“SONG FOR EWE” is the feature where artists & music people beloved by VELVET SHEEP choose an obscure song they’ve been listening to that day. For the first one of the new decade (and incidentally “song for ewe” #400), and to mark the occasion of a new London gig next week – Friday 17th January at the Water Rats, it’s the return of the mercurial Band of Holy Joy led by the deep thinker, margin walker and waking dreamer Johny Brown. BOHJ have been beavering away at a brand new album for the never less than outstanding label Tiny Global Productions as a follow up to the masterful “Neon Primitives” (part two of the intriguing “Nation” trilogy), of which the song “Ecstasy Snowbirds” with its Amen Corner “paradise” refrain has become a real earworm, and whose central nexus the call to arms “The Devil Has A Hold On The Land” was Velvet Sheep’s “song of the year” for 2019. Dilettante Dominic Cummings may have sent out a snivelling missive looking for “weirdos and misfits” but this is an anthem for the truly tangential disenfranchised disrupters.
As well as the official over the counter records of Band of Holy Joy I’ve also been very much enjoying their counter culture CDR series, carefully curated, hand decorated albums featuring both exhilarating live sets from the Lexington (last year’s Neon Primitives songbook lovingly captured in the SM58 flesh by Tim Melia) and a Paris set of recent yore (2011 vintage) and the intriguing remainers lament “Europe Is Yours Now” which featured mournful electronic fissures and spoken soliloquys perhaps influenced by recent audiac adventures on the spoken word Dog Tunnel records and rubbing shoulders with his Resonance FM BAD PUNK producer, recent BOHJ member and synapse sorcerer Mat Eric Hart.
Not only but also, the album with many stings in the tale, “To Live And Lie And Love And Die In Soho” where Johny sings of many years of Old Compton Street and its surrounds with the alacrity of Jeffrey Bernard before he was unwell and the poetic intricacy of James Joyce, like “Ulysses” as read from the stage of Madame Jo Jo’s. Befitting of the town behind the West End facades, it’s sometimes a romp, other times a riposte, and occasionally a wassail and then a wake. It may be gentrified, but although BOHJ may evolve there’s no danger of them ever becoming changed beyond recognition. And Johny would never mis-spell your name on a plasticised cup of cappuchoo-choo.
After a by all accounts triumphant festive Brighton gig Band of Holy Joy are returning home from home to play a long awaited new London gig at the resurgent Water Rats on Friday next in a gig put on by the excellent Penny Black Promotions, with a bill including Moon Under Water and Dream Maps and with that in mind, it’s over to the ever benevolent Brown with a “song for ewe” that gives a foghorn leghorn leg up to one of their supports…(because he’s a good egg).
“In the post new year gloom and under the shadow of another manic Trump tweet i’m finding this band to be soothing, magical and beautifully odd, a bit like the recent film Transit”
and here’s another video by them for good measure…
MANY THANKS AND NEW YEAR WISHES TO JOHNY AND THE BAND OF HOLY JOY
Event details here:
And tickets here: