Folkstock goes to town

by | Nov 1, 2015

Folkstock records

Award winning independent folk roots and acoustic label, Folkstock Records have been releasing emerging singer songwriters since its inception following their much acclaimed festival held in September 2013. With high profile support from Patrons Peggy Seeger and Fairport Convention’s Dave Swarbrick plus national treasures Whispering Bob Harris and Tom Robinson, the boutique label has been getting a reputation for their successful and award winning in house promotion, plugging and production. The word has spread and Folkstock have been asked to present two artists, Kelly Oliver and Minnie Birch, by Time Out London for ‘Rising Stars of Folk’ on 27th October at The Electric Carousel in Piccadilly and curate two Emerging Talent events as part of London Folk and Roots Festival in November which involves those two plus six further artists. All eight artists have been involved with Folkstock from the beginning and performed at the first festival they organised in 2013.
A new compilation album called DOWNTOWN is being released to celebrate these prestigious opportunities for artists we support, and each act performing is featured. It is out on November 12th and on pre order from 1st November. Everyone sending proof of ticket purchase to Folkstock(at) in advance of the gigs will get a download of the entire album for free as a special thank you.

London Folk and Roots promo pic 4th NovemberThe ‘Alt Country’ showcase at The Islington on 4th November is headlined by Cambridge band Fred’s House and features Marina Florance from Norfolk, Kaity Rae from London and another Cambridge act, Ben Smith.London Folk and Roots promo pic 11th November

Kelly Oliver is headlining the all female ‘Folk’ evening on 11th November at The Islington. Joining her are Minnie Birch from Hemel Hempstead, Daria Kulesh from Kings Langley and Zoe Wren from London, currently studying music at Cambridge University.

All the acts have impressive stories to tell and songs to sing and are worthy of a national platform as recommended by The Telegraph as Martin Chilton’s ‘Folk Gig Pick’ on 9th October.

The two worthy headline acts are Fred’s House and Kelly Oliver who have both performed for Bob Harris’ filming company for an Under the Apple Tree session. Kelly has also gained BBC Radio 2 play for her last three singles as well as national play across the BBC Local Network and BBC 6 Music play on the early show. Her debut album This Land gained a 4* review from The Telegraph. Bob Harris regards her as an ‘emerging voice in British Folk’ and The Times printed that she was ‘blending traditional values with bold indie pop sensibility’.

The dynamic mother and daughter ‘label team’ of Helen Meissner (label founder) and Lauren Deakin Davies (producer) have now worked on three compilation albums, in addition to many for solo artists. This most recent selection, DOWNTOWN, has been recorded andcompiled to celebrate these London showcases, but there’s a strong link to the previous release, The F Spot Femmes Fatales, comprising all female artists which came out on International Women’s Day earlier this year.

The F Spot Femmes Fatales gained a 4* review from The Telegraph, a recommendation in The Sunday Times and a slew of national radio play so Folkstock took the opportunity to curate four of the acts in one night, to further encourage female songwriters to respect their contribution to the music business. Folkstock wanted to continue to draw attention to the shocking figures which reveal that currently only 16% of songs registered with PRS for Music are by women, so jumped at the chance to programme four acts from critically acclaimed cd for the final showcase on 11th November.

The album opens with a single from Kelly Oliver which will be on her forthcoming second album due out in the Spring. The song Miles to Tralee will be the only track released as a single and is coming out on November 20th. The cd will be available from on November 12th and pre orders are being taken from November 1st.


DOWNTOWN is a limited edition compilation, specially commissioned as a unique celebration of the talented artists representing Folkstock in London this autumn. It will be on general release on 12th November and pre release 1st November.



1. Kelly Oliver – Miles to Tralee Written by Kelly Oliver, produced by Stu Hanna. The lead track on this album is the first physical outing for a song which is being released on digital forms as a single on 20th November. It is from Kelly’s second album, which is due out March 2016.”Kelly Oliver is a very talented singer and songwriter, but what impressed me the most was the intricacy of her guitar playing. I thought I’d be helping her along, but she was teaching me fancy chords, rhythms and tunings by the end of the session!” Stu Hanna

inside2. Fred’s House – Shut up and Dance Written by Griff Jameson and Vikki Gavin and produced by Neil Rogers at Half Ton Studios. Released earlier in 2015 on iTunes and will be on the next full length album from the band, due out early 2016 as a follow up to ‘Bonnie and Clyde’, their much applauded debut.

3. Minnie Birch – Dustbowl
This track was borrowed from Minnie’s excellent debut album Floundering which was released earlier this year. Dustbowl was written by Minnie Birch and produced by Minnie and Nick Harris at Spare Room Recordings. It gained song of the week status on BBC Three Counties Radio.

4. Marina Florance – Little Black Cloud Released especially for this compilation, this track was written by Marina Florance and Julie Fox Allen, produced by Marina Florance and will be on Marina’s next full album coming out in January 2016. It has been played by Tom Robinson on BBC 6 Music and voted in his ‘Fresh Faves’

5. Zoe Wren – Nothing to See Another song recorded especially for this compilation and previously unreleased. Written by Zoe Wren and produced by Tristano Galimberti this will further enhance Zoe’s growing reputation and Sue Marchant on BBC East of England has invited her in to sing the song live on 18th October.

6. Kaity Rae – When You Go Recorded especially for this compilation by Kaity Rae and produced by Lauren Deakin Davies for Folkstock Records in The Den. It was immediately picked up by BBC Introducing and will be featured on 10th October for Three Counties Radio.

DOWNTOWN cd art - case back final7. Daria Kulesh – The Moon and the Pilot Recorded especially for this compilation by Daria Kulesh and produced by Lauren Deakin Davies for Folkstock Records in The Den, feat Kate Rouse. A song of our time, by default, with lyrical romanticism sweetening the recurrent harsh reality of social displacement caused by war.

8. Minnie Birch – Nashville Taken from Minnie’s debut album Floundering, written by Minnie and produced by Minnie and Nick Harris for Spare Room Recordings. This epic song is one to get lost in.

9. Ben Smith – Let Me Down Easy Written and produced by Ben Smith and released on his most recent EP ‘Sampler Vol 1’

10. Kelly Oliver – Rio Written by Kelly Oliver and Nigel Stonier, produced by Nigel Stonier. Released on 25th September and will be on Kelly’s second album coming out in March 2016.


27th October is the Time Out ‘Rising Stars of Folk’ event with two of our artists, Kelly Oliver and Minnie Birch opening, followed by Sam Kelly Trio, Chloe Leigh, Samantha Whates and The Roving Crows.

4th November is an ‘Alt Country’ night with Fred’s House headlining an all star cast of Marina Florance, Ben Smith and Kaity Rae.Here’s the ticket link for the 4th November–freds-house-the-islington/

11th November, a week later, again on a Wednesday, sees Kelly Oliver headlining a wonderful evening of female folk also featuring Minnie Birch, Daria Kulesh and Zoe Wren.

Here’s the ticket link for the 11th–kelly-oliver-the-islington/

Artists Biographies


Fred's House photo“Exceptional debut album… a band capable of scaling considerable heights.” R2 Magazine
“A real delight in discovering and I have no hesitation in recommending that you do the same.” Fatea Magazine
“This band are unlike anything else out there at the minute, they undoubtedly have what it takes to be massive.” **** Music-News

Fred’s House are an award winning band based in Cambridge. Mixing elements of Folk, Blues, Country, Classic Rock and West Coast with a definite vintage feel to their music, echoing the 70’s but creating a fresh new sound that is very much part of now. Their songs feature the vocals of real-life couple and song-writing duo Griff Jameson and Vikki Gavin, who voices blend to create a beautiful and powerful sound.

Fred’s House have received national airplay on Tom Robinson’s show BBC 6Music, Frank Hennessy’s Celtic Heartbeat show on BBC Radio Wales as well as recently having live sessions on BBC Introducing, BBC Local Radio and many other local radio stations. They have also had their music featured on Channel 4’s Hollyoaks and as an Ident for BBC Radio to promote the Buskers Festival in June 2013. This super band have become a regular fixture on the UK festival scene including appearances at Cambridge Folk Festival, Secret Garden Party, Standon Calling, Acoustic Festival of Britain, Ely Folk Festival, LodeStar, Folk East and Bestival and regularly sell out on their headline gigs and having recently recorded with Bob Harris’s Under the Apple Tree sessions, this exceptional life enhancing band will round off our evening in style.

Ben Smith photo

With a style that is influenced by the greats of the blues, funk, folk and beyond, Ben Smith plays a pretty mean acoustic guitar and has a big voice to match. After years of collaborations, Ben was inspired by a 3 month stay in New Orleans, to go out on his own and perform solo. Ben has recently supported a number of great musicians – Robert Cray, Joan Armatrading, Albert Lee, Wilko Johnson, The Royal Southern Brotherhood, Jon Gomm, Matt Schofield and Simon McBride. He was a finalist in the 2013 New Brunswick Battle Of The Blues and his song ‘Dealers Stealers’ was included on the soundtrack of the film “Rock and Roll F*ck ‘N’ Lovely” which was released in 2012 and he is in demand for his charismatic delivery of many insightful self penned songs woven into some songs from more familiar territory.


Marina Florance photo“When I heard Marina Florance sing “The Dress”, my ears did a double take – her low velvet tones absolutely blew me away, and tears sprang to my eyes. I felt immediately emotionally connected to this music, to her voice, and to the natural flow of each song…”

“…Her unhurried delivery & heartfelt message hits you every single time, it doesn’t need to rush, it doesn’t need to scream & shout, it just needs room to breathe so the story can be told. Oh my Jesus does she have a wonderful voice…”

These are typical responses to Marina’s performance, an award winning songwriter who started performing her own songs later in life than most, to help get her songs a platform. This has proved to be a good move as her songs have been featured by Soundcloud as Track of the Day and recorded by actor Anthony Head, with multiple plays on radio stations around the world. Being booked for Cambridge Folk Festival and then being additionally placed on Stage 2 was a highlight for Marina in 2014. You are in for a treat.


Kaity Rae photo“The first shots of a career which has the potential to span the worlds of folk, pop and country… opportunities to shape the future direction of the original and traditional songbook are enticing. Selecting a favourite is a near impossible task as each sparkles with imaginative writing and flawless vocals merging into the majestic music making”

Kaity Rae has finished studying a higher diploma in vocals at the Institute of Contemporary Music Performance in London, and having been awarded ‘Student of the Year’, is now undertaking a songwriting degree. She performs her self penned material accompanied by her own guitar and Ben Beaumont on cajon. She has got into the songwriting final two years in a row for GIGS: Big Busk.

“It’s perhaps not the done thing to describe a female folk singer as having a sexy voice, but then part of the culture of folk music is subversion, so it’s a plain simple fact Kaity Rae’s slightly gritty and smoky tone is just fantastic.
The way she sings ‘It Is’ would probably have been banned by the BBC 40 odd years ago, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing”

Kaity Rae has released her debut EP Spark in 2014 and had two songs featured now on all three compilations albums released by Folkstock Records. Due to her involvement with these compilations, Kaity has received mentions in various newspapers including The Sunday Times, The Telegraph and was playlisted in Music Week Magazine. The perfect opener for our emerging acoustic alt country showcase.


Kaity Rae photo“Very beautiful new music from Kelly Oliver who is… an emerging voice in British Folk” according to Bob Harris. Kelly has caught the ear of BBC Radio 2 and 6 with a number of plays on both stations and her rapid ascent has become a talking point for this multi award winning singer songwriter with the ‘golden vocals’ who accompanies herself, somewhat unusually, with guitar and harmonica. Inspired by Dylan and Irish folk music, with a dose of Alanis Morrisette, it’s no surprise that Kelly’s songs range from feisty and funky and reveal “an earthy purity”.
Flawless and impassioned performances all over the country have ensured that Kelly can be heard on many local BBC stations and increasingly, TV stations.
Kelly’s debut album This Land put her firmly on the musical map, it won an Album of the Year award from Folkwords  and gained 4* reviews plus an album of the year Award. As The Telegraph pointed out, in their recent feature of her latest single Jericho “”distinctive and breathtaking vocals…. This Land proved to be a vindication of the funding from a Help Musicians UK Emerging Excellence Award.” When the Times reviewed Kelly, the universal appeal of her music was evident “There was a fine set from the promising young singer-guitarist Kelly Oliver, an artist who blends traditional values with hints of a bold, indie-pop sensibility”. A worthy final act for our acoustic/folk showcase.

Minnie Birch photoMINNIE BIRCH

Minnie’s strikingly charismatic vocals have not only won her a legion of committed fans, but also caught the ear of Joan Armatrading who has invited Minnie to support her at Herts based gigs over the last three years. This understated yet beguiling performer presents her astonishingly bold lyrics with an original stripped back delivery, during which you can hear a pin drop. Her self penned music appeals to all, as evidenced in Radio 1 play for her single Glitter.

“Minnie Birch has an intriguingly girlish sound to her singing and there is the occasional Dolly Parton-style tremor to her voice but it is wonderfully light and enjoyable. Her singing is like a vocal version of a sunny day or a gentle zephyr stirring a flower filled”. Shimmering under the radar, we are thrilled that Minnie is performing for us.

Daria Kulesh photoDARIA KULESH

Russian born and well travelled, Daria weaves her innate sensitivity to the nuances of everyday life and her sometimes shocking experiences into her raft of original songs. Largely vocals and guitar, Daria sometimes introduces the bodhran to add some primitive percussion. Rave reviews and album of the week for many radio independent radio stations greeted her debut album Eternal Child and these reviews sums it up perfectly “the most raw and unashamedly revealing collection of songs I’ve heard in a long while…Daria uses these songs to explore acute moments in her life-documentary from the unique perspective of guileless innocence born into all children” “Daria Kulesh has one of the most distinctive and instantly recognisable voices on the folk circuit. Her hauntingly refined and precise singing has an element of the operatic and as you listen she seems to have an ability to evoke images within your psyche which are not yours”


Zoe Wren photoHaving just started a music degree at Cambridge University, Zoe released her debut EP Pandora’s Box in the middle of last year. Picked to perform on Stage 2 at Cambridge Folk Festival last year, Zoe is certainly attracting attention having supported various artists including Peter Knight’s Gigspanner at Cambridge Folk Club and Jim Causley at Hitchin Folk Club, as a result of winning the Best Newcomer award at Folkstock’s Love Folk Live Awards. FATEA Magazine featured Zoe in their Autumn Showcase 2014 and her first headline gig was a sell out at Redbourn Folk Club in the summer. Powerful and pervasive, her songs hook you from the first line. “It takes an especially strong new voice to rise above the general hubbub of the current English folk song flashmob… Zoe showcases a maturing voice and songs that have depth to match their indisputable charm”. “blending a finesse voice with the soothing tones of acoustic strumming…tantalising .. lashings of potential to work the cross genre songbook. She can sing quite comfortably in the classical traditional style and still retain a contemporary charm to captivate the listener”. A fitting opener for our Emerging Showcase.


“Folkstock is a label to hang your hat on. Helmed by Helen Meissner, they approach everything with a DIY ethos that is admirable and, also, successful. More importantly, Helen has a great ear for music and an obvious passion which comes out in everything they do. ”. Spiral Earth reviewing The F Spot Femmes Fatales, which was released on 8th March”. Harry Harris, Spiral Earth.

“It is reported that only 13 per cent of songs registered with the Performing Right Society are by women songwriters. Which makes The F Spot both a statement of intent and a welcome piece of music. There are 10 songs by 10 different ‘femmes fatales’ and they are of a consistently high standard, whether from a trailblazer such as Peggy Seeger (Don’t You Know How Lucky You Are) or a young London student called Kaity Rae (It Is). ….The album is from progressive British label Folkstock“. Martin Chilton,The Telegraph

“It may be a small operation, but British label Folkstock has become shop window for an impressive roster of youthful singer songwriters who roam far beyond the borders of the traditional repertoire.…from a label that is nurturing some our most promising folk talent.” Clive Davis The Sunday Times

” The opportunity to provide a platform for artists we believe in for the London Folk and Roots festival was an honour which I have relished. Curating the only Emerging Talent evenings for the festival is a massive vote of confidence for our Folkstock ‘community’, and in fact, all the acts performed at our first festival in 2013. It’s great to give this opportunity to acts who have been intrinsically involved with us from the start and, in addition, for two of our artists to open the Time Out Rising Stars of Folk event is truly thrilling.”  Helen Meissner, Label Founder/Manager

%d bloggers like this: