Great North took out their second Tui on Sunday night at the Auckland Folk Festival in Kumeu for their third album Up In Smoke. Congratulations to them, and the other finalists Rachel Dawick (with The Boundary Riders) and Flip Grater (with Pigalle). 

I was lucky enough to have Hayden from Great North come in to the Poor Boy Radio studio last week and have a chat about the band. We recorded the show and it should be available in the “Listen and Watch” section in the next week or so. 

Among other things, like a tour of France, Great North released their third album, Up in Smoke, last year. Following on from Tui Award winning Halves, Great North have now won two Tui’s for their last two albums, a remarkable feat! 
They started out as a five piece and have arrived at a six piece for the time being although Hayden comments that it’s become more of a band centered on him and Rachel. Arranging gigs, tours and activities around six musicians can be a nightmare, all that “admin” he hates. Just performing as a duo or trio can be easier and allow for more flexibility. 

He and Rachel (bassist and wife) spent a few months on tour last year. He quit his job to go to the south of France, something we all wish we could do! They were going to stay with a cousin on a farm and they were all prepped to stay there and got off the train and his cousin was like “so we had a fight with the people who owned the farm.” They ended up in a shell of an apartment for a month or so playing at market days and restaurants and having a beautiful time. 

“It was like walking into a jigsaw puzzle…thousand year old churches every few miles.” 

Hopefully Hayden was inspired by the tour and wrote some new songs for a follow up album, they’re on a two year rhythm these days and he doesn’t want to slow down. He says he’d feel guilty if he did. 

I cannot recommend Up In Smoke enough, it truly is a stunning album and every track leaves you breathless and joyous. Catch Great North in May as they tour the country with The Bads, more details to come! 

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