April 29, 2016 by Robb Powell
We live in a world full to bursting with not only great, amazing, magnificent music but also hashtags. The # has never been more in-yer-face has it? Gaining in strength and visibility via Twitter, I believe. Now it is also heavily associated with Instagram and even Facebook joined the party late, hands behind its back skulking up towards the mighty #Gods asking if it may also use the symbol. And everyone knows about #-TAG-TREND!
Enough with the short history of the #tag though, and on to today’s #FindFolkFriday post. It is Friday and you can Find fantabulous Folk right here in this post. Created by the wonderfully talented folk singer-songwriting musician extraordinaire Ange Hardy a while back, the intention was – and still is – to gather together people’s folk music recommendations so that everyone can check them out. Not all will be everyone’s cup of tea of course but then that goes for other genres of music too, and for every area of life really.
As Wednesday just gone saw the 2016 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards I thought I would share just a few of my favourites from the nominees and winners. With perhaps a cheeky extra I have been enjoying recently, at the end.
It would not be right to neglect The Creator of #FindFolkFriday to kick things off. Ange Hardy is an incredible artist who works so hard to earn and keep her place amongst the emerging folk elite. I don’t focus wholly on folk so some may say I am not well placed enough to make the claim, but I say Ange Hardy already is one of the folk elite. Her body of work already deserves every award going and she was herself nominated for the Horizon award last year. In fact, she has bagged herself multiple awards and accolades over the last few years as she’s emerged on to the scene.
Wow. Just had a mega goosebump experience watching this live video of Esteesee. I do NEED to see her live again SOON!! Ange is currently working on her next project which sees her teamed up with the equally awesome Lukas Drinkwater. I am very excited about the album a-comin’! http://www.angehardy.com/
This year’s Horizon Award winner, Sam Kelly is a fantastic folk force to be reckoned with! Amassing together a cutting edge team of friends and fellow musicians he has been working with them so hard to keep on getting the music out into the world and touring it. I read a superb interview with the chap just this week (at >>FolkRadioUK<<) where he explained about how he and the guys recorded the stunning debut album The Lost Boys at their self-built home studio. They produced it all themselves too and for me, it has to be one of the best and strongest debut albums I’ve heard. In fact, in my opinion The Lost Boys should have been on the nominee list for Best Album at the awards too. I think the only reason it wasn’t is it came out too late for that year. Here’s to next year and another (of many) award(s) then Sam.
I saw Sam perform live recently with Jamie Francis and Evan Carson as part of another project, The Changing Room. Keeping everything crossed I get to make it to >>Folk At The Hall<< in North Wales in July to see Sam play as the Trio. http://www.samkelly.org/
I am so thrilled The Unthanks won the Best Album award for their outstanding and transcendental Mount The Air. This record just moves me to so many places as it manoeuvres through hidden layers as well as those in plain earshot. It is just so thoroughly flawless and the live experience I attended I count amongst my top favourite gigs, EVER!
I was jumping for joy and punching the air like a loon when they were announced as playing this year’s Beautiful Days festival. Very excited to get to repeat the live experience in a field in Devon at my summer residence. http://www.the-unthanks.com/
KATHRYN ROBERTS & SEAN LAKEMAN
This dynamic duo won the Best Duo award for what I am sure is the third year running. It is very well deserved and I have been enjoying their marvellous mix of folk music since buying their second album at a Seth Lakeman gig then seeing them perform live later that same year at Beautiful Days. Needless to say I was well and truly hooked by Kathryn’s stunning vocals right from the start. First via the recorded album but then live, she takes you to whole new levels. Levels you never knew were there. They are a mighty pair and were up against very stiff competition in this category, including Kathryn’s brother Jamie Roberts, who plays with Katriona Gilmore (Gilmore & Roberts).
I thought I may have missed out on seeing them on their current tour but checking, it is actually 19th May at The Stables. I really ought to get my ticket sorted! I’m on it! http://www.kathrynrobertsandseanlakeman.com/
This band of three came away with the Best Group award (for the second year running) and are very worthy winners indeed. I first came to the music of The Young’uns in perhaps my favourite kind of way, as they warmed up the audience at The Unthanks gig I went to last year. Working it a little bit differently, which was also rather a nice change, they opened up with about three songs then came back again at the start of the second half to sing three more. They are truly mesmerising too with harmonies that will melt you into a pool of sweet summer goo. http://www.theyounguns.co.uk/
Since a friend gave me three Sheelanagig albums last November I have become somewhat rather hooked on 2012’s Cirque Insomnia. I cannot recommend it highly enough! It is a perfect mix of core traditional sounds but with so much more besides. From the intoxicating instrumentals like Lamento Di Tristano, to the urgent raucous romp of Lost In Transitvania and on to the wonderful Vlad The Inhaler. The closing track, though is a sensational song of phenomenal storytelling. I am so wrapped up in this record and a bit overexcited I still have two more to immerse myself in. http://www.sheelanagig.co.uk/
Here’s the latest release from these fabulous folk fellows, Beard Town:
Do make sure you tag your #FindFolkFriday finds up at Twitter.
Now, I promise I didn’t loop or link this all in on purpose but I am closing my next NEW Band of Badgers podcast with a track from this album by Sheelanagig. Do come have a listen from 8PM (uk time) this Wednesday 4th May @RadioKC – rkc.noip.me.