JOSIENNE CLARKE AND BEN WALKER

Moseley Folk 2017 - Josienne Clark & Ben Walker

“Most of the people complaining about us are sixtysomething men with beards called Brian” Josienne Clarke recently told the Guardian. With five excellent albums to their name and a number of awards including Best Duo at the BBC Folk Awards, Clarke and Ben Walker are one of the country’s best (relatively) new folk acts, but that doesn’t stop them getting complaints now and again. “We’d played with a chamber orchestra,” Walker explains, with an existential look of despair on his face. “It had been an absolute arse-ache to organise, and this bloke said he was ‘sorely disappointed’ because we’d done something that ‘wasn’t expected’.” Clarke adds “we could make an album for him, with just the two us and a guitar, and it’d be a real money-spinner. But is it really wrong to want to do something new?”

Since the release of their first album Fire and Fortune in 2013 it has been obvious that while their musical debts are clear, Clarke (song writing, vocals, guitar, recorder) and Walker (guitar, mandolin, string arrangements) are definitely bringing that something new to folk. The Independent called the record “extremely compelling”, while in describing it as “a triumph of an album” Bright Young Folk said “Josienne and Ben bring their youth and passion whilst displaying a mature and careful handling and treatment of traditional music”. The awards soon followed: Isambard Folk Award, Fatea Female Vocalist of the Year in 2013, Spiral Earth Award for Best Duo, Fatea Album of the Year 2014, and more. The album also topped Amazon’s folk chart.

Their most recent release, last year’s Overnight was called “a gently exquisite set” by the Guardian and “beautifully arranged” by All Music. Popmatters said “There’s a kind of redemptive grace about it, which is complemented by subtlety and attention to detail.” And Uncut described it as “their most ambitious record, as well as their most accomplished”.