On Tuesday 7 March the Official Charts Company in partnership with English Folk Expo reveal the Top 40 best-selling and most streamed folk albums released in the February reporting period in the UK and Ireland. The chart is first announced to the public at 7pm GMT as part of the Official Folk Albums Chart Show presented by Folk on Foot via their YouTube channel.
There are four new releases in the February Chart, including a new number 1.
Straight in at No. 1 is All Of This Is Chance (Rough Trade) by five time BBC Folk Award nominee Lisa O’Neill. Fresh off 2018’s collection Heard a Long Song Gone for the River Lea imprint, The Wren EP in 2019 and an adaptation of Bob Dylan’s ‘All the Tired Horses’ for the final scene of epic TV drama Peaky Blinders, O’Neill now returns with her latest album, and first for the Rough Trade label, the beautiful, resonant All Of This Is Chance. A raconteur in the truest sense of the word, every story starts somewhere and O’Neill starts this extraordinary collection here on earth, on Irish soil, hands in the land.
Coming in at No. 2, is Nowhere and Everywhere (Billingham) by Unthank Smith. Rachel Unthank and Paul Smith are both from England’s North East, and foremost talents in their respective fields. In this album, they set out to collect songs and pen originals that claw at the beating heart of the region. Though Rachel Unthank has been immersed in the folk world from childhood, Paul Smith’s route towards folk began in his teens with a love of the music of Martin Carthy, Karen Dalton, Nick Drake and Bert Jansch, especially their fingerstyle guitar-playing. Echoes of that approach can be heard throughout this album, albeit simplified and merged with a more direct sound akin to US avant-rock acolytes of the ‘60s folk revival like Gastr Del Sol and David Pajo.
Rozi Plain’s fifth album, Prize (Memphis Industries), comes in at No. 4. Acquiring a worldliness that’s reflected in her travels as a touring musician, each consecutive release has broached new sonic territory, whilst retaining a home-grown intimacy and a familial warmth of spirit. On Prize, Rozi’s unique, heart-felt approach continues to prevail, marking her as an innovative and engaging songwriter. On the album, Rozi has assembled her widest cast of players to create an album that not only preserves the intimacy of her signature guitar-and-vocal sound, but accentuates these moments of calm, and explosive emotion, midst a soaring, collective spirit.
In at No. 13 is the double album The Dog Show Sessions Live (Track Dogs) by Show of Hands and Track Dogs. The album was released on 1st February, following their highly successful Spring Tour in 2022. The combination of these two bands has all the depth of the shared folk genres with a whole new level of in-your-face energy. Recorded at Eggbeer Farm and Exeter Cathedral this album includes the entire Dog Show Sessions set list.