Megan Henwood: Head, Heart, Hand (Dharma)

Megan Henwood: Head, Heart, Hand (Dharma)

Megan Henwood: Head, Heart, Hand (Dharma)

If the recent wave of folk-rock has tempted you to explore the genre’s full-time residents rather than its tourists, but you’re wary of the full finger-in-your-ear, twigs-in-your-real-ale stereotypes, Megan Henwood might just be your perfect guide. She’s authentic enough to have won the BBC’s Young Folk Award in 2009 (with her brother Joe) but, while this album was apparently recorded in a farm building surrounded by hay bales, it’s also rooted in modernity. Henwood has a warm voice and a witty, occasionally slightly sinister way with a lyric that will remind you of Jenny Lewis or Laura Marling as much as Eliza Carthy, while she’s not afraid to move subtly into rock, pop or blues. Meanwhile, producer Tom Excell is more used to working on electronica and you can tell, this album’s expertly controlled dynamics rendering the album much more contemporary than her debut, 2011’s Making Waves. And songs such as perfectly pithy break-up anthem Chemicals (“I was gonna be your doctor/But I could not find your heartbeat”) and painfully poignant closer Painkiller will appeal to anyone who likes their music raw and emotional, not just those perplexed by Mumford & Sons ditching their banjos. Folk music for all folk, in other words.