While the last decades of the twentieth century saw a revival of the genre, the twenty-first century has brought not only continued relevance, but a new appreciation for English folk music. An ever-growing audience embraces the brilliant, fresh crop of musicians, who enrich the tradition with novel takes on old songs and new tunes. This album features the super talented singer-songwriter Eliza Carthy, who duets with her mom, the legendary Norma Waterson, both Mercury Award nominees. Multi-instrumentalist Pete Coe has been one of the most consistently excellent traditional musicians and songwriters to remain inspired since the 1970s. Ian King came from outside the folk scene with radical reworkings of traditional English songs made with the help of reggae producer Adrian Sherwood and Little Axe guitarist Skip McDonald. Glastonbury-born Emily Portman quickly distinguished herself in the trio Devil’s Interval before flattening everybody with her extraordinary songs dealing with the weird and dark side of folklore.

One of today’s key groups, Bellowhead, is an energetic and spectacular English folk big band – scooping up awards as the best live act in the land. Formed by melodeon guru Rod Stradling, the Old Swan Band is the brand leader of the ‘new wave of English country dance music.’ One part of England that maintains a distinct Celtic tradition is Cornwall, whence come flag bearers Dalla. They play two Cornish tunes on this compilation, both echoing of the music made in Celtic neighbour Brittany.

The bonus disc presents Coope, Boyes & Simpson, a powerful and outstanding trio, which has taken English roots into radical new directions. In 2011, they were nominated in the Best Group and Best Album categories at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards thanks to their unique unaccompanied singing and songwriting.