BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards 2018 – Winners Revealed

Photo Credit BBC

The winners of the Radio 2 Folk Awards 2018 have been announced in a ceremony broadcast live on BBC Radio 2 and BBC Radio Ulster, from Belfast Waterfront in Northern Ireland.

A key highlight of the music calendar – now in its 19th year – the awards produced by 7digital saw a host of music stars come together in Belfast for an evening of recognition and show-stopping performances. The ceremony was presented by Radio 2 Folk Show host Mark Radcliffe and world renowned Gaelic singer, Julie Fowlis. Talented artists received prizes including Folk Singer of the Year, Best Duo, Best Album, Musician of the Year, Young Folk Award and many more.

Music legend Van Morrison presented the Lifetime Achievement Award to musician and producer Dónal Lunny for his massive contribution to folk music.

Photo Credit BBC

The Good Tradition Award went to the Armagh Pipers Club to recognise their contribution to the preservation, dissemination and progression of traditional music over more than 50 years.

Folk Singer of the Year was awarded to Scottish singer-songwriter and musician, Karine Polwart, a talented artist who is also a theatre maker, storyteller, spoken-word performer and essayist.

Photo Credit BBC

Dónal Lunny took to the stage to perform with acclaimed musician Zoë Conway on the fiddle, and earlier in the evening Cara Dillon performed accompanied by Sam Lakeman on piano and John Smith on guitar.

Photo Credit BBC

Opening the show with a rousing performance of Devil In The Woman was Eliza Carthy & The Wayward Band, driven by brass and electric guitar. And across the night there were also fantastic performances from Lankum, with their song What Will We Do When We Have No Money?, Paul Brady with a solo acoustic rendition of the ballad Lord Thomas And Fair Ellender, and finally, a nine-piece from the Armagh Pipers Club brought the evening to a close with a performance of three specially composed new songs.
The evening included the presentation of the 20th annual BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award, an educational contest that exists to discover the next generation of folk acts. Mera Royle, a young harpist from the Isle of Man, was the recipient.

Photo Credit BBC

Lewis Carnie, Head of Radio 2 said: ‘I’d like to congratulate all of tonight’s winners – the calibre of nominees was extremely high and the wealth of talent that was seen on stage across the evening in Belfast was spectacular. The Radio 2 Folk Awards is an annual celebration of the thriving folk music scene – supporting both established and burgeoning folk musicians – and part of our specialist music content that Radio 2 is proud to broadcast across the year.’

Influential singer-songwriter Nick Drake was inducted into the Radio 2 Folk Awards Hall of Fame to celebrate the lasting impression he has had on folk music, despite passing away at the age of just 26 in 1974. Had he lived, he would have turned 70 this year.

Olivia Chaney performed a special tribute with a sublime piano-based interpretation of Drake’s essential song, River Man. Olivia is a great fan of Nick Drake and a multi-talented singer, musician and songwriter. Her collaboration with The Decemberists, called Offa Rex, was nominated for a Grammy Award in 2017. Her second solo album, Shelter, will be released in June 2018.

Photograph courtesy of Village Voice

Although Nick Drake’s music didn’t garner commercial success during his lifetime, decades after his early death, his music would find a wide and reverent audience. Featuring sublime and original guitar work which is heavy with meaning and mood, his work has been highly influential on singer-songwriters of all kinds. Actor Gabrielle Drake, Nick’s elder sister, was present at the Radio 2 Folk Awards to tell the audience how her famously shy brother might have felt about the occasion.

Later this evening (4 April) at 11pm on Radio 2, Lost Boy: In Search Of Nick Drake will be re-broadcast. In the documentary which originally went out in 2004, Hollywood film star Brad Pitt shines a light on the life and work of the cult singer-songwriter. Featured in the programme are contributions from producer Joe Boyd, engineer John Wood, Fairport Convention’s Ashley Hutchings, Gabrielle Drake and Nick’s late mother, Molly Drake.

The Folk Awards will be broadcast on Sunday 8 April on BBC Four at 9pm and on BBC Two Northern Ireland at 5.30pm, plus selected highlights will be available to watch at bbc.co.uk/radio2 after the show.

The full list of winners:

HORIZON AWARD presented by Jamie Lawson
Ímar

BEST TRADITIONAL TRACK presented by Val McDermid
Banks of Newfoundland by Siobhan Miller

BEST DUO presented by Rab Noakes
Chris Stout & Catriona McKay

MUSICIAN OF THE YEAR presented by Leo Green
Mohsen Amini

BEST ORIGINAL TRACK presented by Ralph McTell
The Granite Gaze by Lankum

LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD presented by Van Morrison
Dónal Lunny

BEST GROUP presented by Finbar Furey
Lankum

HALL OF FAME INDUCTEE
Nick Drake

YOUNG FOLK AWARD presented by Lynette Fay of BBC Radio Ulster
Mera Royle

BEST ALBUM
Strangers by The Young’uns

GOOD TRADITION AWARD presented by Tommy Sands
Armagh Pipers Club

FOLK SINGER OF THE YEAR presented by Karan Casey
Karine Polwart

If you would like to order a copy of any of the winning artists or their albums (CD or Vinyl format), download a copy or just listen to snippets of selected tracks then click below to be taken to our associated partner Amazon’s website (use the left and right arrows below to scroll along or back to see the full selection).

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RY COODER – The Prodigal Son

Photo: Joachim Cooder

The Prodigal Son, Ry Cooder’s first new solo release in six years, is set for release by Fantasy Records on May 11th, 2018. Listen to the lead track, “Shrinking Man” here: https://rycooder.lnk.to/ShrinkingMan

Recorded in Hollywood, CA, and produced by Ry and his chief collaborator, drummer Joachim Cooder, The Prodigal Son is all America – that country’s spiritual, hopeful voices, raw cries and sly provocations, voiced through the songs of the Pilgrim Travelers, The Stanley Brothers, Blind Willie Johnson, and Ry Cooder himself.

The album’s 11 tracks, including three Cooder originals and a carefully selected collection of his favourite spirituals of the last century, share a particular resonance in this time and place, forming an unflinching look at the state of play in modern America.

“I do connect the political/economic dimensions with the inner life of people, since people are at risk and oppressed on all sides in our world today,” he stated. “There’s some kind of reverence mood that takes hold when you play and sing these songs. ‘Reverence’ is a word I heard my granddaughter’s nursery school teacher use, a Kashmiri woman. She said, ‘We don’t want to teach religion, but instill reverence.’ I thought that was a good word for the feeling of this music.”

For nearly 50 years, the immense scope and influence of Ry Cooder’s music has been felt as much, or more than heard. As master musician, producer, songwriter and sage, the Santa Monica, California native has explored music and culture from across the city, the state, the country and around the world. Framed by his expressive vocals and elegant guitar work, this is music for these times. A deft commentary on our ailing moral state, The Prodigal Son is a fearless dive into the country’s soul, and the man, Ry Cooder.

If you would like to order a copy of an album (CD or Vinyl format), download a copy or just listen to snippets of selected tracks then click below to be taken to our associated partner Amazon’s website (use the left and right arrows below to scroll along or back to see the full selection).

Buying through Amazon on folking.com helps us to recover a small part of our running costs, so please order anything you need as every little purchase helps us.

The Prodigal Son Track List:

1. straight street (James W. Alexander / Jesse Whitaker)
2. shrinking man (Ry Cooder)
3. gentrification (Ry Cooder / Joachim Cooder)
4. everybody ought to treat a stranger right (Traditional; Blind Willie Johnson, Arr. by Ry Cooder)
5. the prodigal son (Traditional: Arranged by Ry Cooder /Joachim Cooder)
6. nobody’s fault but mine (Blind Willie Johnson / Arranged Ry Cooder / Joachim Cooder)
7. you must unload (Alfred Reed)
8. i’ll be rested when the roll is called (Blind Roosevelt Graves)
9. harbor of love (Carter Stanley)
10. Jesus and woody (Ry Cooder)
11. in his care (William L. Dawson)

Artist website: http://rycooder.com/

Frank Turner – BE MORE KIND

NEW FRANK TURNER ALBUM ‘BE MORE KIND’ RELEASED MAY 4th 2018

Frank Turner has announced details of his forthcoming seventh studio album. Be More Kind will be released on May 4th through Xtra Mile Recordings/Polydor Records. Months after the release of Songbook, a career-spanning retrospective which also saw reworked versions of tracks from across the past decade, Be More Kind represents a thematic and sonic line in the sand for the 36-year-old. It’s a record that combines universal anthems with raw emotion and the political and the personal, with the intricate folk and punk roar trademarks of Turner’s sound imbued with new, bold experimental shades.

Be More Kind has been produced by Austin Jenkins and Joshua Block, formerly of psychedelic-rock Texans White Denim, and Florence And The Machine and Halsey collaborator Charlie Hugall.

“I wanted to try and get out of my comfort zone and do something different,” says Turner. Fans got a taste of the new material last month with the first track ‘1933’ and this is followed today by new track (and title track) ‘Be More Kind’ which is available now. Of the track, Frank says, “Be More Kind”, the song, is at the heart of the album, both lyrically and musically; when I finished it I could see the rest of the album coming together around it.’’

Turner was halfway through writing a very different sort of album, a concept record about women from the historical record who had been ignored, when he was reading a collection of Clive James’ poetry and one particular line compelled him to re-think his direction. It was from a poem called Leçons Des Ténèbres: “I should have been more kind. It is my fate. To find this out, but find it out too late.”

“It devastated me the first time I read it,” he says. “A lot of older, wiser people tend to say things like that, that the things that come out in the wash at the end of a human life are the way you treated the people around you. In the modern world, that’s a lesson that all of us, myself included could do to learn.”

Turner and his band, the Sleeping Souls, were on tour in the USA in 2016 “when the world decided to go collectively nuts” and the songs that make up Be More Kind started to come together.

“Somewhere in the record, there’s a convergence of the ideas of personal and political, which is a central theme of the album,” Turner says. One of the driving themes of the album is empathy, even for your enemy. “You should at least be able to inhabit the mental universe of the people you disagree with. If you can’t do that, then how do you communicate with people other than through force of arms, which is something we all agree is a bad idea.”

Behind some of the best songs of Turner’s career is the idea that the human race needs to find better ways of disagreeing than screaming each other down. Turner’s last two records, 2013’s Tape Deck Heart and 2015’s Positive Songs For Negative People, dealt with the fallout from a break-up and saw Turner struggling to cover the cracks in his personal life. Now happily in a relationship and living with his partner and their cat, he again set his sights to the bigger picture.

After the stripped-down, live-sounding Positive Songs…, Turner wanted to try a new approach for the record. Originally, he contacted Jenkins and Block at their Niles City Sound studio in Fort Worth, Texas with the idea of recording a white soul album in the vein of Dexys Midnight Runners. He found they were equally enthusiastic when he changed his mind and decided he wanted to record a more rock-led album with tints of electronic-pop. “I have an obscure corner of my music taste where I’m into glitch electronic music and Warp Records,” says Turner. “It’s not an electronic record but I got into arpeggiator synths.” Positive Songs… was cut in nine, intense days whereas Be More Kind was made over a period of seven months, giving Turner the opportunity to turn songs on their head, try different versions and shake up the dynamics within his band.

Now he just has to work out how they are going to play them live. The Be More Kind World Tour will begin in April, with its first leg playing to over 200,000 people across the UK, the USA, Europe, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, taking them through to Christmas. Turner promises that 2019 will include visits to some “slightly more weird and wonderful places.” “My days of being engaged in an arms race to be the hardest touring musician in the universe are behind me now,” he says. “We’re going to tour hard but come home regularly in the middle of it.” The first batch of announcements covers 120 dates. Some old habits die hard. These are songs that demand to be heard and Frank Turner is packed and ready to go.

If you would like to order a copy of an album (CD or Vinyl format), download a copy or just listen to snippets of selected tracks then click below to be taken to our associated partner Amazon’s website (use the left and right arrows below to scroll along or back to see the full selection).

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BE MORE KIND TOUR* – UK & IRELAND DATES:

*Check artist website below for current venue ticket status.

APRIL
13th Manchester, Academy SOLD OUT
15th Dublin, The Academy
18th Belfast, The Limelight
20th Aberdeen, The Garage SOLD OUT
21st Edinburgh, Liquid Room SOLD OUT
22nd Newcastle, O2 Academy
24th Sheffield, O2 Academy
25th Liverpool, O2 Academy SOLD OUT
27th Bristol, O2 Academy SOLD OUT
28th Exeter Uni, Great Hall
30th Cambridge. Corn Exchange

MAY
1st Southampton, Guildhall SOLD OUT
2nd Southend, Cliffs Pavilion
4thLeicester, O2 Academy SOLD OUT
5th Oxford, O2 Academy SOLD OUT
8th Hull, City Hall
9th Norwich, UEA
11th London, Roundhouse, SOLD OUT
12thLondon, Roundhouse, SOLD OUT
13thLondon, Roundhouse, SOLD OUT
14th London, Roundhouse, SOLD OUT

Artist Website: http://frank-turner.com/

Korby Lenker – Thousand Springs

For many artists, stepping into a studio to record an album can be challenging enough. But when East Nashvillian Korby Lenker began working on his seventh album, Thousand Springs, he decided to skip the studio altogether and head to his home state of Idaho to record in places that held particular meaning for him. Venturing forth with his guitar, some recording gear and a tent, he captured his vocal and guitar parts in more than a dozen locales, including the edge of the Snake River Canyon, a cabin north of Sun Valley and his undertaker father’s mortuary.

Then he spent months driving around the country to collect vocal and instrumental contributions from nearly 30 of today’s finest folk talents, among them Nora Jane Struthers, Anthony Da Costa, Carrie Elkin, Amy Speace, Molly Tuttle, Kai Welch, Angel Snow, Becky Warren and the Punch Brothers’ Chris “Critter” Eldridge. In Madison, Wisconsin, Portland, Oregon, Seattle, Los Angeles, Boston, Austin and Nashville, he recorded their work in backyards, hotel rooms and even a bookstore, then went home to edit them into Thousand Springs.

Lenker plotted his plan for Thousand Springs after Nashville-based Turner Publishing Co. released his first collection of short stories, Medium Hero, in December 2015 – an experience that, he says, helped him find his “true voice” (and earned him high praise not only from book-world luminaries including Kirkus Reviews and National Book Award winner Tim O’Brien, but Apple Inc. co-founder Steve Wozniak).

“For me, the two most important qualities of good art are originality and meaning,” Lenker explains. “You’ve got to tell your own story and not try to borrow someone else’s.”

When he moved to Nashville, he quickly discovered singer-songwriters were about as common as pickup trucks. And most of them were about as original.

“It forced me to really dig in and figure out what I did that was different than what everyone else was doing,” he says. “I spent my first three years in town parking cars at a hotel and taking a bunch of chances, creatively speaking. No one really cared about me, which turned out to be very freeing.”

During that period, he wrote many of the stories in Medium Hero, and focused on writing songs that meant something to him rather than worrying about hit potential.

“Along the way, I discovered there was an audience for this approach to telling my story,” he says. It was a thrilling, and empowering, revelation.

In the years since, he’s played everywhere from small listening rooms to Seattle’s world-renowned Bumbershoot festival, delivering what American Songwriter magazine called “huggable folk-pop” on stages shared with artists from Willie Nelson, Keith Urban and Chris Isaak to Susan Tedeschi, Amy Grant and Nickel Creek. Along the way, he’s earned nearly a dozen songwriting awards, including first-place wins at the 2016 Rocky Mountain Folks Festival, 2012’s Kerrville Folk Festival and 2006’s Merlefest. He also placed second in the 2017 Hazel Dickens Songwriting Contest for ‘Friend and A Friend’, a beguiling Thousand Springs track co-written with Molly Tuttle, who sings harmony. Allowing life to imitate art, Lenker also has been conducting a one-man campaign of sorts, engaging strangers for conversation and shared selfies in an Instagram-hosted exercise he calls #MakeAmericaFriendsAgain. (He also touches on that subject in a new song titled ‘Let’s Just Have Supper’. Written and performed with Struthers, it’s not on this album, but the NPR-premiered video, is worth checking out.)

Ironically, while recording Thousand Springs (and making friends), Lenker lost his voice for nearly two months.

Addressing the loss of a dear family member, Lenker wrote the affecting song ‘Wherever You Are’ while his voice was gone. He also visited the Vanderbilt Voice Center, where doctors immediately started him on physical therapy. Soon, he was recording again. He did ‘Wherever You Are’ solo, in one take. It’s one of five songs he penned alone; the other seven are collaborations with a variety of musical friends including Speace, Tuttle, Robby Hecht, Jon Weisberger and Liz Longley.

Coincidentally, the song that precedes it, ‘Mermaids’, has an understated lightheartedness, almost a softer ‘Magical Mystery Tour’/’Yellow Submarine’ vibe, that would easily appeal to kids. Throughout the album, Lenker deftly shifts through a wide range of moods. He captures his love of literature with charming playfulness in ‘Book Nerd’. The opener, “Northern Lights,” is a spare, contemplative tune containing just a couple of verses, but Lenker’s vivid imagery and forlorn voice are all he needs to speak volumes about lost love.

There’s a delicacy to most of these songs, due in part to Lenker’s gentle delivery; in ‘Nothing Really Matters’, he sounds as if he’s whispering in your ear – in a voice that somehow suggests both James Taylor and Michael Franks, delivered in an Afro-bluegrass style. Driven by Jon Reischman’s outstanding mandolin, it’s reminiscent of Paul Simon’s Graceland; Lenker cites both the artist and the album as major influences.

The hardest-rocking track, ‘Last Man Standing’, was written about Chief Sitting Bull after Lenker read Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee. He recorded parts of it at Standing Rock, near Sitting Bull’s grave, a month before the Dakota-Access Pipeline protests began. Musically, the song more or less references his own roots; Lenker started studying piano at age 7 and picked up guitar in his early teens, playing a lot of Neil Young and similar artists before joining the obligatory high-school rock band (his was Clockwork Orange).

“There weren’t a lot of people around me making music,” he says about growing up in Idaho’s isolation. “I had to go out and find it.” His search included attending college in Bellingham, Washington, where he studied music theory – and Phish. Reading about jazz led him to Louis Armstrong and Fats Waller – and to an understanding that, as he puts it, “music had a story, a thread that went from musician to musician, through time.” “The idea of finding my place in that timeline has become more and more important to me,” he notes, adding, “Every time I play a show, I think of it as an audition for the next show. Everything for me is a slow build.”

That might explain another of the album’s delights: ‘Late Bloomers’, in which he sings, Here’s to the late bloomers/Holding on till their time arrives/Some people might have gotten there sooner/But for us, it’s gonna be right on time … No matter how hard the path was/We always knew/No dream can outlast us/When it’s coming true.

For Lenker, as for any of us, some dreams come true and some don’t. That’s just life. But on Thousand Springs, he shares those highs and lows as only an artist with a “true voice” can. And that voice, he’ll never lose.

If you would like to order a copy of an album (CD or Vinyl format), download a copy or just listen to snippets of selected tracks then click below to be taken to our associated partner Amazon’s website (use the left and right arrows below to scroll along or back to see the full selection).

Buying through Amazon on folking.com helps us to recover a small part of our running costs, so please order anything you need as every little purchase helps us.

+ Saturday August 18 Purbeck Valley Folk Festival

Artist’s website links:

www.korbylenker.com
www.facebook.com/KorbyLenker

Ben Harper and Charlie Musselwhite – new single and album


BEN HARPER AND CHARLIE MUSSELWHITE RELEASE LIVELY NEW SINGLE ‘FOUND THE ONE’ FROM FORTHCOMING ALBUM ‘NO MERCY IN THIS LAND’

Gearing up for the 30th March release of ‘No Mercy in This Land’, GRAMMY-Award winning artists BEN HARPER and CHARLIE MUSSELWHITE share a new track from the forthcoming album entitled “Found the One.” Dancing along to a bouncing, Bo Diddley-esque beat, the track is a jubilant and euphoric expression of love, with Ben singing of his luck in finding “the one.” ‘Found the One‘ further showcases the range of emotional depth fans can expect from the album, as it promises to take listeners on a sonic journey through Ben and Charlie’s personal stories of survival. ‘No Mercy in This Land‘ is available for preorder now and will include an IG download of ‘Found the One‘.

Found The One’ is a song about never giving up on finding true love. It’s a song about surrendering to love, getting out of loves way, and letting love do the heavy lifting,

” Harper says of the track. “It was also the one song written in the studio during the recording process of the record – Jason Mozersky started hammering out the main riff on guitar and Jimmy Paxson started coming up with this very unique drum pattern using his drum set along with, of all things, a metal trash can! So the two of them started making a wonderful racket and I immediately jumped out from behind the board. Right away, I knew we had to chase this idea down.”

If you would like to order a copy of an album (CD or Vinyl format), download a copy or just listen to snippets of selected tracks then click below to be taken to our associated partner Amazon’s website (use the left and right arrows below to scroll along or back to see the full selection).

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BEN HARPER: FACEBOOK
CHARLIE MUSSELWHITE: FACEBOOK

Gem Andrews – North

Gem Andrews’ powerful new album ‘North’ is an intimate and stirring collection of songs which tackles themes of mental illness, poverty, community and destitution. In this dark country album, Andrews opens up the murkiest corners of her mind, and tells stories which are in turn despairing, hopeful and furious.

Running through every song is Gem’s spiritual home; the North East of England, sometimes as subject and sometimes as backdrop. The album is infused with the warmth and energy of the region, and pays tribute to local legends, including the late, great poet Julia Darling.

Gem’s songs capture the rage of the North, railing against a political class that have destroyed the livelihood and pride of the people and left them to waste.

If you would like to order a copy of an album (CD or Vinyl format), download a copy or just listen to snippets of selected tracks then click below to be taken to our associated partner Amazon’s website (use the left and right arrows below to scroll along or back to see the full selection).

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The Band
Gem Andrews – Vocals, Guitar, Banjo
Nicky Rushton – Piano, Accordion, Electric Guitar, Harmony Vocals
Sarah Van Jellie – Double Bass, Harmony Vocals
Bernard Wright – Violin, Mandolin, Harmony Vocals
Susanne Lambert – Drums, Percussion, Harmony Vocals

Here is “Calling”, an old gem from Gem.

Artist’s website: http://www.gemandrews.co.uk/