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VARIOUS ARTISTS - BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards 2015

VARIOUS ARTISTS - BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards 2015

This is the latest in an annual series of releases that has charted the ups and downs of the folk scene (and indeed the BBC awards) for 15 years. The latest edition is a double album, which includes four tracks by Young Folk nominees as bonus tracks. Over the years, it’s been single, double, triple, with Young Folk acknowledged as a bonus album or even a separate release. In much the same way, the event has changed from a posh meal with a grand ceremony to a concert with fewer awards and tickets on public sale. One result of this has been an increasing popularisation of nominee list.

As usual, most (on this occasion, sadly not all) nominees and winners are represented - missing are The Rails, the best traditional track from The Gloaming, Hall of Fame inductee, Ewan MacColl, and lifetime achievement winner, Cat Stevens.

In other respects (and one needs to disallow the oldie from the recipient of the “token visiting American” award), the album represents one take on the best of folk for the preceding year. While it had its highlights, 2014 wasn’t a particularly good year for our music. There’ll be some tracks you’ll want to play regularly (and some which will make you go out and buy the original album) but on the whole, though, it’s a CD that makes you glad you have a SKIP button.

Nigel Schofield

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This album was reviewed in Issue 109 of The Living Tradition magazine.