Reviews

folking_com new 2016 site logo

Welcome to the folking.com review section.

The folking review team is a small, dedicated group of people with a passion and a commitment for the folk, acoustic and Americana music scene. They review the latest releases, each in their own inimitable style…

All our reviewers give their spare time to bring you this resource and we always looking for new people to get involved who share a similar passion for the genre to help lighten the load. If that sounds like you, then please email us here for more information about joining the folking review team.


All recent review and features posts below (where available) can be ordered below through our UK or US Storefront 

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.

Click banner above to order featured CD/ Vinyl/ Download/ Book/ DVD

Physical link for the UK Store is: https://folking.com/folking-store/


Click banner above to order featured CD/ Vinyl/ Download/ Book/ DVD

Physical link to the US Storehttps://folking.com/folking-us-storefront/


ISLAND GIRLS – Beach Daze (May Monday Adventures MMA6327005)

The Island Girls are Margaret Robertson, piano and fiddle, and accordionist Karen Tweed and the islands in question are Orkney where Beach Daze was recorded. Actually, Margaret is from Shetland and Karen moved to Orkney only a few years ago. Margaret isn’t terribly well-known this far south and is more ...
Read More

BLACK*SCARR – Last Year’s Joke (own label)

Completed last year but delayed by Covid, Johnny Black and Emma Scarr return, joined by Steve Bottcher, with Last Year’s Joke, another album of wry and largely playful songs centred around middle-age malaise, again with Scarr mostly singing lead and rooted in their cocktail of East London country and folk ...
Read More

SINGLES BAR 75 – A round-up of recent EPs and singles

Originally from California and now Nashville-based, ERINN PEET LUKES has enlisted Rachel Baiman to produce her new self-released EPL, a seven-track EP of folksy Americana inspired by the bluegrass music she studied and the pop-rock of her youth, each track taking on a different vibe. It opens with the easy ...
Read More

THE LOW DRIFT – The Low Drift (Cwm Saebren Records)

A new folk-based collaboration between Matt Hill aka Quiet Loner with Emma Thorpe and Huw Costin, both of whom worked with the late Mark Lanegan, The Low Drift is probably the only album you’ll encounter written under the guidance of psychogeographers as, inspired by the likes of Julian Cope, Robert ...
Read More

ROVING CROWS – Awaken (own label)

Having released a fairly subdued EP during and titled Lockdown, the Celtic rock quartet storm back with guns blazing for their fourth album, everything bar two traditional tunes being self-penned. Awaken opens, Caitlin Barrett’s fiddle firing away and punky guitars chugging, with the anthemic call to arms of ‘Awaken Now’ ...
Read More

PETER KNIGHT & JOHN SPIERS – Both In A Tune (KSCD002)

Peter Knight and John Spiers’ second collaboration is the album Both In A Tune - a title borrowed from Shakespeare’s As You Like It (‘Well met, honest gentlemen. I’faith, i’faith; and both in a tune, like gypsies on a horse.’). Recorded and produced by the two much-loved and respected folk ...
Read More

THE HAWTTHORNS – Tarot Cards And Shooting Stars (Mule Kick)

Tarot Cards And Shooting Stars, the second HawtThorns album by Nashville husband and wife duo KP (Kirsten Proffit) on lead vocals and acoustic and electric guitarist Johnny Hawthorn pushes their hook-driven Americana into even more radio friendly and supremely assured mainstream country pop territory, thoughts of peak career Fleetwood Mac ...
Read More

ANDY IRVINE  PAUL BRADY – Andy Irvine  Paul Brady (Mulligan LUN CD 3108)

I should say that Andy Irvine  Paul Brady has been on my (very long) bucket list for many years. I saw Andy Irvine only once back in the 80s and I was bowled over. I bought several of his later albums but this was either unobtainable or too expensive back ...
Read More

AGENT STARLING – Constellation Of Birds (DHM)

A duo comprising Quentin Budworth on hurdy gurdy and bassist Louise Duffy-Howard (aka Lou Loudhailer) respectively based in Bridlington and Hull, with her son Dexter on violin and cello, Agent Starling craft experimental alt-folk that draws as much on traditional influences as it does contemporary sounds, complete with samples. Constellation ...
Read More

INNI-K – Iníon (Green Willow Records GW203CD)

Irish singer Inni-K’s Iníon echoes the thoughtful memory of W.B. Yeats’ words, “And I will have peace there, for peace comes dropping slow”. I suppose in some sort of Jungian psychological archetype, we all wish to return to our own ‘Lake Isle Of Innisfree’. And this album certainly warms the ...
Read More

IAN DAVID GREEN – Songs From The Wheel (own label)

With Songs From The Wheel, the follow up to his 2021 debut album Songs Of The Sea, in company with multi-instrumentalist Marty Hailey, Su-a Lee on cello, fiddle player Rachel Walker, Marcus Britton on brass and back-ups by Heather Macleod, drawing on such influences as Dylan and Cohen, the Liverpudlian ...
Read More

MERRY HELL ACOUSTIC/FLEETWOOD CAVE – live at The Half Moon, Putney.

It’s not often that I begin a live review by waxing lyrical about the support band but Fleetwood Cave impressed me greatly and made a lot of new friends with their set. Furthermore, I have Marion Fleetwood’s permission to say that I think that they are better live. We both ...
Read More

DOM PRAG – Needle & Thread (own label)

A rising star on the folk circuit, produced by Phil Beer Needle & Thread, the second album by the Southampton-born singer-songwriter, features three original numbers alongside seven traditional, variously performed solo or with contributions from Odette Michell, Tom Evans (melodeon), cellist Joely Koos from the City of London Sinfonia, and ...
Read More

BIRD IN THE BELLY – After The City (GF*M Records GFM0013)

Responding to the pandemic and taking inspiration from Richard Jefferies, the Victorian author of the dystopian After London, Elizabethan playwright Thomas Nashe and poems about the impact of the Lancashire cotton famine of the 1860s, the Brighton-based experimental-folk-noir quartet (multi-instrumentalists Tom Pryor and Adam Ronchetti, flautist Laura Ward whose crystal ...
Read More

CARSON McHONE – Still Life (Loose Music)

Carson McHone’s Still Life is a complex tight wired folk-rock tapestry that evokes the organic purity of the 70’s musical quest that always pursued the melody of the perfect circumference of a circular soul. This record haunts those old grooves and vibrates with pretty great tunes. Put simply: This is ...
Read More

JOHNNY COPPIN – River Of Dreams (Red Sky Records RSKCD124)

His first album of new material since 2017’s Christmas-themed All On A Winter’s Night, River Of Dreams finds him in company with regular collaborators Paul Burgess, Dik Cadbury, Geoff March, Gareth Sampson, John Broomhall and Mick Candler for a collection of mostly original material, largely written during lockdown and, sung ...
Read More

THE LONGEST JOHNS – Smoke + Oakum (Decca 3876697)

Signed to a major label deal on the back of last year’s surprise viral TikTok and Top 40 success of traditional New Zealand folk song ‘Wellerman’ from their 2018 album Between Wind & Water, the Bristol shanty-singing close harmony four piece – Andy Yates, Dave Robinson, Jonathan Darley and Robbie ...
Read More

HARRIET RILEY AND ALEX GARDEN – Sonder II (own label HRAG02)

If you delight in placing musicians into pigeonholes you’ll probably need a whole new category for Harriet Riley and Alex Garden. Harriet plays vibraphone and Alex plays violin and octave violin which may sound a bit off-the-wall but really isn’t. They are joined on Sonder II, their second album, by ...
Read More

OYSTERBAND – Read The Sky (Running Man Records RMCD8)

It’s been a long time since Oysterband recorded new music but they are back with a vengeance and Read The Sky. If you want to know what it’s about, turn to the last page of the booklet for the inspirational quotation from Emily Dickinson which concludes “and meet the road ...
Read More

ELLES BAILEY – Shining in The Half Light (Outlaw Music)

Elles Bailey releases Shining in the Half Light on February 25th. It really ought to be Bailey’s "breakthrough album" – you know: the one where all the rave reviews of live gigs are captured on a recording; the one that transcends genre and appeals to music lovers across the spectrum ...
Read More

ALAW – Denwyd I’r Goleuni (Taith Records TRCD00025)

Alaw’s first album, Melody – also the translation of the band’s name – was released nine years ago and their second, Dead Man’s Dance, some four years later. There have been changes since then: Jamie Smith, that ever-present figure in Welsh music, moved on and in the midst of the ...
Read More

GABRIEL MORENO – The Year Of The Rat (own label)

Gabriel Moreno is a Gibraltarian poet, songwriter and performer now living in London. The Year Of The Rat is his third album and we can all guess what year he’s talking about. He’s accompanied by The Quivering Poets, a flexible multi-cultural band who bring unexpected musical textures and rich backing ...
Read More

STEVIE MAC – Be Under No Illusions (own label)

Arriving in my inbox as an on the off-chance submission, Be Under No Illusions is the first full length album by Belfast singer-songwriter Steve McCullough following a  series of EPs and his first new material since 2015, describing it as an “exercise in self-care as I've tried to make sense ...
Read More

SUTHERING – If We Turn Away (own label)

Devon-based via Bristol Suthering’s If We Turn Away is an intricate tapestry of English folk music that, for want of a better phrase, simply toys with the buffeting winds of musical gravity. Julu Irving and Heg Brignall (formally known as Julu & Heg) sing with a weird harmonic disquietude, like ...
Read More

DLÙ – Moch (ARC Music EUCD2956)

DLÙ will be a new name to many, but since this debut album, Moch, suggests we’ll be hearing more from them, perhaps we should start by getting the pronunciation right. It’s D-loo. Like blue with a D replacing the B. It’s based on the Gaelic word Dluth, meaning close, which ...
Read More

KENNETH I MacKENZIE – Glendrian (Caberfeidh Music CMD002)

Kenneth I MacKenzie is not a well-known name in these parts. He’s Scottish, as you might have guessed, a multi-instrumentalist and composer who specialises in whistles and Highland pipes. His new album, Glendrian, takes its name from a deserted settlement in Lochaber and the music ranges across north-west Scotland. Most ...
Read More

HARLEY KIMBRO LEWIS – Harley Kimbro Lewis (own label)

Martin Harley, Daniel Kimbro, and Sam Lewis have, in the authentic acoustic words of Canadian Colin Linden, written an album that’s “got the cure”, and indeed, it’s “got the remedy”. And let’s just say, from the heart of mid-western Wisconsin, America needs this music because it is a “remedy”, what ...
Read More

RACHEL NEWTON AND LAUREN MacCOLL – Heal & Harrow (SHADOW 05)

Heal & Harrow is an investigation of the persecution of “witches” in Scotland or perhaps a commemoration of their lives. The music is written by Rachel Newton and Lauren MacColl and most of the words come from Màiri Kidd who was commissioned to imagine and write the women’s stories. Other ...
Read More

MARK T – Blues @ Zero (Circle Of Sound COS335CD)

Mark T brings his signature mixture of blues, folk and rembetika to his new album, Blues @ Zero, an album of which he’s rightly proud. Mark has had a long career, both as a soloist, band frontman and as a member of Traditional Arts Projects. He first appeared on record ...
Read More

BEINN LEE – Deò (Beinn Lee BL21)

Beinn Lee’s Deò is an album filled with Scottish folk music, suspended in their Hogmanay night celebration, with the always New Year’s visitor friendly offering of dark rye bread. Perhaps, that’s just the way true Gaelic music has always meant to be played - and or - baked. The first ...
Read More

STEVE NOONAN – Dreamland (own label Z1EHA26A)

Twin Cities singer/ songwriter Steve Noonan is set to release his second, full-length album, Dreamland, on January 29th. An industry veteran, Noonan has been honing his craft for decades. Aside from his dedication to the creative process as a musician and songwriter, Noonan has built up quite the resume on ...
Read More

THE TWANGTOWN PARAMOURS – Double Down On A Bad Thing (Inside Edge IER004)

The Twangtown Paramours (what a great name!) release their third album, Double Down On A Bad Thing, on February 4th. The core of the band are husband and wife Mike T Lewis and MaryBeth Zamer from Nashville; Lewis has written nine of the songs and co-written the other three. If ...
Read More

SINGLES BAR 74 – A round-up of recent EPs and singles

Cardiff-based label Tŷ Cerdd Records release Hyperion, the debut 3-track EP from CARA LUDLOW, a twenty-something Welsh singer-songwriter and Assistant Producer for Cardiff Productions, developing documentaries and factual programmes for broadcast.. The title track with its caressing melody, sweeping strings by the Mavron Quartet and yearning, softly sung vocals draws ...
Read More

THE BLUES AGAINST YOUTH – As The Tide Gets High And Low (Escape From Today EFT087)

The Blues Against Youth is a new name to me and As The Tide Gets High And Low came as a very pleasant diversion. It’s the sixth album by Italian singer/songwriter Gianni Tbay. I’m not sure whether the name or the acronym came first or even if Tbay is his ...
Read More

JAMESTOWN REVIVAL – Young Man (own label)

Produced by Texas singer/songwriter Robert Ellis (who also plays on the album), Young Man is the first album by the Texas quintet led by founder members Zach Chance and Jonathan Clay to be recorded in a proper studio, featuring fiddle on all tracks, and no electric guitar. Anchored around theme ...
Read More

AOIFE O’ DONOVAN – Age Of Apathy (Yep Roc Records)

Aoife O’ Donovan’s new album, Age Of Apathy, is a wonderful and very modern American folk record that allows earthy acoustic instruments to float with a soft helium touch. It’s just a biographical (and tangential) idea, but Aoife's music is in cahoots with the scientific string theory, which states (thank ...
Read More

BURBRIDGE AND BOOTH – Icons (ICONSICD)

It’s an odd thing how a piece of music can take you to a particular place or mood or part of life. And there’s something very important about this. I’ll return to these points. Nick Burbridge, musician (McDermott’s 2 Hours) and writer, Dan Booth, fiddle player and founder member of ...
Read More

TRIP – A Drop for Neptune (Trip Music Records CD001)

The contemporary Scottish folk scene definitely isn’t short of talent, and this debut album from Glasgow based band Trip, further demonstrates the scene’s robust health. Crowd funded and recorded during lockdown, A Drop for Neptune is inspired by something that connects us all – the sea. And it’s very impressive ...
Read More

MEGAN HENDERSON – Pilgrim Souls (own label MHM01CD)

Megan Henderson is a fiddler, pianist, singer and composer and a member of one of Scotland’s finest bands – Breabach. Surprisingly, Pilgrim Souls is her first solo album and she has been able to recruit some of Scotland’ top talent to support her: Mairi Campbell, Su-a Lee, Laura Beth Salter, ...
Read More

NITEWORKS – A’ Ghrian (Comann Music CM006)

It must be admitted that folk-electronica is (like most electronica) a genre that has passed me by up to now, so although A' Ghrian (released on 14th January 2022) is the latest of a number of releases by Niteworks, it's the first to have found its way onto my CD ...
Read More

MICHAEL VEITCH – Wachtraum (own label)

Michael Veitch’s Wachtraum (Days Of Dreams) is a lovely folk record with a few pop puzzle pieces played to perfection. And it’s a concept album with songs that cover the seasons of the year. A few comments by my, friend, Kilda Defnut: “This album touches several constellations in the dark ...
Read More

MICHAEL JOHNATHON – Cosmic Banjo (Poet Man Records PMR70031)

His third album in two years, Cosmic Banjo, as the title suggests, sees the Kentucky-based singer-songwriter focusing on his long neck banjo playing skills, adapting Pete Seeger’s technique of using a normal thumbpick, plus an upside down metal pick on the first finger, with a mix of self-penned, traditional and ...
Read More

BEN SURES – The Story That Lived Here (own label)

Ben Sures’ album The Story That Lived Here is filled with “unfinished conversations” and is coloured with characters who “dream of dolphins and having a drink”. Those are nice words - all the way from Edmonton, Canada! The great Paul Simon, whose calm song sung wise demeanor pervades many of ...
Read More

POLICE DOG HOGAN – Overground (Major Tom Records MTCD008)

Police Dog Hogan, for those of you yet to encounter them, combine British folk/pop/rock songwriting with overtones of Americana courtesy of Eddie Bishop’s fiddle and Tim Dowling’s banjo. Overground is their fifth full-length album and I have to say that it’s a belter. The material is all original and the ...
Read More

MATT McGINN – Time Well Spent (own label)

Begun in mid-2021 as the follow-up to Lessons Of War but then placed on the back burner as other priorities took precedence, McGinn’s encounter with Covid saw him use the enforced isolation to finish off Time Well Spent, declaring it far from perfect but at least completed. He’s being a ...
Read More

STEVIE SIMPSON – Sunshine State Of Mind (own label)

Stevie Simpson, colloquially known as One Bloke One Mandolin, probably made the best decision of his life when he decamped to Spain before things here went totally pants. What that means for him playing in the UK again I don’t know - although he recorded this CD in Swindon - ...
Read More

VINNY PECULIAR – Artists Only (Shadrack & Duxbury SADC015)

Alan Wilkes’ fourteenth album since making his solo debut back in 2001, Artists Only is a concept album as such from Bromsgrove’s answer to Ray Davies in that all the tracks are about or inspired by artists, expanding on an idea first explored on 2016’s Down The Bright Stream and ...
Read More

SEAN TAYLOR – The Beat Goes On (own label STCD116)

Sean Taylor’s new release The Beat Goes On is rich in its soundscape. Taylor plays guitars and piano; producer Mark Hallman plays, mostly, bass, drums and Hammond organ; and Michael Buckley plays saxophone on three tracks – but it feels as though the album is infused on rather more with ...
Read More

TOM OAKES – Water Street (Window Weather Records WWR00002)

It is often said that we hear what we want to hear. This could begin to explain my initial reaction to Tom Oakes latest offering, Water Street. The LP is a flute-centred affair which, with tracks like ‘Debussy And The Low B’ as well as several tasteful adaptations of traditional ...
Read More

KEITH JAMES – Can You Imagine? (Hurdy Gurdy HGA 1919)

To misquote somewhat: Keith James’ catalogue is rather like a box of chocolates. He is famed for his interpretation of the songs of other artists, Nick Drake and Leonard Cohen notable amongst them; he is equally praised for settings and interpretations of poetry, in particular Federico Garcia Lorca, and then ...
Read More

CHRISTY MOORE – Flying Into Mystery (Sony 19439645982)

A new studio album from Christy Moore is a rare treat these days. His previous, Lily, was five years ago and in the intervening time he’s been occupied in curating a number of live albums from his archives. Now things have changed again. Flying Into Mystery, for all its enigmatic ...
Read More

LINDA MOYLAN – The Merchant (Talking Elephant TECD470)

Linda Moylan comes originally from Waterford and is now based in London. The Merchant, her second album, was produced by Phil Beer and mixed by Phil and Mark Tucker. Linda has a hand in all the original songs, sharing the writing with Eamon Gilmore, Chris Wyatt and her partner Ian ...
Read More

SARA COLMAN – Ink On A Pin (Stoney Lane Records)

Sara Colman’s Ink On A Pin is a gorgeous tribute to the music of Joni Mitchell. And this album is a departure (and perhaps, even a hejira) from her British singer-songwriter work as witnessed in her last album, What We’re Made Of. But in truth, her own jazz tempered music ...
Read More

DAMIEN McGEEHAN – Kin (MCG002)

Released in October, Damien McGeehan’s new album, Kin, could be described as Irish music, heavily influenced by his native Donegal – which would be both true and also hugely insufficient for the eleven tracks on the album. McGeehan is a Donegal fiddle player (though he also plays mandolin and tenor ...
Read More

GWEN MÀIRI – Douze Noëls (own label TELYNEG001)

Gwen Màiri grew up speaking Welsh in Scotland and now lives in Glasgow where she is, naturally, learning Gaelic. She is a trained harper on the classical pedal harp and the lever harp on which she performs Douze Noëls. Her debut album, Mentro, was a collection of Welsh songs, tunes ...
Read More

THE McDADES – The Empress (own label)

The McDades are a trio… except there are five of them. Jeremiah, Shannon and Solon are the McDade siblings (although Shannon is now Shannon Johnson) and they are joined by Andy Hillhouse and multi-percussionist Eric Breton plus a number of guests. The family are originally from Edmonton, Alberta and followed ...
Read More

STEPHEN JACQUES – Soul Hydraulics (own label) 

Virginia’s own Stephen Jacques has delivered the latest in an extensive discography, his 2021 LP Soul Hydraulics. Known for his work under the moniker Box Of Moxie, Jacques’ output exudes the spirit of a man on a mission, even if the definition of said mission is an ever-evolving concept. On ...
Read More

SINGLES BAR 73 – A round-up of recent EPs and singles

A film composer turned folkie, ROLY WITHEROW follows up last year’s Ballads And Yarns album with a more back to basics five-track EP entitled Down By The River (Earnest Records) featuring both self-penned material and his interpretation of traditional ballads, mostly just voice and acoustic guitar and generally touching on ...
Read More

FLY YETI FLY – Make A Ring (own label)

Fly Yeti Fly’s Make A Ring is a beautiful folk album that, to quote Emily Dickinson, is filled with “only Gossamer, my Gown - My Tippet - only Tulle”. And, like Emily’s poem, Because I Could Not Stop For Death, this album shivers, and knows “no haste”. Great folk music, ...
Read More

CAITRÍONA O’LEARY – Strange Wonders – The Wexford Carols Vol.II (Heresy Records Heresy 026)

If you like your Christmas music in the classic, not to say classical, style then Strange Wonders may be to your taste. Caitríona O’Leary is well-known as a performer of traditional and early music and her wealth of experience shows in her pure and expressive voice. She is supported vocally ...
Read More

UK folk and Americana music website folking.comThanks for stopping by. Please help us continue and support us by tipping/donating to folking.com via paypal.me/folkingcom

We all give our spare time to run folking.com so making a donation/ tip makes all the difference. Our aim has always been to keep folking a free service for our visitors, artists, PR agencies & tour promoters so every little contribution really helps us to keep going.

%d bloggers like this: