Based in a small fishing village on the Celtic Sea in North Cornwall, traditional English folk group Fisherman's Friends first began performing portside at dusk (during the summer months) for tourists and locals in 1995.
Built on a foundation of maritime history and its rich oral traditions, and specializing in forebitters, shanties, and traditional Cornish folk songs, the ten-man group claims no bandleader; rather, the spirited army of fisherman, lifeboatmen, coastguards, builders, artisans, hoteliers, and shopkeepers trade off leads, while the remaining vocalists harmonize. The members have been friends since childhood, and learned to sing together at their local Methodist church. The group, who inked a deal with Universal in the late 2000s, released their eponymous debut album in 2010. The record was a surprise success and made the U.K. Top 10 and eventually received Gold certification. After being propelled to stardom, the group toured across the U.K. -- including an appearance on the Glastonbury main stage -- and returned to Port Isaac for a stint of jam-packed summer shows in the small coastal town in 2012. Tragedy struck in early 2013 when tenor singer Trevor Grills and manager Paul McMullen passed away following a freak accident while loading equipment into a venue in Guildford, and all subsequent shows were canceled. Sessions for their second album, One and All, had been completed prior to Grills' death and his lead vocal was prominent on the posthumous release of single "Mary Anne." The group ultimately decided to continue, going on to record two more albums, 2015's Proper Job and 2018's Sole Mates. In 2019, a comedy-drama feature film about the signing of the band, starring James Purefoy and Tuppence Middleton and simply entitled Fisherman's Friends, was released; an accompanying album of the band's songs featured in the film, Keep Hauling, came out at the same time. ~ James Christopher Monger & Scott Kerr, Rovi