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Folk Rising 2 - Review

Folk Rising 2

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 2 out of 5

THE second release in the series from the people who bring us the annual BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards CD, Folk Rising 2 is a collection of songs designed to showcase the flourishing young folk scene. But there’s a sense that you can have too much of a good thing…

Featuring 23 songs, you really have to like folk to get the most out of it. Newcomers, sceptics, the unconverted and anyone besides might well be put off the genre owing to the overwhelming sense of familiarity that soon sets in.

True, there are some notable songs and some artists worthy of paying closer attention to. But as a whole, Folk Rising 2 tends to sound a little samey after a while, and doesn’t really suggest that there’s more to the folk genre than initially meets the eye.

Of the highlights, the beautiful vocals of Ruth Notman provide an early track to savour on Limbo, while The Battered Hake Polka/Jon O’Grouts is a track that’s rooted in fun folk values.

Kim Edgar’s tender, acoustic-based Heavy Skies is another sombre gem, making good use of its striking guitar riffs and yearning vocals; while The Maerlock’s Bide Lady Bide is a more lively dancefloor filler (in folk terms, mind!) that makes some fine use of fiddles.

Jenna Reid’s lively fiddle work also enlivens Trip To Miriam’s/Tom’s New Fiddle/The Laughing Girl, which is breathlessly delivered in places, and a proper showcase for that particular instrument. It’s fun and could probably be responsible for kicking off quite a craic in a pub with strong Irish connections.

But at other times, the selections seem content to a pretty formulaic structure where fiddles and violins take centre stage and you’ll tire of attempting to distinguish between what each new artist has to offer.

It’s a shame, because when it gets the balance right, it’s an excellent showcase of why folk has such a strong following. But there’s simply not enough diversity.

Download picks: Limbo, The Battered Hake Polka, Heavy Skies, Trip To Mariam’s

Track listing:
Disc: 1

  1. Mawkin Causley – Come My Lads (from the album Cold Ruin)
  2. Ruth Notman – Limbo (from Threads)
  3. Bella Hardy – Down In Yon Forest (from Night Visiting)
  4. Zoox – Reverse Antics (from 88)
  5. Ember – Far From Home (from Open All The Doors)
  6. Sam Carter – Next Of Kin (from the EP Here In The Ground)
  7. The Askew Sisters – The Old Virginia Lowlands (from All In A Garden Green)
  8. The Gloworms – The Battered Hake Polka; Jon O’ Grouts (from Running Joak)
  9. Ruth Theodore – Murray’s Wives (from Worm Food)
  10. Calum Stuart – Looking At A Rainbow Through A Dirty Window (from Earlywood) Tiny Tin Lady – Love Is A Duel (from Ridiculous Bohemia
  11. Tiny Tin Lady – Love Is A Duel

Disc: 2

  1. Mary Hampton – Free Grace (from the album My Mother’s Children)
  2. Jeana Leslie & Siobhan Miller – The Burning of Auchendoon; Pint Of Wine (from Jeana Leslie & Siobhan Miller)
  3. Kim Edgar – Heavy Skies (from Butterflies And Broken Glass)
  4. Jack McNeill & Charlie Heys – Quiet The Child (from Light Up All The Beacons)The Maerlock – Bide Lady Bide (from Sofa)
  5. Grant Campbell – Bowery Beat (from Beyond Below)
  6. Jenna Reid – Trip To Miriams; Tom’s New Fiddle; The Laughing Girl (from Laughing Girl)
  7. Kate Doubleday – Eucalyptus (from Belonging)
  8. Tom Kitching & Gren Bartley – Window (from Rushes)
  9. Rosie Doonan – Moving On (from Moving On)
  10. Pillowfish – Seven Stolen Stars (from Common Knowledge)
  11. Last Orders