6 Jun 2023

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The Hobnail Boots


With two world tours and three albums of original songs under their belts, there isn't much Wellington band Hobnail Boots don't know about keeping a crowd entertained.

Audiences from Ohakune to Ottawa have reacted rapturously to the Hobnail Boots blend of soaring song, furious fiddling, berserk banjo, fabulous folk, beautiful ballads and some twisted versions of pop classics. In their 9 years together this 5 piece band has risen to be one of the top live bands in the capital, and have found friends far and wide. The Hobnail Boots have plied their trade in the United States, Canada, Britain and Europe. Add in three acclaimed records showcasing the song-writing talents of founding member Rob Joass, and the band are truly a musical force to be reckoned with.

Rob is joined by co-founder, Jo Moir (violin and vocals), Hamish Graham (mandolin, percussion, vocals), Bill Hickman (bass, vocals) and the legendary Caroline Easther on drums.

Hobnail Boots formed in 1995, and quickly became a major attraction in Wellington's crowded bar scene. While an eclectic selection of covers were a staple of the early set, and the odd unexpected gem or two still make it to the set list each evening, the band's self-penned songs rapidly became as popular as any other in their set. Their debut record De-Boot showcased both sides of the band's early years, but it was the follow-up record Training At Altitude where Hobnail Boots found their unique and evocative folk/rock voice.

Knowing this was a record which needed to be heard further afield, Rob and Jo travelled the world, playing shows in the United States, Canada, U.K. and Europe. After securing a management and distribution deal in Canada, they took the whole band back to tour in Canada and North America, headlining two major folk festivals in the Canadian prairies.

Back home Hobnail Boots, full of influences from the road, but also with fresh insight into the attractions of home, composed their latest and greatest record On With the Show. A stirring collection of songs showcasing strong emotions and soaring melodies, the record and accompanying tour brought more fans into the Hobnail Boots fold.

Accolades are many and varied for the seasoned Hobnail Boots. Music critic Nick Bollinger wrote in The Listener: ‘[Hobnail Boots] are steeped in Celtic music, but not enslaved by it, featuring original songs with the authenticity of folk and the spirit of rock ‘n roll.’ See magazine in Canada described the band as: ‘An explosive mixture of folk and pop. Don’t miss them.’ And a little closer to home, More FM’s Christchurch breakfast host Gary McCormick is a long-time fan and says, ‘Whenever I need a foot stomping good time or to shed a tear over the glory of life itself, I go out and listen to the Hobnail Boots. I love good music!’

The Hobnail Boots are now called Hobnail.

Band Members:
Rob Joass (vocals, guitar, banjo, mandola)
Jo Moir (vocals, violin, bass)
Hamish Graham (guitar, bass, percussion, vocals)
Bill Hickman (bass, mandolin, vocals)
Caroline Easther (drums, vocals)



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