Save the Day
Hieronymus: Jonathan Chalstrey - Katherine Hieronymus - Paul Parry Hieronymus are a band. They play what they want to play. Their mission: to escape that ever-popular tendency of being pigeon-holed, stereotyped or categorised. Luckily for them there is no ONE word that sums up their luscious soundscapes: a mixture of melodic pop and folk, with a smidgen of country, and a dash of electronica and indie. From Ramone's sounding power chords to Erasure-like piano loops, Hieronymus keep their songs varied to entertain themselves and others. Ok Ok, you still can't get around the question "Who or What do they sound like?" Well, lead singer, Katherine, is frequently compared with Karen Carpenter, Natalie Imbruglio, Harriet Wheeler (The Sundays), Nerino Pallot and KT Tunstall to name a few. Oxford, England is their home but lead singer Katherine originally hails from a small town in Georgia - claiming she's not really a redneck but strangely always wears scarves. She went to university in Athens (home to R.E.M., Vigilantes of Love and the B-52's) where her love for music took her by the throat and wouldn't let go. Soon after graduating Katherine found herself living and working in Oxford. While doing her first 'proper' job she met guitarist and future co-songwriter Jonathan Chalstrey. During that time she was doing backing vocals for a local band whose biggest claim to fame was supporting Paul Carrack. Jonathan, who had played in various bands in London and Oxford for most of his adult life, had a suitcase full of songs, could see star quality and convinced Katherine they should form their own band. Bass player Paul Parry came on board and that first concoction called Moose County was born. The band's first break came quickly when a scratchy home-made demo was sent off and accepted so that in 1997 they played their 2nd ever gig at BBC Radio One Sound City Oxford. In those early days their country-tinged sound distinctly stood out in a town awash with indie bands. Over the next three years the band worked hard recording, gigging and perfecting their songs and sounds. In the summer of 2000 Quail Records noticed them at the 12 Bar Club in London and asked them to contribute to a folk compilation CD called 'Women of Heart and Mind', which received great reviews from Q and fRoots: ============== "extends far beyond gentle strumming Powerful performances" (4 stars) - Q Magazine ============== After a change in 'personnel' and new direction in sound with the purchase of an old synthesiser the band changed it's name to Hieronymus. Stepping out in their new guise, they performed in Oxford's premier music festival for new artists, the Oxford Punt to rave reviews in May 2001. They soon became local folky pop heroes. Encouraged by the great feedback Hieronymus set to work on a full length album. In 2001 Hieronymus released their debut full length album, 'Alone in This Tree' also available on CD Baby to some great reviews (scroll down to see highlights). After releasing and promoting 'Alone in This Tree' Hieronymus were keen to get right back into the studio. They started writing and recording another album in various studios in and around Oxford. Little did they know it would be a four year process! But that's exactly how long 'Save the day' took to make. It was a long journey and along the way they sadly said goodbye to their longstanding drummer, Mark Narusson. They decided therefore to bring in the help of a few local drumming legends such a John Halliday from The Candyskins and Greig Stewart from The Guillemots (who are currently riding high along a popularity wave in the UK.) Hieronymus have always been in touch with their roots and as such it was an honour for them to also have guest violinist Ric Sanders play on three of the tracks. Ric who is a member of legendary Fairport Convention brought beauty and light to these songs not to mention toe cramps (from all the foot tapping). 'Save the day' sees Hieronymus doing what they do best. Melodic pop with a twist. With lyrics sharp and sometimes bitter and twisted they want you to sit comfortably but maybe not for too long. Praise for 'Alone in this tree': 'Alone In This Tree' CD review - from Guitar Magazine "For those that love lusciousness of the kind you get from music that's Carpenters-meets-St.Etienne - with The Sundays droppin' in for a scone'. ============== 'Alone In This Tree' CD review - from Logo Magazine "With her thick, dulcet tones and considered sass, Katherine is tailor made for FM radio. A sublime dash of melodic pop that paints Hieronymus as a serious future threat to any contemporary chart topper." ============== 'Alone In This Tree' CD review - from oxfordbands.com "Alone in this Tree must surely be the most polished release we've received. Liberally sprayed with FM sheen and buffed to a retina-burning shine, all the tracks on offer here would sound perfectly at home on commercial radio." ============== 'Alone In This Tree' CD review - from the Oxford Mail "Hieronymus has until now been a relatively unknown local treasure. Fortunately for music lovers things are about to change. A class act." ============== 'Alone In This Tree' CD review - from Nightshift Magazine 'Morning lie-ins, wistful contemplation, sunlight through windows, dissatisfaction, pastel colours, frustration, soft interiors, reflective solitude, warm breezes, and a sense of not being in love but stoically comfortable and hopeful of change. You could throw in, fruit'n' fibre and blue sky thinking, they wouldn't mind. From the sound of their debut album, Hieronymus are not about to get into a pillow fight about it, they don't do hysterical angst or drug-fuelled feedback. It all stems from the voice: dulcet, low and reassuring. Singer / lyricist Katherine Hieronymus, originally from Athens, Georgia, but for the last decade an honorary Brit, sounds like a modern day Karen Carpenter, without the gushy kitsch, as she takes on the heartland of The Sundays, with 'Clueless' and 'Never', and the sassy poppiness of Shania Twain, in 'Shy With Me' and 'Star' ('I want to be a star in my own life / Don't want to be an extra in yours'). But 'Alone In This Tree' is more than a necklace of smooth, well-rounded beads of airy songs. It's in the running order and studio production that the band go beyond convention . The splashes of electronica slinking throughout, like ghosts in the machine; the sample bursts of soprano opera in the remarkable 'Tragic Truth' and film dialogue of Cary Grant from An Affair To Remember in the utterly infectious 'Go Dry', all show a masterful touch. The album finishes on the triumphant note of 'Burning Bridges', swathed in an 80's stadium rock drumbeat, last heard when John 'The Voice' Farnham threw back his shoulders and marched into the sunset. Thankfully, they stop short of mixing bagpipes to it. Add tales of disillusionment and alienation ('Dragonfly'); love as vehicular paranoia ('Afraid'), and straightforward self-questioning ('Talk Me Down'), and you end up with a very fine debut album, the sort you can wake up, or calm down, to, without tripping over any duff fillers. Life as one big sigh.'