Lucy Ward is a folk singer, guitarist and concertina player from Derby. She writes and plays a mixture of traditional songs and her own compositions and, at 22, is already a well-established favourite of the British folk scene.
Though a multi-instrumentalist, Lucy considers her voice to be her primary tool when performing; her vocal is strong and clear with an endearing regional lilt, and she sings with an eloquence that is utterly enchanting to listen to. Her talents have not gone unrecognised either; a finalist at the Young Folk Awards in 2009, she was further nominated in two categories at the 2012 BBC Radio 2 folk awards, going on to win the Horizon Award as best newcomer.
Her debut album, ‘Adelphi Has To Fly’, was received with much positivity on its release in 2011, with the Guardian’s Robin Denslow praising her self-written track ‘Bricks & Love’ and Mike Harding commending her as one of the best things he’s heard in years. Having supported the likes of Seth Lakeman, Oysterband and Nancy Kerr & James Fagan, Lucy has succeeded in establishing herself as a successful headliner in her own right, drawing crowds from all around by her captivating voice and expressive performances.
If you’d like to know more about Lucy Ward and her gorgeous music, visit her website.
Blair Dunlop has quite the musical heritage; as the son of Ashley Hutchings (founder of the Albion Band and co-founder of Fairport Convention), and a singer and guitarist by trade, it is hardly surprising that, at the age of 20, he is already taking the folk world by storm.
Dunlop decided to pursue music professionally after leaving school, releasing an EP of some of his recordings on Talking Elephant Records and embarking on an extensive summer tour schedule during which he played at some of the biggest UK festivals. 2011 saw the release of his second EP ‘Bags Outside The Door’ as well as his nomination for the prestigious BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award, and since then, Dunlop’s star has continued to rise. In October of this year he released his first debut solo album, entitled “Blight & Blossom”, a collection of original songs interspersed with one of two re-workings of traditional folk tunes, and a record that has been on repeat on my Spotify account for several days.*
In 2011, Dunlop took over the reins of the Albion Band from his father. With the help of five other young folk musicians, he has succeeded in reinventing the band, maintaining its folk-rock traditions whilst at the same time demonstrating the flair of folk’s next generation. Any doubts about a Hutchings-free line-up were instantly dispelled by 2012’s ‘Vice Of The People’, with the Albion Band’s first studio album in its new format being met with great critical aplomb.
Dunlop has been hailed in signalling a “new dynasty” in English folk tradition, and for good reason. An accomplished singer, musician and song-writer, his impressive style is beautifully varied and distinctive. Precise musicianship coupled with a vocal and lyrical maturity mean that Blair Dunlop is definitely one to watch, both in the folk world and beyond.
* Interestingly, the artwork for the album was created by Elly Lucas, one half of “David Gibb & Elly Lucas”, whom you can read more about on one of my earlier posts.