Brighton’s Jo Harman looks certain to be one of the highlights of this year’s rescheduled Blues On The Farm just outside Chichester.
She was on the line-up in June when the festival’s original dates were washed away with the rain.
The good news is that she can make the rearranged dates (September 7-9) as part of the Friday night line-up.
From initial attention-grabbing performances at The Great Escape (music industry) Festival and headlining prestigious London gigs, Jo and her band have been making waves on the festival circuit, including appearances at Chagstock, Meadowlands and North Devon Festival. Support slots have followed for the likes of Marlena Shaw, Terry Callier and Average White Band, all fuelling Jo’s growing reputation as a blues, gospel and soul-fuelled singer of exceptional promise.
Jo has lived in Brighton for the past five years, going there initially to study at BIMM: “It was really interesting. I had a good time. Because I was a little bit older, I went there knowing what I wanted to do. I had already done the degree. I knew what I wanted to get out of it. There were elements that were negative and elements that were positive, but that’s probably true of any higher education course. Some things were disappointing; some things were great.
“I had always been a musician, but I was a classically-trained musician when I was growing up though I was in a lot of bands. I then went to uni and studied drama and so the music fell by the wayside. But then I re-evaluated my life and went to Brighton on the back of that.
“I made the decision that I wanted to be a singer at the age of about 23. The thing that pushed me into making a decision was that my father died. I realised that I needed to make some decisions about what was going to make me happy. I did a lot of soul-searching. I travelled around India for a few months and then I came to Brighton after that.”
She describes her music as a melting pot of soul, blues, country and gospel. There is a strong blues element, but it is not out and out blues. Besides, as she says, blues is a word that encompasses so much.
“But for me, gospel is a major influence. Gospel has influenced me massively. I am not a person of faith at all, but there is something about gospel that really astounds me and gets me…”
Tickets on 01243 773828 or online at www.bluesonthefarm.co.uk. Tickets for the original festival dates in June will be honoured for the new September dates.