Jonathan’s first album - Carved in Bone – was a distillation of years spent living quietly and wandering the hills and woods of Shropshire, England. It was warmly received - 'Visionary' - fRoots magazine, 'Exceptional, taking songwriting to the highest level' - FRUK, 'Great, poetic, elemental' - Q magazine, "…like plugging your heart directly into the source of human power." - Tony May, 'Expansive, intelligent and eloquent' South China Morning Post.
The first record’s success led to Jonathan touring internationally - to the US, Finland, Greece, Thailand, Hong Kong and recently twice 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 recorded on tour - trying to capture genius loci, the 'spirit of the place'. Its songs were made on the quiet Danish island of Rømø, in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North America, on a tenement roof in Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong, on Ocracoke Island in the Outer Banks where Carolina meets the Atlantic, at the white Abbey of Kindness in the Sangre de Christo Mountains near Santa Fe, in Helsinki and in Minsk, Belarus. Most of the tracks are caught through valve desks onto two-inch tape.
Responses have been positive:
“Stunning” ‘Whispering’ Bob Harris, BBC
“Breathtakingly beautiful” Folk Radio UK, featured album
“Very lovely: putting the poetry back into song lyrics” BBC Sunday Folk
“Ton Tussa Solas – one of the most well-observed love songs I’ve ever heard” Folk Radio UK
“Day’s guitar playing evokes John Martyn – a perfect foil for the words. Perfectly matched phrases tumble out to form a seamless mosaic and illuminate the deepest musings of the soul” R2 magazine
“A poetic lyricism – evocative, intense and contemplative” Shire Folk magazine album of the day
“Jonathan’s voice floats like an ancestral spirit, his guitar shines like sun through morning mist” Folk Radio UK
“Atmospheric, restful, reflective, poetic, responsive – no listener can fail to respond. Beautifully compelling” Fatea magazine
“A windswept voice not a million miles from Roy Harper – Jonathan Day captivates as he sings” Northern Sky magazine
“Jonathan’s music doesn’t sound like anybody else around now, that’s what attracts me to it. Somebody doing something genuinely different is just great” Gary Wilcox Moorlands Radio
“One of my fave albums of2015” Adam Wilson, HFM
“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”. Catherine van Ruhland, Greenbelt Festival
8th March More than Folk, Hong Kong City Hall, Hong Kong
29th March, Aalto University, Helsinki
30th March, Arabiankatu, Helsinki
14th April Rhythm Changes Jazz Utopia, Digbeth, Birmingham
23rd April Wenlock Poetry Festival, Shropshire
24th April Wightman Theatre, Shrewsbury
12-14th August Phoenix Festival, Dolydd, Powys
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 an Atlantic Drifter 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”.
More recently he played in a carved wooden hall in a forest on a Welsh mountainside – a place like Bjorn’s house at the feet of the Misty Mountains, where the clear, starry night and the dark mountain shapes creep in amongst the trees and settle 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.
All of these locations add their special touch to the unique songs and performances found here on Atlantic Drifter.