The 2019 Folking Awards

Welcome to the 2019 Folking Awards and thank you again to everyone who participated this year. The nominations, were in eight categories, and came from our ever-expanding team of writers and were collated into shape by the Folkmeister and the Editor over a pint or two, which also involved, a few arm-wrestles and a spot of beer-mat aerobics, in a convenient local watering hole.

There were five nominees in each category, all of whom have impressed our writers during 2018.

As we said last year, all are winners in our eyes, as are quite a few who didn’t make the short list. However, it’s not just about what we think, so once more, it was down to you, our ever-growing readership, to make the final call.

We will now compile the results and announce the winners of each category at some point next week.

*The Public Vote for each category closed at 9.00pm on Sunday 31st March (GMT+1).


Soloist Of The Year

Keith James
Reg Meuross
Rachel Newton
John Smith
Andy White


Best Duo

Gilmore & Roberts
Daria Kulesh and Jonny Dyer
Ninebarrow
Greg Russell and Ciaran Algar
Winter Wilson


Best Band

The Men They Couldn’t Hang
Merry Hell
Skipinnish
Trials Of Cato
The Young’Uns


Best Live Act

The Men They Couldn’t Hang
Grace Petrie
The Salts
Martin Stephenson & The Daintees
Andy White


Best Album

A Problem Of Our Kind – Gilmore & Roberts
The Well Worn Path – Seth Lakeman
The Joy Of Living – Jackie Oates
Queer As Folk – Grace Petrie
Hide And Hair – Trials Of Cato


Best Musician

Martin Harley
Aidan O’Rourke
Marina Osman
John Smith
Richard Thompson


Rising Star

Burning Salt
Robert Lane
Kitty MacFarlane
Smith & Brewer
Vision Thing


Best International Artist(s)

3hattrio
Tyler Childers
Mary Gauthier
Kíla
Larkin Poe


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Martin Harley – new album

Martin Harley

Static In The Wires is the new album from blues-Americana singer-songwriter Martin Harley and bass player extraordinaire Daniel Kimbro (Jerry Douglas, Larkin Poe).

Martin Harley is a supremely talented acoustic roots and blues guitarist, singer and songwriter with a burgeoning global reputation. Static in the Wires is his seventh album and the second with Daniel. The two first met through mutual friend, Sam Lewis, at Hippie Jack’s music festival in Crawford Tennessee. After a brief backstage rehearsal the two took to the stage for an hour of largely improvised music. A few weeks later they were cutting a record at Zac Brown’s iconic Southern Ground studios. Their live shows bring aspects of blues, Americana and folk to the table; Martin playing a 100 year Weissenborn (Hawaiian acoustic lap guitar), while Daniel beats scratches and bows a double bass to create an unexpected array of textures and sounds.

Static In The Wires was tracked live at Wow & Flutter Studios in East Nashville over four days. Engineered and mixed by analogue guru Joe V. McMahan making use of every corner of the space. The drums sounded great in the kitchen and if you listen carefully you can hear the freight trains rolling past. At one point heavily armed police sealed off the area to conduct a manhunt.

Mixing elements of Santo & Johnny, JJ Cale and Taj Mahal, Static in the Wires follows 2015’s Live at Southern Ground, glowingly described by The Observer as “A spellbinding 50 minutes”.

Guests on Static In The Wires include multiple Grammy Award-winner Jerry Douglas (Ray Charles, Eric Clapton, Dolly Parton), Derek Mixon (Chris Stapleton, Sam Lewis), and Micah Hulsher (Alabama Shakes).

Martin has headlined Music City Roots in Nashville, performed on the Cayamo Cruise with Chris Stapleton, toured coast to coast with ZZ Ward and Delta Rae and opened for Iron & Wine, Bruce Hornsby, Five for Fighting, World Party, Beth Hart and Joe Bonamassa amongst others. His music has featured on hit TV shows The Vampire Diaries and Banshee among others. In summer 2016 Martin and Daniel played Winnipeg, Vancouver, Canmore and Calgary Folk Music Festival as well as shows in the Caribbean, the US and Europe.

Daniel has played the Ryman Auditorium, The Grand Ole Opry, the Tennessee Theatre, Bonnaroo, Telluride Bluegrass Festival, MerleFest, Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, Stordfest, The Kate Wolf Folk Festival, The Edmonton Folk Festival, New Orleans Jazz Fest, The Blue Note Tokyo, Chateau St. Michelle, Jammin at Hippie Jack’s and  many more.

Artist’s website: https://www.facebook.com/martinharleymusic/

‘One For The Road’ live:

Martin Harley and Daniel Kimbro – new album

Martin Harley and Daniel Kimbro

A supremely talented acoustic roots and blues guitarist, singer and songwriter with a burgeoning global reputation Martin Harley’s recently released and widely acclaimed new album Live at Southern Ground was recorded in Nashville in collaboration with Daniel Kimbro (Jerry Douglas, Larkin Poe) on upright bass.

As Martin explains “Daniel and I met in Knoxville through a mutual friend… he handed me his card which read… ‘alright guitar player… good upright bass player’ … an understatement on both parts!”

“It’s a simple, honest and direct album with no overdubs in a warm sounding room with some great microphones and two new friends playing a few songs over a cold beer or two” says Martin. “There’s a great feeling when you click with someone. It frees you up to experiment with the arrangement and the dynamic of a song.”

A mixture of retrospective solo and duo arrangements recorded during an afternoon at the esteemed Southern Ground studio in Nashville, Live at Southern Ground features Martin on Weissenborn… a traditional Hawaiian acoustic guitar played across the lap, resonators and archtops, and of course Daniel Kimbro on upright bass, and in March 2016 they’ll be performing together in the UK for the first time.

Along with many years of international touring and countless festivals Martin has built a strong international fan-base across the globe. Renowned for his prowess as a slide guitarist, Martin is almost unique in the UK in his playing lap slide. During year-round worldwide touring he’s absorbed a plethora of diverse influences, honing his craft into the classic songwriting style he possesses today.

In the US, Martin has headlined Music City Roots in Nashville and toured coast to coast with ZZ Ward, Delta Rae and opened for Iron and Wine, Bruce Hornsby, Five for Fighting, World Party, Beth Hart, Joe Bonamassa amongst many others.

Live At Southern Ground follows on from Martin’s five previously acclaimed albums, most recently Mojo Fix in 2012.

“For all lovers of acoustic blues and top class roots music . . . this is for you!” Blues In The North West

“From the first note to the last, this is a gorgeous album, played beautifully and with some real respect between the players.” Music-news.com (5 stars)

“Quite simply a great live act” Time Out London

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Artist’s website: www.martinharley.com 

‘Love In The Afternoon’:

MARTIN HARLEY AND DANIEL KIMBRO – Live at Southern Ground (Del Mundo)

MARTIN HARLEY AND DANIEL KIMBRO Live at Southern GroundA celebrated guitar virtuoso, acclaimed for his work on Weissenborn and slide, Welsh-born Harley met upright bassist Kimbro in Nashville and the pair heading off to Southern Ground Studios to lay down an album that would, in the former’s words, represent “where I’m at musically at the moment.” As such, as the title suggests, working with Weissenborn, resonator guitars and bass, the pair recorded a selection of tracks in a live setting, the material ranging across a variety of numbers from Harley’s career, given new textures and arrangements.

It kicks off with ‘Cardboard King’, Harley’s vocals bringing a country edge to the descending chords of the bluesy resonator picking before slipping into the choppy mid-tempo shuffle of ‘Winter Coat’. There’s three covers that underscore Harley’s blues roots, first up being a world-weary Weissenborn-accompanied reading of the Lead Belly chestnut ‘Goodnight Irene’, the second staying with the old guard for a frisky skip through Blind Willie Johnson’s ‘Nobody’s Fault But Mine’ that introduces a dash of bluegrass, The third comes form a more contemporary blues man in the shape of a slide-driven, choppy rhythm take on Tom Waits’ ‘Chocolate Jesus’.

I say three covers, but if you leave the disc running for about three minutes after the tenth track, then you’ll discover what seems to be a variation of the stark traditional ‘Hello Blues’ featuring some spooky bass bowing from Kimbro and menacing slide as Harley slurs through the lyrics like a man with the weight of the world bearing down on his shoulders.

The other five numbers are all from Harley, ranging from the Mississippi style slide guitar blues ‘Can’t Help Moving’ and the resonator led blues swing ‘Money Don’t Matter’ to the cascading notes of the country-inflected ‘Automatic Life’, a nimbly fingerpicked, almost ragtime jellyroll ‘Honey Bee’ and the playful jazzily up-tempo ‘Love In The Afternoon’ (first featured, as were three other of the numbers here, on 2010’s Drumrolls for Somersaults and sounding much the same but without the drums) with Kimbro slapping bass and providing harmonies while Harley shows what Stephane Grapelli might sound like if he played guitar rather than fiddle. The pairing clearly works well, so here’s hoping this isn’t just a one off and next time round they might work together to produce some new material as well.

Mike Davies

Please support us and order via our UK or US Storefront 


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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.

Artists’ website: https://www.facebook.com/martinharleymusic/