Stevenage singer-songwriter releases third album

PUBLISHED: 08:28 03 August 2018

Stevenage singer-songwriter Kelly Oliver is releasing her third album. Picture courtesy of Jane Brace.

Stevenage singer-songwriter Kelly Oliver is releasing her third album. Picture courtesy of Jane Brace.


A talented singer-songwriter with a passion for folk music is releasing her third album and will take to the road on tour next month.

Stevenage’s Kelly Oliver burst onto the music scene in 2014 – a girl, a guitar and a distinctive harmonica destined to make people sit up and listen.

The 28-year-old’s first two albums – This Land and Bedlam – have led to a number of awards, including the East Anglian NMG Awards, and an appearance on BBC One’s Sunday Morning Live during the 2016 Rio Olympics Games.

Her latest album, Botany Bay, was 18 months in the making and sees the singer-songwriter plant her feet firmly in the roots of traditional English folk.

She said: “I wanted to have a theme for this album and alighted on folk songs collected from my home county of Hertfordshire.

“My previous two albums were almost all my own material, but working on the folk scene for the last few years I’ve become immersed in the traditional music of this country and I enjoy it more every time I’m exposed to it.

“I didn’t know some of the songs at all, so researching and creating Botany Bay was a really fulfilling journey – learning the lyrics, understanding the stories, arranging and composing music for them and putting a contemporary stamp on them.”

Full of light and shade, the 10-track album includes many collected by Lucy Etheldred Broadwood, an English folk song collector of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. She was a founder member of the Folk Song Society, editor of the Folk Song Journal and one of the main influences of the English folk revival of that time.

Cuckoo’s Nest is a well-known traditional song full of innuendo, but Kelly does away with some of the lyrics.

She said: “The versions I had heard were bawdy, raw and brash, which of course fits with the traditional lyrics, but those lyrics are outdated and could even be deemed offensive, so I have partly rewritten them so they now tell a story of female defiance against unwanted affections.”

Kelly will showcase the album on a 16-date UK tour starting on September 8 in Bromsgrove, with a special London album launch gig at Cecil Sharp House on October 10.

For more about Kelly, see

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