Cornish singer / songwriter Joe Francis is Winter Mountain.
Hailing from the wild northern shores of Cornwall, UK Winter Mountain is a blend of melodic songs, an extraordinary voice and heartfelt lyrics in a sound reminiscent of a time before digital recording when the emphasis fell on the importance of live performance and the essence of the song.
Indeed, it was these very qualities that inspired folk star Cara Dillon and her husband/producer Sam Lakeman to sign Winter Mountain to their 'Charcoal Records' label after watching a performance in Donegal, Ireland.
Winter Mountain released their self titled debut album in 2013 to unanimous critical acclaim with The Sunday Express naming "Winter Mountain" 'an utterly fabulous record' and awarding it a 5 star review, The Irish Post calling it 'A smashing album, a terrific, classy debut', whilst Maverick Magazine had this to say: 'Winter Mountain make them like they used to, and three cheers for that!'.
At present there are over thirty 5 star reviews on Amazon for the album.
Tracks from Winter Mountains debut album still receive regular national radio play from the likes of Janice Long, Dermot O'Leary, Clare Balding (BBC Radio 2), on RTE Radio 1 and from local stations in both the UK and Ireland.
Following the release Joe signed with the prestigious Faber Music Publishing.
Winter Mountain have toured the length and breadth of the UK and Ireland opening for some of the worlds most talented artists including Richard Thomson, Seth Lakeman, Cara Dillon, Rosanne Cash, Leann Rhimes, Patty Griffin, legendary songwriter Benny Gallagher, Paolo Nutini, Fleet Foxes and many others, and have graced the stage at some of those countries most distinguished venues inc The Ulster Hall (Belfast), Union Chapel (London), The Belfast Waterfront, Vicar Street (Dublin) and headline sets to sell-out crowds at the likes of the infamous Camden Barfly and Dublins Whelans Bar. While opening for some of Cara Dillons' bigger shows they outsold her on the merchandise stand and, unbelievably, whilst opening for Sara Watkins (Nickle Creek, The Decemberists) they won over audiences so much that they were often invited back for an encore, before the main act had even taken to the stage!
In festival season WInter Mountain are amongst the acts that draw some of the biggest crowds to their stage. Recently, following a 2015 performance at Dorsets 'Larmer Tree Festival' Winter Mountain was named the festival highlight by critic and reviewer Alan Ewart at www.soundofsummer.org, who said "I always say that at every festival I attend I find at least one artist whose music blows me away...Last week at the Larmer Tree it was the music of Winter Mountain. Joe is an excellent songwriter..."
Recent times have seen Winter Mountain contributing vocals to Seth Lakemans most recent album 'Word of mouth' and Cara Dillons 'Thousand Hearts' album as well as signing to the south-wests premier agency 'Midnight Mango'.
Praise for Winter Mountain:
'A great gig, beautiful songs. You really must see Winter Mountain live'
Janice Long, Radio 2
'Amazing...awesome singing, such beautiful songs.'
'A sound that spans decades, hypnotic'
Spiral Earth Magazine
'The performance that night of album track January Stars is one of the most beautiful standalone moments of music we’ve heard in quite some time'
Folk and Tumble. com Belfast.
Quotes about the album:
'An utterly fabulous record'
The Daily Express
'Winter Mountain make them like they used to, and three cheers for that!'
'A smashing debut album'
The Irish Post
'One of my favourite bands'
More about Winter Mountains debut album:
Excited upon hearing Joseph performance in Donegal, Ireland Cara Dillon and husband/producer Sam Lakeman immediately signed Winter Mountain to their fledgling label, Charcoal Records - Cara and Sam set about assembling a team of musicians who could help realise the vision that Winter Mountain had for their debut album.
Featuring 11 original tracks and with contributions from Robbie McIntosh (guitarist with McCartney, The Pretenders and John Mayer), Audrey Riley (string arranger for Coldplay and Nick Cave) and Leo Abrahams (Brian Eno, Pulp) the album was recorded in a host of vintage studios, from State of the Ark, Richmond to the legendary Rockfield in Wales, Mark Knopflers British Grove Studios and Sam and Cara’s own studio in rural Somerset.
The final, perhaps most extraordinary touch to the album was made when none other than Mike Crossey (Keane, Ben Howard, The Arctic Monkeys, Jake Bugg), intrigued upon hearing just a small amount of what Winter Mountain had to offer, stepped up in the midst of his hectic schedule to mix the first few tracks.
In 2013 Winter Mountain signed to the song publishing arm of the prestigious Faber and Faber publishing house and to 'Midnight Mango' the southwest's premier booking agent, as well as contributing vocals to Seth Lakemans most recent album 'Word of mouth' and share backing vocal duties alongside Timothy B Schmit from the Eagles on Cara Dillon's 'A Thousand Hearts' album.