Bill Jones

Bill Jones 2 - photog Andy Craig

 

Bill Jones

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Bill (Belinda) Jones is an English folk singer/songwriter, who started her career in 1999, winning a BBC Radio 2 Folk Award (Horizon Award) in 2001. Three studio albums later (Turn to Me, Panchpuran, and Two Year Winter), countless festival appearances, and tours across the UK, USA, and Japan, Bill took a long break in 2004 to raise her family. Back then a young singer, Bill received accolades from audiences across the folk and acoustic music scene. Live sessions on Radio 1’s Andy Kershaw Show, Radio 2’s Mike Harding Folk Show, and Radio 3’s In Tune programme followed, as well as an interview and live performance on Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour. Bill’s beautiful voice and catchy tunes led to a stream of messages over the years asking Bill if she is coming back, and now it’s finally time.

Sunderland-based but with roots in Staffordshire, in London and in Darjeeling, India, Bill (actually Belinda) grew up cutting her teeth playing jigs and reels in her dad’s ceilidh band. At university she delved into studies of British and European folk music In 2000 she released her debut ‘Turn to Me’ swiftly won the BBC Raio 2’s Horizon Award. The follow-up, ‘Panchpuran’ (produced by Karen Tweed, and with string arrangements by Finnish composer Timo Alakotila) saw her providing new tunes for traditional lyrics and vice versa, but also broke the insular mould of British folk via the self-penned acapella title track in which she explored the immigrant tales and experiences within her own family. On 2003’s ‘Two Year Winter’, she finally became the musician she’d always wanted to be, transforming and reimagining old songs and their meaning while keeping within touching distance of their roots. As a third of the  American/Irish/British Faire Winds trio (with Anne Hills and Aoife Clancy) she was also building a touring international fellowship of women.

Bill (Belinda), with her lively style and unpretentious approach, launched herself onto the UK folk scene in 1999, starting out by singing a couple of songs in local folk clubs, and learning her craft. In February 2001, less than a year after releasing her debut album Turn to Me, Bill won the Horizon (Best Newcomer) Award at the BBC Folk Awards.

Born in Staffordshire but now based in the North East for over 20 years, Bill plays accordion, piano, and Irish whistle, as well as having a sweet and beautiful voice. Bill’s live set features gentle songs to tug at your heart, energetic sets to get your feet tapping, and tales to enthrall, all bound together by gentle humour.

Her childhood was spent training as a classical pianist/flautist and playing in her dad’s ceilidh band. As a music student in London she studied jazz piano, whilst spending all her evenings playing flute in Irish sessions. From 1994 – 1996, Bill played keyboard and accordion in London-based indie band The Wise Wound, playing at venues across London and festivals including Glastonbury. Over the last few years she has also proved herself an accomplished classical and folk tutor, running vocal and instrumental workshops and leading weekly flute/whistle classes for The Sage Gateshead.

Bill has released four studio albums. Turn to Me was released in March 2000, Panchpuran followed in May 2001, and Two Year Winter was released in July 2003. All received critical acclaim. In November 2001, Bill also released a limited edition four song EP, Bits & Pieces, and in September 2002 a live album – The Bill Jones Band “Live at The Live”. Another addition to Bill’s discography is the Faire Winds Live CD. Released in September 2003, it is a six song CD recorded during Bill’s first USA tour with the Faire Winds (Bill, Anne Hills and Aoife Clancy). In 2019 Bill released, “Wonderful Fairytale” features songs with roots in the tradition that will have you singing along, smiling, and sometimes shedding a tear. With Bill’s beautiful voice, her catchy tunes, and two well-picked covers, these are songs you’ll want to keep coming back to.