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VARIOUS ARTISTS - BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards 2014

VARIOUS ARTISTS - BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards 2014

Chances are, dear reader, this CD will contain some of your favourite folk artists from 2013.  It is, after all, compiled from album releases of those nominated and judged (by the BBC's chosen few) for making a noteworthy contribution to the genre last year. It's a fairly eclectic mix, as you'd expect from a scene where songs of whimsey, hedonism, delight and malice sit side by side with straight-up dance and session tunes, so perhaps not unlike listening to a well-known radio show.

The CD features artists from across the scene, but there's not so many of the ‘old familiar faces’ as in years gone by; the young faces of Lucy Ward and Will Pound being among the featured is hopefully sign positive of future awards being more dynamic and open to newer talent. That's not to say more established names don't appear: Martin Simpson gets two nominations, as does a rare release from Linda Thompson, but it's safe to say new talent is still coming through and being recognised. Representing the other end of the spectrum, there are four brilliant old, new, borrowed and bluegrass songs - live tracks from nominees for the Young Folk Awards, bringing the collection to a close.

In these days of YouTube, LastFM, Soundcloud and their ilk, the days of compilation CDs seem numbered; you could find all these artists' performances and more with little effort. Ultimately though, it's a collection demonstrating where British folk was going in 2013 and with each nominee's contribution being a finely polished example of their craft, it's a great way to sample the diversity of folk that's on offer today.

Andy Piper

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This album was reviewed in Issue 102 of The Living Tradition magazine.