OFFICIAL FOLK ALBUMS CHART – OCTOBER 2021

Today, the Official Charts Company in partnership with English Folk Expo reveal the Top 40 best-selling and most streamed folk albums released in the October reporting period.  The chart is first announced to the public at 7pm BST on Tuesday 2nd November as part of the Official Folk Albums Chart Show presented by Folk on Foot via their YouTube channel and podcast feed.

The chart features a whopping ten new entrants (7 falling in the Top 20), the most since the Folk Chart began a year ago. And for those who question where all the protest songs are in post-Brexit Britain, look no further to the chart where Grace Petrie and Ferocious Dogboth make the voices known.

Straight in at No.1 is The Hope (Graphite) from Celtic rebel rousers, Ferocious Dog. Instantly recognisable for their fusion of folk, punk and ska, the album flows irresistibly through a rollercoaster of pace and sentiment from high-octane, hook laden numbers, to softer contemplative moments. True to their tradition of intelligent, thought-provoking and politically charged lyrics, the album features their working-class humour, historical observations and biting commentary on the plights facing the world today.

Grace Petrie is the voice of a generation for those at the bottom of the agenda in a Tory Britain. Responding to the day’s dramatic political landscape, her polemical folk anthems and acerbic lyricism has established her as one of the UK’s most important songwriters. Connectivity (Robot Needs Home) lands straight in at No.2. Born from a world turned upside-down by the pandemic, ‘Connectivity’ reflects a world in need of personal connection, yet one where our human response to fear is increasingly divided. ‘Connectivity’ is an honest, personal album about finding a way to carry on the fight for a better tomorrow.

English singer-songwriter Thea Gilmore‘s rich, soulful voice and poetic lyricism have marked her out as an artist of searing talent. In at No.6 is The Emancipation Of Eva Grey (Mighty Village), her final album, while in at No. 4, is the self-titled Afterlight (Mighty Village), her debut. Afterlight is Gilmore’s new identity, creatively rebirthed and repositioned. Written and produced by Afterlight, the self-titled album is a real account of one woman’s journey from a world built on control and lies, to a woman, who for the first time, finds her own voice and her own new beginning. Songs are sad, beautiful and mediative; deeply personal, and extraordinarily powerful.

In contrast, ‘The Emancipation of Eva Grey’, is an acerbic reboot of the 1930s Jazz Age that follows Gilmore’s contribution of songs to the recent film version of ‘Blithe Spirit’. Having long been mesmerised by the urbane, witty songs of the era, Gilmore was hooked and the songs kept coming.

Still As Your Sleeping (Hudson) is a duo album featuring one of Scotland’s finest songwriters and national treasures, Karine Polwart, with renowned pianist and composer, Dave Milligan. Piano and voice are a rare combination in the folk idiom and in the hands of Polwart and Milligan, the sound is deceptively simple, yet devastatingly powerful. Landing at No.8, the album is an intimate, stripped-back collection of songs; some originals, some traditional and some contemporary, but threaded through them all are the images of stillness and flux, leaving and returning and pivots of change.

At No.11 is Another Place (Loose Music) from Danny George Wilson. A radically surprising solo album, it sees him putting a new spin on his much-loved sound and signature song writing. The vibrant collection of startling songs is a significant departure from his more familiar Americana sound.  Wilson’s infectious Dylan-meets-Young voice sits with bold experimentation, reverb and electronics that bring a fresh and engrossing magic, enabling some of Danny’s most romantic songs ever, but equally some of his most unhinged.

Ten years since his debut album, folk singer-songwriter Will Varley releases The Hole Around My Head (Yellow Cake), in at No.20. An album of stark, melancholic, heart-wrenching songs that span issues such as fear, anxiety, regrets and relationships, weaving through the album like the worries of a disquiet mind. Varley’s Springsteen-like voice is emotional and compelling.

What Then? (Rubyworks) asks Irish singer-songwriter David Keenan on his new recording, landing at No.23. Renowned for his craft of poetry and vivid imagination, Keenan, having found himself alone and disillusioned with life, turns his poet’s eye on himself.  This naked self-portrait is sometimes self-deprecating and darkly humoured, revealing universal truths and a different picture of the human condition. Keenan’s genre-crossing sound is heavy on rhythm, while his commanding voice sings riveting, epic songs with infectious intensity.

With 11 years at the heart of the traditional music scene, one of Scotland’s most loved trad-rock bands Mànran release, Ùrar landing at No.21.  Showcasing intuitive instrumentation and stunning vocals, the album of primarily self-penned songs in both Gaelic and English features a delicate yet uplifting sound.

Finally, The Last Inklings (Gillywisky) release The Impossible Wild, in at No.40. The duo explores modern life and contemporary issues within their cross-genre sound, centred around cello mandolin and superb vocal harmonies.

See the full chart here

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