The 2017 Folking Awards

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 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

Luke Jackson
Ralph McTell
Kelly Oliver
Steve Pledger
Alasdair Roberts

Best Duo

Cathryn Craig & Brian Willoughby
Ange Hardy & Lukas Drinkwater
O’Hooley & Tidow
Show Of Hands

Best Band

Afro Celt Sound System
Fairport Convention
Harp And A Monkey
Nancy Kerr and The Sweet Visitor Band
Merry Hell

Best Live Act

The James Brothers
Robb Johnson and the My Best Regards Band
Sam Kelly & The Lost Boys
Mad Dog Mcrea

Best Album

Tall Tales & Rumours – Luke Jackson
Ballads Of The Broken Few – Seth Lakeman/Wildwood Kin
Preternatural – Moulettes
Somewhere Between – Steve Pledger
Dodgy Bastards – Steeleye Span

Best Musician

Ciaran Algar
Phil Beer
Rachel Newton
Gill Sandell
Kathryn Tickell

Rising Star Act

The Brewer’s Daughter
Hattie Briggs
Said The Maiden
Emily Mae Winters

Best International Act

Applewood Road
The Bills
David Francey
Michael McDermott
Eve Selis

Public Vote

The public vote closed Midday Saturday 22 April 2017 and the winners have now been announced HERE

If you would like to consider ordering a copy of an album for any of our award winners (in CD or Vinyl), download an album or track or just listen to snippets of selected songs (track previews are usually on the download page) then type what you are looking for in the search bar above.

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HATTIE BRIGGS – Young Runaway (Wise Dog Records WDR003)

Young RunawayIt’s probably true to say that Hattie Briggs has burst onto the scene.  The Gloucestershire based singer/songwriter drew enough confidence from being a BBC2 Young Folk Award nominee to give up reading Russian at Oxford to go full time as a musician.  Her début EP My Shepherd’s Hut was released in 2013, followed by the highly acclaimed début album Red and Gold in 2015 and a trailer EP Here’s To Hoping earlier this year.  Now comes the second full album, Young Runaway.

Produced once again by Peter Waterman this album confirms Hattie Briggs as one of the real rising stars in the modern folk scene.  These are true folk songs, as well.  They aren’t political, nor do they involve the hard life of the working man, but they are about people living their ordinary lives and are told in the most beautiful way. Often in a review the singer will be compared to…but that is not the case here.  Hattie has a distinct voice and as composer (with help on four) of all the songs on the album she is able to write for it to maximum effect.  It’s a beautifully clear voice, too, that can soar and swoop with a clarity that renders a lyric sheet redundant.

The album opens with ‘The Lake’, written on a trip to Lake Como (I think) which in just two simple verses transports the listener to a land of calm water and long, sunlit days. From there the album proceeds through a further 10 tracks, each of which is a quality piece of writing.  Rather than listing them (buy the album and find out for yourself) I’ll pick a few of my personal favourites.

Top of the list is track 3 ‘Here’s to Hoping’. This is a beautiful, probably autobiographical, song about a young woman visiting somewhere, perhaps a former home, and remembering her childhood: “I came back to see you, and your walls, they don’t seem so high to me now that I’m tall.” whilst looking forward to life “Well, maybe I’ll buy you someday and I’ll watch as my children play where I played…” It showcases her voice and range to perfection and conveys that sense of nostalgia and expectation we all feel at times of change in our lives.

That is the theme of this album; spreading your wings and taking off into a future that uncertain but exciting. ‘On Your Way’ (track 4) is exactly that.  Hit the road, live a little, make choices and see what happens. Hattie is also very capable of producing moving ballads that pull at the heartstrings. ‘Castle On the Sand’ (track 8) is such a song.  Accompanying herself on the piano this is a sentimental song regretting lost love and wondering if it could have been different, but knowing it probably won’t be the last time.

This is a very much a singer’s album and the backing, from very accomplished musicians, provides depth to the sound without ever being overpowering.  It’s a lesson that many more acts should take notice of. The sleeve notes promise a third album with a fond wish that Hattie continues to grow as a person and musician.  On this evidence that album will be well worth waiting for but in the meantime listen to, and enjoy, this one from an artist full of confidence in her ability and at the top of her game.

Tony Birch

Artist’s website:

Hattie Briggs: new album and single

Hattie Briggs Sept 2014, smallOld Eyes

Taken from her upcoming album Red And Gold

Hattie’s impressive and unorthodox journey through the folk and acoustic music scene began with her decision in January to drop out of a Russian degree at Oxford University and return to her Gloucestershire home to focus on songwriting. Since then it’s been full steam ahead for the 21year-old, with debut EP My Shepherd’s Hut under her belt and the single ‘Pull Me Down’ reaching number 19 in the iTunes singer songwriter chart. Recognition of the strength of her musical ability resulted in a nomination in this year’s prestigious BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Awards. TV and radio exposure followed; with key live performances on the BBC Introducing stage at Wychwood Festival and support to Seth Lakeman at Monmouth Festival, plus a featured artist in a recent emerging talent documentary by BBC Introducing In The West.

With a relentless creative fire inside, inspired by Joni Mitchell, James Taylor and Katie Melua, Hattie has been busy recording her debut album at Monnow Valley Studios, produced by Peter Waterman and Dan Cassidy, brother of the late Eva Cassidy. Her new single ‘Old Eyes’ features jazz musician, Alec Dankworth and will be released on 22nd September. The song has reached the semi-finals of the UK Songwriting Contest and the release will be associated with a full touring schedule.

“It’s refreshing to hear songs and performances that don’t adhere to fashion or hype, but move you because of conviction and purity” – Alex Huskisson Severn FM

Artist’s website: