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Bear's Den

Taking a cue from earnest, pastoral folk-rockers like Mumford & Sons, the Avett Brothers, and Stornoway, London alt-country/indie folk band Bear's Den rose to U.K. chart success with their 2014 debut album Islands. Expanding their international reach through heavy touring, they reaped the benefits on their more pop-driven follow-up, 2016's Red Earth & Pouring Rain, which performed well across Europe, paving the way for 2019's So That You Might Hear Me. Their fourth LP, 2021's Fragments, featured reworked versions of earlier Bear's Den material orchestrated by collaborator Paul Frith. Bear's Den formed in 2012 around the talents of ex-Cherbourg members Andrew Davie (vocals, guitar) and Kev Jones (vocals, guitar, drums), and banjoist/singer Joey Haynes. The group honed their chops on tours with contemporaries like Of Monsters and Men, the Smoke Fairies, and Matt Corby before securing the opening slot for the Mumford's 2012 performance at London's massive O2 Arena. They issued a pair of debut EPs, Without/Within and Agape, through the Communion label the following year. In 2014, the trio entered the studio with Ian Grimble to record their debut album, Islands. Released toward the end of the year, the album hit the U.K. albums chart in the Top 50 and album track "Above the Clouds of Pompeii" was nominated for an Ivor Novello award in early 2015. That year also saw the band head out in support of the release with tours across the U.S., Europe, and the U.K. At the beginning of 2016, Haynes announced he was leaving the band to spend more time with his family; Jones and Davie carried on. In July of that year, Bear's Den released their sophomore album, Red Earth & Pouring Rain. Produced once again by Grimble, it fared even better than their debut, charting well around Europe and reaching number six at home in the U.K. Following several years of touring and writing, the band decamped to the U.S., recording their third LP in Seattle with producer Phil Ek (Fleet Foxes, Band of Horses, the Shins). Heralded by a pair of singles in early 2019, So That You Might Hear Me appeared in April and was followed by a unique Highlands and Island tour of Scotland. Bear's Den capped off the year with their first holiday release in the Christmas, Hopefully EP. Working with longtime collaborator Paul Frith, the duo returned in 2020 with Fragments, an orchestral reimagining of 12 songs from their catalog arranged for piano and strings by Frith. With the COVID-19 pandemic putting a hold on touring, the duo focused on writing, using their own experiences of isolation and self-reflection as inspiration. Working with producer Ian Grimble, the pair recorded their fifth album throughout 2021, releasing its first single, "All That You Are," in November. The full-length Blue Hours appeared in 2022.
© James Christopher Monger & Rich Wilson /TiVo


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