New album release:

An album of songs and music inspired by vintage Ladybird books. Release date 7th March 2022

There is something quintessentially English about ‘How Things Work’, the fragile and charming debut solo album from multi-instrumentalist and award-winning visual artist Simon J Jones.

Better known for his musical work as one third of the acclaimed experimental folk song and storytelling trio Harp & a Monkey, ‘How Things Work’ was born out of the artist’s desire to indulge an enduring passion for vintage Ladybird Books.

The result is a highly distinctive offering that celebrates the role this classic British publishing house has played in the lives of generations of families. Along the way, listeners will discover the essential characteristics of the seasons, the role of computers and history of the postal service, whilst also celebrating the achievements of such key historical figures as Michael Faraday and Charles Dickens.

Jones underpins his eclectic mix of themes with hypnotic curlicues of imaginative harp, guitar, viola and harmonium playing. Followers of Harp & a Monkey may recognise some of the aesthetic sound-beds but will be intrigued to hear Jones’s distinctive tones as he takes a rare foray into lead vocal duties.

A self-confessed fan of “the quirky, intelligent and beguiling”, Jones’s work perhaps sits most comfortably alongside the cult releases of the late folk-maverick Peter Ballamy, clipped pastoral charms of Vashti Bunyan, and gentle understatement of Nick Drake.

Jones adds: “I’m really drawn to making quiet statements – wooing an audience rather than assaulting it. My favourite works often only reveal the full breadth of their charm or message after time. It’s about attention to small details.

“I think that is one of the things that both myself and my children have always loved about Ladybird Books, their commitment to a distinctive and understated quality - both in terms of the narrative content and the often unique visual aesthetic. I hope this collection captures something of that spirit and manages to do it justice.”

An international award-winning art photographer, film maker and animator, Jones has drawn on the distinctive designs of the original Ladybird Books to create a number of short animations to accompany his original and distinctive songs.

Pre-order the album

Track listing:

The Computer

What To Look For In Spring

Navigation At Sea

Interlude One

Space Travel

What To Look For In Summer

Charles Dickens

Interlude Two

Royal Mail

Michael Faraday

The Weather