"Strong, clear vocals, and songs of substance" Daily
"One of the finest voices in its field" Q Magazine
"One of the land's finest singer-songwriters....his music is as natural as the sun on the hills or the fresh waters of the streams" Brum Beat
"Eloquent, evocative and romantic" Birmingham Post
Johnny Coppin is a singer/songwriter, composer and poetry anthologist. Formerly with the folk-rock band Decameron, his many solo albums include "Forest & Vale & High Blue Hill" (Songs of Gloucestershire), "Edge of Day" - a collaboration with world-famous writer Laurie Lee, "Force of the River", "A Country Christmas" "The Shakespeare Songs" , "Keep the Flame" and and his most recent albums"The Winding Stair" and "Breaking the Silence" with Mike Silver. His clear voice together with his ability to write fine songs make his music essentially English in character while having universal appeal. Jack Russell, the Gloucestershire and ex-England wicket-keeper, is a big fan and often used to lead his team in singing one of Johnny's rousing Gloucestershire songs!
Johnny has supported Gerry Rafferty, Jasper Carrott and The Albion Band on tour and has appeared at Festivals in Britain, Ireland, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Holland and Belgium - including the prestigious Cambridge, Edinburgh, Lisdoonvarna and Nyon Festivals. He has played on the European folk scene for many years, and makes a long overdue return to Scotland this May before beginning a UK tour of "Edge of Day" - his tribute to Laurie Lee, the writer of "Cider with Rosie".
Johnny Coppin with Paul Burgess and Mick Dolan Johnny plays solo with guitar and piano and regularly works with his own trio or band. Members of his band have included Phil Beer from Show of Hands, Albion Band etc, and his current sidekicks are fiddle player Paul Burgess from The John Kirkpatrick Band and guitarist Mick Dolan who has worked with Steve Winwood, Dr Hook and Show of Hands.
TV appearances include his own programme "Song of Gloucestershire" for the BBC, "Stars in a Dark Night" for Channel 4, and the recent "Music Writers on TV" for HTV, while his radio work includes "Kaleidoscope" for Radio 4, "West Country Christmas", the Arts Programme and "Folk on Two" for Radio 2, as well as many appearances on British local radio shows.
His music for theatre includes "Songs on Lonely Roads" (the story of composer/poet Ivor Gurney) with David Goodland, The Shrewsbury Theatre Guild's production of "Arthur's Plough", as well as writing and directing the music for the Festival Players Theatre Company and their touring productions of Shakespeare which culminate in the Three Choirs Festival. He has edited two poetry anthologies - "Forest & Vale & High Blue Hill" and "Between the Severn and the Wye" - poems from the border counties of England & Wales. His 3rd book was "A Country Christmas" - a collections of prose, poetry, carols, songs and folklore .
All the important dates and events from Johnny's career:
1946 Born 5th April at South Woodford, Essex to
Alan and Mary Coppin. Family lived at 63 Walpole Road.
1951-7 Piano lessons with Miss Free but gave up after a few months because bad at practising scales! Churchfields Junior School. Family moved to 92 Broadmead Road, Woodford Green, Essex
1958 First guitars- a Russian acoustic - then a white Rosetti semi-acoustic. Joined choir and madrigal group at Buckhurst Hill County High School encouraged by music teacher Donald Ray.
1959-64 Formed band "The Shifters" - with cousin Martin Wright on bass, Neil Dunwoody on guitar, and Howard Jones on drums. First public performance at United Reform Church Hall, Woodford Green. Then Eddie Broadbridge joined band as lead singer- Eddie and the Shifters Bought red Framus 3 hole semi-acoustic (thanks to Andy Webb who remembers buying it from me in 1965!) Performed many gigs with band in Essex and North-East London. Left school July 1964 with 3 A levels..then had a gap year working for Planning Department of GLC in London
1965 Went to Gloucestershire College of Art, Cheltenham to study architecture. Bought Harmony Meteor electric guitar.
1966 Formed college band "Love to Mother" (with Al Fenn guitar, Tom Bennison on bass, Mike Ketskemety on drums)
1968 Began year out working in London. Bought Harmony Souvereign acoustic guitar. Formed "DECAMERON" - duo with Dave Bell.
1969 First performed at The Crypt, Notting Hill. Johnny worked in America for 3 months then back to Cheltenham to complete final 2 years of college. Al Fenn joins on guitar.
1970 Geoff March joins on cello. First tour of Cornwall.
1971 Johnny, Al and Geoff complete college courses. Decameron go professional. Signed by Fingimigig Agency run by Jasper Carrott and John Starkey. UK dates. Salisbury Cathedral concert.
1972 UK dates plus Cambridge and Norwich Folk Festivals. First tours of Scotland, Belgium and Holland. Radio 1 "Sounds on Sunday". Bought Martin guitar.
1973 First album "Say Hello To The Band" released. Dik Cadbury joins on bass guitar/violin. UK tour with Gordon Giltrap.
1974 Second album "Mammoth Special" released. UK tour with Bert Jansch. Radio 1 "Speakeasy". Tours of Belgium and Holland. Queen Elizabeth Hall concert with full orchestra.
1975 "Third Light" album released. Bob Critchley joins on drums. UK tour plus tours of Germany, Belgium, Denmark and France. "New Girl in School" single released.
1976 "Tomorrow's Pantomime" album released. Final concert at Southsea on 4th July. Johnny goes solo. Major tours of UK, Denmark, Norway, Ireland and Holland.
1977 Solo tour dates. Johnny forms first band with Phil Beer, Mick Candler, Steve Hutt and Tony Bennett.
1978 First solo album "Roll on Dreamer" released (produced by Jon Acock). Tours of Germany and Switzerland. recorded Children of the Night single with Anthony Head.
1979 "No Going Back" album released, and first single "We Shall Not Pass". Rough Hill Festival with Steve Winwood. Mick Dolan joins band. Tours of Holland and Germany.
1980 "Believe in You" single release receives major radio airplay. Session on Radio 1's Kid Jensen show. Tours of Belgium, Holland and Germany.
1981 "Everybody Knows" single released. Trip to Los Angeles, plus concerts in Vermont and Bermuda. Matt Clifford joins band. Glastonbury Festival appearance on main stage.
1982 "Get Lucky" album released. Three songs including "Catherine" published by Bruce Welch. Support act for Gerry Rafferty and Jasper Carrott. Researched Gloucestershire poets.
1983 Four month residency in Bermuda. "Forest and Vale and High Blue Hill" album launched at Cheltenham Festival of Literature. Paul Burgess joins band. Tour of Ireland.
1984 Five months residency in Bermuda. Moved from Cheltenham to Oxford. Glastonbury Festival.
1985 "Line of Blue" album released on own label Red Sky Records. Tour of Hong Kong and China. Trevor Foster joins band.
1986 Own BBC TV programme "Song of Gloucestershire" shown nationally. Trowbridge Folk Festival (with Phil and Matt). Decameron reunion for Cheltenham Greenpeace Ball.
1987 "English Morning" album released. Met future wife Gillian at Gloucester Docks Folk Day. Malvern, Warwick and Broadstairs Festivals. Gareth Sampson joins band. Tour of Italy with Phil Beer.
1988 Moved back to Gloucestershire in January. 2nd Italian tour with Phil. Tour of Scotland. Began Laurie Lee project.
1989 "Edge of Day" album (with Laurie Lee) released following a BBC Radio 4 "Kaleidoscope" Special. Guernsey and Cardiff Festivals. Decameron reunion for Trowbridge Festival, Redruth, and Cheltenham concerts. "A Cotswold Christmas" for Radio 4. Gareth Sampson joins band.
1990 Married Gillian on 2nd June. "Songs on Lonely Roads" theatre performances and album with David Goodland released for Ivor Gurney Centenary. "Stars in a Dark Night" programme for Channel 4. "Festival" with Bill Oddie for BBC 1. "Edge of Day" tour dates and at Edinburgh Festival. "West Country Christmas" album release and tour dates.
1991 Publication of first book, "Forest and Vale and High Blue Hill". BBC Radio 2 programmes and radio 4 "Poetry Please" for Christmas and New Year with Paul Burgess and David Goodland. John Broomhall joins band. Salisbury Festival.
1992 Filmed "Between Two Rivers" for HTV. Wrote music for and performed in Festival Players production of "Merry Wives of Windsor". "West Country" Christmas tour.
1993 "Force of the River" album launched with UK promotional tour. 2nd book "Between the Severn and the Wye" published.
1994 "The Gloucestershire Collection" (Forest and Vale/English Morning) released on CD. Devizes Festival. "Between the Severn and the Wye" event at Three Choirs Fringe. Wrote music for "Much Ado About Nothing".
1995 Own programme as part of "Music Writers on TV" series for HTV. "Severn Meadows" programme at Three Choirs Festival. Wrote music for "The Winter's Tale". "A Country Christmas" album launched with national tour dates.
1996 25th Anniversary Concert and Decameron Reunion. Wrote music for "The Merchant of Venice". "A Country Christmas" book published and UK Christmas tour dates.
1997 Awarded an Honorary Fellowship of Cheltenham and Gloucester College of Higher Education (now University of Gloucestershire) in recognition of "his outstanding contribution to the cultural life of the county". Performed at Swaledale Festival in Yorkshire. Premiered the "From Cotswold Edge" show with Martin Fry and Paul Burgess at the annual Royal Photographic Society Conference in Cheltenham. Wrote music for Festival Players UK summer tour of "As You Like It" starring Kate Winslet's sister Anna as Rosalind. Released album of "The Shakespeare Songs" on tape, songs from six comedies written specially by Johnny for the Festival Players tours. UK Tour of "A Country Christmas" show.
1998 son Ross Anthony John born 2nd November to wife Gillian. Performed "Edge Of Day" tribute to Laurie Lee at various venus including Swaledale Festival. Appeared at Leonard Stanley Festival and Newent Onion Fair! Johnny's setting of Frank Mansell's "Cotswold Lad" (from Forest and Vale album) mentioned in Jack Russell's autobiography as one of his favourite songs. Performed two "A Slice Of Apple" shows for Bulmers and Dunketon's Cider in Herefordshire. Wrote music for Festival Players UK summer tour of "A Midsummer Night's Dream". UK Tour of "A Country Christmas" show.
1999 Uk Spring tour of "Edge Of Day" tribute to Laurie Lee including Yvonne Arnaud Theatre in Guildford, New Vic Studio in Bristol and the Guildhall in Derby. Festivals include Girvan Folk Festival in Scotland and the Cheltenham Cricket Festival in special benefit concert for Gloucestershire cricket captain Mark Alleyne. Website Launched.
2000 Double compilation album "A Journey" released.
2001 Decameron live album "Afterwords" recorded and released. Wife Gillian dies from ovarian cancer 14th July. 30th Anniversary concert in memory of Gillian - with Decameron 28th Sept Cheltenham Town Hall. A Celebration in memory of Gillian 16th October - Stroud Subscription Rooms. A few Christmas dates.
2002 Wrote music for Romeo and Juliet/ Festival Players summer tour. Songwriting workshop for Bristol community project. Article in Cotswold Life magazine. A Country Christmas UK Tour.
2003 Filmed for ITV's "Heart of the Country " - broadcast on 3rd July ITV Central.. Wrote and directed music for Comedy of Errors/ Festival Players summer tour. A Country Christmas Tour in December - recorded Keep the Flame EP
2004 Released Keep the Flame EP. Wrote and directed music for Twelfth Night Festival Players summer tour..... Force of the River CD remastered and reissued. The Glorious Glosters album on CD for first time in June .... plus two major DECAMERON reissues- Say Hello to the Band...and Parabola Road anthology out in summer. 35th Anniversary concert Sat 2nd October- Cheltenham Town hall. .....Articles in November issue of Cotswold Life and 11 Dec Glos Citizen 'Seven' magazine................ Keep the Flame Christmas Tour 2nd to 22nd December.
2005 Recorded and released "The Winding Stair" CD - in April to good reviews and airplay on Bob Harris and Mike Harding on BBC Radio 2....... Toured with singer/songwriter Mike Silver Spring 2005 and Festival appearances at Chippenham, Saul, Priddy, Trowbridge, and Budleigh Salterton...........Wrote and directed music for Festival Players summer tour of Midsummer Night's Dream........Two acoustic DECAMERON concerts at Cambridge and Birmingham clubs in September...... Article in issue 64 of Living Tradition magazine www.folkmusic.net........... Johnny's Folk Roots Show on BBC Radio Glos. goes onstream and "listen again:" www.bbc.co.uk/gloucestershire................ Keep the Flame" Christmas Tour 3rd to 17th December.
2006 Toured with singer/songwriter Mike Silver. Spring 2006........Wrote and directed music for Festival Players summer tour of Hamlet.......Festival appearances at Wimborne and Bromsgrove .......major DECAMERON reunion concert at Cheltenham Town Hall in October. Tour of Holland and Belgium in October with Mike Silver. Johnny's Folk Roots Show on BBC Radio Glos. goes onstream and "listen again:" www.bbc.co.uk/gloucestershire.- programme in Top 10 of BBC national chart of listen again local progarmmes............ Keep the Flame" Christmas Tour in December.
2007 Coppin/Silver and solo dates Spring - plus Festival appearances at The Wirral, Devizes, Show of Hands Day at Abbotsbury in Dorset. Played at Edward Thomas Fellowship Centenary event April at Petersfield, and launch of Cotswold Way at Stanway in May. Wrote and directed music for Festival Players summer tour of As You Like It. (May to end August) Recorded and released "Breaking the Silence" CD with fellow singer/songwriter Mike Silver- summer 2007 October Tour of New Zealand - Devonport nr Auckland, Upper Hutt nr Wellington, Christchurh, Takaka, Nelson, Greymouth, Cardrona Festival, and Dunedin Dec Tour - "All on a Winter's Night" with Paul Burgess and Mick Dolan. With nearly 9,000 listening again each week, Johnny's "Folk Roots" programme on BBC Radio Glos. was the 4th most listened to BBC local radio programme online in December!!-
2008 "The Winding Stair" album was selected as one of best albums of 2007 by Len Holton for his 9th Jan Radio programme From Albion And Beyond...on KUAR FM89 Little Rock, AR 72205, USA . With Mick Dolan, co-produced new solo album for Mike Silver-"How Many Rivers". In Feb played A Memorial concert for Alan Briars at Trowbridge Arc THeatre (with Mike Silver, Fred Wedlock, Kevin Brown, etc.).... In Feb, listeners to Mike Harding on BBC Radio 2 voted for Johnny's version of "Joseph Baker" (by Pete Coe) to be played on the programme. It was recorded at Sidmouth in 1976!- and up against live recordings by Martin Simpson, Pete Seeger, Ani de Franco, etc.
In March/April /May/June/July several dates with Mike Silver, some with Paul, and some solo. Wrote music for "Much Ado About Nothing" for The Festival Players summer tour. Folk Festivals included Holmfirth, Wimborne, and Priddy - plus the 19th Charity concert for MS at Wantage. Autumn concerts included a rare reunion gig with Phil Beer (Show of Hands) at Nettlebed Village Club. Christmas Tour with " All on a Winter's Night" plus guest at BBC Radio Gloucestershire Christmas concert at Gloucester Cathedral.
2009 various concerts throughout the UK plus 2 songwriting workshops in Herefordshire. Tour of Scotland with Mike Silver- March/April. Music for "Merchant of Venice" for The Festival Players summer tour. Festivals included Banbury, and Sherston Arts Festival. First concert with Karen Tweed. Christmas Tour of "All on a Winter's Night" including Karen Tweed (ex Poozies) as special guest at Cheltenham and Stroud concerts
2010 produced charity album for singer/songwriter Nigel Waite. Several concerts with Mike Silver April/May/June. Celebration of FW Harvey and Ivor Gurney at Minsterworth on 26 March. Festivals include Leek Arts (with Mike Silver) , Hartpury Perry Festival (with Karen Tweed), Three Choirs Festival in Gloucester (with Aussie s/s Peter Combe, and Paul Burgess), Malmesbury Carnival, and Coleford Festival of Words. Tutor for Songwriting Week in France 22- 26 August. Autumn concerts included a rare reunion gig with Phil Beer (Show of Hands) at Nettlebed Village Club
January - a launch concert for Nigel Waite's Once in a While CD in Bournemouth - together with Martyn Wyndham Read and Iris Bishop, Tinderbox, Stan Graham, Les Wild and others. £650 was raised for the charity SeeAbility. Johnny produced this album with Mick Dolan
February - performed at Cheltenham Folk Festival with Karen Tweed and Paul Burgess
Spring - lots of concerts - solo,and with Mike Silver, and also with Paul Burgess.
June tutor at Songwriting Weekend in Herefordshire.
Festivals included Folk on the Pier at Cromer, Carnglaze Cavern in Cornwall, Brownshill Music Festival in Glos., and St Ives September Festival
Wrote and directed music for The Festival Players production of "The Taming of The Shrew" which toured the UK during summer of 2011
September performed in High Sheriff's "Gloucestershire Performs" concert at Gloucester Cathedral - 2 songs with Paul Burgess -
Also tutor at Performance Workshop at The Crown in Minchinhampton, nr Stroud
October - "The Book Show" on Sky Arts TV asked Johnny to sing his "Dublin bookshop song" The Winding Stair - with Paul Burgess for a recording of "The Book Show" with Mariella Frostrup, at the Cheltenham Festival of Literature - the show was broadcast on Thursday 3rd November at 8pm on Sky Arts 1 HD
November - tutor at Songwriting Weekend in Herefordshire A new mix of my Keep the Flame song was released as a download single end of November All on A Winter's Night tour.
February - tutor at Songwriting Weekend in Herefordshire
March/April -"The Show Goes On" tour dates - with Mike Silver
Concerts plus Bromsgrove Folk Festival, and The Village Pump Folk Festival. On 23rd May Johnny sang "Song of Gloucestershire" with local youth choirs at an Olympic Torch concert at Cheltenham Racecourse, also in May sang at Cotswold Schools Olympic event in Stroud.
Wrote and directed music for The Festival Players production of "Twelfth Night" which toured the UK during summer of 2012 .
Was commissioned to write a song for The Sing Thing- a Choir Day at Thornbury, S Glos. 15 September.
September - played at The Didmarton Bluegrass Festival, and a charity concert for Acorns Children's Hospice at Stroud Subscription Rooms.
October - tutor of a workshop in Oxfordshire on "Song arrangement and accompaniment for the singer/guitarist - using standard and DADGAD tuning"
Oct/Nov - concerts with Mike Silver and solo
December - new download single release of 'Keep the Flame' song by Mary-Jess
December - All on A Winter's Night UK tour dates
Acoustic Music programme moves to Saturday at 5.30pm on BBC Radio Gloucestershire Was commissioned to write a song for the 2013 Cheltenham Music Festival
January - Performed at 1st Bradford Roots Festival in Bradford on Avon.
A Charity concert "Shine Silently- a concert for Shirley" at Chapel Arts in Bath
Spring concerts - with Mike Silver and solo
April - tutor at Songwriting Weekend in Gloucestershire Performed 2 reunion concerts with Phil Beer (Show of Hands) in Oxon and Devon
May - Radio Times- feature "Face Behind The Voice"
Wrote and directed music for The Festival Players tours of both Romeo and Juliet + Midsummer Night's Dream
June - Folk for MS charity concert in Oxfordshire
July - First performance of "There Was Such Beauty" song at Cheltenham Music Festival - as part of newly commissioned suite of Glos. songs - Tewkesbury Abbey. also Brownshill Music Festival nr Stroud
September - played at Llanwddyn Day of Folk, Folk 21 South-West conference and made Patron of Stroud Folk Festival.
Sept/Oct recorded a new album plus appearances at Banbury Folk Festival and other concerts with Mike Silver
All on A Winter's Night - December tour
January - Bradford Roots Festival in Wiltshire, plus Budleigh Salterton concert with Mike Silver
Spring - release of new album Borderland plus UK Tour dates.
28 June - performing 'Edge of Day - a tribute to Laurie Lee' (with David Goodland and Paul Burgess) as part of The Laurie Lee Centenary Celebrations
Festival Players Productions of both "The Comedy of Errors" and "Macbeth" will be touring the UK during summer of 2014.