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False True Love, Janice Burns & Jon Doran

Janice Burns & Jon Doran announce their debut album with a sumptuous video and performance of 'False True Love' [Roud 419].

Janice Burns and Jon Doran began playing traditional songs together in 2017 and there has been a growing sense ever since that the duo are something a little bit special. A self-titled EP that arrived in 2020 (check out their excellent version of Georgie here), and subsequent, sporadic live videos have done little to quell the intrigue. With the recent announcement of a full debut album (No More the Green Hills, available to pre-order from September 19th; released on October 28th), and a very attractive new website to boot, the duo now look set to make their mark.

It is with great pleasure then, that we are able to bring you the first taste of that album – a sumptuous lead single and video in the form of ‘False True Love’ [Roud 419]. The song, which can be traced back in various forms to the 18th century, is extremely well travelled. Collected across the UK, Ireland, and North America, examples have been found from Lincolnshire to Quebec. The duo, demonstrating their uncanny chemistry, have made it entirely their own.

“We love ballads that have a few miles on the clock,” explains Janice Burns, talking exclusively to Tradfolk. “This song has changed quite dramatically from what’s thought to be its original ballad, ‘Young Hunting’ [Child 68, Roud 47]. As it’s moved from singer to singer and place to place, a lot of detail has been lost somewhere down the line and it’s left us with quite an ambiguous story that appealed to us far more than perhaps a more detailed and linear narrative.

“We found this song in Cecil Sharp and Maud Karpeles’ book, English Folk Songs From the Southern Appalachians, Vol.2. There were versions already swimming around our heads from the likes of The Furrow Collective and Lady Maisery, but it was great to get back to a source and discover the vast quantities of lyrical and melodic variations. In the end, we cobbled together a few different versions from this book which formed something that we feel is quite a unique interpretation. After putting this song together we suddenly had a clear idea of the themes that would feature throughout our upcoming album, No More the Green Hills.

The album and the single have been produced by acclaimed folk producer, Andy Bell, and it carries his clear, signature sound, ideally suited to the duo’s wonderful, weaving harmonies and close-knit intrumental interplay. “We felt really lucky to have Andy produce this,” Burns continues, “as he had a really clear understanding of how we could achieve the sound we wanted, while keeping in mind the overall shape of the album. The song was completely transformed when we asked Ben Nicholls to lend his double bass playing to the piece and everything fell together perfectly.”

The video is a quiet work of art in itself, conjuring up a late-night, intimate performance that captures the duo at their eyeball-to-eyeball best. “We filmed the video in a beautiful art deco building called the John Marley Centre in Newcastle upon Tyne. We felt it was a credit to the timelessness and ambiguity of the song that it felt just at home there as it would in any building throughout history. It was directed by Roberto Colapietro who worked hard with his team, filming long into the early hours of the morning in order to give it a nighttime setting.”

False True Love is available to stream from all good music platforms today. Pre-order the album, No More the Green Hills, from September 19th via the duo’s website, janandjon.com.

Janice Burns & Jon Doran on tour

Catch the duo on tour this autumn across the UK.