About Hobnail

Training at Altitude photo shoot at Masterton airfield 1998

Training at Altitude photo shoot at Masterton airfield 1998

It has been 25 years since Hobnail (then Hobnail Boots) made their first tentative steps in the world. Rob Joass (singer/songwriter) and Jo Moir (vocals/violin) had previously played together in the short-lived Wild Blue Yonder, an acoustic folk/pop band influenced by the likes of Paul Kelly and The Go-Betweens, their career highlight opening for Suzanne Vega!

Hobnail
was a different animal back then, starting life as a party band playing Celtic and country music, but always with a solid slice of original material thrown in. Finding their original material as popular with audiences as the cover versions, they started taking things a bit more seriously, recording and touring their own music. They were invited to play in North America on the back of their first 2 albums; "Deboot" (1996) and "Training at Altitude" (1998). Dates in England and Germany followed. Great gigs, great times.

 

Warming up back stage at Wellington Summer City 2004

Warming up back stage at Wellington Summer City 2004

Things changed when families were started, as the business of life meant that touring the world wasn't such an option. But this band has a commitment to their music and each other, so they continued working together - touring around NZ and releasing albums whenever they could. Earlier influences resurfaced, and at this point there was a noticeable shift back to a more folk/country sound. 

 

 

 

Photo shot for The Fortune Horses at Tauherenikau Racecourse, 2007

Photo shot for The Fortune Horses at Tauherenikau Racecourse, 2007

2007 saw a return to active service and the fabulous Caroline Easther was recruited on drums. Together with Rob and Jo, bassist Hamish Graham and guitarist/singer Bill Hickman they recorded "The Fortune Horses" which was nominated for best folk album at the 2009 NZ music awards. A concert at Wellington's Paramount Theatre was filmed by acclaimed director Costa Botes, and released on DVD in 2008. 

 

 

 

Hobnail Boots in 2010

Hobnail Boots in 2010

In 2011 Rob started work on what he thought would be a solo album. But as it evolved it became clear that this was a Hobnail album. Hamish, Caroline and Jo had contributed to many of the arrangements and Hobnail were already playing many of the songs live. "Baggage" was released to great reviews, with the title track being nominated as a finalist for Best Country Song at the 2013 NZ Music Awards.

 

 

In 2015 Hobnail released their 6th album, "String Things", which was the most popular of their career (to that point). It was a 21st Birthday album and a bit of a retrospective, including new songs, old favourites re-recorded and some crowd-pleasing cover songs they have made their own, and it also featured many guest performers including Wayne Mason, Dusty Burnell and Kim Bonnington. The subsequent tour took in new towns around NZ and saw audiences growing wherever they went.
Their 7th album "Blue Sky Songs" was released in 2017, again with a national tour, great reviews and growing audiences. "A band that just keeps getting better" as one reviewer put it.

They often get asked how they have made it to 25 years. There is a Michael Leunig cartoon that Rob likes to quote called "How to get there." "….keep going towards the horizon. Sit down and have a rest every now and again. But just keep going, keep on with it. Keep going as far as you can. That's how you get there."

So now, 25 years on, Hobnail celebrate 25 years of recording and performing music around NZ and the world with their "Boots And All" national tour and "Best Of" album.


For more information, pictures or interviews contact Rob Joass 0274 500615 or robjoass@gmail.com