Josienne Clarke and Ben Walker’s 2016 release Overnight, is an album of wonder and depth. Its warm production and perfect pairing of vocals and virtuosic guitar is the culmination of everything these idiosyncratically talented musicians have been working towards since they first met.
Their self-financed and self-produced album Nothing Can Bring Back The Hour was released in 2014 on the Folk Room label they co-run, and brought them an extraordinary and unexpected amount of attention. For Rough Trade founder Geoff Travis, it quickly became his favourite record of the year.
They won Best Duo at the 2015 BBC Folk Awards – a major achievement at any stage of an artist’s career – and their performance at the award ceremony prompted Cerys Matthews to invite them to appear in Timberlake Wertenbaker’s Our Country’s Good at The National Theatre. They have also performed on such auspicious stages as Cambridge Folk Festival, Bristol’s Colston Hall and London’s Purcell Rooms.
While much of their music is characterised by lush chamber ensemble orchestrations, what truly sets them apart is the combination of Josienne’s divinely nuanced, emotionally affecting voice and Ben’s intricately expressive, adroit guitar technique. They inhabit songs that are sometimes centuries old, making them personal and present again, while also pricking the heart with their own tales of everyday love and loss.
They cite Sandy Denny, June Tabor, Nic Jones and Pierre Bensusan as respective influences but theirs is a captivating sound that’s all their own.