Seductive, sultry and full of energy. The HopYards provide a full and rousing evening’s entertainment with some comic humour played out between the band members.
The HopYards blend together a unique musical take on well-known and popular Jazz and Blues numbers including Want You Back by The Jacksons, I’m Not the Only One by Sam Smith, The Nearness of You by Hoagy Carmichael along with more obscure numbers such as Put a Lid on It by The Squirrel Nut Zippers and more contemporary works including Norah Jones’s
Cold Cold Heart.
The HopYards play for both public events and private functions. Recently the band has played at Sutton-On-Trent Music Festival (2017 & 2018) , The HopBarn (2017 & 2018), along with a number of private functions such as birthday parties and charity fundraisers. The Band will be returning to The HopBarn in the summer 2019 for the annual Summer Blues and Jazz evening
The Band Offers Two Distinct Sets
5-piece set comprising;
3-piece set comprising:
The HopYards - A Forever Evolving Story
Back in 2010 when Stuart Poole embarked on transforming a group of old farm buildings into a purpose built music venue, a principal and guiding motivation was to create a suitable studio space in which the band he and fellow musicians had formed, could practice without causing undue stress amongst other members of the farms household. Music practices during this time had often taken place in the main front room of the farm house, and whilst every attempt was made to ensure the loudness and dynamisms of their rehearsals did not impact the remaining family members, over time an alternative and separate space away from the main house became desperately needed. Work therefore began on converting the old milling barn (now made dormant due to a change in the farms structure) into thebeginnings of what would later be known as The HopBarn.
The bands early focus looked to create a lounge bar feel, one that would incorporate a feeling of laid back jazz presiding over evening cocktails or an intimate dinner for example. For anyone who has ever seen the classic film The Fabulous Baker Boys with Michelle Pfeiffer, Jeff Bridges and Beau Bridges, the films style and musical focus took the band down a similar path, attempting to simulate a classy and seductive quality without appearing to be too ‘in-your-face’ when presented to audiences. Here it was hoped that through their slow and often quiet depiction of popular jazz numbers, the audience’s inquisitiveness would naturally cause them to listen. Getting the right wasn’t exactly easy though and whilst the combination of piano, sax and drums did well for a short period of time, the group set up seemed to lack spontaneity or character. The danger being that all the songs were played with the same focus and musical output.
To give the group a fresh direction and perhaps to re-imagine the leading figure Michelle Pfeiffer portrayed in The Fabulous Baker Boys, they were joined by a female lead singer whose classy and seductive quality was exactly what they were looking for. Shortly following, a bass guitar player also joined providing a further and much needed musical texture that resulted in a 5 piece set comprising of piano, sax, bass guitar, drums and lead vocals. The group worked hard to offer an exciting, dynamic and varied set, whilst also offering further opportunities to follow their own direction and musical interpretation.
The band during this period did well. They played regularly within the local area and managed to secure a number of gigs. Whilst the majority were private functions, there were also a number of festivals that the band were invited to play at, helping them to gain much needed and important exposure.
In 2015 the band underwent a dramatic change. The loss of the original sax player shortly followed by the bass guitarist brought in a new energy to the group with local musician and sound engineer Mike Mellor providing a varying range of musical expertise. Mike’s experience on double bass as well as bass guitar offered the band additional opportunities to explore a more diverse and varied set. Mike also brought in through his experience as a competent sound engineer further opportunities in relation to music production. The introduction of a new drummer also resulted in the band re-focusing their set numbers and prompting a re-think to the bands musical direction and purpose. Here the focus switched and there was suddenly a desire to play music that would excite and stimulate. Whereas before, the group would now explore fast paced and energetic jazz pieces along side slow and seductive sets that had been played previously.
This new direction challenged the group, and to help bring this new direction across, a new lead singer encapsulated the essence of the bands new focus through her voice and energy whilst on stage. This was a bright new beginning for the band and one that brought them out into the open.
In July 2017, the inclusion of Spanish musician Juan Pino Delgardo on saxophone and clarinet brought back the loss of a vital musical component when the original sax player left the band in 2015. Pino’s professional music career catapulted the musical direction to new heights bringing back the vital sound needed for Jazz and blues numbers. Pino’s down-to-earth approach coupled together with his sound musical competency, offered the band a new and important musical lead, one that would complement the lead singer, bass, piano and drums whilst also presenting fantastic solo opportunities that made each set number uniquely distinct.
Finally, with the inclusion of Leona Ashley who in the spring of 2017 joined the band as lead singer, the band had now secured a real asset to the jazz and blues direction being pursued. Through Leona’s sultry and seductive voice, on-stage presence and subtle banter played out between the other members of the group, the band had evolved significantly, adapting themselves to produce a truly exciting line up.
The HopYards are now joined by young Saxophonist Will and Drummer Richard who both joined the band in the summer and autumn 2018 and have yet again provided a new and exciting direction for their music.