LITTLEOVER folk singer Lucy Ward is hoping to revive the spirit of the 1960s amongst today’s youth with her new album Single Flame.
The 23-year-old grew up listening to the protest songs of the 1960s from the likes of Bob Dylan. The power of that generation to inspire change has influenced the opening track of the album, I Cannot Say, I Will Not Speak – a song which is close to Lucy’s heart.
She says: “It’s about regaining some of the idealism of that time - the music, the feeling, the flower power movement. All of that has been critcised but people really believed they could change things and, as a result, immense strides forward were taken in the 1960s.
“I’m from a generation of people who are more likely to say ‘why does my vote matter?’ or ‘it won’t make a dfference if just I protest’. We are being held back by our own cynicism. There are so many hurdles to cross, we don’t need to put ourselves in the way. So it’s about regaining some of that hope really.
“More than being a protest song, it’s just the way I feel about it. A lot of people have asked me abut being a young person wth a social conscience as if it is odd, but there are loads of us out there.
“And it’s not just young people who are jaded, a lot of people who grew up in the 60s have been beaten down by things not changing as quickly as they had hoped. I would love as a society for us to believe in each other and get things rolling.”
There’s no better vehicle than folk music to bring that about.
Lucy says: “It is, by definition, the music of the people. Anybody in the folk world can stand up and share a song they have written.
“But ‘protest’ has become a dirty word. It’s almost like saying you are angry, when sometimes it’s a comment, it documents the feeling of a moment, and I think we are seeing a resurgence of that and the folk scene is at the root of it.”
Lucy’s debut album, Adelphi Has To Fly, led to her picking up the Horizon honour at the BBC Folk Awards, presented to the new artist who has made the most impact.
She says: “Even more than winning, just getting a nomination in the BBC Folk Awards has made a big difference. Promoters have been approaching me for the first time, which is a wonderful position to be in.
“It has really raised my profile. The awards have a wide reach within the industry and people listening to folk music. From then, I have been touring constantly and trying to make the most of that fantastic opportunity.
“Then it got round to making more music and I felt the weight of making that second album – definitely. We all have artists where we say ‘I loved their first album but their second ...’
“So you do have doubts. I wondered if the music was too far removed from the first album, which was so well received that it couldn’t have been better, so I was putting pressure on myself that this album had to do the same.
“But I had a great time for seven months in the studio making the record and it’s out, it’s doing well and I’m very pleased.”
Lucy will be touring in the autumn, returning to Derby to join forces with Cupola at the October folk festival.
She says: “A lot of people think folk music is about beards, socks and sandals and Aran jumpers. It’s not, it’s incredibly vibrant and varied and it’s fantastic that the folk festival is reaching out.”
The Derby Folk Festival takes place from October 4-6 at Derby Assembly Rooms. Go to www.derbylive.co.uk.
Single Flame is out now on the Navigator label.