Welcome to the 2019 Folking Awards and thank you again to everyone who participated last year. The nominations, in eight categories, come 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 are 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’s down to you, our ever-growing readership, to make the final call.
To vote, choose and then ‘click on’ one of the five nominees in each of the category voting boxes below.
*The Public Vote for each category will close at 9.00pm on Sunday 31st March (GMT+1).
Soloist Of The Year
Gilmore & Roberts
Daria Kulesh and Jonny Dyer
Greg Russell and Ciaran Algar
The Men They Couldn’t Hang
Trials Of Cato
Best Live Act
The Men They Couldn’t Hang
Martin Stephenson & The Daintees
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
Smith & Brewer
Best International Artist(s)
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Fairport’s Cropredy Convention three-day open-air music festival will celebrate its fortieth anniversary this year. A major innovation for 2019 is ‘glamping’ in pre-pitched luxury bell tents.
Cropredy yesterday announced the full line-up of acts appearing at this year’s event. Over three days (8, 9 and 10 August) Cropredy will present more than thirty hours of live music to an audience of up to 20,000 festival-goers.
Headline acts for 2019 include The Waterboys (Thursday), Frank Turner (Friday); and host band Fairport Convention (Saturday).
Other major acts include Gogol Bordello on Thursday, Seth Lakeman (Friday) and Richard Thompson (Friday).
The line-up encompasses soaring harmonies from female ensembles Wildwood Kin and Daphne’s Flight, instrumental virtuosity from Will Pound (harmonica), Eddy Jay (accordion) and Martin Simpson (guitar), and classic rock from Martin Barre and prog legends Caravan.
Lil Jim, Tors, The 4 Of Us, Wilson & Wakeman, Richard Digance, Tide Lines and Zal Cleminson’s /sin’dogs/ complete the line-up.
One-day, two-day and three-day tickets are exclusively available from Fairport’s website: www.fairportconvention.com/tickets and by phone 0844 581 1396
Thursday 8 August
Host band Fairport Convention will open the festival with a short acoustic performance then take the stage again on Saturday to play a two-hour closing set.
Multi-instrumentalist Lil Jim combines guitar, harmonica and accordion with foot percussion and vocals.
Devon indie-folk band Tors is fronted by songwriting brothers Matt and Theo Weedon, grandsons of late guitar maestro Bert Weedon.
Gogol Bordello combine elements of music, theatre, chaos and sorcery To say this is a fabulous festival act would be the grossest of understatements.
A return to Cropredy for Thursday’s headline act The Waterboys whose potent
Friday 9 August
Formed in Newry, Northern Ireland, by brothers Declan and Brendan Murphy, The 4 Of Us are known for poetic songs, harmony vocals and highly accomplished guitar.
Will Pound and Eddy Jay are, respectively, among the UK’s finest harmonica and accordion players.
Award-winning female trio Wildwood Kin play contemporary indie-folk characterised by spellbinding family harmonies.
Performing as Wilson & Wakeman, Adam Wakeman is best known as the keyboard player with Ozzy Osbourne and Black Sabbath and Damian Wilson is a songwriter and vocalist who has appeared on over seventy albums.
Pioneers of Canterbury’s prog rock scene, Caravan will be making their Cropredy debut. Their mix of psychedelia, jazz and classical music has been highly influential.
Fresh from a world tour with Robert Plant, Seth Lakeman returns to Cropredy after a ten year absence.
Guitar legend and acclaimed songwriter Richard Thompson will appear with erstwhile Fairport bandmates Dave Mattacks, Dave Pegg and Simon Nicol.
One of the finest live acts out there, Frank Turner will headline on Friday night with his band Sleeping Souls, a first visit to Cropredy by one of the UK’s most successful solo artists of the past decade.
Saturday 10 August
BAFTA nominee Richard Digance returns to his traditional Cropredy Saturday lunchtime slot.
Four-piece Tide Lines are shaped by the culture and music of the Scottish Highlands.
Daphne’s Flight features five female singer-songwriters; Christine Collister, Melanie Harrold, Julie Matthews, Helen Watson and Chris While.
Scottish singer-guitarist Zal Cleminson’s /sin’dogs/ is a new high-octane prog-metal band.
Celebrating 50 years of Jethro Tull’s music, Martin Barre’s band includes the original Tull drummer Clive Bunker.
Award-winning Martin Simpson, one of Britain’s greatest acoustic guitarists, makes his first appearance at Cropredy.
Fairport Convention and guests take the stage for their traditional two-hour-plus Saturday headline show.
Fairport’s Cropredy Convention three-day open-air music festival will celebrate its fortieth anniversary in 2019.
The organisers have announced many of the acts booked for next summer’s event which will take place on Thursday 8, Friday 9 and Saturday 10 August. The remaining acts will be announced in January 2019.
Tickets went on sale from 3 December 2018.
Host band Fairport Convention will open the festival on Thursday 8 August with an acoustic performance then take the stage again on Saturday to play a two-hour headline set. Thursday’s headline act will be The Waterboys whose potent performance makes them one of the UK’s most exciting live acts.
Former Fairport member Richard Thompson will appear with his erstwhile bandmates Dave Mattacks, Dave Pegg and Simon Nicol. Award-winning Martin Simpson, one of Britain’s greatest acoustic guitarists, makes his first appearance at Cropredy. Fresh from a world tour with Robert Plant, Seth Lakeman returns to Cropredy after a ten year absence.
Celebrating 50 years of Jethro Tull’s music, Martin Barre’s band includes the original Tull drummer Clive Bunker and long-time bassist, Jonathan Noyce. Pioneers of Canterbury’s prog rock scene, Caravan will be making their Cropredy debut. Scottish singer-guitarist Zal Cleminson’s /sin’dogs/ are a new high-octane prog-metal band.
Daphne’s Flight features five female singer-songwriters; Christine Collister, Melanie Harrold, Julie Matthews, Helen Watson and Chris While. BAFTA nominee Richard Digance returns to his traditional Cropredy Saturday lunchtime slot. Will Pound and Eddy Jay are, respectively, among the UK’s finest harmonica and accordion players. Award-winning female trio Wildwood Kin play contemporary indie-folk characterised by spellbinding family harmonies. Multi-instrumentalist Lil Jim combines guitar, harmonica and accordion with foot percussion and vocals. Four-piece Tide Lines are shaped by the culture and music of the Scottish Highlands.
Cropredy tickets on sale for Christmas
Cropredy tickets went on sale on 3 December 2018 in time for Christmas.
Three-day festival tickets cost £140. Camping tickets cost £45 for three nights.
The first 1,000 orders will receive a Christmas card signed by all five members of Fairport Convention.
It’s ‘lucky seven’ time for East Anglia’s unique, fast-rising FolkEast – England’s most easterly folk music festival. Not only is it the seventh year the event has been held in the glorious grounds of Suffolk’s 16th century festival but this year it will offer diverse performances on no less than seven stages.
The 2019 festival will be staged between August 16-18 and has all the promise of being the best yet with an enviable line-up of artists from England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Poland, Canada and USA.
Keeping to the Seven theme, FolkEast is delighted to announce seven confirmed top level acts from its highly anticipated line-up as Early Bird tickets go on sale with a special festive season offer. https://folkeast.co.uk/tickets-3/
Leading the way will be formidable folk legend Richard Thompson – a revered singer songwriter and jaw dropping guitarist– who takes to the main Sunset stage as Sunday night headliner. A co-founder of trailblazing folk rockers Fairport Convention, Thompson has carved himself a high class career bringing iconic international status, with anthemic songs like ‘Persuasion,’ ‘Beeswing’ and ‘1952 Vincent Black Lightning’ becoming classics. Named as one of Rolling Stone Magazine’s “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time” he has been honoured with Lifetime Achievement Awards on both sides of the Atlantic – from the Americana Music Association in Nashville, and the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards – as well as garnering an OBE (personally bestowed upon him by the Queen at Buckingham Palace)
FolkEast will also field some of folk’s finest female artists – opening night headliner will be the brilliantly inspired Scottish singer songwriter and hot property Karine Polwart performing with her Trio (Stephen Polwart and Inge Thomson). Karine (2018 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards Folk Singer of the Year) is on a roll having released two hugely successful albums in quick succession – A Pocket Of Wind Resistance and Laws Of Motion and also migrated into the acting world including a role in Radio 4’s drama ‘A Faraway Back Of Beyond Place’, a two hander with Bill Paterson. A songwriter with heart and soul, Stirlingshire-born Karine is a wonderful wordsmith and captivating performer sure to get the festival off to a grand start.
Saturday night at FolkEast will see a very special headline event as the peerless Irish songstress Cara Dillon (“quite possibly the world’s most beautiful female voice” – Mojo) takes to the stage with ‘Cara Dillon and Friends’ celebrating the 10th anniversary of her landmark album Hill Of Thieves which won the coveted Album Of The Year at the 2008 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards. Derry-born Cara will be joined by the class line-up of husband Sam Lakeman (piano, guitar), Jarlath Henderson (uillean pipes, whistle), Ed Boyd (guitar). James Fagan (bouzouki), Toby Shaer (fiddle, whistles) and Ben Nicholls (bass).
Also from Ireland, the mighty Sharon Shannon Band will be heading to Suffolk. Born in County Clare, Sharon is a show stopping accordionist whose career is soaked in the Irish tradition but takes so many more influences on board. Sharon has played for Presidents Clinton and Obama in The White House, received a Lifetime Achievement Meteor award in 2009, and was honoured for ‘outstanding contributions in music’ at the Irish Books, Arts and Music (IBAM) awards in Chicago to say nothing of her 1991 self-titled debut CD being the best-selling album ever of instrumental traditional Irish music.
Keeping up the Celtic connection, the line-up will be enhanced by Scots-Irish trio Ross Ainslie (Scottish bagpipes, whistles), Jarlath Henderson (uilleann pipes, whistles) and Perthshire’s Ali Hutton whose combined talents create a sound that pushes the boundaries of what Scottish and Irish instruments normally achieve. Dubbed “the new stars of Celtic music,” they’ve crafted music that bursts with fresh energy.
FolkEast is also thrilled to announce that the eloquent and exquisite English singer-songwriter/guitarist John Smith will join the 2019 line up. Born in Essex, raised by the Devon seaside, and kicking off in the bars and clubs of Liverpool, John has released six albums including his most recent Hummingbird, with over 10 million Spotify streams. His distinctive, gravelly voice has been heard by audiences all over the world in living rooms, festival tents and sold-out concert halls. Steeped in the lineage of British folk, taking his cue from Richard Thompson and John Martyn, Smith has evolved a transatlantic blend of fingerstyle and slide guitar techniques and a repertoire of up close, no hiding place songs of life and love. He has opened for folk greats including John Martyn, Davy Graham and John Renbourn, who called Smith “the future of folk music”.
Flying the flag for Wales will be the effervescent five-piece revivalist traditional band Calan, who sing in both Welsh and English. The band formed in early 2006 when its members ages ranged from just 13 to 22. In 2008, they created great excitement at the Inter Celtic Festival, becoming the only Welsh band to win the coveted international folk band award. They also won best group at the Festival Interceltique de Lorient, Brittany. Playing accordion, harp, guitar, fiddle and Welsh bagpipes, they also have their own champion step dancer.
One of the most singular events on the UK festival calendar, FolkEast was launched six years ago by husband and wife John and Becky Marshall-Potter.
Rekindling the ancient Eastfolk moots on the Glemham Hall estate where for three days a year the folk from the East would meet kith and kin at harvest time for “a bit of a do”, this gathering has Suffolk running through it like letters in a stick of rock – from its locally sourced fare to its suppliers, arts and crafts.
The festival, with its ever present mythical emblem The Jackalope, offers a refreshingly different line-up across its seven stages (including the ‘Sanctuary’ stage at St Andrew’s Church, the open air Sunset Stage and the hidden woodland solar-powered Soapbox Stage), with two authentic ‘village’ pubs serving competitively-priced ales (including Suffolk-based Green Jack Brewery’s festival ale Green Jackalope) plus possibly the smallest pub in the UK, the 6 x 4’ Halfway Inn.
Then there’s the FolkEast Art Arcade, packed dance programme, archery, donkey rides, children’s activities (including den building, storybook making and a mud kitchen linked together in a special new children’s trail) yoga, poetry, storytelling, the Eastfolk Chronicle Kinedrome (showing folk and local interest films) and tours of Glemham Hall by estate owner Major Philip Cobbold.
On board again this year as a media partner will be BBC Radio Suffolk.
The Early Bird Festive Ticket offer is now open until January 6, 2019.
Advance weekend tickets are available price £110 (adult), £99 (full time students, 65+ ) and £75 for Youth tickets (12-17 year old) which must be purchased with an adult ticket. Family weekend tickets for two adults and two 12-17 year olds are £340. A great offer sees free admission for children aged 11 and under; camping under canvas is £20 and camping on wheels £30. More information: email@example.com
As a seasonal bonus those buying tickets by December 16 will be entered into a Santa’s Folk Stocking competition with two goody-filled FolkEast stockings up for grabs.
Located close to the A12, the festival will also be running shuttle buses to the site from Wickham Market station.
Following three excursions into his back catalogue in a solo acoustic format, Richard Thompson is back doing the other thing he does best. Electric guitar in hand and backed by the other two members of his trio, Michael Jerome and Taras Prodaniuk, plus guitarist Bobby Eichorn he returns with 13 Rivers, a set of dark, intense songs sequenced, as Richard puts it, with the “weird stuff” at the beginning.
The first of the weird stuff is ‘The Storm Won’t Come’. As with most Richard Thompson songs it will take me a while to get to the bottom of this. Ostensibly, it is about the desire to clear away the rot of modern civilisation, but it also seems to be about the despair of someone looking at the mess we’ve made of things. Of course, I could be wrong on both counts. Jerome’s drums pound and Thompson’s guitar rides spikily over the verses – you can almost see the dark clouds gather. ‘The Rattle Within’ is again built on Jerome’s percussion and is a vehicle for one of Richard’s angrier solos.
‘Her Love Was Meant For Me’ features Eichorn’s guitar as a counterpoint and seems to hark back to the style of some of Richard’s earlier songs. ”Like a razor to a scarecrow, her love was meant for me” – what a line! ‘Bones Of Gilead’ starts with bass and choppy guitar and, one again with this song, I need more time with it. Does the mention of London Pride refer to the plant or the beer? The bluesy ‘The Dog In You’ may be the first of the tracks described by Richard as designed to “grind your soul into submission” and boasts another superb but restrained solo to play it out.
Richard works his band with great skill with Prodaniuk’s bass throbbing underneath the songs and the drums powering them forward. Although 13 Rivers is stripped back to its rock basics the sound is full and Richard’s production is as varied as his lyrical ideas. The chiming guitar that introduces ‘My Rock, My Rope’ and all of ‘O Cinderella’ both stopped me in my tracks when I reached them.
Whether I count this as one of Richard’s greatest albums will take me a while to decide – it always does. I do know that I find it more and more absorbing as it goes on
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Richard Thompson is set to return with 13 Rivers on September 14, via Proper Records. The thirteen-song set is the Grammy nominated artist’s first self-produced album in over a decade and was recorded 100% analogue in just ten days. It was engineered by Clay Blair (The War On Drugs) and features Thompson’s regular accompanists Michael Jerome (drums, percussion), Taras Prodaniuk (bass), and Bobby Eichorn (guitar).
13 Rivers is a bare-bones, emotionally direct album that speaks from the heart with no filters. “There are 13 songs on the record, and each one is like a river,” Thompson explains. “Some flow faster than others. Some follow a slow and winding current. They all culminate on this one body of work.”
A high water mark in an overwhelmingly impressive career, 13 Rivers was recorded at the famed Boulevard Recording Studio in Los Angeles. Previously known as The Production Workshop, which was owned by Liberace and his manager, the locale served as the site for seminal classics by Steely Dan, Fleetwood Mac, Ringo Starr, and hosted the mixing sessions for Pink Floyd’s legendary The Wall.
Of the album, Thompson says, “The songs are a surprise in a good way. They came to me as a surprise in a dark time. They reflected my emotions in an oblique manner that I’ll never truly understand. It’s as if they’d been channelled from somewhere else. You find deeper meaning in the best records as time goes on. The reward comes later.” He continues, “I don’t know how the creative process works. I suppose it is some kind of bizarre parallel existence to my own life. I often look at a finished song and wonder what the hell is going on inside me. We sequenced the weird stuff at the front of the record, and the tracks to grind your soul into submission at the back.”
13 Rivers commences on the tribal percussion and guitar rustle of ‘The Storm Won’t Come’ as the artist bellows, “I’m looking for a storm to blow through town”. The energy mounts before climaxing on a lyrical electric lead rife with airy bends and succinct shredding from the guitar virtuoso. NPR Music has premiered ‘The Storm Won’t Come’ alongside an additional new album track, ‘Bones of Gilead’.
Richard Thompson’s musical influence cannot be overstated. Having co-founded the ground-breaking group Fairport Convention as a teenager in the 60s, he and his bandmates invented a distinctive strain of British folk rock. He left the group by the age of 21, followed by a decade long musical partnership with his then-wife Linda, to over 30 years as a highly successful solo artist. In 2011, Thompson received an OBE from the Queen. The Los Angeles Times called him the finest rock songwriter after Dylan and the best electric guitarist since Hendrix and Rolling Stone has named him one of the Top 100 Guitarists of All Time. He has received lifetime achievement awards for songwriting from the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards, the Americana Music Association, and the prestigious Ivor Novello Award. His song ‘1952 Vincent Black Lightning’ was named one of TIME Magazine’s “100 Greatest Songs Since 1923.” A wide range of musicians have recorded Thompson’s songs including Robert Plant, Elvis Costello, R.E.M., Sleater-Kinney, Del McCoury, Bonnie Raitt, Tom Jones, David Byrne, Don Henley, Los Lobos, and many more. His massive body of work includes many Grammy nominated albums as well as numerous soundtracks, including Werner Herzog’s Grizzly Man. Thompson’s genre defying mastery of both acoustic and electric guitar along with engaging energy and onstage wit continue to earn him new fans and a place as one of the most distinctive virtuosos and writers in folk rock history.
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