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Various Artists - Folk Awards 2013 (Proper)

Star rating: 

Once again the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards came and went in January, providing the British folk scene with its own annual red carpet moment, this year at Glasgow's Royal Concert Hall, during the already bustling Celtic Connections festivities. Most of the artists who appear on this three disc compilation were in their best frocks and suits, with only one apparent Scotsman, strangely from Devon, as Steve Knightley donned a kilt for the occasion. It was almost like the lone costume party attendee who didn't read the invite correctly. Still, it fitted the occasion.

Whilst disc one and two of FOLK AWARDS 2013 centres around the artists nominated in the main categories, such as Bellowhead, whose shanty Roll the Woodpile Down now gets more airplay now than the news pips, Emily Portman, whose Hatchlings went on to win the gong for best original song and the legendary Nic Jones who was voted Folk Singer of the Year after a good few years away from performing, the third bonus disc features songs and tunes performed by participants in the 2013 BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award, including the four finalists Luke Jackson, Graham Mackenzie and Ciorstaidh Beaton, Thalla and of course the winners Greg Russell and Ciaran Algar, whose Fellside release THE QUEEN'S LOVER turned heads in 2012. 
With each selection carefully chosen, such as Blair Dunlop's Billy of the Lowground, Lau's The Bird That Winds the Spring and The Unthanks' Black Trade, as well as obvious selections, specifically the songs that were nominated for awards themselves rather than the artists singing them, such as Karine Polwart's poignant King of Birds, Anaïs Mitchell's memorable Tailor and Kathryn Roberts and Sean Lakeman's spellbinding Ballad of Andy Jacobs, the collection presents the very best of the 2012 crop. 

If the actual awards themselves create promotional opportunities for the lucky winners throughout 2013, this souvenir collection stands as a record of the excellent achievements of all the nominees, whether they went on to win or not. A record of the outstanding singers and musicians currently occupying their rightful place on today's British folk scene.
Allan Wilkinson
Northern Sky