Manchester-based singer/songwriter Jonny Woodhead launched his debut EP ‘Words With The Weatherman’ last month to a packed-out Castle Hotel, the room was buzzing and celebration was in the air. Woodhead, alongside his band, played whole-heartedly singing songs of poignant significance and lived emotion. His voice resting somewhere between the wistful transcendence of Nick Drake and the vulnerable sensitivity of Damien Rice transfuses each song with remarkable depth, as he retraces the remnants of the past.
We had a chat with Jonny about the EP, the launch party and possible future collaborations. Stream the full EP below and read the Q&A after.
Charlotte, Bitter Sweet Symphonies: How does ‘Words with the Weatherman’ EP follow on from your previously released material?
Jonny Woodhead: ‘Words with the Weatherman’ has been a transitionary recording process for me. I started the EP with the intent of gathering my music, and ended with a great understanding of the complexities beyond myself as a singer and guitarist. To work in collaboration with other musicians towards an idea, and allow for the songs to take structure and shape in new ways was a really freeing process, experiencing the songs in a new way each time an instrument was introduced.
You launched the EP at the Castle Hotel in Manchester, it was a packed room and a really enjoyable night for all, that celebrated great new and local music. You couldn’t really have asked for a better way to launch the new release…
It has been a huge boost for me to have the response it received. The amazing support from Leonard Hammersley and Carols really held the night up as something that will stand out. It was a pleasure to introduce people to an new aspect of my music and for it to be received with such positivity.
Rich Williams was on hand to produce the EP, how was it working with him? Do you feel that he understood your vision and captured the essence of the songs?
Rich has been a blessing to my music. He plucked me from obscurity and introduced me to a wealth of talented musicians, allowing a fledgling notion of collaboration to bloom. The commitment he has to the emergence of new talent across the Manchester folk scene is infectious and his character is essential to the continuation of a cohesive scene.
Where do you draw your inspiration from when writing songs?
Inspiration varies, mostly born out of situations I am able to address more fluidly through writing. Mostly an exercise in empathy, or an effort of compassion.
Where has been the strangest or most unusual place a song idea has come to you?
In an underground echoey water system stretching beneath a park in Leeds.
There are female vocalists featured on backing vocals on the EP. In the future, do you think you might take it a step further and duet or collaborate with a female artist?
I’d love to duet with a female artist, including the two featured on the EP, Janileigh Cohen and Caoilfhionn Rose.
The musicians that played in your band at the launch party are some of Manchester’s best players. Will this be the set-up for future live shows?
The wealth of talent surrounding me on stage is staggering, and has been a huge encouragement to work with Dan Weibe, Shane Robertson, Lee Parry and Henry Rankin. Long may it last!
Do you intend to play more full band shows?
Absolutely, and I look forward to growing my music in doing so.
I feel that you’re an artist that appreciates and is invested in collaboration. Especially within Manchester’s music scene there is a strong sense of community. Are there any local musicians or songwriters that you’d love to work with, that maybe you haven’t had the chance to work with yet?
Rosalie 23 and John Dhali are two that immediately jump to mind, and hopefully opportunities will present themselves.
With the debut EP now released, where does the focus move to now?
Since the EP was recorded and we began working on the launch show, the set has grown in energy and sense of dynamic. It will be great to release a single or two, that’s more representative of the music I’m making now.
Where can we see you play next?
I will be posting regular updates as to when I am performing on Facebook.
Jonny’s debut EP ‘Words With The Weatherman’ is available digitally and on limited edition handmade CD from his Bandcamp page here.