Bryan Josh - Founder Member - Lead Electric Guitars,
Acoustic 6 + 12 String Guitars, Keyboards, Vocals
can clearly remember sitting in the back of a grey mini van
driving away from "The Harney Peak", a pub situated in the
north of the mountainous Lake District, after a few pints of
shandy. I was only nine years old so the alcohol content had
me feeling particularly relaxed. There was a margarine tub
with a car stereo jammed in it and on it my brother Andy was
playing "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" by Pink Floyd. In those
fragile but sublime moments that followed I began to sense a
very powerful relationship between music and nature. It
seemed the two merged in some kind of organic harmony. I
watched the bright night sky shine over the mountains,
forests and waters through the front windscreen, while the
perfect musical progression of “Shine On You Crazy Diamond”
was cutting the air. It definitely stirred up some kind of
emotion in me and from then on Andy would carry on playing
the likes of Pink Floyd, Genesis, Deep Purple, Spirit, Roy
Harper, Jethro Tull, Supertramp, Queen and many more, not
only when we were out camping but at home as well. All of
these bands have had a great influence on me but I must say
that I feel there is something about Pink Floyd that got
into my blood. I believe they are special in some way.
"Shine On You Crazy Diamond" is still a song I hold as an
all time favourite along with the album "Wish You Were
the age of eleven I started messing around with any guitar I
could get my hands on, and then bought a nylon string
acoustic. My Uncle Brian showed me a few chords - E, A and
B7. After a couple of weeks the end of my fingers hardened
and I carried on experimenting. I was generally self-taught,
heavily influenced by David Gilmour and Ritchie Blackmore,
although many years later Liam and I attended Leeds College
Of Music for a course in technical guitaring and music
theory. We tried our best to forget all that nonsense and
got back to experimenting without knowing what we were
doing, although the knowledge did become useful as we both
taught guitar professionally for a time to earn money in
between gigs. I definitely feel that one should play the
guitar from the heart and only play what is required for the
song. Feeling and sincerity always translates in music.
Another area of music that had an impact on me was the
Celtic traditional folk sound. My first memory of this was
at the age of twelve in a pub called the " Wasdale Head Inn"
in Wasdale in the English Lake District. I had been out in
the mountains, snow and ice climbing with my father, and I
can remember crawling into the pub afterwards feeling very
exhausted and seeing five guys sitting in the corner by a
roaring fire playing traditional jigs and reels with
whistles, fiddles, guitars etc. It definitely had the effect
of warming my spirit and there was a fantastic atmosphere in
the crowded room. This music felt very organic, the whole
scene was an inspiration, the mountains and forests outside
with the wild snow and ice and inside the Inn there was this
great music, a roaring fire and plenty of ale. From then on
I found this scene very attractive and would often visit
pubs of the like. I guess this would account for the Celtic
influence that sometimes creeps into Mostly Autumn.
Ten years later when camping in Wasdale - the very same
valley - I found myself staring out of the mouth of my tent,
completely blown away by the bright stars and winter
mountains, I was in awe of it all and found myself writing
"The Night Sky". This was the song that first inspired the
concept of Mostly Autumn, although the name didn’t exist
until two years later. I asked a guy called Troy Donockley,
who I had seen fronting a band called "You Slosh"; if he
would play some low whistle on the song as I felt this
instrument encapsulated the feeling I was after. He agreed
and so the original demo was recorded in 1990. Troy has
since become a good friend and a great musical inspiration.
He has since played on various other songs of ours (it’s
worth mentioning that "You Slosh" also played a great part
in influencing the Celtic atmosphere that is sometimes
present in Mostly Autumn). I would also strongly recommend
you check out Troy’s various solo albums (check
The name "Mostly Autumn" came about in 1992 when Liam and I
were drinking in a pub called The Newfield Inn in Dunnerdale
in the Lake District. I knew I wanted to name the project
something to do with autumn and when out of the blue Liam
pointed to a postcard rail saying "Mostly Sheep", I only saw
the word "mostly". It struck me and thus the name was
created. I have and still do have a great love for the
season of autumn. Apart from the striking colour changes and
fragrances, I find it a very provocative time, very
nostalgic and powerful with its stunning beauty alongside a
certain air of sadness and yet with a great feeling of
optimism. The time between autumn and Christmas has always
been a favourite of mine.
Over the next few years I recorded more ideas that were
within the boundaries of what I felt Mostly Autumn was;
"Winter Mountain", "Steal Away", "Boundless Ocean" and "Out
of the Inn" were among these songs and although I did try a
few of these in a short live gig as support to another band,
the project was still very much a studio one.
Shortly after this I changed course and got involved in a
project called "Under The Ivy" with a good friend and
songwriter called Duncan Rayson. Duncan’s song-writing
excited me a lot and we recorded some great songs.
Regrettably we were unable to take the project any further
at that time, though it is something I would like to have
re-approached if time would permit in the future. Sadly
Duncan passed away several years later, meaning that this
can never now happen. Then in 1995, immediately after the
very tragic loss of my father, I wrote the song "Heroes
Never Die". The very first recording of this was still under
the guise of "Under The Ivy" and Duncan also contributed
some powerful lyrics on the song. Later on I decided to
extend the arrangement of the song and create a band that
would be capable of performing it in a live situation. Hence
the return of Mostly Autumn but this time as an eight-piece
band that could go out and play a full concert, not just a
support. From the word go the band worked very well live,
putting in very powerful performances that included some of
my early song ideas and filled the rest of the set with
choice cover versions from the likes of Pink Floyd.
During this period I felt very emotionally charged as I knew
that the death of my father had the direct effect of
re-creating Mostly Autumn. I felt very strongly about
writing and recording a CD that would, in effect, be a
tribute to what I and many others had shared with my father,
Robert Josh. It also dealt with the way one tries to cope
with such a situation. My mother kindly offered to fund the
recording and it turned out to become the album "For All We
Shared" with the song "Heroes Never Die" being the heart of
it. I also resurrected some older ideas and re-recorded
them. It was especially enjoyable to re-visit "The Night
Sky" with it being the very first song relating to the
concept of Mostly Autumn. I had always felt dissatisfied
with it lying in silence since the very first recording in
1989/90 especially as only a handful of people had heard the
About six months later, thanks to a "Classic Rock Society"
concert we were invited to play at, a certain Malcolm Parker
got to hear the album and signed us to "Cyclops Records for
a further two albums. He also picked up "For All We Shared"
and suddenly we had international distribution. The second
album, "The Spirit Of Autumn Past", has a photo of the
inside of "The Lion Inn" at Blakey Ridge on the front cover.
This marvellous pub, which stands alone on top of the North
Yorkshire Moors, is a place I have an immense personal love
for. In fact the singing at the beginning of "For All We
Shared" was my dad directing a few words at me on my 21st
birthday inside the Lion Inn! It has also played a large
part in inspiring Mostly Autumn, and we still occasionally
play concerts there.
Following the first three albums, and whilst supporting
Ritchie Blackmore on his English tour, we were spotted by
Bob Carruthers of Classic Rock Production. It was actually
his daughters that insisted he bought the albums. He was
incredibly enthusiastic and thus signed us to his label. The
extra resources and backing of Classic Rock Productions
enabled us to put out our first live DVD, ‘”The Story So
Far”. We were also able to return to the studio and
re-record a selection of the best material from our first
three albums, using the extra time and resource we had to
recreate those songs more along the lines that they had
naturally developed over several years of being played live.
This was soon followed by the ‘Music Inspired By The Lord Of
The Rings’ CD, recorded in a manic 14 days and nights.
Intended an interim piece of work rather than an album
proper, it was nevertheless great fun to do. However, it was
the “Passengers” album that was our first ‘proper’ album on
the CRP label and a real progression for us musically.
The next couple of years with CRP saw more live DVDs and
live albums – and of course much touring, culminating in the
‘V” Shows of 2004. This was the first time I was really able
to take a major step towards my vision of presenting Mostly
Autumn’s music as a full audio-visual experience – a concept
I intend to develop further in the future.
The 2005 album “Storms Over Still Water” was to be our last
with CRP. It was a difficult decision to make but it was
obvious to me that the best way to forge ahead with the
band’s destiny was on an independent basis. Fortunately the
process was made whole lot easier when, in an event
unprecedented rock history, Bob Carruthers generously gave
us back the rights to all the work we had done with CRP.
And so, on 20 April 2006, Mostly Autumn Records
officially came into being - an event celebrated
with much burning of fires and drinking of ale up in
the Lake District, which has had such an influence
on me and the band’s music.
2006 proved to be quite possibly the busiest Mostly
Autumn year ever for Heather and me in particular.
After the spring tour the whole of the summer was
taken with writing and pre-production of the songs
that would form the “Heart Full Of Sky” album.
Ambitiously we had decided to make the limited
edition version a double album, so basically we had
double the normal workload. September, October and
early November were devoted to recording before we
set off on our winter tour. The workload was intense
and we all felt exhausted by the end of the year but
extremely proud of our achievements.
2007 kicked off with a highly successful gig at the
Astoria in London to launch the general release
version of “Heart Full Of Sky”. This was made all
the more challenging by the fact that Liam decided
it was time for him to leave the band in order to
pursue other interests, and our drummer, Andrew
Jennings, also left. However, I am always amazed how
things work out as not only did the incredibly
talented Chris Johnson step out from behind his
keyboard to show us he could fill any gaps on guitar
too, but we were blessed with gaining the services
of Gav Griffiths on drums.
Things got even better when we were privileged to be invited
to appear as special guests to support Bryan Adams at
Murrayfield Stadium in July 2007. So, from strumming
acoustic guitars under the moonlight as a boy to playing
stadiums. You see, dreams can come true!
And so now I feel incredibly confident about the future. The
songs, the band members, the support form the fans - it’s
all there, in place, ready for us to take yet another step
forward to fulfilling our destiny.
In brief, this is The Story So Far........