A Dissected Cross-Section of Current Folk.

With Mumford & Sons racking up almost as many column inches as BP oil slicks and the World Cup combined at this moment in time, you'd be forgiven for keeping your caution as far away from the blustery winds of folk as physically permitted. That said, there's a forever-expanding gang of imagination-enhancing acoustic ramblers rustling amidst the reeds once trodden by the River Man, Nick Drake, and they're all crawling out from the shrubbery contemporarily.

Rock Island sweetheart Lissie, a little in the mould of Lindsay Lohan before she lost every last drop of innocence and couldn't help but flash as many centimetres squared of nether region every time she set foot out of the secluded haven of a blacked-out Beamer, recalls the radiophonic pleasantries of The Cranberries were they cutting through sunset beams at Glastonbury a handful of decades ago. Debut long player, Catching A Tiger (released 21st June) stomps and sways, as Les Pauls wail over 47 minutes of the most optimistic Americana since Blind Melon lamented a lack of precipitation. In Sleep is Sharleen Spiteri to the core, were she brought up chewing reeds instead of gulping down Irn Bru, were Little Lovin' any more heartwarming your chest would be set aflame, Oh Mississippi, an ode to America's spelling test perplexer ebbs and flows beautifully as Lissie's dustbowl drawl ages as beautifully as a slowly emptying whisky barrel and Loosen The Knot replicates the bass-driven drivetime anthemia of Fleetwood Mac. Were you ever hanging from frayed rope on Sergio Leone's gallows, you could pick a worse soundtrack than Catching A Tiger as you anxiously awaited Clint Eastwood to gallivant triumphantly with a cocked rifle.

   Lissie - Little Lovin' by nettwerkmusicgroup

Pete Roe
As a fully fledged member of Laura Marling's live collective, Pete Roe steps out of the faceless shadows of the backing band with an effort as effervescently enlightening as sunrise streaming through stained glass. The Merry-Go-Round, a short, sharp and seductive EP released earlier this month taps into the jaded discordance usually reserved for gut-wrenching break-ups, Underneath The Apple Tree as reservedly adventurous as a first driving lesson, Bellina as ingeniously twee as a month-long stint at Latitude and Oh Susannah as likely to invoke Green Man singalongs as Kasabian are to miss an England World Cup qualifier. The most promising EP since, quite coincidentally, Marling's My Manic And I.

   Pete Roe // Bellina by Stayloose

Will Knox
A short hop of a few thousand miles across the Atlantic and you'll encounter the masqueraded macabre banjos of Will Knox. That said, Knox was born and bred in Hammersmith, mere miles from Richmond, the unsuspecting home of most things nu-folk of late. The Matador & The Acrobat, released late last year, pertains to a layered instrumentation as precisely constructed as Owen Pallett's looped majesty; Buckled Knees, were it stripped of the militant shakes of a snare drum, could have entertained Medieval courts rammed with graciously decadent revellers, Three Blind Mice is Sufjan directing string sections recreating early Patrick Wolf and Cog In The Machine couldn't sound more British were it sat soaking on Centre Court scoffing a pork pie. A little more enchanting than an evening wallowing in the bloated belly of Noah & The Whale...

Johnny Flynn
Jay-Z once summoned the return of the horns. Johnny Flynn used to be about as thrilling as an afternoon in Thorpe Park when you were an inch or two short of any ride even vaguely more exhilarating than a helter skelter, as miserable as a canceled Barbados flight exchanged for a weekend in Blackpool. Well, latest LP, sophomore outing Been Listening alters at least 72% of that perception. On the downside, Flynn sends similarity sensors dashing to Wild Beasts on opener Kentucky Pill. Conversely however, musically, it's as accomplished as Morricone's most intricate orchestrations. Lost And Found demonstrates an instantaneous maturity entirely absent from debut record A Larum, The Water, featuring the siren-like lulls of Laura Marling shuffles along in hushed brilliance so stealthily your ears can practically pick up on the sound of hearts shattering and Amazon Love sees Flynn stepping quite defiantly into the realms of blazon balladry. It'd be all too easy to blacklist Flynn. Just make sure you struck his name out in pencil...

   Johnny Flynn // Kentucky Pill (free download) by Stayloose

Catherine A.D.
Akin to a British Sarah McLachlan floundering about in a forest of Joanna Newsom harps (Missiveh) and quasi-Victorian piano plods (Over And Over), Skeleton Songs, the debut EP from multi-instrumentalist Catherine A.D. is equal parts Evanescence and Enya. Recorded at home, the five gutturally swelling tracks contained within could chill the most frigid of cobwebbed desolate mansions. Highlight Populah-La comes over all Paloma Faith, were she the tramp and Catherine A.D. were the lady. The glass slipper fits.

   Catherine A.D. // Better Than Love (Hurts cover) by Stayloose