I am literally just back from the Isambard Folk Award finals. This is the first time I have ever had to judge such an award and it was no easy task. All five finalists were incredibly strong candidates that reinvigorated my belief that the folk scene is as strong as it has ever been.
The winner of the evening was Josienne Clarke & Ben Walker who put on an incredible performance, it was only after they finished their set that I really began to take stock of what had happened. They gave a very stripped down performance but their magic laid in their enduring presence that will bring a silence and solemnity to any crowd. For me they breathed new life into songs I have grown to love from ‘My Donal’ which I first heard performed by Amalgamated Sons Of Rest (Alasdair Roberts, Will Oldham, Jason Molina ) to their finale ‘Dimming of the Day’ which I first heard sung by Richard Thompson many moons ago.
It was a great night and you will be hearing more from all the bands that took part in the final, but for now I leave you with Josienne Clarke & Ben Walker: