It’s been an incredible year for music which has kept us busy here at Folk Radio UK, 2013 has certainly been our busiest so far. The calibre of music has been inspirational so this year we’ve decided to put together a ‘Best Albums of 2013’. They are not ranked in merit although I have been very selective as there is no way we could cover every album we’ve reviewed. Instead I’ve started at the beginning of 2013 and picked out, month by month, what I felt were the best highlights. It’s only after collating the list that I was hit again by how good the music has been and I hope this retrospective view will make you feel the same. Links to our reviews, interviews etc. are included.
Emma Sweeney – Pangea
Pangea was a stunning debut release from Manchester based Emma Sweeney who had been quietly building an enviable reputation on the folk scene. The album was produced by Michael McGoldrick and launched at Celtic Connections. 2014 looks to be a great year for Emma as she kicks the year off with Womenfolk Tour along with Lucy Ward and Emily Portman
Heidi Talbot – Angels Without Wings
Heidi Talbot headed into some very fine collaborative territory on Angels Without Wings featuring Mark Knopfler, King Creosote, Jerry Douglas, Tim O’Brien, Karine Polwart, Louis Abbott (Admiral Fallow) Julie Fowlis and more.
Fionn Regan – The Bunkhouse Vol. I: Anchor Black Tattoo
Fionn Regan went back to basics for ‘The Bunkhouse Vol. I: Anchor Black Tattoo’…a guitar, 4-track, a single microphone and all in a remote hidden away studio. The results spoke for themselves.
Review and Interview
Iain Morrison – To the Horizon, Sir
To the Horizon, Sir was a was my first introduction to Isle of Lewis born Iain Morrison, a talented multi-instrumentalist who appeared on BBC’s Transatlantic Sessions. The album has that deep connection to the isolated archipelago…you can hear it in the music…
Serafina Steer – The Moths are Real
The Moths are Real was an album to wallow in, filled with sublime tales one that was to raise Serafina Steer’s profile to a highly deserved pedestal.
Reason To Believe – The Songs of Tim Hardin
Tim Hardin was the focus of a new covers tribute ‘Reason To Believe – The Songs of Tim Hardin’ was a cracking tribute that featured a host of well respected artists including The Magnetic North, Alela Diane, Smoke Fairies and more.
Southern Tenant Folk Union – Hello Cold Goodbye Sun
The Edinburgh based roots collective Southern Tenant Folk Union released ‘Hello Cold Goodbye Sun’ which was fizzing with emotional charge…challenging, inventive and original.
Carthy, Hardy, Farrell and Young – Laylam
The coming together of four highly respected folk artists: Eliza Carthy, Bella Hardy, Lucy Farrell and Kate Young was the perfect match in the form of Laylam. The enjoyment they had in making the album shone throughout.
Lord Huron – Lonesome Dreams
Lord Huron’s debut album ‘Lonesome Dreams’ lead the listener to places you’d least expect…unwinding like a film of wide open spaces creating rich soundscapes that conjured wilderness and ghosts of the past.
The Black Twig Pickers – Rough Carpenters
‘Rough carpenters’ was The Black Twig Pickers first album since their 2010 release Ironto Special. The addition of Sally Anne Morgan on fiddle was a welcome one making this a bountiful and rewarding release.
Alasdair Roberts & Friends – A Wonder Working Stone
This was by far one of Alasdair’s most ambitious releases that featured a stellar line-up! There is genius at play throughout! Alasdair will be making more than one appearance in our ‘Best of…’ list!