News

First Reviews 

Some excerpts from reviews gathered from Amazon, the guestbook etc, shared here in a blatant flurry of self-publicising. Thank you to everyone who's shown interest in and/or bought the album so far. If you've heard it and have something nice to say, a review on Amazon, CD Baby, jonmcdevitt.com etc would be a huge help in getting it better known, and I'd be very grateful. 

''Carefully crafted lyrics with lovely tunes to accompany them - each track very different & a pleasure to listen to. Loved all the songs but Satellite is my personal favourite.'' 

''Shades of Tom Waits/Ray Davies/Costello and traditional British storytelling. Every song is unique and takes you to a different place.'' 

''...obviously there's a linking theme to the songs as there are little clips of sound effects between some of the tracks. An alarm clock, a door closing, breaking waves, the scratch from an old vinyl record..... It's not so easy to pick a genre for the music. There's lots of acoustic guitar, piano and harmonica but also Mellotron and some really tasteful electric guitar soloing. There's some quite dark moments and some catchy upbeat songs too.... Standout tracks for me are Lemon Days, May and Downmarket.'' 

''I have been familiar with Jon's live sets and cover work and now have found his original material absolutely brilliant. The poignant lyrics coupled with such wonderful melodies puts this local artist amongst the best in the area if not the south. The river and the burial ground is a masterpiece indeed.'' 

''The River and the Burial Ground is not a poppy album. The singing is understated and bluesy. At first, I thought [the title track] was going to be a scary delta blues song. It wasn't long before the conventions of delta blues were tossed aside to great effect. 
The instrumentalists…...play just what the songs call for... Jasmine will stick in your head for days.''

''...the variety and attention to detail is something else on a collection of songs that are beautifully crafted, arranged and delivered - a very enjoyable and at times, emotional journey of an album. From the openers - the ‘Golden Slumbers’ inspired ‘Downmarket’ & the catchy and quirky ‘For Want Of Something Better’ through to the wistful longing of ‘Broken Blues (For Cam)’.....and then on to a rousing finale with the band kicking in for songs like ‘Satellite’ after a succession of gems along the way.''

The River and the Burial Ground 

I rarely put anything on the website or social media that's even vaguely personal, and on the occasions that I have, it hasn't necessarily been anything beyond some strands of reality held together by muted whimsical invention. However,  I'll attempt it here. Just for a change.  

The 3rd December 2019 for me marked 50 years trying, not entirely successfully, to blend in. It hasn't all gone entirely well, but on the plus side, I've learned a few instruments, written some songs, laughed quite a lot and invented the shoe (patent pending). 

For various reasons, the last ten of those years have possibly been not only the most difficult, but also the best. To be clear, lots of people's lives have been many times harder than mine, so complaints are far from my mind. I've hung on to most of the best people I know, found some new ones, rebuilt some bridges, learned rather more than I realised I needed to learn, and watched my baby daughter grow into a bright, kind, beautiful, and funny girl who puts up with me with great fortitude. I won't bore you with the other stuff. 

While all that was going on, a lot of songs got written. Previously, in what seems now like a whole other life, I released two albums (2001 & 2006) with a band called Geist. One was successful in its way. A relatively primitive home recording, selling a couple of thousand copies before social media was a thing and was as far as I know the first album in the first 'Unsigned' section on a major retailer's website.  The second one was hard work and somehow never right, although it has redeeming qualities that I appreciate more now than I did then. We'd missed the boat with it though, and other things were taking over. 

Since 2009, three albums have been written and to a large degree recorded. One of the others is a rather more dramatic affair, featuring the splendid Anna Jenkins on violin. I'll finish it before too long, but in the last few months I realised that I'd inadvertently ended up with the album I was after whilst not really thinking about it, and it was simpler and more straightforward than I'd been intending. Eleven songs which are most about the time during which they were recorded and make some sense, for me at least, of all of the above. 

For reasons that will hopefully become clear, It's called 'The River and The Burial Ground'. I've been helped enormously by original Geist members Stuart Francis, Mike Turk, Dave Coston and Neill Tupman, along with new guitarist James McClusky, and some vocal polish and orchestration input from singer-songwriter Léanie Kaleido. Also, there was lyrical input on three tracks from the occasional lyricist, Dominic Hudson, help with the cover design from the aforementioned daughter, Lily McDevitt, mastering from Nick Watson at Fluid Mastering, CD manufacture from Sound Performance and last but certainly not least, Clare Corrigan at Admin Gofer pulled the whole package together and made it all work. To all these people I'm very grateful, as without any one of them it would have been a lesser thing.  It's not the most upbeat album of all time, although it has its moments.  It's what I wanted it to be, and in the end that's really the only measure one can put on it. Whether other people listen, and what they make of it if they do, is out of my hands. If you do, I hope it connects somewhere along the line, because that's really all it's for. 

A final note: I have a small circle of close friends, and they're more important to me than I ever get around to telling them, naturally.  In 2014, one of them, Cam, who I'd known since we were in our teens, died suddenly. He was only 43. This album started properly the day after he died, when some listless noodling at the piano became 'Downmarket'. A few days later, 'Broken Blues' was written for him, and I used his old amp and delay pedal to record it. I hope he'd have approved.

Happy New Year 

First up amongst a bunch of new things this year, the full catalogue of both Jon McDevitt and Geist recordings is now available for the first time in high quality download from Bandcamp, at frankly bargain prices. These include, for the first time, my favourite set, the rather magnificently boisterous 'Geist - Live at Darvel' recorded in 2006. This could only have been bettered if there was a recording of Geist - Live at the Stroud Festival from the same year. Unfortunately, there isn't one. Only this.... 
Geist - Live at Darvel

New album launch 

'The River and the Burial Ground' will be out on 3rd December for download.  Preview CD's will be available at a small (very) launch party at The Engine Room in East Grinstead on Wednesday 27th November, but won't be released on line until the new year.  High quality as well as MP3 downloads will be available from Bandcamp (high quality), CD Baby, Amazon, iTunes etc from 3rd December, and links will be posted next week.

If you've already purchased a download and find that you want a CD too when they come out, you'll be able to do that without extra cost by contacting me@jonmcdevitt.com.  No rip-offs necessary.

The River and The Burial Ground 

After a much longer wait than intended, during which half the audience have probably either died or left the country due to the fact that the UK is now almost as absurd as the US, 'The River and The Burial Ground' will be available as a CD and a download as of December 2019.  Please check back for news and previews in November.

New date, supporting Willy Porter 

I'm very pleased - and a bit flattered - to have been asked to be the support act for Willy Porter when he visits East Grinstead (how do they get these people?) on his UK tour  in October. He's well worth the entrance fee and obviously I'll make sure I play ones I know people like before he comes on...   More details to follow. If you're unfamiliar: 
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Willy_Porter

New dates... 

New dates have been added at The Grey Lady in Tunbridge Wells, The Queens Head in Barns Green, The Hawth in Crawley and a few others.  Please check dates page for details. Half a Life Unlived will be released in the next few days.

Single, dates and a violinist please. 

Sorry it's been a while, but have moved house, moved cars, moved a couple of mountains (although hopefully nobody to tears).  There'll be more dates added over the next while for playing original material.  The first of these is Thursday August 16th at 8pm at The Hop Yard in Forest Row, East Sussex.  I'll also be playing something less formal at The Wheatsheaf in Crowborough on Monday 28th May at 3pm.

There'll be a new song available for download and on Spotify etc very soon, called 'Half A Life Unlived', written by myself, Dave Coston and Dominic Hudson, it's one of my favourite songs and I've been meaning to make it more public for ages, so I'll get that out in the next couple of weeks.

I'm also looking for a violinist / fiddle player (define as you wish) who might be interested in doing a few gigs.  You can hear some of Anna's marvellous playing on the tracks available on this site, but between playing with Frank Turner's band, living too far away and having a baby boy to look after, I'm not sure asking her to fit in the travelling time for gigs would be met with a favourable response these days.  If anyone is interested or  knows anyone who's interested in the East Grinstead area, please contact me through the details on the, erm, contact page.  Being able to sing harmonies would also be damned handy if you can.

Thank you 

NEW MUSIC AT THE DORSET
Thank you to everyone who came to and played at the Dorset on Thursday night. Plenty of people and good music. If you live local and aren't bothering with these things, you're missing out.