Happy Hour Harmonica Podcast

Will Pound interview

December 20, 2022 Season 1 Episode 76
Happy Hour Harmonica Podcast
Will Pound interview
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Show Notes Chapter Markers

Will Pound joins me on episode 76.
Will first started playing harmonica age 10 to help with his breathing after he underwent two major heart operations as a child. Since then he has rose to fame on the English folk scene, being nominated for folk musician of the year three times. He now plays harmonica and melodeon, diversifying his musical output to cover many different acoustic genres.
Will has released a number of albums with a range of quality musicians, with his last album spanning the traditional music genres of the European continent.
He has a number one Christmas single and a number one Christmas album on his resume, has played at Buckingham Palace and on an advertisement featuring Robert de Niro.

Will’s website:

Bandcamp site:

DPA headset microphones:

Jingle Bells:

Will’s YouTube channel:

Will Morris dancing:

Walsh and Pound at NHL concert in 2009:

Appearing on BBC Breakfast TV for Folk Award nomination:

Playing with Dame Evelyn Glennie:

He’s Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother - Hillsborough Charity single:

Playing at Buckingham Palace:

Facebook video with Jenn Butterworth:

Warburton’s advert with Robert Niro:

Podcast website:

If you want to make a voluntary donation to help support the running costs of the podcast then please use this link (or visit the podcast website link above):

Spotify Playlist:
Also check out the Spotify Playlist, which contains most of the songs discussed in the podcast:

Podcast sponsors:
This podcast is sponsored by SEYDEL harmonicas - visit the oldest harmonica factory in the world at www.seydel1847.com  or on Facebook or Instagram at SEYDEL HARMONICAS
and Blows Me Away Productions: http://www.blowsmeaway.com/

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Will started out as a folk musician, and has since branched into multiple genres
From the Midlands of England, growing up near Warwick before taking a folk music degree at Newcastle University
Will is now aged 35 and living in North Wales
Will needed two major heart operations as a young child and was bought a harmonica by his father to help with his breathing
Loved the sound of the harmonica from that early age and went on to make a career of it
Had always been interested in percussion, which has influenced Will to be a rhythmic harmonica player
Health benefits of playing harmonica and noticed he lost his harmonica fitness during pandemic
Doesn’t play percussion these days, but has a new project with a classical percussionist
Will didn’t drawing on the usual harmonica influences, but tried to make the harmonica sound like lots of different instruments
Brendan Power was an influence with his Irish harmonica albums
Thinks of singing into the harmonica to emulate the sound of great jazz singers
Didn’t listen to any blues harmonica when learning
Will’s family was interested in folk music, and Will took up Morris dancing
Explanation of Morris dancing
Harmonica is not a typical instrument played along to Morris dancing
Will also plays the melodeon / accordion, which has a lot of similarities to the harmonica
Likes the sound of the melodeon is the reason he started playing it and pushing its boundaries
Accordion playing has helped to become better harmonica player
Other harmonica players may find the transition to playing accordion beneficial due to similarities between the instruments
Will plays melodeon and harmonica at same time, with one instrument in each hand
Melodeon / harmonica combo is something Will uses in solo gigs, where he plays different genres too
Is Will the only melodeon / harmonica solo instrumentalist?
Will has been nominated for BBC Folk musician of the year three times
Studied a Folk music degree at Newcastle University
Become a full time musician aged 21, forming duo with banjo player Dan Walsh
Will played with Dan Walsh at the NHL festival in 2009
First Folk Award nomination was for A Cut Above album, on which Will only played harmonica (not melodeon)
Harmonica is still Will’s most prominent instrument (above melodeon)
Uniqueness of harmonica in folk music may have helped Will get noticed
Released a duo album with Dan Walsh in 2009: Walsh and Pound
Almost exclusively uses Brendan Power’s Paddy Richter tuning
Doesn’t use a Richter tuned harmonica much anymore
More on the A Cut Above album, released in 2013, with lots of different prominent folk musicians appearing
Released two albums with first wife, in a duet called Haddo, where mostly played melodeon
Mark Radcliffe session on BBC with Tim Edey
Ignite album with Eddie Jay in 2016
Will has a great rapport playing with Eddie Jay
Will and Eddie Jay blew up a storm at the Cambridge Folk Festival two or three years ago
More on the Through The Seasons Morris Dance album, released 2018
A Day Will Come album released in 2020, collaborated with musicians across all 27 European member states
Interview several of the musicians in their own countries to research the music deeply for the album
Album was released around the time of Brexit, but the intention was not to be political
Song with Scottish percussionist Dame Evelyn Glennie
There’s a YouTube video of Will playing with Dame Evelyn Glennie
Played on a charity single version of He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother, which reached Christmas number 1 in the UK
Played at Buckingham Palace in front of Prince Harry
Recorded on two of Robbie Williams albums, including a Christmas number 1 album
Played some bass harmonica on Robbie Williams album, which Will had never played before
Has recently been performing with Jenn Butterworth, Scottish guitar player and singer
Released single of Amazing Grace with bassist John Parker
Recorded harmonica on an advertisement featuring Robert do Niro
Recorded harmonica for Sky TV show Breeders, starring Martin Freeman
A tune book is available for A Day Will Come album
Plays quite a lot of chromatic harmonica, which he approaches more like playing a diatonic
10 minute question
Plays a range of different diatonics, including Lee Oskar minor tuned
Plays Suzuki chromatics, and different keyed chromatics
Likes to change traditional keys of Irish music into more unusual flat keys
New album coming out with Jenn Butterworth next year
Uses overblows on Paddy Richter tuned harmonicas
During pandemic learnt same tune in four keys on same diatonic harmonica
Embouchre: mainly puckers but uses some tongue block for percussive effects
Uses a DPA headset microphone
Plays a clean acoustic sound
Effects: uses a little reverb, otherwise mouth and hands!
Would like to record a harmonica trance / dance music album, which would require effects
Album with Jenn Butterworth coming out in February 2023