Release Date: Out Now Label: Midwich Records Link:

I don't normally rush out to buy a British folk album. Most of the folky stuff I listen to is well over 30 years old. Thankfully, Nancy Wallace's solo debut has reminded me that the 'scene' seems to be alive and well in this country and doesn't just belong to Fleet Foxes and all their bearded mates.

From the opening song 'Sleeping Sickness' you realise just how minimal the production is and just how lovely Nancy Wallace's voice is. The song is like valium for the ears and I defy anyone to feel anything other than nice about 30 seconds after putting it on. Old Stories is a mixture of traditional folk songs and Wallace's own modern compositions. Personally the traditional songs stuck out to me and not in a good way (sorry ancient folk song writing people!) I much prefer Wallace's songs for the simple reason that they are more interesting and far catchier. When was the last time you had a traditional folk song stuck in your head? Ok maybe there are some of you that happens to. But really? As an album it comes in fairly short at about 30 minutes, if you get rid of all the traditional (slightly boring) songs that probably leaves about 20 minutes or so of pure goodness. Throughout every song Wallace's clear and honest voice shines through accompanied by your normal kind of folky instruments -  guitars, violins and the occasional wheezy accordion. Nothing ever sounds overdone, it's all just enough. No need for layer upon layer of harmonies or effects, it's like she and the other musicians could be in the room with you for most of it. Along with 'Sleeping Sickness', 'Waiting' is standout track for me, and I'm sure it'll be released as a single at some point. The song is essentially about a girl who is prepared to wait under a crooked roof forever (yes forever) for some bloke to come along and declare his love for her. The way she sings it though it seems like a perfectly lovely thing to do. Rating: 7/10