So excited by the state of today's British folk 😉

With apologies for the tongue in cheek dig at a recent thread about Americana I wanted to draw attention to the quality and diversity of traditional music being made in the UK. What's amazing to me as an expat here in the US is how dynamic and vibrant the scene is and how many young musicians are bringing DIY, electronic and other sensibilities to bear while building on tradition and musicianship. Plus almost without exception these are honest and clean recordings that will bring out the best in your system

Here's a few pointers to stuff I'm into at present -- hope there's something here you enjoy (plus the links will take you to resources to find much more)

  • Molly Evans “Deep Time & Narrow Space” — definitely in the “freak folk” genre, helps if you were brought up on the Weirdstone, my paternal grandparents lived in this part of the country so it resonates for me
  • Julie Fowlis “Alterum”— imagine trad Gaelic but filtered through a contemporary and clean sensibility, perhaps a little too polite but delightful
  • The Furrow Collective, “At Our Next Meeting” — something of a British isles supergroup in more traditional and even ’tough’ at times but some of the cleverest and most creative song choices — especially the segue of ‘Handsome Molly’ into ‘Out Captain Calls’
  • Rachel Newton, “Here’s My Heart Come Take It” — singling out a member of the collective all of Rachel’s work is great, I tend to prefer her acoustic to electric harp work but either will show how percussive, dynamic and overall in your face the harp can be, also a good example of how UK folk these days is absorbing trip-hop/electro influences alongside the trad
  • Bella Hardy, “Battleplan” -- Bella is one of the NWOBFD (New Wave of British Folk Divas, OK I just made that up but hope you get the 80s NWOBHM reference) — anyway all her work is sterling with echoes of Linda Thompson
  • Jackie Oates, “The Spyglass and the Herringbone” — another NWOBFD candidate, lower key than Bella, sometimes she can seem even somnolent but my does she creep up on you — if you like this one try her latest and soak in the atmosphere of her front parlor and gurgling baby
  • Martha Tilston, “The Sea” — so to round out our trio of Brit females here’s Martha, brought up by Folk royalty and living it in everything she does
  • Megson, “In a Box”   representative of a slightly different strain, the husband and wife duo (see also Roberts/Lakeman) — what I like about the Hannah’s is how they distill and exemplify the NorthEast spirit and have done so much too bring out writers and songs from this part of the country and bring a punk and DIY sensibility to folk — as well as writing some great, moving and funny songs of their own
  • Carol Laula, “Kitchen Stories” — moving back north of the border and ten plus years back in time Carol is a sore neglected scotch singer songwriter I love her for her directness and raw honesty
  • Karine Polwart, “A Pocket of Wind Resistance” — a folk concept album, with found sounds throughout — listen first on headphones and listen all the way through and I challenge you to tear yourselves away, arguably one of the best pieces of music created in the last ten years IMHO
  • Chris Stout & Katriona McKay, “Seavaigers” — where folk and classical collide, all the power and breadth of an orchestra allied to Chris’ fiddle and Katriona’s harp, if you are not into contemporary classical it might be hard too get into
  • Lori Watson, “Yarrow Acoustic Sessions” — so to get back to basics what could be simpler than a perfect singer with careful accompaniment in a sensitive setting, start here