THE FOLK person you'll have heard most about this year is Eliza Carthy. Her nomination for the Mercury Prize was worthy, not least because in her strong hands, traditionally sourced folk sounds like contemporary music, with kick and bite and plenty of purchase on what goes on in the modern world. If there had been any justice at all last year, then Kate Rusby (right) would have been similarly feted for her remarkable Hourglass album: a beautiful set of agrarian ballads, some researched, some written by the singer herself, all of them arranged in stripped-down semi-acoustic settings that serve to make space for their narratives to settle and grip. It's as innocently uncomplicated as trad folk can be without being mawkish, twee or self-consciously reverential. And Rusby's voice will one day be recognised as one of the greats.
Cecil Sharp House, 2 Regents Park Road, London NW1 (0171-485 2206)
For those of a less rootsical, more ambient bent, there is always the first night of the Festival of Drifting, on the South Bank. Tonight: the Durutti Column, LaBradford and Bill Nelson.
Queen Elizabeth Hall, London SE1 (0171-960 4242)