1. Megan Henwood
‘Fall And Fade’
The second album from Oxfordshire-based singer-songwriter Megan Henwood is going to cause problems for anyone who likes their new music to fit into neat little boxes. Henwood has worked on the album with her brother, Joe, with whom she won the BBC’s Young Folk Award in 2009, but while Head, Heart, Hand taps in to various long-standing musical traditions, it’s not a record you can simply label as “folk”. The painstakingly crafted songs recall soul, blues and pop.
2. The Demon Barbers
Following their sell out performances of ‘The Lock In’, The Demon Barbers return with new repertoire, extra band members and a modern twist. Featuring some of the UK’s most exciting young clog, sword, hip-hop and break dancers they are guaranteed to deliver the folk music and dance spectacular of the year! “It’s as if they’ve found the key to unlock the idea of 21st century folk-rock revealing that these days rock isn’t part of the equation at all… And it’s wonderful.” – fRoots.
3. Alex Wood Band
Alex Wood is a thoughtful and observant singer-songwriter who covers a range of musical styles, while retaining a sense of individuality anchored in roots and blues. Like all good stories, this one began at a party, where everyone else had a song but him. One song, and several parties later, Alex’s life had changed forever. Taken from his debut album I Am Not Lost, the shape of those changes are well documented in the blues-driven performance of ‘Chameleon’.
4. Hannah Robinson
Performing as a soloist and with her band in London as well as her native Dorset, Hannah Robinson’s busy live schedule will see her play this year’s Isle of Wight Festival. In making Water, Carry Me, her recently released EP, Hannah worked alongside musicians Scott McKeon (Lana Del Ray), Paul Beavis (Robert Fripp), Rob Mullarkey (Laura Mvula) and Steve Smith (Sandi Thom). Hannah’s songs blend her nonchalant, percussive guitar style with soulful melodies and lyrics full of personal experience and rich imagery owed to her art school background.
5. Michael Armstrong
Taken from British singer-songwriter, Michael Armstrong’s eponymous debut album, ‘Johannesburg’ is one of 12 self-penned songs, including collaborations with legendary guitarists Albert Lee and Elliott Randall, plus two very special cover versions. Michael’s own musical influences include McCartney, Dylan, Steely Dan, Billy Joel, Supertramp, Jeff Lynne and The Eagles. He grew up living and breathing every note, lyric and chord change of his musical heroes and it’s true to say echoes of these artists are evident in his music. This is an album you won’t stop playing.
6. Kate Doubleday
Kate Doubleday was born in 1969 to an Irish mother and a father from Lancashire. She grew up listening to the travelling stories of her late Irish grandfather, Kelso, inspiring her to become a singer-songwriter. In 1989 she travelled to West Africa to explore the rich and vibrant musical landscape, drawing many influences to her songwriting. This has led her to release Renewal (2003), Belonging (2008) and Pied Flycatcher (2011) on her own independent label, Copper Records. Flutter is Kate’s eagerly awaited new album produced by the acclaimed Martin Levan (John Martyn, June Tabor).
7. John Brindle
John Brindle is a solo singer-songwriter living in Durham. Songwriting is his passion. “I like words and music that not only entertain, but resonate with listeners. Words And Music is my fourth album. I play a Martin OM28V and my trusty 1993 Lowden O10. I’m a solid fingerstyle player, but there’s always room for improvement! The singer songwriter boom of the late 1960s and early 1970s inspired me. CSNY, Jackson Browne and James Taylor are big influences. I recorded the songs live in the studio before adding my own harmonies. The future? To keep writing and embrace opportunities.”
8. Hannah White
‘Whose Side Are You On?’
Hannah launched her previous album to a 300-strong audience at London’s iconic Union Chapel after a YouTube demand for a track, recorded in her bathroom, reached 28,000 views. An ambassador of independent music and art; with the acclaim of a national publication asserting, “It is only a matter of circumstance that will determine whether [Hannah’s album] will become the soundtrack to a big Hollywood movie.” Hannah’s latest album Whose Side Are You On? will be released in July.
9. Caddy Cooper
Caddy Cooper is a West Australian acoustic country and blues singer-songwriter that you simply can’t afford to miss. Deemed “one of the finest songwriters in the land” (Express FM), Caddy’s “natural, un-rushed and all together beautiful” vocals (For the Country Record), “infectious charm” (Blues in Britain Magazine) and Little Martin guitar have been travelling worldwide, winning hearts and soothing souls with Caddy’s iconic breed of storytelling.
10. Steve Pledger
‘Striking Matches In The Wind’
Steve Pledger is an artist attempting to make sense of the world through his writing; producing songs that range from fragile reflections on love and loss, to blistering commentaries on present circumstances. His songs pack an emotional punch, both on record and on stage. Based in the South West of England, his musical influences are many and varied, resulting in a style and approach that is honest and refreshingly direct, with an underlying sense of compassion and longing.
Taken from their new album Leave No Bridge Unburned (Six Shooter Records), Canadian husband and wife duo Luke Doucet and Melissa McClelland tap into the American south with their new single ‘Sweet Disaster’. The track channels slinky, stylized Bond themes and 60s RnB. The song is about space, time and love, nestled in an idea about a one-way ticket to planet Mars. Previous album The Fate Of The World Depends on This Kiss was nominated for Polaris Short List (2013) and the band have been championed by BBC Radio 2’s Bob Harris.
12. Peter Knight’s Gigspanner
‘Bows Of London’
Since his departure from folk-rock pioneers Steeleye Span at the end of 2013, legendary fiddle player Peter Knight has turned his full attention to his trio Gigspanner, and in the process has firmly established their burgeoning reputation as one of the most innovative acts on the folk/roots scene. Hailed as “another milestone in folk’s rebirth of cool”, Gigspanner continues to inspire audiences of all leanings, bringing them back for more. Peter is joined by Roger Flack on guitar and Vincent Salzfaas on percussion.
13. The Good Lovelies
‘Waiting For You’
Featuring on the Canadian award-winning trio’s eagerly awaited new album Burn The Plan; ‘Waiting For You’ is an up-tempo, shimmering keyboard-laced number, showcasing the band’s impressive harmonies and signature vocals to the full. The Good Lovelies, who are previous winners of the highly sought-after Juno award, will be wowing UK audiences with their live shows throughout June.
14. Peter Appleyard
Peter Appleyard brings together influences from the worlds of rock, pop and folk, crafting distinctive, feel-good and emotionally charged compositions. Peter’s second studio album No Looking Back was released on November 24, 2014. Recorded in the wilds of rural Norfolk with acclaimed producer/engineer Jonny Cole, this new release sees Peter broadening his musical horizons further and features current single and live favourite ‘Ordinary’. Performing the tracks live throughout the UK particularly showed the strength and wide appeal of Peter’s music. Making the national final of the Exposure Music Awards 2011 in London for Best Live act further confirmed his talent.
15. Ivor Game
‘The Life You Know’
Ivor Game is a singer-songwriter from Middlesex. He started playing the guitar from the age of 10 and writing his songs soon after. Ivor found his feet playing the acoustic clubs of London and has been touring his tuneful shows across the UK and beyond for many years. He often tours Ireland, parts of Europe and has performed in Nashville and Los Angeles. Ivor has been releasing an album every two years since 1996’s Hit The Big Time, and in 2014 he released his 10th album Dizzy Spells. Ivor’s music has been broadcast across the world, from Europe to Australia, Japan and the USA.