Formed in 2011, father/daughter folk duo Hither and Yon hail from the Canberra region. Performing their own crowd pleasing compositions about lost love, current tragedies and the antics of the local fauna, they use vocal harmonies and accompany themselves on guitar.
They also sing traditional Irish, Scottish and Australian folk songs ranging from rollicking Aussie shearer’s songs to traditional celtic ballads.
Occasionally performing with family member Lyndal, they weave musical stories with emotion and artistry. Tom has been re-incarnated from a formerly well-known, but now sadly defunct, Canberra bush band, while daughter Heather burst out of local music programs, stage musicals, choirs and choruses.
They’ve performed locally and as far afield as the Innerleithen Music Festival in Scotland. With guitars in hand and voices at the ready will have you singing along to old favourites and humming their original tunes long after the show is over.
Background to band members
Tom Jordan – founder – Tom has been singing and playing guitar since his teens but only fell into song writing when he turned 60 (after many years, it must be said, of also writing poetry). Tom’s extensive Australian repertoire grew during a decade as dance caller and lead singer for Canberra bush band, the Ettamogah Philharmonic Orchestra, in the 1980s and early 1990s.
The turning point to songwriting came at the Bulli Folk Festival in 2011 when tom did a song writing workshop with John Broomhall. Out of this came his first song, Old Murramarr, about the Milky Way.
Since then Tom has practised songwriting his craft by setting existing poems (e.g. by Banjo Paterson) to music, putting his own words to others’ tunes (e.g. Circle Tumburumba, about the number Pi) and by writing new lyrics and music (e.g. Old Murramarr, Rock of the North and many others). Tom’s songs are deeply personal, reflecting his childhood in Goulburn (Days of Gold), stories of growing up (The Rock of the South) and more recent experiences (The Man Bench). They can also be quirky and upbeat, reflecting on local events (Light Rail), encounters with local fauna (Wombat Hymn of the Republic) and general life events (The Curry Song). Tom also reflects his Celtic and Australia heritage through traditional songs from both cultures.
In his spare time Tom now sings barbershop bass with The Canberra Chordsmen and his own quartet The Corduroys. He also plays rhythm for the Canberra Scottish Fiddlers. In a former life he performed minor lead roles for several Queanbeyan Players performances, including Camelot, Li’l Abner and the Mikado.
Lyndal Thorburn – member – Lyndal (Tom’s wife) learned piano from an early age and then moved in to classical singing as a soprano. On moving to Canberra in 1979 she took to the local theatre stage with gusto, performing with both Canberra Philharmonic and the Queanbeyan Players as chorus member and dancer in a diverse range of shows (e.g. Kiss Me Kate, Brigadoon, Oklahoma) and later as makeup artist.
Lyndal creates many of the magical harmonies for which Hither and Yon is known and also managed production of each of their 3 CDs. She also provides much of the rhythmic support for the duo, through percussion and ukulele. Ever one for a challenge, Lyndal took up violin in 2013 and is now playing fiddle in local Irish and Old Timey sessions, as well as with Canberra Scottish Fiddlers.
Lyndal also sings barbershop tenor, with the award winning Brindabella Chorus, and has her own fledgling quartet, Shaken Not Stirred. She spent several years as section leader for the bass section of the chorus, and coordinates the national Southern Cross Regional Arrangers Program. As an arranger, she arranges modern and older songs for barbershop and a cappella singing, selling these online through SMP Press.
Heather Jordan – former member, founder – Heather (Tom and Lyndal’s daughter) co-founded Hither and Yon and wrote many of the songs on their first two albums. Heather is a guitar player whose love of music was kindled at school, during which time she was selected through national auditions for two seasons of Gondwana Voices, and learned cello. She took up the guitar towards the end of her school years (really, it’s a cello sideways!).
Heather has a wonderfully deep voice and after leaving school sang women’s bass with Brindabella Chorus. Her song writing started at about the same time as Tom’s, inspired by his success with John Broomhall. Her songs are also largely based on personal experiences, including sad late nights (No More Vodka and Tonic Phone calls), bad dates (the Bad Date Song) and fabulous holidays (Nor’n Iron).
Sadly, Heather is not singing with Hither and Yon at the moment, but can be heard on the band’s CDs Come Hither and Nor’n Iron
CD Review by John Williams
Hither and Yon is a three piece group from the Canberra area comprising Heather Jordan (vocals and acoustic guitar) Tom Jordan (vocals, acoustic and slide guitar) and Lyndal Thorburn (vocal backing, percussion, banjolele and flute). The music was arranged by Lyndal and Tom.
Heather composed six of the tracks and Tom composed four.
Sue Kaufmann also participates in three tracks on the cello.
The opening track is the lovely song ‘Braes of Balquidder’ (Will you go Lassie go). It is a sensitive version.
To continue in this sensitive mood the following track, written by Heather, ‘Polaris’ is about a friend helping another through hard times.
Tom follows with his composition ‘The Rock of the South’ which I enjoyed.
Heather’s ‘This Gold Band’ is a poignant track about a marriage breakup.
Heather also composed the title track Nor’n Iron.
‘The Moth and the Flame, also composed by Heather is easy to listen to.
‘Old Murramar’ composed by Tom features his slide guitar to great effect.
Tom’s ‘Coffee Corner’ has a more upbeat feel to it.
I liked the feeling of a time gone past added to the present reality.
A Banjo Paterson poem with music composed by Tom ‘At the Melting of the Snow’ was enjoyable.
I found his musical treatment of another work by Banjo ‘Sunrise on the Coast’ quite mournful which doesn’t fit with my view of Sunrise as the best time of the day.
The traditional song ‘The Streets of Forbes’ was a sensitive version that created the sadness of a song attributed to Ben Hall’s Father in Law.
It can’t have been a happy time for those who knew Ben Hall and this feeling is conveyed through the sensitive rendition. It was arranged by Lyndal and Tom.
Their version of ‘Lachlan Tigers’ is a quieter version than many others I have heard over the years which I thought was an interesting idea.
I liked it but listeners used to the more raunchy versions may disagree.
This is the first CD by this trio and they should be encouraged to continue writing their own compositions.
I enjoyed their efforts and especially congratulate them on trying some new ideas for old poems songs.