Friday night at the Pump came to life with the sound of bluegrass strings last Friday.

Before the headliners ‘The Often Herd’ solo Swindon-based musician Jol Rose took to the stage with guitar in hand and harmonica in mouth. Performing original ballads of folk songs, he wove heartfelt tales with a blend of feel-good boogie and more sombre tunes about the difficult emotions we face in today’s world. With a good level of crowd engagement, he gave insight into his songwriting, often with a comedic twist. Jol Rose’s new album ‘Zombieland’ is worth a look to support a great local musician. I particularly like the message behind his song ‘Thread to Heaven’.

The stage was then set for The Often Herd. They blew us away with their relentless skill.

The Often Herd. Credit Dave Pegg. Trowbridge Pump 2022.

With stringed instruments from fiddle and guitar to mandolin and double bass, they impressed all with their instrumental interplay which had even the most reserved in the audience clapping along. Their sound was energetic and took me away to the English countryside where I felt I belonged.

Although their roots are in North England, they take inspiration from a variety of landscapes, mentioning the Alps in France and experiences in America. With smiles on their faces, and a range of bluegrass from psychedelic to more traditional folk, they truly caught my attention – and I have since been listening to them on Spotify!

I had never listened to bluegrass before The Often Herd, and now I love it. For a truly unbeatable experience, I would recommend seeing them live.

After the show, the band were incredibly approachable and were happy to chat to anyone, sharing some of their experiences and discussing the music. One audience member I spoke to said she was elated to have somewhere in Trowbridge where this kind of real music is played, and I couldn’t agree more. I’m happy to say that their names, as is tradition, have been signed into the Pump’s walls next to the other great artists that have performed here.

I hope more of their calibre come to visit.

This review was written by Alex Ransome, and poorly edited by Kieran J Moore.
Picture credit to Dave Pegg.

The Often Herd. Credit: Dave Pegg. Trowbridge Pump 2022.

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