On 24th June 2010 – Midsummer’s Day – acclaimed singer, Jon Boden, launched an ambitious new project – A Folk Song A Day. Every day for one year Jon is posting a traditional song online to promote the art of ‘social’ (or communal) singing. Now largely confined to football grounds and places of worship, social singing was once the domain of public houses throughout the land. Ending with 12 digital albums (one released each month), containing a total of 365 songs, Jon Boden will also be providing a unique, traditional folk song resource for those looking for inspiration; social singing made possible by contemporary technology.

Aside from the two solo albums mentioned below Jon has released several highly acclaimed albums with fast-rising big band Bellowhead (the latest of which is due to be released later this year) as well as Vagabond with the equally feted traditional duo, Spiers & Boden (2008). He has also recorded and performed with Eliza Carthy on one of her Mercury Prize nominated albums.

Jon Boden was born in Chicago in 1977, grew up in Winchester, graduated in Mediaeval Studies from Durham University and since becoming a parent, has settled in the South Yorkshire dales.

Jon has toured internationally with Bellowhead, performed on Later with Jools Holland (alongside new fans, the Red Hot Chilli Peppers) and also made two televised appearances at the BBC 2008 Proms. Bellowhead were recently appointed Band in Residence at London’s South Bank Centre, following in the footsteps of St Etienne.

Additionally, Jon has composed several theatre scores, most recently for ‘The Merchant of Venice’ at the RSC’s Statford-upon-Avon Theatre as well as for ‘Hamlet’ at The Globe (2008).

For PR enquiries contact glassceilingpr(at)btconnect(dot)com

Previous Releases from Jon Boden.
Jon Boden - Songs From The Flood Plain

Jon Boden
Songs From The Flood Plain

Jon Boden - Painted Lady

Jon Boden
Painted Lady
10th Anniversary Re-issue (including bonus tracks)


48 Responses to “About”

  1. Joe Heap says:

    What an amazing idea and a great way to deliver so many songs. Singers will be at the ready to pick up some new material I am sure. Good stuff. Joe

  2. Marc Block says:

    Can’t wait, what a great project. Marc x

  3. Shadric says:

    Love this idea. I do something like this with drawings: http://www.shadrictoop-drawingblog.co.uk/
    I’ve kept it up since September 2009, and intend to keep on going (but drawings can take 3 hours or 10 seconds). I admire your commitment. Good luck.

  4. Kat says:

    LOVING THIS!!! would be singers, grab a song n sing it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Thank you Jon!

  5. Nic Lewis says:

    This is a fine and wonderful contribution. Jon is showing the true traditional of sharing music and the stories they convey, and making them free shows further allegiance to the sharing tradition, proving there is no money grabbing avaricious person or music company involved.

    This comes as an extra treat for me, I usually attend 4 or 5 folk festivals each summer but alas this year the crunch has meant I have not been able to. So thank you, Jon, for giving me a way to hear good folk at home. I will definitely buy the albums when they are out as I think this effort should be rewarded.

    I will be spreading the word about this great project.


  6. Willow Rose says:


    Been researching old hampshire folk songs to sing…..so I love this!!!

    Well Done

  7. Val Mckenzie says:

    Absolutely brilliant idea! Thank you so much! Hope it works! We will see what we can do locally! – Love your music anyway, but this is way outside the box! Best wishes, Val McKenzie xx

  8. Sarah West says:

    Hi Jon,

    I’m loving this project, and i’m happy to report that so far, (even though it’s not that far) I know all the songs! I’m looking forward to hearing all the ones i don’t know, i’m always looking to learn new stuff, and its always a joy to hear you singing new things. Best of luck with the rest of the year!!

    See you soon, Best Wishes

    Sarah. xxx

  9. Mike Wild says:

    Nice idea and it should keep the tonsils fit! I had some reservations about a standardisation of songs, if people just come here for them but there are thousands of CDs and LPs to lift from. I hope it encourages younger singers to go to the sources so the info is great.

    I think you have found your own distinctive voice.

  10. Brian Lewis says:

    Keep innovating John. Bellowhead pushing the boundaries and now this great idea. Wonderful. No fears about standardisation. Folk will always put their own take on both tunes and lyrics whilst singing these songs and that,s what live performance of folk music is about in part.

    love your music

  11. Peter Little says:

    What a fantastic journey for Jon to embark on, one I am listening to with great enthusiasm. Though not a follower of ‘past lives’ I nevertheless feel a great attraction to the idea of being either the village blacksmith or the village carpenter who after a days work would sing at the local hostelry. Not for any reward, save that of of the sheer joy of singing and unknowingly keeping the tradition and history of folk singing (though I don’t suppose he would have called it that) alive.

  12. Toby Jeffries says:

    Marvellous idea – awaiting his take on ‘Two Sisters’ as I already have many versions of that already and am interested which way Jon takes it!

    Any plans for a Facebook page for this to help spread the word? Shall I set one up?


  13. Peter Coombes says:

    I’m gobsmacked. What a gem, and discovered by happy accident. This project is imbued not only with generosity of spirit and the spirit of communalism, but has such great songs delivered with that Boden touch. Brilliant. I’m emailing all my friends and my children, too, telling them to plug in. Thank you.

  14. Keith Slater says:

    Great idea and really enjoying these but… as at 22/07 the latest daily songs aren’t available on ITunes – help

  15. Suzannah Murphy says:

    Fantastic idea, I look forward to them every day!
    The only way you could improve is maybe by also posting the song chords? Lyrics aren’t a problem as you can generally find them/similar ones online, but chords are harder to come by.

  16. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by englishfolkfan, abla1. abla1 said: A Folk Song a Day, from Jon Boden. Yes thee J Boden, from Bellowhead! About http://bit.ly/bAlmAW via @AddToAny […]

  17. Stuart says:

    With all my heart, thankyou.

    God bless you Jon

  18. BoB in France says:

    Magnifique. Merci Bien.

  19. pete johnson says:

    Maybe a bit off topic I’m afraid but I can’t keep it zipped any longer. The position of the link dropdown right below the play button on every song is a great example of poor web composition.
    I, and, I expect, everyone else tends to approach the play button from below and, despite having used the site many times, I keep inadvertantly launching the dropdown RIGHT IN FRONT OF THE PLAY BUTTON before I can press play. Can we have it moved to the right or, preferably, out of the way completely?


  20. admin says:

    Pete, Simon here and I have the same problem, although I’ve just become so used to it, it doesn’t bother me, but… It may be a template thing and an easy fix. Ben can you have a look please?

  21. elfpix says:

    But where are the earlier ones? They’re not on the iTunes page. Elaine just tipped us off to this project and I want them all!!!

  22. John Maher says:

    An amazing project! Thanks Jon. All the podcasts appear on my iTunes, and are now on my iPod, so I’m not sure what the problem is for elfpix.

  23. elfpix says:

    Thanks. I’m doing something similar with a photography every day of the seaside where I live. They can be found on my Facebook page – Emily L. Ferguson.

  24. Russ says:

    Grabs guitar…twang. Learns a verse….warble. Not quite got that one. Try another. Oh haven’t heard that since nineteenseventywhen…. What? Keep it down? You’re trying to sleep? But there’s this fantastic Podcast by Jon Boden. It’s great. He’s posting a song every day. This is a tremendous project. This is..what?…hmmm? OK I’ll put the guitar away..I’ll use the headphones..yes I know I have work in the..Oh your gone…

  25. So if Jon’s doing the singing, but always talked about in the third person… who’s doing the writing? Is it Jon’s alter ego?

  26. Colin Jackson says:

    Hi Jon, please consider adding “The Bonny Bunch Of Roses-O” to your to-do list, ta 🙂

  27. Sara says:

    There’s a great folky tooon they play in the ‘sewers’ section of Manchester museum of Science and Industry (MOSI), about some floods way back when. I’m sure if you contacted them maybe they could send you the words etc…or take atrip down ‘the sewers’ and have a listen, it’s a great museum too!

  28. Jules says:

    Jon, what a terrific idea, just stumbled upon your site. We have just recorded a Cobbled version of A Sussex Carol, which we’d love you have a listen to if you get time.

    just click here for a free download to whizz into your computer…

    Merry Christmas, love Keston Cobblers’ Club

    ps. saw bellowhead at Shepherds bush and you lot blew us away!!! (thats why my hair looks so odd!)

  29. Gillian says:

    Such an amazing idea, I’m particularly enjoying the Christmas songs. Please consider these two tunes, firstly Fiddler’s Green. My parents recorded this onto a cassette tape when I was younger from a vinyl of the Yetties sea shanties and I used to rewind it over and over again. The other would be The Life of a fool, which I first heard sung by Phil Beer on a Morris On CD, I’d love to hear your take on it.
    Thank you so much for sharing all this music, I look forward to learning lots of new songs that will become my new favourites.

  30. Paul Slade says:

    This is a great project, Jon, and one which will build into a very valuable database of song.

    If you should need some suggestions, you’ll find a selection of old Victorian gallows ballads (and the stories behind them) here: http://www.planetslade.com/broadside-ballads-songs.html

  31. Katherine says:

    Hello Jon

    I’ve been following this from the beginning, it’s great! Only thing is though, I read using Google Reader and since January 8th the player hasn’t been showing on the RSS feed’s entries which is a shame. I wondered if you knew and if not, here is me telling you! I hope it can be fixed.



  32. John Wetherell says:

    Dear Jon

    I found this site a few months ago and have returned to it every now and again to listen. Today the whaling song Ballina Whalers has moved me more than I can possibly say. Mostly your delivery – but it fits perfectly with the material and overall effect is devastating emotionally on every level. I just love it! And I don’t even feel guilty, even though I am with you in terms of distaste for whaling and being on the side of the whale. I am now absolutely determined to hear Bellowhead. I have this playing as I am writing and I am welling up.

  33. muzza(s.e.England) says:

    @John Wetherell……………Hi John ………..nobody (exept old pedants like me)ever looks here for comments…………..I am sure Jon would have appreciated your comments on the Ballina Whalers page..see circle +comments at top RH corner of BW page

  34. Keith Rowntree says:

    Hi John,
    Just want to say thanks for some great music. Its good to hear such a diverse range of tunes. As a kiwi I was really pleased to hear so many great colonial songs including ‘Otago’ -Thanks for all this. It’s a legacy archive we can all dip into for ages.
    Just wanted to add that you are obviously making an impression on folkies across the world as Queensland folkie John Thompson of ‘Cloudstreet’ has started his own project focusing on OZ songs. Maybe others will also be inspired to document their own heritage.
    Thanks again

  35. Priscilla Jensen says:

    I’ve just now found you; how apposite that it’s “Oor Hamlet” a family favorite! John Roberts and Tony Barrand have done a (moderately) “Englished” version that is accessible to those who might need a gateway to Glaswegian (most of the world!) YouTube has a number of McNaughton bits, which are fun. Now if I ever finish my version of the Scottish play (to the same tune) I’ll let you know! Thanks so much for the site, what fun!

  36. Rich says:

    do you think you could do a version of secord’s warning? i think you could make quite a good job of it

  37. Shane says:

    Fantastic work! Much appreciated and you’re an inspiration. Proof that hard work, discipline and love of what you do REALLY makes a difference. Bravo!

  38. Ed says:

    Hello there,

    This is a crazy longshot but I’m trying to track down a couple of albums that my dad, Martyn Briggs, sung on with his band ‘The Singing Tradition’ back in the 70s. The albums I’m trying to find are ‘The Painful Plough’ and ‘Room For Company’ on topic records. I just don’t know where to find a copy of these albums but I’d really like to find them so I can beam with pride at my Dad’s band. He’s too modest about it to help me find them. Any leads would be much appreciated. Cheers, Ed.

  39. Kelly Mollins says:

    Hi Ed,
    Was going through my vinyl collection and looking up albums on the internet and came across you message dated February 21, 2012. I have the “Room For Company” album. The vinyl is in fantastic shape, doesn’t even look like it’s ever been played. The dust jacket has separated at one of the glued seam, but otherwise is in good shape. The copy I have must have been distributed in schools because included is a two page “Teachers notes” booklet. I don’t normally sell my albums online or anywhere else. Most of them I can’t part with. However, if you haven’t yet found a copy, I could part with mine. You can email me at gdmollins@nf.sympatico.ca

    Kelly Mollins
    P.S. I am assuming that you are in England. I am in Newfoundland, Canada. Hopefully, you’ve found a not so geographically challenged copy! If not, let me know. I am sure we can work something out.

  40. I am an Indian folk scholar. I have completed the Ph.D degree on folkculture from the Jadavpur University. Now I am working my nresearch on the comparative religious studies from the Murshidabad district of West Bengal inIndia. So I want to make a communication with your society.

  41. Jeremy Main says:

    With the project coming to an end with a big gig at Cecil Sharp House on 23rd June, the ball passes to Cecil Sharp House itself, who are launching The Full English, the digitisation of their entire archives with a do on the 20th, 1730-1800. And for those of you who can’t wait, C#H has collaborated with Penguin Books on The New Penguin Book of English Folk Songs, being launched on 12th June 1900 at C#H.

  42. […] Bellowhead’s version – Jon Boden sings lead vocals and has completed his project A Folk Song a Day where he posted a traditional folk song every day for a year with the recordings available in 12 […]

  43. barbara callero says:

    I see that you are interested in W. C. Robey. I have come upon a book of hand written songs by him. I don’t believe any of these songs were published. They are written in his own beautiful script. This book is very old, and absolutely authentic. The first entry is “Dandy Colored Coon”. There are many more songs. Please contact me if you would like to exchange information. I got this book of songs from a relative of Will Rossiter.

  44. Andrew Edgington says:

    i too am looking for the vinyl album ‘the Painful Plough’ produced in early 70s. Performers on it include Roy Palmer who compiled the collection in a fantastic book of the same name.

  45. Tom says:


    a few years back, I used to get regular emails from you. Can I get those again?



  46. Nick says:

    I am enjoying the December collection that I downloaded but would be interested in a bit more info about collaborators on the various tracks.

  47. Thank you I Have learnt a lot

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