Top 50 of 2015 (1-20)
If you’ve come this far with us through this list of phenomenal top 50 records in 2015, you’ll know by now that the standard has been set high. There’ll be some records we’ve missed out on, some we’ve forgotten but many that will stand the test of time. Folk and Tumble has been going for five years now and we’re getting ready to shake things up a bit in 2016. Thanks for joining us, reading and sharing our thoughts and enjoying all the music since 2010. Hope to have you all onboard for 2016.
1. Father John Misty – I Love You, Honeybear
A sordid and sumptuous stroll through the post-American Dream nightmare. Lyrically superb. Musically wondrous.
2. Sufjan Stevens – Carrie & Lowell
All at once, this is Sufjan at his most overblown and underwhelmed. An astounding piece of conflicted, complex and personal writing.
3. Glen Hansard – Didn’t He Ramble
Finally we have a Glen Hansard solo or side-project record that can rival the majesty and melody of The Frames at their best.
4. The Staves – If I Was
More in the way of instrumentation and diversity of song crafting sets this apart from those standard folky three part harmonies of old.
5. Villagers – Darling Arithmetic
Biographical and beautiful, this is more a series of stories, intricately woven around minimal orchestration. Much more than just a record.
6. Ryan Adams – 1989
The great love-it-or-hate-it record of 2015 takes Taylor Swift’s bombastic pop record and clashes and caresses in a beautifully unexpected way.
7. Skinny Lister – Down On Deptford Broadway
Rum-swigging, inner city, down and dirty folk songs and shanties. As close to The Pogues as the iPhone generation will ever get.
8. The Mountain Goats – Beat The Champ
A wonderful indie-folk record, a novel concept album, a whole host of songs about the glory days on 1970s and 80s pro-wrestling. Ace.
9. The Decemberists – What A Terrible World, What A Beautiful World
A little less dramatic and a little more personal perhaps than The Decemberists records of yesterday but none the worse for it.
10. Courtney Barnett – Sometimes I Sit And Think, Sometimes I Just Sit
Dripping with sarcasm, wit, razor sharp observations and layered on sometimes with a trowel and much as an artists paintbrush.
11. Laura Marling – Short Movie
A return to form for Marling, a little dose of electric guitar and some cathartic songwriting that could be the script of something.
12. Ciaran Lavery & Ryan Vail – Sea Legs
A short collection of contemporary old mariner’s tales, Lavery’s vocals ebb and flow over Vail’s minimalist electronic instrumentation.
Review by Julie Williams-Nash
13. Lucy Rose – Work It Out
This record feels like a coming of age for Lucy Rose recording in a bigger studio, a bigger name producer and a fuller yet familiar sound.
14. Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats – Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats
Rateliff shakes of the “new folk” shackles and truly finds his voice here, channeling the sounds of Stax and foot-stomping into 2016.
Song of the Day
15. Shovels and Rope – Swimmin’ Time
The Americana Dream fleshed out. Good ole fashioned honest songs, delivered with no thrills with passion and beat up guitars.
16. Soak – Before We Forgot How To Dream
A teenage sensation, a phenomenal songwriter with bags of talent and an Irish drawl. This is less straight up songwriter stuff and more contemplative pop with promise.
Review by Rebecca Armstrong
17. Jose Gonzalez – Vestiges and Claws
Almost a warmer record than we’re used to but still laden with the starkness of orchestration and the simplicity of the well worded poem
Song of the Day
18. Iron & Wine and Ben Bridwell – Sing Into My Mouth
The second covers record on our list sees Sam Beam and Ben Bridwell get a little folksy with a diverse range of songs with occasionally mixed results.
19. The Tallest Man On Earth – Dark Bird Is Home
Cutting a more popular figure on the scene and boosted by a full backing band, this is surely The Tallest Man On Earth, Kristian Matsson’s finest work to date.
20. Danny & The Champions of the World – What Kind Of Love
A more soulful side of Danny Wilson’s songwriting coming to the fore on ‘What Kind of Love’, channeling Springsteen and Morrison to great effect.