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Mostly Autumn

Mostly Autumn


Mostly Autumn was formed in the mid 1990s, the original line up included several members of Pink Floyd/1970s tribute band One Stoned Snowman. The band's founding line-up consisted of band leader Bryan Josh (vocals and guitars), along with Heidi Widdop (vocals), Iain Jennings (keyboards), Liam Davison (guitars), Alun Hughes (bass), Bob Faulds (violin), Kev Gibbons (whistles), and Chris Walton (drums). Mostly Autumn's first live shows were the former supporting the latter or vice versa; One Stoned Snowman's final concert was a farewell show in December 1995. Mostly Autumn's original rhythm section of Alun Hughes and Chris Walton left the band during 1996 to concentrate on other musical projects and family commitments respectively, and were subsequently replaced by bassist Stuart Carver and drummer Allan Scott. Shortly after this, Widdop was replaced on vocals by Heather Findlay.This line-up recorded For All We Shared... in 1998. More line-up chances ensued however, and by the time the band recorded their second album, The Spirit of Autumn Past in 1999, Gibbons and Scott had been replaced by Angela Gordon and Rob McNeil respectively.In 2000 (as a three piece – Bryan, Heather and Angela Goldthorpe) they achieved a support slot for Blackmore's Night on their Under a Violet Moon tour, bringing them to a wider audience. On the cover artwork for the following Blackmore's Night album Fires at Midnight (2001), Heather Findlay provided the illustration for the song "Hanging Tree".On Mostly Autumn's third album, The Last Bright Light (2001), Rob McNeil in turn was replaced by Jonathan Blackmore (not related to Ritchie). Andy Smith replaced Stuart Carver on the bass guitar.In 2004, shortly before the band's 'V Shows' tour, Iain's brother, Andrew Jennings, took over on drums and percussion. By this time, the band had been praised by Rick Wright of Pink Floyd.Olivia Sparnenn joined the band in 2005 to provide additional backing vocals. Ben Matthews of Thunder stood in on keyboards for Mostly Autumn's headline gig at the Baja Prog Festival in Mexico in March 2006. Chris Johnson was then recruited as a permanent replacement, with Angela Gordon (formerly Goldthorpe) also taking a more prominent role on keyboards.At the beginning of 2007 both guitarist Liam Davison and drummer Andrew Jennings left the band; Liam to concentrate on his solo album and Andrew to devote his time to his other projects. The guitar parts were shared out amongst the rest of the group. Ex-Karnataka drummer Gavin Griffiths stood in on drums for most of the 2007 live shows, Andrew Jennings temporarily rejoined the group at the end of 2007, until Henry Bourne took over in 2008. Gavin Griffiths returned for the first shows of 2009 in Manchester and London.After Chris Johnson and Angela Gordon left in 2007, Iain Jennings and Liam Davison returned to the group on keyboards and guitar respectively. Anne-Marie Helder, who had played support slots in the past and stood in for Angela during her pregnancy, took over the role of flute, keyboards and backing vocals.A new studio album, entitled Glass Shadows was released in 2008 and an accompanying tour took place in spring and early summer 2008. A 100-minute DVD, 'The Making of Glass Shadows', accompanied the special pre-order version of the album.During October 2008 Mostly Autumn performed two gigs with an alternative, semi-acoustic line-up in support of the Bad Shepherds. The line-up consisted of Bryan Josh (guitar and vocals), Olivia Sparnenn (lead vocals), Andy Smith (bass), Anne-Marie Helder (keyboards and flute) and Robbie Baxter (drums). This tour was truncated after the Bad Shepherds cancelled many dates.Mostly Autumn have their own independent record label and choose to finance each album release itself. The group typically prints a limited edition of each album, and sells those to cover their recording costs. A retail version of the album is then made available via retail outlets, distributors, the group's concerts and through their website.Up to and including Heart Full of Sky (2006) Mostly Autumn's albums have opened with the last few seconds of the final song on the previous album. This tradition was dropped with the release of Glass Shadows (2008).At the beginning of 2010, Heather Findlay announced her intention to leave the band to focus on solo work and her family. She performed her last gig with the band at Leamington Spa Assembly on 2 April 2010. She was replaced by former backing singer and Breathing Space lead vocalist Olivia Sparnenn. Findlay's last gig with the band was on 2 April 2010 and was filmed. This film was released as a 2-disc DVD under the name That Night in Leamington, which also included a 30 minute interview with Josh and Findlay.In October 2010, the band's first album without Findlay, Go Well Diamond Heart was released.Band members Bryan Josh and Olivia Sparnenn were married on 21 June 2013.From mid-2013 onwards, Helder and Griffiths were absent from the band's touring lineup due to other commitments. Their positions are being temporarily filled by keyboardist Hannah Hird and drummer Alex Cromarty. In March 2014, it was revealed by Bryan Josh on the band's official website that Griffiths had decided to leave the band and that Cromarty was now his official replacement. A new album, entitled "Dressed in Voices", is currently in production.


Heather Findlay contributed to Arjen Lucassen's 'Ayreon' project on The Human Equation album in 2004, singing the part of ”Love”.Iain Jennings left the band at the beginning of 2006 to pursue his own musical ambitions and formed his own band, Breathing Space, as well as contributing to projects by other artists and even becoming an IT teacher at a local secondary school. He recruited then-Mostly Autumn backing vocalist Olivia Sparnenn to sing lead vocals and the pair, along with various other musicians recorded three different albums. Despite his return to the Mostly Autumn fold in 2008, Iain remained a member and core song-writer in Breathing Space. In April 2010, Sparnenn took over lead vocals in Mostly Autumn so decided to stop working with Breathing Space. Breathing Space continued for a short while with Heidi Widdop over on vocals before eventually splitting up.During 2005 Heather Findlay and Angela Gordon formed an acoustic side project called Odin Dragonfly, making live appearances both as a support act and as headliners. In August 2007 they released their first album, Offerings.Both Anne-Marie Helder and Gavin Griffiths are members of Panic Room, and were previously members of Karnataka.

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