JJ’s End of Year Song – The Ties That Bind

JJ says: “I started this song during lockdown when enduring friendship seemed a distant hope and finished it this year when it has seemed more important than ever.”

Click on the image below to listen to the studio recording of the song:

Benji Kirkpatrick accompanying JJ when they debuted the song at the end of the Rising Road set at Shrewsbury Folk Festival 2022.
Photo by Kerstin Maier

Click on the image above to watch the full Rising Road set at the Shrewsbury Folk Festival 2022 – Ray Cooper, Dil Davies, Benji Kirkpatrick, Al Scott, John Jones, Tim Cotterell, Lindsey Oliver and Boff Whalley.

My Rising Road set at the Shrewsbury Folk Festival

Time now to focus on the Shrewsbury Folk Festival and what promises to be one of the highlights of my year. I am bringing together an amazing gathering of musicians to help celebrate my 10 years of walking and gigging through this country; a gathering that will be as poignant as it will be uplifting without the wonderful voice of Rowan Godel. 

I am so pleased to have Ray Cooper ( Chopper) with me, for 22 years the wonderful cello and bass player who shared the musical journey of Oysterband and also Dil Davies, whose drumming lifted Oysterband albums Ragged Kingdom and Diamonds On The Water to a new level. 
Welcome back chaps. 

They were both part of of the original Reluctant Ramblers who along with Al Scott and Tim Cotterell took the first faltering steps into the unknown as we set out from the Welsh Border to walk across England to the Big Session.

Add to that the drive and creativity of Benji Kirkpatrick, the wonderful stand-up bass and singing of Lindsey Oliver and the songs, stories and humour of Boff Whalley. 

I am privileged to have everyone with me. Expect a new song from me and a song started by Rowan and finished by Boff with a wonderful arrangement. You can also expect a very special atmosphere in the Bellstone Tent, Saturday afternoon, Shrewsbury. 

I hope you can join us. JJ

Walking from the Uffington White Horse

JJ writes “We are just above the Uffington White Horse and what better song to sing than The Wanderer and it’s chalk white horses. We are heading out on the Ridgeway with Rowan on our minds.”

John Jones sings the opening to The Wanderer with Benji Kirkpatrick and Nick Marcus

Sixteen walkers then set off to walk the sixteen miles to the Red Lion pub in Blewbury.

Tribute concert and two walks on the Ridgeway for Rowan

JJ writes:

“A reminder also that in just 2 weeks time members of Oysterband and the Reluctant Ramblers, along with other performers and friends of Rowan, will be paying tribute in song at the Nettlebed Folk Club, Rowan’s favourite music haunt, in a celebration of her life and music. 

Some of us will be walking in tribute as well, along the Ridgeway on the Sunday then on the Monday into Nettlebed. Join us at any time.” 

The gig at the Nettlebed Folk Club is on Monday 6th June starting at 8pm. See the folk club website for details: www.nettlebedfolkclub.co.uk

Full details are here: www.jj-rr.org/walks-in-2022 

The Sunday walk starts at the Uffington White Horse and finishes at the Red Lion in Blewbury for a drink and a meal. If you would like to eat with us then please see the walks page and order your main course in advance via email to info@jj-rr.org.

Shrewsbury Folk Festival 2022

JJ writes:

” I am really pleased to be performing at the Shrewsbury Folk Festival this year, bringing a show I am calling Rising Road, reflecting 10 years and 1,000 miles of rambling and singing across this beautiful country and featuring some of the wonderful musicians who shared the journey with me. It will be great to share the stage again with ex-Oysterband members Ray Cooper [Chopper] and Dil Davies who, with Al Scott and Boff Whalley, were the original Ramblers that set off to walk across England from the Welsh Border. Add to that the musicianship, voice and energy of Benji Kirkpatrick, the stand-up bass of Lindsey Oliver and the sublime fiddle of Tim Cotterell and you have a great Travelling Roadshow. We will have fun. 

Sadly , the one performer who will not be with us is Rowan Godel whose untimely death this year robbed us and the wider folk world of a golden voice and gorgeous personality. She will be with us as we sing.

My big thanks to Sandra and the team for giving me the opportunity to put this on. I will feature a new song for the occasion. JJ ”

JJ writes …

“Following the devastating loss of Rowan, out of the emptiness that followed an idea gradually  emerged to celebrate her life with a gig at Nettlebed Folk Club, where she performed regularly. This will be on the 6th June, 2 days after her birthday.
Inevitably I thought we should walk as well so the day before we will walk the Ridgeway, scene of some glorious Ramblers walks early on, and then walk into Nettlebed on the day itself. 
Having sung of those ‘chalk-white horses’ in the song The Wanderer so many times with Rowan I thought it right to start at the most iconic one- the Uffington White Horse. 
You are welcome to join us at any point. “

Click here for details of these walks

Two walks and a gig for Rowan

On Monday 6th June, the Nettlebed Folk Club are hosting a tribute concert for Rowan Godel. This concert will feature groups that Rowan sang with: John Jones, Ian Telfer, Alan Prosser & Al Scott from Oysterband, The Ladies of Nettlebed (Charlie Dore, Jackie Oates & Megan Henwood) and John Jones and the Reluctant Ramblers (including Benji Kirkpatrick, Al Scott, Tim Cotterell, Lindsey Oliver and Boff). Benji will be donating the proceeds from this show to a charity that Rowan would have liked to support. 

See the Nettlebed Folk Club website for details of this concert and to purchase tickets.

Alongside the gig, John and Colin will be walking on Sunday 5th June from the Uffington White Horse, starting at 11am, eastwards along the Ridgeway then descending to finish for a well-earned drink at the Red Lion pub in Blewbury; then on Monday 6th June, they will walk from Goring to Nettlebed for the tribute concert in the evening. Anyone is welcome to join them. Please make your own arrangements.

Visit the the walks page for further details. See here for pictures of the route of these walks.

Live link for Rowan’s funeral

Rowan’s funeral will take place on Wednesday 16th February 2022 at 13.00 UK time. You may watch it live by using this link: watch.obitus.com/zvM6nu then enter the username boso8449 and password 432545. The live broadcast will start five minutes before the service. You may check the link by logging in and choosing the test broadcast.

If you are unable to watch the service live, it will be available to watch on demand after Friday 18th February.

RIP Rowan Godel

“Dear Friends of Rowan

It is with great sadness that we must tell you of the death of our beloved, beautiful and talented daughter, sister, niece, aunt, and your dear friend.

She slipped away peacefully, on 7th February 2022, surrounded by the love of her family, and knowing of your love and friendship in her life.

Margaret, David, and Tiernan”

JJ writes:

“When you sing in harmony as closely as Rowan and I did, you have to have a special relationship and with Rowan that was easy. She was a beautiful singer and a beautiful person to have around and to be around. In recent years we shared that special bond of walking together in all weathers and Rowan’s own songs became an integral part of the Ramblers story, as her own career blossomed. 
She was a joy to be with and a very very special person. 
My heart goes out to Benji who has been a model of silent and supportive restraint this past year. This is heart-breaking for all of us. 
We had fun with this classic old English folk song on every Ramblers gig.”

Click to hear Searching For Lambs followed by Street Of Dreams (the first song Rowan recorded with Oysterband) and then Spirit Of Dust.

My Walk Of Life

Britain’s walking charity, The Ramblers, asked John to lead their Great Welsh Walk in 2020. Unfortunately, this had to be cancelled due to the Covid pandemic. However, John was interviewed for the My Walk Of Life section of their Walk magazine and this was published in the autumn 2020 edition

By kind permission of the editor, this interview may now be read online by clicking on the image: