Johnny Campbell in Sheffield
Nether Edge Bowling Club, Sheffield
Wednesday 6th March 2024, £8.80
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Johnny Campbell is passionate about the songs and stories of northern England. Taking inspiration from traditional material, as well as penning new songs of his own, he explores what it means to be human today, as well as looking back at our history.
Campbells first album, From Hull & Halifax & Hell, took him even further north than you might expect, as he headed to the Faroe Islands to record it live on the island of Nolsoy. This was followed by three singles Hard Times of Old England, Winter Hill Trespass and A Right to Roam, the latter of which was chosen by Tradfolk as one of the best folk songs of 2022.
2024 sees Campbell releasing True North, an album of traditional northern folk songs recorded on their respective county summits. From Northumberland and Durham, to Lancashire and Merseyside, Campbell has travelled the length and breadth of the north of England to collect these recordings on or close to the summit of each spot. Each recording documents a moment in time, captured for posterity on a fell or desolate moor, with the album as a whole capturing a tapestry of the north. These recordings are not refined to perfection or studio-polished, but living and breathing songs, just as theyve been passed down through the generations.
Through these songs, Campbell explores the symbiotic connections between the land, the music, the stories and the history that has shaped northern identity from chartism and co-operatives, to the Labour movement. The landscapes of the north are inextricably linked with our social history. The hills and streams that powered the Industrial Revolution in turn played a key role in social hierarchy and even the transatlantic slave trade. The album is also the final part of a trilogy of releases that explore our connection (and disconnection) to the land around us.
Alongside his music-making, Campbells knowledge of radical histories, landscape and geography have earned him a freelance writing role with Britains most popular walking magazine, Country Walking, as well as praise from author Nick Hayes, a feature on BBC Radio 4 Open Country and an episode of the award-winning Folk on Foot podcast
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