United Kingdom | 26 January 2009
In our final festival forecast feature we look at the names in folk music ready to set the fields alight this summer.
Folk music in the UK has been slowly making a resurgence over the last few years, so here we're bringing you the interesting acts to keep an eye on in 2009…
Eton educated Frank Turner has really made his mark on the folk music industry in 2008. With his political lyrics on everyday life and situations, moulded with his raw but extremely strong vocals, he is set to storm the charts in 2009. Turner, who used to play in punk rock band Million Dead, released his third album 'Love, Ire And Song' last year and received reverence from critics and music professionals alike. As a live performer, he oozes passion for music, his life and the world around him, blasting out poignant lyrics with immense force and energy. With Alex Zane and Jo Whiley backing him as the next big thing, you can bet that Frank is the one to watch for in 2009.
Last festival: EuroSonic Festival 2009
Might see him at: Glastonbury, Cambridge Folk Festival, End Of The Road
What a year it has been for this 18-year-old starlet. After releasing her debut album in 2008, she was promptly put up for a Mercury Award nomination. If you prefer the sultrier, angelic tones of folk music, then Marling is definitely where you want to start. Her single, 'Ghosts', demonstrates the melodic and innocent tones that this young lady can produce, whilst telling a story through her lyrics. Marling is a former member of Noah and the Whale but as a solo artist she has already supported Jamie T but alone she has already wowed various festival crowds.
Last festival:End Of The Road 2008
Might see her at:T In The Park, Wychwood Music Festival
Noah And The Whale
This quirky four-piece have just entered their fourth year as a band, as well as experiencing their most successful year ever in 2008. Their genre of music has been described as 'folk rock', with a much edgier and commercial feel than most other folk artists. Last year they entered the charts with their single 'Five Years Time', which appealed to folk fans as well as alternative music lovers too. The band have a good relationship with ex-member Marling, who still appears in some of their videos and tracks. Expect to see them on the festival circuit again this summer with more chart-tailored tunes.
Last festival: Liverpool Music Week 2008
Might see them at: Glastonbury, Bestival, Wychwood Music Festival
Fresh-faced Lockey's lyrics show more maturity than his years would suggest and after freely admitting that he's a big fan of Frank Turner, the lyrical comparison are easy to spot. Lockey, though, is far from a carbon copy with the influence of indie music shining through in his work. He's a great place to start if you're looking to crossover to listening to folk music and he should be one to look out for in 2009.
Last festival: Seasons Festival 2008
Might see him at: Cambridge Folk, End Of The Road, Glastonbury
Another act who has supported Frank Turner this year, Marwood is someone who could potentially rise or fall depending on how the audience feels about 'real' acoustic folk music. Bizarrely, he’s been unfavourably compared to James Blunt, which is surprising considering he's a far stretch away from the mainstream. Marwood is an extremely raw and impromptu artist and his uniquely 'jolty' guitar playing and sarcastic lyrics has earned him fans across the country.
Might see him at: End Of The Road, Cornbury, Wychwood Music Festival
Accompanied with his fiddle, this traditionally English country folk singer has been on the music scene for more than 10 years. He started in a trio with his two siblings called The Lakeman Brothers, but has since been flying solo since 2002. A Mercury Music Prize nomination in 2005 brought him to the limelight and his tales of old Devonshire folklore is more for the traditionalist folk fan.
Last festival:St Ives September Festival 2008
Might see him at: Wychwood Music Festival, Towersey Village Festival, WOMAD, Cambridge Folk Festival
This strong-willed Canadian singer hails from a family of folk artists, including her mother, father and brother. As with many folk writers, Wainwright injects the bare reality and truth of heartache and life situations into her music. Commercially, she is better known for providing sombre vocals on Snow Patrol’s ‘Set The Fire to The Third Bar’ but listen to her amazing vocal range on her 2008 album, ‘I Know You’re Married but I’ve Got Feelings Too’ and you’ll realise that she’s not just a bit part.
Last festival: Liverpool Music Week 2008
Might see her at:The Big Chill, Green Man Festival, End Of The Road
The Imagined Village
Folk music will never be the same again if this ‘folk musical project’ has anything to do with it. Headed by Simon Emmerson, this modern multicultural group mixes folk music with all genres and musical instruments. Their aim is to provide a cultural sound fused with the folk genre. Last year the group’s bhangra infused folk track ‘Cold Haily Rainy Night’ was voted the best traditional track at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards – not bad going for a super group. We can only hope to see them at more festivals this summer because this is definitely a genre of music that will get any crowd jumping.
Last festival: Molten Festival 2008
Confirmed for: Towersey Village Festival, Larmer Tree Festival
Might see them at: Wychwood Music Festival, Cambridge Folk, Green Man Festival, End Of The Road, Beautiful Days
An oldie but a goodie, Billy Bragg represents quintessential English song-writing. Last year he joined Kate Nash onstage at the NME awards where they sung a brilliant duet of her ‘Foundations’ and his 1985 hit, ‘A new England.’ Bragg’s songs are very political and often protest-like, as he churns out lyrics in his raw working – class accent. Think of Frank Turner in 20 years but a little rougher round the edges. If you can catch him at any festivals this year, he’s definitely worth a look-in; his voice may not be particularly soulful but his messages are definitely strong.
Last festival: Cambridge Folk Festival 2008
Confirmed for: Big Session Festival
Might see him at: End Of The Road, Larmer Tree Festival, Wychwood Music Festival
3 Daft Monkeys
This original 3-piece band fuses all types of music with the staple formula of folk. Their music has tinges of theatre, reggae, punk and gypsy throughout and when you listen to their sound, you can’t help but feel that a lot of it is performed tongue in cheek. Their CV’s back up their talent too, having played with The Levellers (whom they are often reminiscent of), as well as playing at the 2008 BBC Proms in Cardiff. This intriguing threesome keep quite a low profile but while listening to their music, it's impossible to not give in to the slightest leg tap or head nod, even if folk isn’t your 'thing'.
Last festival:Loopallu 2008
Confirmed for: Bearded Theory, Celtic Rally Beer Festival
Might see them at: Beautiful Days, Wychwood Music Festival, Solfest, Larmer Tree Festival
By Fiona Madden
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