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Outstanding Finalists Announced For 2021 Best Folk Artist

Darren Watson and You, Me, Everybody have claimed their first Tūī finalist nominations for Te Kaipuoro Taketake Toa | Best Folk Artist alongside past Tūī winner and finalist Tattletale Saints.

Darren Watson

Watson has had quite the 35-year journey from fresh faced front-person of popular 80s rhythm and blues showband Chicago Smoke Shop to politically engaged folk-blues artist.

The Pōneke-based musician’s latest album Getting Sober For The End Of The World was a labour of love recorded mostly in his lounge, then mixed with care in a nearby bedroom.

Despite its humble origins it has been universally praised by fellow artists and critics alike since its release in September 2020, earning a nod for 2021 Best Folk Artist.

Tattletale Saints

Tennessee-based New Zealand duo made up of Cy Winstanley and Vanessa McGowan took home the Best Folk Artist Tūī in 2014 for their album How Red Is The Blood. Now, Tattletale Saints’ third release Dancing Under The Dogwoods has the duo coming into their own with a triumphant album celebrating endurance and fortitude.

With thoughtful production, the album showcases the band’s perfectly intertwined harmony vocals and Winstanley’s clever yet emotional song writing.

During their six years in Nashville the Kiwi pair have found their footing largely as in-demand session musicians, playing with artists such as Brandy Clark, Sugarland, Peter Bradley Adams and Aubrie Sellers, utilising schedule breaks to pursue Tattletale Saints.

It’s clear Winstanley and McGowan have spent years working towards to creation of music that is organic, honest and effervescent with Dancing Under The Dogwoods, well deserving of Folk Artist finalist.

You, Me, Everybody

Recently formed You, Me, Everybody pushes the boundaries of what New Zealand knows of a genre that was formed on tradition and rules to create progressive bluegrass. Known as New Zealand’s first bluegrass supergroup, their backgrounds are as diverse as their ages and musical style.

While upbeat bangers are part of their repertoire, this is no pub band - but a collection of New Zealand’s best acoustic instrumentalists.

In February they released their self-titled EP You, Me, Everybody which reached number 13 in the New Zealand album charts.

Recorded Music NZ’s Kaiwhakahaere o Ngā Tohu Puoro o Aotearoa Sarah Owen says it’s great to see the transformation of New Zealand folk music to incorporate true folk sound mixed with Aotearoa’s roots.

“Once again the Best Folk Artist category is brimming with talented homegrown folk musicians who know how to perfectly combine classic folk and blues sound with a local twist.

“The diversity of the folk genre is always impressive, and all three finalists are extremely well deserving of the Tūī this year – it will be a hard one to judge. Ngā mihi nui ki te hunga whiringa toa!”

The Auckland Folk Festival is held over Anniversary Weekend in January 2021, with the Best Folk Artist Tūī presented on the Sunday evening. Tickets are available from

© Scoop Media

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