The finalists for New Zealand’s Best Folk Album of 2008 include an enduring crooner, a celebrated bluegrass band and a trio of relative new kids on the block.
Cardrona-based singer-songwriter Martin Curtis is joined by the evergreen Hamilton County Bluegrass Band and Dunedin trio Delgirl in the finalist line-up announced today 22 December by the Recording Industry Association of New Zealand (RIANZ).
Curtis’ ninth album of New Zealand folk songs is titled ‘Sea To Summit’ and features a range of new songs, several of which have already attracted local and offshore interest. ‘Sir Ed’ has been picked up by Kiwi Kids Songs for inclusion in its next release and the album is airing regularly on BBC Radio in Cardiff and Gloucester.
Currently Curtis’ main focus is on school work, presenting a programme for primary children about New Zealand history, wildlife, conservation and way of life. The work has also spread to regular visits to schools in the UK, where he illustrates his ‘Kiwi’ show with posters and pictures of New Zealand.
Formed in the 1960s, the Hamilton County Bluegrass Band continues its legacy of authentic bluegrass music with a Kiwi twist. The band’s fifth and latest album is ‘Way Down South’ which features 13 tracks. The title song is a Paul Trenwith original, recounting his first appearance at American festivals where he was accepted as true Southerner and ‘bluegrass musician.’ The Hamilton County Bluegrass Band is still the first and only New Zealand band to play The Grand Ole Opry in theUSA. Compared to Curtis and the Hamilton bluegrass quintet, the Delgirl trio is a relative newcomer.
Formed eight years ago the girls admit to playing “skiffily, folky, country, jazzy, bluesy roots music with a Pacific edge bordering a swamp”. ‘Two, Maybe Three Days Ride’ is the debut album from Delgirl’s Deirdre Newall, Erin Morton and Lynn Vare. ‘Ride’ from the album has been selected by NZ Trade & Enterprise to feature on a music placement export disc entitled New Zealand-New Music which is distributed to music supervisors in TV/Film worldwide.
Recording Industry Association of New Zealand (RIANZ) CEO Campbell Smith likes the spread of folk styles across the finalist artists. “Folk music has wide appeal in New Zealand across many different styles,” Smith says. “And, it’s great to see that we have three finalists with quite different approaches”. The Folk Music Tui for the best album of 2008 is to be presented on Sunday 25 January at the final concert of the Auckland Folk Festival. The Auckland Folk Festival is held in Kumeu (West Auckland) from the 23 to 26 January 2009 (http://www.aucklandfolkfestival.co.nz/)
NOTE TO EDITORS:The Tui for Best Folk Album 2008 is for recordings released between 16 November 2007 – 15 November 2008The Folk category was introduced to the awards in 1984. Recent previous winners of the Tui for Best Folk Album
2005 - Lorina Harding for the album ‘Clean Break’
2006 - Ben the Hoose (Kenny Ritch and Bob McNeill) for ‘The Little Cascade’
2007 – Phil Garland for his 18th album ‘Southern Odyssey’.Or refer to http://www.nzmusicawards/ (see history section).
Martin Curtis: http://www.martincurtis.co.nz/
Hamilton County Bluegrass Band: www.myspace.com/hamiltoncountybluegrassband