Great North play folk music with a bit of Bruce Springsteen-inspired Americana thrown in. Over the last eight years, they’ve cemented themselves as one of New Zealand’s hardest-working and most accomplished independent acts, playing gigs in bars, halls and tin sheds from Auckland to Okarito. Between shows, they released three albums, two of which - Halves and Up In Smoke - won Folk Album of the Year at the New Zealand Music Awards.
The band, which is centred around husband-and-wife duo Hayden and Rachel Donnell, recently relocated to the Northern Hemisphere in search of larger sheds in which to perform. Their live show is filled with the usual stuff: regret, nostalgia, faith, and love - all set to harmony and harmonica.
Praise for Great North
Though there are plenty of New Zealand bands treading the alt-country folk-rock route and trying to make the sound their own, Aucklanders Great North stand out as something special on their second album which comes with elegantly turned lyrics speaking of love, hope, death and life in uncertain times delivered in arrangements that builds something quietly majestic out of their rustic, mostly acoustic, approach. - Russell Baillie, New Zealand Herald, *****
UP IN SMOKE
Up In Smoke is a triumph. The production is generous and warm, the arrangements creative and brilliantly realised. - Duncan Grieve, North & South, ****
Great North's Up In Smoke isn't a walk in the park, more of a torrid trek through a treacherous land. You need strong, durable songs to get you where you're going and luckily there's a bunch of them here. - Nick Bollinger, Radio NZ