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Shire Folk – Album of 2019

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Josienne Clarke album

 

Well, all you merry folksters, here we are again: the end of another year. And what a year it’s been. We’ve laughed, we’ve cried, we’ve shouted non-stop at the news, but you can rest safe in the knowledge that in this crazy, mixed-up world we will still be on hand around this time of the year to bring you (drum roll please) – the Shire Folk Album of the Year!

Yes, the votes have been safely gathered in and the runes cast aside for another year and one thing is clear that, as Beyoncé almost said: girls run the folk world. One look at the Top 10 for this year shows the huge array of talent from female performers across folk and roots music. And top of the toppermost is (ta da!) Josienne Clarke with her first solo album, In All Weather. Our reviewer called it ‘Thirteen short, sharp but beautifully crafted songs … an excellent showcase for Josienne’s much acclaimed voice and songwriting skills’, which indeed it is. But it was a close-run thing, neck and neck until the final day of voting. So, what other songs are in the Top 10 then, we hear you ask? Well, fret no more – here’s the full Top 10:

1. Josienne Clarke – In All Weather

2. Thea Gilmore – Small World Turning

3. Martin Simpson – Rooted

4. Hannah James & the Jigdoll Ensemble – The Woman and her Words

5. Rowan Rheingans – The Lines We Draw Together

6. Jim Moray – The Outlander

7. Harri Endersby – Mazes

8. Ruth Notman & Sam Kelly – Changeable Heart

9. Ben Walker – Echo

10. Marry Waterson & Emily Barker – A Window to Other Ways

A fine top 10 I’m sure you’ll agree and if you don’t have your own copies then we recommend that you put that right immediately and get each and every one of them. In what has become the time-honoured tradition, here are the top 5’s of your Shire Folk editors. Do we have the vaguest clue about what’s going on in the folky world? We’ll let you decide.

 

Graham Hobbs

1. Danny Pedler & Greg Russell – Field & Dyke

2. Ralph McTell – Hill of Beans

3. Thea Gilmore – Small World Turning

4. Ruth Notman & Sam Kelly – Changeable Heart

5. Henry Parker – Silent Spring

 

Jonathan Roscoe

1. Native Harrow – Happier Now

2. Thea Gilmore – Small World Turning

3. Josienne Clarke – In All Weather

4. Amy Papiransky – Read Me Write

5. Maz O’Connor – Chosen Daughter

 

So that’s it for another year. What does 2020 have in store? We dread to think, but one thing we do know (because we’ve seen the release schedules) is that there’s some fantastic folk, roots and acoustic music coming down the tracks. So, buckle up, it’s going to be a bumpy ride, but at least there’s going to be some great music to listen to and as long as the good Lord’s willing and the creeks don’t rise, you’ll be able to read about it all in Shire Folk. Until then, stay folky!

Jonathan Roscoe