Lucy Ward (musician)

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Lucy Ward
Background information
Born (1989-12-12) 12 December 1989 (age 29)
Derby, Derbyshire, England
GenresFolk, singer-songwriter
Instrumentsvocals, guitar, harmonium, concertina, percussion, banjo
LabelsNavigator Records; Betty Beetroot

Lucy Victoria Ward (born 12 December 1989)[citation needed] is a British singer-songwriter from Derby. She performs, with a voice described as expressive and powerful,[nb 1] traditional English folk songs as well as her own material. Her three albums, Adelphi Has to Fly, Single Flame and I Dreamt I Was a Bird, have been critically acclaimed and have each received four-starred reviews in the British national press.[1][2][3][4]

Early life and education[edit]

The youngest of six children,[5] Lucy Ward grew up in Littleover, Derbyshire.[6] She went to St Peter's Junior School in Littleover, and Littleover Community School.[5] She started playing guitar and wrote her first song at the age of 14, and soon afterwards performed live for the first time.[5] After performing at open mic nights across the Midlands she put her name forward for the BBC Young Folk Awards at the age of 18, and two years later signed a contract with Navigator Records.[5]

Professional career[edit]

Adelphi Has to Fly[edit]

On Adelphi Has to Fly, which is produced by Stu Hanna from Megson, Lucy Ward is accompanied by Sam Pegg, Belinda O'Hooley and Heidi Tidow from O'Hooley & Tidow and by Debbie and Stu Hanna.

The songs on the album include: "Stitch in Time" by Mike Waterson; "Maids When You're Young", a traditional song which was popularised by The Dubliners; Child ballad "The Two Sisters"; and "Death (Rock Me to Sleep)", based on a poem said to have been written by Anne Boleyn,[nb 2] set to a tune by Lucy Ward. "Alice in the Bacon Box", a song written by Ward in the style of a traditional folk song, tells the story of Derbyshire hermit Alice Grace (1867–1927) from Little Eaton who, on being evicted from her cottage, lived in a box previously used for storing bacon, which had been given to her by the local butcher.[7][1][8][9]

The album was critically acclaimed[7] and received a four-starred review in The Guardian.[3]

Single Flame[edit]

On 7 August 2013, in a concert at St Pancras Old Church, London, she launched her second album, Single Flame. Produced by Stu Hanna, it was released by Navigator Records on 19 August 2013.[10] The album includes "For the Dead Men", a self-penned protest song, which was released as a single in January 2012 coupled with a remixed version of "Maids When You’re Young". This was again produced by Stu Hanna, who also performs on the two tracks, with his wife Debbie Hanna providing backing vocals.

In a four-starred review for The Guardian, Robin Denselow said that Lucy Ward "proves to be an even more mature and thoughtful singer-songwriter than she was on Adelphi Has to Fly" and described her follow-up album as "impressive and original" and "a brooding, often angry set that deals with everything from politics to love, death and personal tragedy, with a couple of powerful traditional songs added in".[2]

I Dreamt I Was a Bird[edit]

Her third album, I Dreamt I Was a Bird, was released by Betty Beetroot Records on 2 October 2015. It received a four-starred review in The Daily Telegraph[4] and was awarded Album Of The Year 2015 by Fatea magazine.[11]

Pretty Warnings[edit]

Her fourth album, Pretty Warnings, was released by Betty Beetroot Records on 15 June 2018.

Other work[edit]

Film, TV and radio[edit]

Lucy Ward's music has been used as the soundtrack for award-winning director Kim Hopkins' documentary film Folie à Deux – madness made of two.[12][13] The film soundtrack uses "For the Dead Men", some new original material and some cover songs played by Lucy Ward and Hungarian fiddle player Barnabas Balázs.[14] The film, which shows the human cost of the banking crisis, premiered in November 2012 at the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam[15] and was broadcast on BBC Four in its Storyville international documentary series on 11 November 2013.[16]

Lucy Ward was commissioned by BBC Radio 3's The Verb to write a song based on Elizabeth Gaskell's novel North and South. Her live performance of her new song "Creatures and Demons" was included in a special programme on Mrs Gaskell, broadcast on 3 October 2014.[17]

Musical theatre[edit]

Lucy Ward has also written songs and music for Robin Hood by the touring theatre company Oddsocks.[18]

Other recordings[edit]

She has performed and recorded with the Cupola trio (Doug Eunson, Sarah Matthews and Oli Matthews)[19] as Cupola:Ward, releasing in 2012 the EP Four and, in 2016, a debut album, Bluebell.

She provided vocals on one of the tracks – "Gospel of the Sun" – on David Gibb's 2011 album There Are Birds in My Garden[20][21] and on a track – "There's a Dragon in My Bedroom" – on Gibb's 2014 album Letters Through Your Door.[22] She also provided backing vocals on three of the tracks on Marc Block's album The Hawthorn Spring, released on 15 April 2014.[23] Her vocals also appear on the 2015 Mills and Chimneys album The Common Thread.[24]

Awards and recognition[edit]

Lucy Ward was a Young Folk Award finalist in the 2009 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards[25][26] where she performed "Stitch in Time" by Mike Waterson. The song was included on the third CD of the album BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards 2009[27] and a longer recording appeared on her 2011 album Adelphi Has to Fly.

In the 2012 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards she won the Horizon award (for best newcomer). Her recording of "Maids When You’re Young", which was subsequently included on the first CD of the album BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards 2012,[28] was nominated as best traditional track.[29]

In 2014 she was nominated for the "Folk Singer of the Year" award at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards.[30] Her recording, from Single Flame, of the Roud 1302 song "Marching Through the Green Grass", was included on the album BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards 2014.[31]


Lucy Ward[edit]

Album Release date Label
Adelphi Has to Fly 13 June 2011 Navigator Records (Navigator 47)[32]
Single Flame 19 August 2013 Navigator Records (Navigator 083)[10]
I Dreamt I Was a Bird 2 October 2015 Betty Beetroot Records (BETTY01)
Pretty Warnings 15 June 2018 Betty Beetroot Records (BETTY03)
Single Release date Label
"For the Dead Men" (Lucy Ward) /
"Maids When You're Young" (remix) (traditional, arranged Lucy Ward)
29 January 2012 Navigator Records (Navigator 070)[32]


EP Tracks Release date Label
Four "Cotton Mills of Cromford" (traditional) / "The Bone Lace Weaver" (Leonard Wheatcroft, Roy Harris) /
"When God Dips His Pen of Love in My Heart" (Alison Krauss) / "King of Rome" (David Sudbury)
2012 Coth Records[33]
Album Release date Label
Bluebell 18 June 2016 Betty Beetroot Records (BETTY02)

With James Findlay, Bella Hardy and Brian Peters[edit]

Album Release date Label
The Liberty to Choose: A Selection of Songs from The New Penguin Book of English Folk Songs 10 June 2013 Fellside Recordings[34](FECD257)

Various artists[edit]

Album Release date Label Notes
Land of Hope and Fury: a compilation of contemporary protest songs 10 July 2015 Union Music Store Lucy Ward performs one track: "Bigger Than That"[35]
Shine On – an album of songs by John Lennon 9 October 2015 Independent Lucy Ward performs one track: "Working Class Hero"

Personal life[edit]

Lucy Ward lives in Mickleover, Derbyshire.[6] She has a black belt at tae kwon-do and has taught martial arts.[5]


  1. ^ "Ward has an expressive, powerful voice. She also has an outsize personality, like a latter-day Judy Henske, and a well honed ability to work an audience."
    Paul Rhodes (8 March 2011). "Review: Idgy Vaughn, House Concert (Near York)". The Press (York). Retrieved 23 October 2011.
  2. ^ Sources differ on whether George or Anne Boleyn wrote "O Death Rock Me Asleep" but the consensus is that Anne wrote it – see Fatal conspiracies: O Death Rock Me Asleep (Me and Mine website about the life and times of Anne Boleyn). Archived 13 July 2003 at the Wayback Machine


  1. ^ a b Allan Wilkinson (1 July 2011). "Album Review: Lucy Ward – Adelphi Has To Fly (Navigator)". Northern Sky Music Magazine. Retrieved 2 November 2015.
  2. ^ a b Robin Denselow (15 August 2013). "Lucy Ward: Single Flame – review". The Guardian. Retrieved 27 August 2013.
  3. ^ a b Robin Denselow (16 June 2011). "Lucy Ward: Adelphi Has to Fly – review". The Guardian. Retrieved 17 June 2011.
  4. ^ a b Martin Chilton (12 December 2015). "Best Folk Music Albums of 2015: 59". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 13 December 2015.
  5. ^ a b c d e "Lucy Ward video: will she win BBC's Folk Singer of the Year award tonight?". Derby Telegraph. 19 February 2014. Retrieved 18 March 2015.
  6. ^ a b Ally Walsh (20 August 2014). "VIDEO: Derby folk star Lucy Ward launches new album". Derby Telegraph. Archived from the original on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 27 February 2014.
  7. ^ a b Alex Gallacher (21 June 2011). "Lucy Ward – Adelphi Has to Fly". Folk Radio UK. Retrieved 25 July 2011.
  8. ^ "Little Eaton". Derbyshire UK: Guide to Derbyshire & the Peak District. 2011. Retrieved 25 July 2011.
  9. ^ "Old Alice in the Bacon Box – the Little Eaton Hermit". h2g2. 21 April 2004. Retrieved 1 September 2012.
  10. ^ a b Reinhard Zierke (18 July 2013). "Single Flame". Mainly Norfolk: English Folk and Other Good Music. Retrieved 27 August 2013.
  11. ^ "Fatea Awards 2015". Fatea Magazine. 8 January 2016. Retrieved 8 January 2016.
  12. ^ "Folie à Deux – Madness made of two (2012)". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 17 November 2012.
  13. ^ "Folie à Deux – Madness Made of Two". British Films Directory. British Council. 28 January 2013. Retrieved 8 October 2013.
  14. ^ "Lucy Ward writes and records film soundtrack, theatre score and new album on the way". Navigator Records. 15 November 2012. Retrieved 17 November 2012.
  15. ^ Simon Holland (5 August 2013). "Lucy Ward – Single Flame". Folk Radio UK. Retrieved 8 August 2013.
  16. ^ Kim Hopkins (18 September 2013). "Grief at Gray's Court: acclaimed film chronicles York property nightmare". Cinema Preview. York Mix. Retrieved 15 November 2013.
  17. ^ "Elizabeth Gaskell Special". The Verb. BBC. October 2014. Retrieved 30 October 2014.
  18. ^ "Happy Christmas!". Oddsocks. December 2012. Retrieved 16 July 2015.
  19. ^ "Lucy Ward's Cupola link is taking root". Derby Telegraph. 19 January 2014. Retrieved 15 September 2014.
  20. ^ Alex Gallacher (4 July 2011). "David Gibb – There Are Birds in my Garden". Folk Radio UK. Retrieved 15 September 2014.
  21. ^ Reinhard Zierke (11 October 2014). "There Are Birds in My Garden". Mainly Norfolk: English Folk and Other Good Music. Retrieved 19 March 2015.
  22. ^ Reinhard Zierke (11 October 2014). "Letters Through Your Door". Mainly Norfolk: English Folk and Other Good Music. Retrieved 19 March 2015.
  23. ^ Reinhard Zierke (12 September 2014). "Marc Block: The Hawthorn Spring". Mainly Norfolk: English Folk and Other Good Music. Retrieved 19 March 2015.
  24. ^ Reinhard Zierke (11 July 2014). "The Common Thread". Mainly Norfolk: English Folk and Other Good Music. Retrieved 15 July 2015.
  25. ^ "Radio 2 Young Folk Award 2009". BBC Radio 2 website. December 2008. Retrieved 17 June 2011.
  26. ^ Louise Parmakis (2011). "Adelphi Has to Fly – Lucy Ward: the bright young folk review". Bright Young Folk. Retrieved 17 June 2011.
  27. ^ Reinhard Zierke (15 September 2014). "BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards 2009". Mainly Norfolk: English Folk and Other Good Music. Retrieved 30 October 2014.
  28. ^ Reinhard Zierke (15 September 2014). "BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards 2012". Mainly Norfolk: English Folk and Other Good Music. Retrieved 30 October 2014.
  29. ^ "BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards Wednesday 8 February 2012". BBC Radio 2 website. 18 March 2012. Retrieved 2 November 2015.
  30. ^ "Radio 2 Folk Awards 2014 Lifetime Achievement Awards announced" (Press release). BBC. 28 January 2014. Retrieved 8 March 2015.
  31. ^ Reinhard Zierke (26 May 2015). "BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards 2014". Mainly Norfolk: English Folk and Other Good Music. Retrieved 15 July 2015.
  32. ^ a b Reinhard Zierke (18 July 2013). "Adelphi Has to Fly". Mainly Norfolk: English Folk and Other Good Music. Retrieved 9 August 2013.
  33. ^ Reinhard Zierke (18 July 2013). "Cupola:Ward: Four". Mainly Norfolk: English Folk and Other Good Music. Retrieved 9 August 2013.
  34. ^ Reinhard Zierke (14 September 2014). "The Liberty to Choose". Mainly Norfolk: English Folk and Other Good Music. Retrieved 17 March 2015.
  35. ^ "Various artists – Land of Hope and Fury". Union Music Store. 10 July 2015. Retrieved 2 November 2015.

External links[edit]