Top 10 roots music CDs with Kevin Bryan

Kevin Bryan's top ten folk CDs
Kevin Bryan's top ten folk CDs

Getting back to roots

Kevin Bryan

Skillfully crafted roots music seems to be enjoying something of a resurgence at the moment, particularly across the pond in the US of A.

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    Most of the artists featured here are unlikely to ever become household names, but open minded listeners should find their largely acoustic musical exploits richly rewarding.

    These ten CDs span a broad spectrum of music making, running the gamut from The Ciderhouse Rebellion’s evocative flights of fancy to Maartin Allcock’s rampant eclecticism and Green Diesel’s classic take on the electric folk-rock sound which first flourished in the early seventies.

    1. The Ciderhouse Rebellion (Under The Eaves)

    Genius Loci 2 : The Valley of Iron

    The Ciderhouse Rebellion (Under The Eaves) - Genius Loci 2 : The Valley of Iron

    Completely improvised folk from accordion ace Murray Grainger and demon fiddler Adam Summerhayes.

    2. Green Diesel (Talking Elephant)

    After Comes The Dark

    Green Diesel (Talking Elephant) - After Comes The Dark

    Excellent folk rock from a Kent band who’ve drawn their inspiration from outfits such as Fairport Convention, Steeleye Span and Mr Fox.

    3. Karen Matheson (Vertical Records)

    Still Time

    Karen Matheson (Vertical Records) - Still Time

    Deliciously subtle and understated from Scottish folkie Karen Matheson, one of key contributors to the BBC’s award-winning “Transatlantic Sessions” series.

    4. Declan O’Rourke (East West)

    Arrivals

    Declan O'Rourke (East West) - Arrivals

    Irish singer-songwriter O’Rourke explores interesting lyrical themes in a compelling musical package produced by Paul Weller at Black Barn Studios in Ripley, Surrey.

    5. The Pawn Shop Saints (Dollyrocker Records)

    Ride My Galaxy

    The Pawn Shop Saints (Dollyrocker Records) - Ride My Galaxy

    Exceptional Jeb Barry and talented cohorts follow up 2020’s Ordinary Folks with another batch of memorable ditties.

    6. Oysterband (Running Man Records)

    Read The Sky

    Oysterband (Running Man Records) - Read The Sky

    British folk-rock institution return to fray after lengthy hiatus with generous helping of emotionally charged material which has become their artistic trademark.

    7. The Matthews Baartmans Conspiracy (Talking Elephant)

    Distant Chatter

    The Matthews Baartmans Conspiracy (Talking Elephant) - Distant Chatter

    Iain Matthews latest collaboration with Dutch multi-instrumentalist BJ Baartmans is liberally peppered with mature and reflective gems.

    8. Maartin Allcock (Talking Elephant)

    OX 15

    Maartin Allcock (Talking Elephant) - OX 15

    Interesting and eclectic solo offering from former Fairport and Jethro Tull stalwart with guest appearances from Tull’s Ian Anderson and Clive Bunker.

    9. Mark Harrison (Self-released)

    The Road To Liberty

    Mark Harrison (Self Released) - The Road To Liberty

    Exceptional twin CD from folk-blues Mark Harrison with musings on human condition underpinned by double bassist Charles Benfield and percussion ace Ben Welburn.

    10. David Ferguson (Fat Possum Records)

    Nashville No More

    David Ferguson (Fat Possum Records) - Nashville No More

    Veteran Nashville recording engineer Ferguson is solo performer for first time tackling covers of some favourite songs.