Penarth-born Martyn Joseph has been compared to talent like Bruce Springsteen and John Mayer. His career spans over 30 years, more than 30 albums, and several genres – including folk, soul and Americana.
In 2004 he won Best Male Artist at the BBC Welsh Music Awards, and in 2012 he was awarded Best Folk Song at the World Independent Music Awards for ‘There’s Always Maybe’. Over the years he’s toured with musicians such as Ani DiFranco, Jools Holland and Art Garfunkel.
Vocalist and fiddler Nancy Kerr is best known as one half of folk duo Nancy Kerr & James Fagan. The pair won Best Duo at the 2003 and 2011 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards, and the couple married in between their wins in 2007.
Kerr collaborated with various artists, including her singer-songwriter mother Sandra Kerr. Along with husband Fagan, she has toured Europe, Australia and Canada, making lasting impressions on every audience.
Since being named Best Newcomer at the 2010 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards Sam Carter has been stirring audiences from Camden to Canada, via an attention grabbing appearance on Later… with Jools Holland and a dreams-really-do-come-true performance in a specially assembled band to back Richard Thompson at Shrewsbury Folk Festival.
Described as ‘the finest English-style finger-picking guitarist of his generation’ by Jon Boden (Remnant Kings, ex-Bellowhead), Sam has toured the world, equally happy to perform intimate solo shows on acoustic guitar, on electric with a full band, or to collaborate with other artists. Recent collaborations have included Sweet Liberties, an EFDSS and Folk By The Oak joint-funded project which saw Sam, Nancy Kerr, Maz O’Connor and Martyn Joseph delving into the archives of Parliament in search of inspiration for songs about the pursuit and development of democracy. Sweet Liberties toured major UK venues, spawned an album of the same name and featured on BBC Radio 3’s World On 3 in late 2016.
Sam’s third solo album How The City Sings was released in April 2016 and captured this fervently admired singer, songwriter and guitarist at his most passionate and moving, with The Guardian calling it a ‘bittersweet electric-folk concept album’ in their glowing 4-star review. The release was supported by a 15 date tour, culminating in the launch show at a packed-out Kings Place in London featuring the How The City Sings band; keyboardist Neil Cowley (Neil Cowley Trio, best known for his contributions to Adele’s 19 and 21 albums) fiddler Sam Sweeney (Bellowhead, Leveret and BBC Folk Musician of the Year) drummer Evan Jenkins (Neil Cowley Trio) and Sam’s longstanding bassist Matt Ridley.
Sam continues to break new ground in his work with Jim Moray in False Lights, a band with the stated aim of updating the template of folk rock and making a joyful racket. Featuring songs premiered in a rip-roaring live session on the BBC Radio 2 Folk Show in January 2018, their second album Harmonograph is due for release in February and looks set to build on the success of their Folk Award nominated debut Salvor which fRoots hailed as ‘A game changer for all involved, and perhaps even the scene in general’.
One of British Folk’s rising stars, Maz O’Connor is a gifted singer with a rare talent for fusing traditional and contemporary folk sounds. Performing a mixture of traditional folk songs and her own thoughtful, poetic compositions, Maz accompanies her uniquely pure voice with guitar, piano, shruti box and harmonium. After her acclaimed second album ‘This Willowed Light’ was released in 2014, Maz was named Fatea’s female vocalist of the year and nominated for the Horizon Award in the BBC Folk Awards.