Our Top 10 Folk Albums of 2017
A Day A Month | Mairearad Green & Mike Vass
I love a good Kickstarter campaign and it's always great when it allows a project like this to come to fruition. For me, A Day A Month is arguably the most complete and accurate representation of what Trad music in 2017 sounds like. The Jigs set in particular is just a great track where traditional melodies contrast brilliantly with homemade percussive sounds before the track explodes into what i can only describe as an eerie, submerged underwater experience (get listening on a decent pair of headphones for the full effect). We can't for the next edition where Mairearad and Mike will be adding some of there own tunes into the mix and with the bag full of tunes that these two have written it's bound to be a belter. Tracks to look out for include Puirt, Buntata and Miss Muir. Mairearad and Mike, I doff my flatcap to you both. Excellent stuff.
Fiddle & Guitar | Ross Couper & Tom Oakes
How long have we been waiting for an album from these two? It feels like an absolute eternity, but it has been well worth the wait. Perhaps the most impressive feature of Fiddle & Guitar is that it manages to capture and recreate the transfixing, raw, bundle of energy that is a Live Ross & Tom gig so successfully. I also love that the album is exactly what it says on the cover - Fiddle & Guitar. I'm all for using synths and fancy gizmos to create a fuller sound (yes, i've caught myself head-banging to Road to Loch a fair few times) but these chaps simply don't need any of it. Tracks to look out for include Cathcart, 92nd Year and Sunburn/Harriet's. If you like your Trad Music to be fiery, Intense and really really fast Fiddle & Guitar is right up your alley.
Group Manouvre | Aerialists
Packed full of punch, funky grooves and a cool yet moody energy Group Manouvre is a perfect example of how cross genre recordings are pushing the boundaries of Traditional Music. With influences heavily rooted in Gaelic and Nordic traditional music the combination of intricate melodies on Fiddle and Harp and subtle phrases from electric guitar, bass and kit creates a truly refreshing sound. Tracks to look out for include Group Manouvre, Foxhunter's / Jessica Winters and Gangar Etter Eivind Spellermann.
One Two | Jenna Moynihan & Máiri Chaimbeul
Keen followers of this blog will know that i could rant and rave about this duo for days on end. I can honestly say that this record has without a doubt been one of my favourite recordings to come out in the past year. The effortless flow of this record is so all encompassing that it is a perfect listen for when you just need to tune out from the world for a bit. I could say a lot more but if you check out our earlier post from earlier on this year you can read more about this fab album.
Room With A View | Old Blind Dogs
What a year it has been for Old Blind Dogs. I had a lot to say about this album when it first came out earlier on this year so check back to see how i rant and rave about my undying love for this band. If you're a big fan of OBD then this album truly won't disappoint. I just love that this album hangs on tightly to where this band has come from and i certainly we can expect a lot more Room With A View like recordings in the years to come.
Rove | Cóig
Okay, i'll hold my hands up on this one. I owe all the credit in the world to Hamish Napier for posting about this Album when it first came out or I might never have discovered it. Bringing together fiddle, piano and quite literally every instrument under the sun (courtsey of Darren McMullen) this Nova Scotian quartet are a force to be reckoned with. I'm big fan of the non-stop instrumental energy in this album however the exceptional song arrangements of Down the Road, Am Bothan a bh' aig Fionnghala and Bedlam Boys should not be skipped. Tracks to look out for include Hashtag Jigs, Franzke en Francais and for a truly mighty rendition of Gordon Duncans' Break Yer Bass Drone Four to Get Ready.
Strand | James Lindsay
Despite being quite different from what i would normally listen to Strand by James Lindsay has proved to be one of my favourite albums of 2017. With Jazz and folk influences interwoven through electric guitar and some sick double bass solos Strand is a true cross genre instrumental masterpiece. James is joined by a host of musicians and pals from his Trad and Jazz circles including Tom Gibbs (Fender Rhodes), Ben Macdonald (Guitar), Scott Mackay (Drums), Adam Sutherland (Fiddle) and Hamish Napier (Flute and Wurlitzer). What i really enjoyed about this recording is that the arrangements and melodies feel completely natural and effortless. I also love that it combines the two musical worlds of James Lindsay and is a beautiful exhibit of his skills as a composer and as a bad-ass Bass Player (Mon the North East). Tracks to look out for include Shallow Firth, UB85, Forvie Sands and Beufort's Dyke.
Strata | Siobhan Miller
What a Year it has been for the newly crowned Scots Singer of the Year Siobhan Miller. I know i say it about nearly every single record but i have had Strata on repeat for months. Check out one of my earlier blog posts from this year to get my full thoughts on this spectacular album. Update it's months later and you're still singing along.
What We Leave Behind | The East Pointers
I could literally go on and on about the East Pointers and What We Leave Behind to the point that a short paragraph could well turn into an essay. So watch the video, have a boogie and buy the album. Then get John Wallace on repeat because for it being a song about death and despair it is hella catchy. Tracks to look out for include Party Wave, Pour Over and Hid in Your Heart.
Windrose | The Routes Quartet
Windrose is a mightily impressive debut from the Routes Quartet (Tricia Mullan, Emma Tomlinson, Gráinne Brady and Rufus Huggan). I love that this band have dared to go in a different direction by composing and writing traditional arrangements for a quartet ensemble, creating a mesmerising and unique sound. Perhaps the greatest aspect of this album is the level of musicianship displayed throughout the recording whether it be playing in harmony, unison or using different percussive techniques. With only three instruments at there disposal they manage to take the listener on a truly spectacular 9 track journey where every stop (track) is different. Tracks to look out for include Roisin and Paddy, Night Mouse and Retreat Marches.