, Jo Harman is starting to become productive again. So much so that she has a number of different projects in the works, which might be summarised as follows:-
1) THE JO WE KNOW
After a period of enforced inactivity (resulting from both lockdown and new motherhood) Jo has started to accept, albeit selectively, invitations to perform live once again. These have (and will continue to) involve a number of prestigious European shows, a recent first time trip to Africa where she performed her own show to 3k people at Dima Jazz, as well as carefully curated bespoke UK Festival and venue appearances, before a significant ‘double header’ UK (and one Netherlands show) tour with Grammy Winner Mike Farris this coming November. Full details of all upcoming shows can be found at www.joharman.com/tourdates
2) REIMAGINING THE SONGS WE KNOW
Proud of her back catalogue but not wanting to stand still artistically, Jo has also commissioned a series of string arrangements in order to record and perform, at some stage, some dates with a Cello quartet, with a piano/stripped back band. Jo herself performed in classical orchestras as a bassoon player in her youth and her musical tastes and wants have always extended way beyond the rock. soul, blues and roots community in which she is most commonly characterised. She has no particular problem with that label per se (she loves rocking out, and has a deep love of soul and gospel music, of course) but she is actually, at heart, a genre-less singer and songwriter very much, to my ear at least, in the classic traditions of the golden age (late 60’s to early 70’s) of music. Hearing her most well known songs performed with little more than a piano and a string quartet demonstrates the depth, musicality and (sometimes broken) beauty of her songwriting. This gives a new and unique listening experience and resonance to these familiar songs. Some of these new recordings are being mixed as we speak, some of the commissions are still in the works so I can’t tell you when these recordings and performances will see the light of day, but I can confirm they are coming. Jo has been committed to this project for some time now and her passion shows no sign of lessening, so watch this space.
3) A THIRD ALBUM (OF BRAND NEW SONGS) ALSO NOW SEEMS A REALISTIC POSSIBILITY
With the odd exception, it’s been the best part of six years since Jo has written any new music; hence the protracted wait for any sign of a third album to follow up the ‘People We Become’ release. Going silent after dropping such a commercially and critically successful record seemed strange but, ever the artist, it seems Jo will only write when she has something to say…some emotion to express. Teaming up again in part with her musical songwriting partner Mike Davies (aka Mayfield), there are now at least 6 important, album worthy, songs in the works. Keen to avoid repeating herself and certainly eskewing generic sounding fare – however commercially appealing that can be – her musical landscape has progressed and developed yet further; I expect the next record to be more of an opus, an epic if unpretentious affair, with a lineage perhaps to the like of ‘Amnesty’ but developed even further, musically? I was scepitical of new material being able to live up to past standards but, having heard the sketches and rough demos, I’m genuinely excited by what I’ve heard. As ever, it will take as long as it will take, but the good news is that, after a significant void, new material – and great new material at that – is very definitely in the works.
4) A BOX SET PACKAGE CELEBRATES JO’S DEBUT ALBUM ON IT’S 10TH ANNIVERSARY
As previously announced, we are producing a ‘box set’ of Jo’s debut ‘Dirt On My Tongue’ release on its 10 year anniversary (due next year). The project has been overseen by noted rock artist/designer Mark Wilkinson who has worked with everyone – from Iron Maiden and Judas Priest to Kylie, Led Zep, Beatles and Leonard Cohen projects, to name but a few – so we knew the project would be in safe hands, not least it would be beautifully designed and artworked. The package contains a 52 page book about the making of the album, a special T shirt, some memorabilia and apart from the original recording, some additional CDs of demos, live versions and more, which really go well beneath the skin of how the record came to be made and how the songs evolved. The whole package is not cheap – ranging from around £70 to over £100 depending on edition/postage etc – but the ‘vinyl’ edition has already sold out. Some non vinyl editions are still available from Jo’s website. Although not officially out until 2023 we hope to have the pre-ordered sets to be available in time for Jo’s aforementioned November 2022 tour.
5) JO PAYS TRIBUTE TO JONI AS PART OF A NEW MULTI ARTIST PROJECT BY REDTENBACHER’S FUNKESTRA
Some of you may remember, or even own!, a wonderful collaboration between (Stefan) Redtenbacher’s Funkestra and Jo of the Joni Mitchell classic ‘A Case Of You’. It inspired us (not least Stefan) to explore some further collaborations of Joni material with a number of other elite singers (watch this space!). An album – or even albums – may well emerge but either way a very special live event is planned at Masterlink Studios on Friday 28th October Performing with the Funkestra band that night will be 3 featured singers – Jo, Mike Mayfield and Mim Grey (Mim has worked with Paul McCartney to Tom Jones, to name but two). The event will be professionally audio and video recorded for live stream but there is also an opportunity for a limited live audience to attend. Tickets for this exclusive event have yet to go on sale but if you are attracted enough to register an interest on a ‘first refusal basis. please contact me on [email protected] and we can send you further information nearer the time. I envisage tickets to be around £25 for this exclusive event at the Masterlink Studios in the beautiful Surrey countryside of Send, near the Woking/Guildford area. Apart from the full length concert itself – and witnessing the soundcheck and general ‘behind the scenes’ elements to these things – they’ll be a chance to meet, greet, hang and share a drink or two with the musicians and singers involved, no doubt! Anyway, as I say, if you are interested in being part of the night, hit me up at [email protected]. It should be a very unique and memorable evening.
Talking of collaborations with Funkestra, we’ve just released a radio edit of ‘Lovin’ Arms’ – do check it out on Spotify or your other digital platforms and give it a like and a share, it all helps! Thank you!