Jonathan Day is currently touring, pre-viewing his new album Atlantic Drifter, to be released by Proper in September this year. Many of you may recall his exceptional first album Carved in Bone, a distillation of years spent wandering the hills and woods of Shropshire. Whilst it won our praises we were certainly not alone: “Just wonderful” – BBC, “Visionary” – fRoots magazine, “Great, poetic, elemental” – Q magazine.
This reception led to Jonathan touring internationally – to the US, Finland, Greece, Thailand, Hong Kong and recently for the first time to China. The irony of a reclusive man ending up so much on the road has led to a new album project Atlantic Drifter which Jonathan has recorded on tour – trying to capture genius loci, the ‘spirit of the place’. Most of the tracks are caught through valve desks onto two inch tape. Bob Harris called the project “stunning” and Catherine van Ruhland wrote “Long nights with dancers, poets and painters and long journeys are here held in song. His work takes its heart from time, silence and the mad, mundane and quietly beautiful vision of those who share the road”.
Unusually the project started with the release of a book Postcards from the Road. Jonathan has always been interested in the energy between music, writing and images so the book is made of stories and photographs from the American leg of his Carved in Bone tour (published by University of Chicago Press). New York’s ARTnews magazine called it “Seductive, a complex and poetic mixing of text and image in search of a certain American quality – one of this summer’s best photo books” and iQ magazine wrote “This is a captivating and beautiful book which reminds us how fascinating it can be to view the world from an outsider’s perspective”.
Jonathan is currently in the middle of a 16 date album preview tour. Shows so far have included the Jockey Club Creative Arts Centre in Hong Kong, combining music, images and the printed word, which the South China Morning Post called “Expansive, intelligent and eloquent”. Our Song of the day, which is taken from his new album, is Sea Full of BIrds
Last weekend saw him in a carved wooden hall in a forest on a Welsh mountainisde – a place like Bjorn’s house at the feet of the Misty Mountains, where the clear, starred night and the dark mountainshapes crept in amongst the trees and settled quietly in the shadows. Watching Venus ascending in the still evening, the people who built the locally sourced, low impact building talked of the threat of destruction held over it – and their feature on Channel 4’s “Doomed Designs” programme.
You can catch him on the following dates:
Atlantic Drifter Tour
04/06 – Shrewsbury Poetry (Milk Street, 8:00pm)
13/06 – Wedgestock (Ellerdine, mainstage,)
18/07 – Festival at the Edge (Stokes’ Barn, music mainstage, Silver Marquee)
15/08 – Shrewsbury Flower Show (Quarry Park)
22/08 – Poetry Café (Rednal)
09/09 – Bird Time Festival (Hong Kong)
10/10 – Carlybury Festival (Hereford)
24/10 – Big Poetry Festival (Rednal)