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Jez Hellard and the Djukella Orchestra - Direct from the Shire

Releasing new albums without a record label is an expensive game... Donate to the creation of more fine music here.


Top  Upcoming Gigs
October 24th Tue
3:30pm - 3:50pm
Live on BBC Radio Bristol w/Claire Cavanagh
, Bristol.
October 28th Sat
5:00pm - 11:00pm
Private Party
, Hamburg.
November 1st Wed
8:00pm - 10:00pm
Jez Hellard & The Djukella Orchestra
The Wardrobe Theatre, 25 West Street, Old Market, Bristol.

Top  End of an Era...

Perched here, atop the cliffs by Margate’s Winter Garden on this damp and drizzly morning, it seems that Autumn has snuck up on us all of a sudden. Rarely have I seen such a pallet of greys. The lingering mists and driving rain have retreated slightly, gradually revealing the horizon with its hints of green as a Special Brew can rattles by, rolling wind-blown along the promenade.

It’s been a somewhat gruelling September, laced with toil, tragedy and touches of melancholy. The month started with news of the tragic death of Joshua Lambert-Price, one of the finest young guitarists |’ve encountered in a long while, and ended with that of Charles Roff, renowned photographer, gallerist, coast-guard, surfer, bon-vivant and father to accordion-maestro, Tommie. My heart goes out to their families, friends and all who’ve been struck by such brutal news.

Between these ominous bookends, my days (and nights) have mostly been spent digging through dusty corners extracting treasure from hoarded tat, trudging around town centres putting up posters, racing across the country on a tight schedule, and hanging around venues handing out flyers for our up-coming concerts.

After 34 years of the finest asparagus, tomatoes, apples, pears, jam, jelly, berries and horse-radish, weddings, ordinations, house-concerts and parties of every description, my folks have moved out of the home where we all grew up (to an extent) and on to pastures new.

I’ve always been aware that we Hellards are what our American cousins would call “pack-rats”, constantly squirrelling away bits and bobs which “will surely come in handy some day”, but it is only when you start to clear it out that the enormity of this folly is revealed. At one point, my Dad asked if I could “help me get a train-set down from the roof”, and after three hours, both bleeding slightly and picking spiders out of our ears we had assembled about half a ton of ocean-going trunks, and a motley assortment of junk, from dusty and battered kitchen gear to primary school homework, report cards to the aforementioned train-set.

After two skips, thirty-six visits to the tip and six to the charity shop (thanks to Mind for all your hard work), one council collection, one yard-sale and several parties, we somehow managed to get through it. With echoes of a less blood-thirsty Lady Macbeth, however many times we wash our hands, it feels like the dust is still there. It really is amazing how after six hours of sorting and shredding papers, boxing up treasures and throwing out piles of junk, rooms appear more full than they were in the first place.

Just as it’s possible to waste an infinite amount of time on so-called “social media” (surely antisocial is the more apt adjective), I now believe that without the strictest discipline it would be possible to spend an infinite amount of time clearing one room, without actually achieving anything.

Huge thanks to my brother for moral support, to Jo for said discipline, and to Jim, Jenny and Tim for finding a home for my books, records, CDs, cassettes and indeed drum-kit. There are some things which simply can’t be thrown in a skip.

Now that this laborious but deeply cathartic task is done, I am left with exactly a month to sell out our five album-launch concerts in England and get the publicity machine rolling for our subsequent tour of Scotland. That’s a lot of tickets to sell. We’re playing shows in Bristol, Devon, Priston and King’s Cliffe on the first four days of November, then officially releasing the record in London, at The Old Queen’s Head in Islington on Monday November 6th. If you’re anywhere near any of those places, or know any music-lovers who are, it will mean the world to us if you get yourself a ticket and help us get a full house for every show.

If you’ve been feeling a bit worn out and anxious with all the nuclear sabre-rattling, zero-hours contracts, moronic hairstyle-ranting and constant chatter of political monsters (NIetzche’s own blonde beasts), WE HAVE EXACTLY THE SELECTION OF INSPIRING SONGS YOU NEED to bring a charismatic sophistication to your step and a spark to your soul. A few early bird tickets are still available for the London and Bristol shows for the bargain price of £8. Get yours now while they’re still cheap.

Posted: 1st Oct 2017 | Contact


Top  As warm as a July Tomato...

As the nights slowly start to draw in and the cool autumn winds begin to chase the odd stray leaf around the streets, I`m very pleased to be able to announce the dates for our album-launch concerts in England followed by a 12-date tour of Scotland... and (for all you technophiles and iphone strokers) that D`rect from the Shire is now available to download digitally onto your favoured device (as long as that device is not a tractor, bench-saw or similar...)
The dates and details are as follows:

November 1st - BRISTOL - The Wardrobe Theatre
Tickets: https://www.headfirstbristol.co.uk

2nd - DEVON - Hatch Court, Loddiswell, TQ7 4AJ
Tickets: email wheelwrightmark@gmail.com

3rd - BATH - Priston Village Hall
Tickets - villagehallgigs.wordpress.com

4th - NORTHANTS - King`s Cliffe Village Hall
Tickets - email/paypal thesofasessions@live.ie

6th - LONDON - Official Album Launch
The Old Queen’s Head, Islington, N1 8LN
Tickets - wegottickets.com/event/414343 www.theoldqueenshead.com

December 1st - EYEMOUTH - Hippodrome

2nd - MONIAIVE - Craigdarroch Arms Hotel

3rd - INVERNESS - Hootananny

4th - ABERDEEN - Blue Lamp

5th - GLASGOW - Star Folk Club

6th - KILBARCHAN - Centre for Peforming Arts

7th - FALKIRK Folk Club


9th - FIFE - Letham Nights

10th - EDINBURGH - Edinburgh House Concert*

Tickets: email contact@jezhellard.com for info

11th - HAWICK - String Theory

For those of you out west (no, not that far west), my apologies for failing to inform you via this mailing list about our shows in Glastonbury and Bath a couple of weeks ago. I realised my mistake on the way to the Bath show, but by that time there was nothing I could do about it. I normally feel like I write too much, so at least it`s a novelty to get chastised for writing too little.

I trust you`ll forgive me, and very much look forward to seeing you all either at The Wardrobe Theatre, Priston Village Hall or Hatch Court, depending on where in the west you`re nestled.

To those of you who enjoy my more poetic (and oft long-winded) ramblings, I`ve spent so much of this summer either going through endless boxes of tat accrued over thirty years, or sitting at this screen doing album-related admin, that I fear I`ve little to report, and my neck is currently so seized up that I shall now retired to lie on this spiky plastic ball.

Looking forward to seeing many of you at the concerts in the autumn. Please help us spread the word amongst your music loving friends, and remember to get yourself a copy of the new album, either in a jam-swaddled old fashioned CD or its new-fangled digital incarnation. Everyone so far says it`s the best we`ve ever done.

All the best from a slightly twisted computer-based troubadour.

Posted: 5th Sep 2017 | Contact


Top  A pallet load of jammy goodness...

Many thanks to all who have pre-ordered a copy (or even multiple copies) of our fantastic new live album, D’rect from the Shire, and to all the delightful audiences who’ve come to hear The Djukella Orchestra play around Kent, Sussex, London, Hampshire and Dorset these past couple of weeks.

I’m very excited to say that the physical copies of the album have now arrived, neatly stacked on a pallet of jammy goodness, and are both looking and sounding marvellous. I’m just sealing up envelopes for the first batch of lucky recipients and heading to the post office. (For those of you who think CDs are old hat, it will be available to download to your favoured device shortly.) Now we just need to pay £3000+ of invoices in the next 28 days… Eeek!

It will be released officially to the general public with a run of concerts in the cool winds of autumn, but YOU CAN GET YOUR HANDS ON ONE RIGHT NOW (or as soon as the Royal Mail can oblige), and help save us from going bankrupt in the meantime.

So if you’ve been thinking “I’d like to get myself one of those” but have forgotten to click the link and initiate its arrival, now’s the time to act!

If you have friends who like music, jam, poetry, wit, wisdom, singing and/or dancing, get them a copy, or tell them to buy their own (depends on the friend, I suppose). If you don’t like music, songs, jam or people, then buy several copies for people you don’t like. Everyone’s a winner…

Over the past couple of weeks we’ve been lucky enough to wallow a little in the sights and sounds of the south coast, from the Isle of Thanet to the Isle of Purbeck (both are in fact peninsulae if you want to be picky) and back, taking in a touch of East London, with plenty of Hampshire downs and a good chunk of the High Weald thrown in for good measure; singing to a catholic selection of sailors, hipsters, gentlefolk and geomancers, ramblers, gamblers, musos and mermaids. It has been an absolute pleasure play for, sing to and chat with you all along the way.

Thanks to Kevin & Jean at The Square and Compass, Paul, Retta, Charlie and the Cheriton Sessions team, Andrew, Doug, Tony and all at Kipp’s, the incredibly hardworking Laura at Jamboree, Michelle and the crew in Wingham (not to mention Steafan, Saskia and Clan Hannigan… what a coincidence!), Chris Basford for saving our bacon at short notice and Nye Parsons, James Gavin and Alastair Caplin for being so darned brilliant.

Now to hit the streets and busk until I’ve got three grand to pay these bills, or my fingers fall off.

Much love to all of you.

Posted: 18th Jul 2017 | Contact