Last night in a special live-streamed ceremony from London’s Cecil Sharp House, English Folk Expo and Folk on Foot presented The Official Folk Albums Chart of the Year Show 2021 to a worldwide audience. Presenting exclusive performances and counting down the year’s best sellers with host Matthew Bannister was singer-songwriter Kitty McFarlane stepping in for Lady Nade who had tested positive for covid just two days before.
The first live performance came from guitarist Gwenifer Raymond whose album Strange Lights Over Garth Mountain charted at No.37. Following some mesmerising finger-picking guitar work, she spoke of how great it was for her to be accepted into the folk community.
Despite being released at the end of the year, the magnificent Spell Songs II: Let the Light In entered the top 20 at No.19. Spell Songs, an ensemble of folk royalty were performing across town, so Matthew hot-footed it to Cadogan Hall earlier in the day to film three stunning tracks from their soundcheck exclusively for the chart show. Rhythmic and utterly magical.
The end of year chart show paid a moving tribute to Norma Waterson, arguably folk’s greatest voice whose death was announced earlier this week. Matthew Bannister recalled the time when filming Norma’s daughter, Eliza Carthy for the Folk on Foot podcast, she invited him into their home to catch a family sing-song. Viewers were privileged to see Norma do what she does best, singing with her family; an extraordinary occasion of warmth, musicality and joy.
One of the year’s biggest success stories was the astonishing achievement of singer-songwriter Katherine Priddy who performed two beautiful songs from her debut album The Eternal Rocks Beneath. Katherine confessed to popping a cork when reaching the No.1 slot despite her hope of a top 20 position! The album is at No.15 in Folk Albums Chart of the Year.
Further live performances came from Spiers and Boden with Kitty pointing out that Jon Boden had no fewer than three albums in the Top 40, and sea shanty sensation, the Longest Johns who performed a rousing version of Wellerman that has been streamed over 14 million times on Spotify and whose Twitch channel has been watched for over 10,000 hours.
English Folk Expo chief executive, Tom Besford talked algorithms and the drive to create the Official Folk Albums Chart as a way of keeping folk alive and in the public consciousness during lockdown. But for him, his joy is in “discovering so many fantastic albums and artists as a result of these charts. It’s really special”.
|2||SONG FOR OUR DAUGHTER||LAURA MARLING||CHRYSALIS/PARTISAN|
|3||WE GET BY||JAMIE WEBSTER||MODERN SKY|
|4||THE HOPE||FEROCIOUS DOG||GRAPHITE|
|5||LOST IN THE CEDAR WOOD||JOHNNY FLYNN/ROBERT MACFARLANE||TRANSGRESSIVE|
|6||THIS IS REALLY GOING TO HURT||FLYTE||ISLAND|
|7||HAND ME DOWN||KATE RUSBY||PURE|
|8||CONNECTIVITY||GRACE PETRIE||ROBOT NEEDS HOME|
|9||CURES WHAT AILS YA||LONGEST JOHNS||THE LONGEST JOHNS|
|10||OFF OFF ON||THIS IS THE KIT||ROUGH TRADE|
|11||BOSS||JAMIE WEBSTER||MODERN SKY|
|13||NATURE’S LIGHT||BLACKMORE’S NIGHT||EAR MUSIC|
|14||FLYING INTO MYSTERY||CHRISTY MOORE||SONY MUSIC IRELAND|
|15||THE ETERNAL ROCKS BENEATH||KATHERINE PRIDDY||NAVIGATOR|
|16||HENKI||RICHARD DAWSON & CIRCLE||WEIRD WORLD|
|17||MAKE YOUR MARK||SETH LAKEMAN||HONOUR OAK|
|18||LIVE AT BARROWLANDS 2020||PEAT & DIESEL||WEE STUDIO|
|19||SPELL SONGS II – LET THE LIGHT IN||SPELL SONGS||QUERCUS|
|20||GLASTONBURY 92||LEVELLERS||ON THE FIDDLE|
|21||HEAVY ELEVATOR||HAMISH HAWK||ASSAI RECORDINGS|
|23||PEACE||LEVELLERS||ON THE FIDDLE|
|26||STILL AS YOUR SLEEPING||KARINE POLWART & DAVE MILLIGAN||HUDSON|
|27||THE EMANCIPATION OF EVA GREY||THEA GILMORE||MIGHTY VILLAGE|
|28||FIRST FAREWELL||PEGGY SEEGER||RED GRAPE|
|29||FALLOW GROUND||SPIERS & BODEN||HUDSON|
|30||THE FRAY||JOHN SMITH||COMMONER|
|31||OLD WOW||SAM LEE||COOKING VINYL|
|32||STRAIGHT OUTTA CALEDONIA||JACKIE LEVEN||SCHOOL DAZE|
|33||A PILGRIM’S TALE||SETH LAKEMAN||BMG|
|34||THE BBC SESSIONS 1984-1986||POGUES||RHINO|
|35||I WOULD NOT LIVE ALWAYS||JOHN FRANCIS FLYNN||RIVER LEA RECORDINGS|
|36||WHERE I SHOULD END||SAINT SISTER||IE TOO|
|37||STRANGE LIGHTS OVER GARTH MOUNTAIN||GWENIFER RAYMOND||TOMPKINS SQUARE|
|38||WHERE THE WORLD IS THIN||KRIS DREVER||REVEAL|
|39||LAST MILE HOME||JON BODEN||HUDSON|
|40||HOME RECORDINGS||MARTIN SIMPSON||TOPIC|