Welcome to the 2017 Folking Awards. Last year’s inaugural poll was such a success that we had to do it again. The nominations, in eight categories, come from our ever-expanding team of writers and were wrangled into shape with sweat, tears and not a little blood by the Folkmeister and the Editor.
There are five nominees in each category, all of whom have been featured in the pages of folking.com in 2016.
As with the format last year, all are winners in our eyes. However, its not just down to what we think, so again, there will be a public vote to decide the overall winner of each category.
Soloist Of The Year
Cathryn Craig & Brian Willoughby
Ange Hardy & Lukas Drinkwater
O’Hooley & Tidow
Show Of Hands
Afro Celt Sound System
Harp And A Monkey
Nancy Kerr and The Sweet Visitor Band
Best Live Act
The James Brothers
Robb Johnson and the My Best Regards Band
Sam Kelly & The Lost Boys
Mad Dog Mcrea
Tall Tales & Rumours – Luke Jackson Ballads Of The Broken Few – Seth Lakeman/Wildwood Kin Preternatural – Moulettes Somewhere Between – Steve Pledger Dodgy Bastards – Steeleye Span
Rising Star Act
The Brewer’s Daughter
Said The Maiden
Emily Mae Winters
Best International Act
The public vote closed Midday Saturday 22 April 2017 and the winners have now been announced HERE
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Laid up after a rollerblading accident, Selis took time to take stock of why she was making music, especially given that, after eight albums (nine if you include her Christmas collection), she had still not broken down the crossover wall between a loyal following and wider acceptance. It also allowed her to take a look at her life. The result was See Me With Your Heart, a collection of songs which, she said, allowed her to “face the wounds without flinching and learn to celebrate the scars”, and which are linked by the concept of unconditional love, of herself as much as anyone.
As such, the titles often speak volumes, kicking off with ‘Fearless Heart’, a punchy Petty meets Lucinda country-rock swagger about finding the strength and courage to let down your defences and take a step into the unknown as she sings “one day I’ll embrace the weakness that has caged my soul, I’ll surrender to the grace and freely fall“. Likewise on the metaphorical journey of ‘Still Have A Long Way To Go’ where she rolls out the southern gospel blues while producer Kenny Greenberg supplies the wailing guitar.
It’s one of the few songs here that cranks up a gutsy noise, the others being the tribal bluesy stomp of ‘Little Wars’, a song about pulling back from confrontation in order to save a relationship, and the Stonesy country strut ‘Slow Down’, its chorus of “Slow down let me catch my breath, shorten your stride so I can match your step, take your time give my heart a rest” sharing melodic kinship with the Pointer Sisters’ ‘Slow Hand’.
In keeping the introspective mood, the majority of the numbers are ballads. The title track (actually written as a submission for an animated film of The Little Prince) is a yearning plea for emotional rescue that tellingly sits alongside the equally aching and openly vulnerable country-torch ‘Can’t See Past Myself’ where “the mirror of my pride is hiding the reflection of all that I could be if I could see that I am you and you are me.” The theme carries over into the shimmering and soaring ‘Beautiful Dreamer’ (“I used to try to bring you down, and then I stepped inside your dream and I found out there’s so much more to see”).
That need to look beyond the external is also there on ‘The Man He Never Was’, a painfully poignant song in which she seeks to reconcile her childhood memories of her father, her ‘shining knight’ with the reality that she felt there was something missing when she sings ‘did he know how much I needed him. Was he holding something back or was it all he had to give.’
In the slow burning ‘Already Gone’ there’s the recognition that, if you’re not ready to give all of yourself, sometimes things cannot be saved or changed as she sings of a broken marriage where “She thought it would last for forever When they promised and gave their vows……she didn’t say the words he wanted to hear, she thought love could hold back his fear so she listened for hope and realized it was already gone.” However, this is a rare moment of defeat in an album that, generally, looks to break down the walls that hold you back and live life to the full, as powerfully encapsulated in the slow waltzing southern country gospel blues of ‘While The Night Is Still Young’, a refusal to go gentle into that dark night (“Whether I roll like Willie or crash like Hank, I wanna pull into heaven with an empty tank”).
Appropriately, given the album’s swings between determination and hesitation, between hope and uncertainty, but its belief that an open heart can bring healing and change, it closes with ‘Love Has The Final Say’, a song that, underpinned by piano, opens on a downbeat note of resignation as she sings “what happened to our dream the passion we once knew. You smile and look away but your eyes betray the truth. The crashing of the world the disillusioned crowd has broken us like stone and left us shattered on the ground”, but, while tears can’t wash away words spoken, it builds to a soaring capital-lettered climax of “AFTER EVERYTHING IS SAID AND DONE IT’LL BE OKAY THERE’S NOTHING TO EXPLAIN BABY, KEEP THE FAITH ‘ CAUSE LOVE HAS THE FINAL SAY.”
In the sleeve notes she says “these songs have changed me forever and allowed me to be whole again. My prayer is that they might do the same for you.” Amen to that.
To support the UK release of FAMILY TREE, Eve Selis and her full band will be touring the UK during June and July 2012. Venues include The Met in Bury, The Sage in Gateshead and Norwich Arts Centre. Eve and the band will also be playing at the prestigious Maverick Festival in Suffolk and also at the Americana International Festival at Newark County Showground. For the full list of tour dates please see the attached document.
“Eve is a deeply creative, caring artist who gives everything to her craft. As a live performer she is awesomely powerful, as a recording artist she is both sensitive and strong. I love her spirit and I love her music. She deserves to shine.” Bob Harris-BBC Radio2
As winner of 7 San Diego Music Awards in Americana and Adult Alternative, Eve Selis is no stranger to Roots music. Her newest CD FAMILY TREE features 14 sturdy tracks drawn from the dark, rich soil of American music. From the swamp-rock of Rubber and Glue to the plaintive country heartbreaker Don’t You Feel Lonesome to Leonard Cohen’s majestic masterpiece Hallelujah, Selis and her band dug deep to create a towering opus of interconnected musical branches, all dripping with Selis’s indelible “honey chipotle” voice.
“This CD sums it all up for me,” Selis explains. “I got to explore all the different styles of music I love; I got to co-write with all my favorite songwriters (Marc Intravaia, Kim McLean, Calman Hart, Rich Wiley, Doug Crider); I got to sing wonderful songs about the things that mean the most to me — loss and love, sadness and joy, hardship and triumph, faith and family; I got to record with the best band in San Diego, with the best studio team I’ve ever worked with…I couldn’t be happier about this CD.”
FAMILY TREE was recorded at San Diego’s premiere recording facility, Big Fish Studio in Encinitas, under the guidance of Grammy® winning producer, Steve Churchyard. Recording “old school” to 2-inch analog tape, Churchyard captured the warmth of Selis’s unique style, both explosive and tender, allowing him to recreate the natural sound of her live performance. Musical partner, Marc “Twang” Intravaia remarked: “…we hadn’t recorded to tape in 20 years.”
After final takes, the tracks were then brought into the digital world by transferring them to ProTools on a Mac for overdubs, where Churchyard took advantage of all the latest digital tools to create a 21st-century record that sounds like it could have been recorded in the musical heyday of the ’70s.
The recording of the CD was financed entirely by fans of the Eve Selis band via the crowdfunding web sites Kickstarter and PledgeMusic. A video appeal on both sites asking everyone to be a part of her “record label” brought in donations from $10 to $10,000. This allowed Selis to not only record at Big Fish with Churchyard but to hire renowned musician Albert Lee, described by Eric Clapton as “…the greatest guitarist in the world.” She also brought in acclaimed sidemen, Dennis Caplinger on fiddle, mandolin, dobro and banjo and Rick Schmidt on steel guitar.
Mastering was done in Nashville by Best Engineer Grammy® Award winner Richard Dodd, known for his work with The Dixie Chicks, Big and Rich, Martina McBride, Brooks and Dunn, Tom Petty and many more.
Following on from their hugely successful release SONGS FROM THE BRICKHOUSE, Society are back in 2011 with A CROOKED MILE. This stunning new release is guaranteed to bring the trio even more praise from media and audiences alike. For those that don’t know Society are a three piece country rock band from West Sussex who specialise in gorgeous three part harmonies that set them apart from the current crop of Americana or country rock wanabees in the UK. The band comprise guitarist Matt Wise, bassist Ben Lancaster and holding down the beat, F.Scott Kenny on drums. Their recorded and live sound has echoes of C.S.N.Y, The Band, The Heartbreakers, The Jayhawks and the late great Ronnie Lane and Slim Chance. Matt Wise composes most if not all of their material and when all three sing in harmony the result is simply stunning, this shown perfectly at the 2011 Maverick Festival where they had the audience spellbound listening to their live performance.
Since forming in 2004 Society have supported many great artistes including Eve Selis, Deadstring Brothers, Corb Lund, Luke Doucet and The Wailin’ Jennys. Apart from their own UK headline shows, Society have completed two tours of Canada along with a string of dates in the American mid-west gaining a whole new legion of fans in the USA.
This constant touring has honed both their musical and vocal chops and in the summer of 2011 Society returned to the studio to produce A CROOKED MILE, recorded both at the Brickhouse Studios near Brighton and the bands own Downland Studios located near Gatwick. Matt Wise was in the producers’ chair, ably assisted by engineer James Gasson.
The album is once again a collection of eleven original songs from the pen of Matt Wise and arranged by all three band members. Guest musicians featured on the album include Spencer Cullum who is one of the foremost young pedal steel players around today, Ben Davies and James Batchelar on keyboards, Pat Kenneally on melodica/piano and added pedal steel is supplied by Chris Pritchard.
The songs on A CROOKED MILE once again echo their love and passion for all things West Coast USA, Laurel Canyon and the great country rock music produced in the late 1960s/early 70s, yet their sound is brought into the 21st century with a distinctly indie feel. Stand out tracks include 40 Days, a stunning and anthemic crowd pleaser, Blues Flag, reminiscent of The Band at their finest, the bluegrass influenced Davey and the perfect opening track Wheels A’ Turning, country rock at its very best.
2011/2012 will see Society touring the UK to support the release of A CROOKED MILE and already the band are confirmed for several festival appearances in 2012.