tue 16/07/2024

BBC Folk Awards: Chris Wood, Bellowhead, Donovan winners | reviews, news & interviews

BBC Folk Awards: Chris Wood, Bellowhead, Donovan winners

BBC Folk Awards: Chris Wood, Bellowhead, Donovan winners

Folk goes showbiz at annual prizegiving

Chris Wood: Folk Singer of the Year

Mark Radcliffe was on good form, saying how he had seen Donovan at the Whitley Bay Ice Rink (and nipped out to the car park to keep warm) and met Donovan’s manager, who when the singer retired asked if Donovan was going to bed. “Donovan doesn’t go to bed – he crashes,” said the manager.

Donovan sang one of his hits, “Catch the Wind” – although I always preferred “Mellow Yellow” (can it really have been about how you can smoke banana skins to get high, as the received word in the schoolyard had it?).

Chris Wood won both Folk Singer of the Year and Best Original Song with “Hollow Point”, his searing song about the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes. theartsdesk picked his last album, Handmade Life, as album of the month, and it was well deserved.

Bellowhead picked up Best Live Act and Best Group, while the choice of Eliza Carthy and Norma Waterson’s Gift as Album of the Year went down well with a partisan audience, especially as Norma has been seriously ill recently. The awards are also a good chance to catch up with newer artists for the Horizon Award (Ewan McLennon) and the Young Folk award (Moore, Buss, Rutter – who sweetly thanked their parents for ferrying them around).

Cornwall's Fisherman's Friends got the Good Tradition Award - and one of them made a wry speech about how this was their "Andy Warhol" moment, while Laura Marling sung a new song and the Levellers ramped up the volume in case things were in danger of getting a bit twee.

With some other BBC Awards like the World Music Awards axed, the Folk Awards actually got more coverage this year, including a digital Red Button TV show, and seems relatively safe in the cold winds of the cuts. There was still the odd joke about beards, and Frank Skinner did say, “It’s not often I feel fashionable,” but in fact, although the gear-shifts between showbiz and folk were at times uncomfortable, it is a useful showcase for a form that for the last few years has been on a roll in this country.  


Lifetime Achievement Award - Donovan
The Good Tradition Award - Fisherman's Friends
Best Group - Bellowhead
Singer of the Year - Chris Wood
Musician of the Year - Andy Cutting
Roots Award - Levellers
Best Duo - Nancy Kerr & James Fagan
Best Traditional Track - Poor Wayfaring Stranger by Eliza Carthy & Norma Waterson
Best Original Song - "Hollow Point" by Chris Wood
Horizon Award - Ewan McLennan
Album of the Year - Gift by Eliza Carthy & Norma Waterson
Best Live Act - Bellowhead
Young Folk Award - Moore/Ross/Rutter

Watch video of Chris Wood's "Hollow Point"

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