Hollowbelly (John Farr)

Musical Styles: Blues, Punk, Lo-fi, Originals

Handmade Instrument Played: Cigar Box Guitar

“I struggle to understand these blues artists who endlessly retread the old blues standards – have they nothing to say? Are they so vacant they have to sing other people’s words?” – John Farr aka Hollowbelly.

Hollowbelly is nothing if not proudly punk, lo-fi, and DIY. Born in a working class area of England, Hollowbelly grew to despise what he calls social injustice and loathe conformity.

His musical career began playing in a cabaret band from the ages of eight to 15. Special licenses were procured to allow such a young individual play in the working-men’s club circuit. Even at that tender age, Hollowbelly was known to gig relentlessly.

It was during this time that Hollowbelly developed a strong disdain for how the northern English working class were downtrodden and thusly his passion for DIY and artistic freedom flourished.

Hollowbelly was introduced to the cigar box guitar after stumbling across them on the internet. It was the influence of two men in particular, Shane Speal from the U.S., and Chickenbone John from the U.K. that Hollowbelly calls to attention as being central to this introduction.

Falling in line with his passion for all people to be on level playing fields, Hollowbelly was smitten by the ease of making a cigar box guitar. In particular, the open tuning often used on CBGs spoke to his desire for people of all classes and education to have music available to them.

After having taken several years off since performing in his punk days, Hollowbelly has made his own CBGs and one-man-band setup to record and gig anew. He has performed throughout Europe spreading the message that people can and should stand up, think and create for themselves.

Hollowbelly’s website: http://www.hollowbelly.co.uk/