Chris Wood + Olivia Chaney

Critics' choice
His masterly 'Handmade Life' skewered Thatcher as 'the vicious old spiv who taught us all our greed is good'. And its follow-up, the forthcoming 'None the Wiser' (released July 6), looks no more likely to pull its lyrical punches. Quite simply our best writer of contemporary English folk songs, Wood first came to broader attention via The Imagined Village project (to which he lent his guitar, viola and fiddle), and spent 2010 touring the country with Joan Armatrading – which he took as an opportunity to eavesdrop on recession-era Britain. Listen out for the title track, with its references to businessmen hanging out in the 'five-star saunas of the hotel Trip Advisor' while 'someone's daughter's selling phone sex just to pay her student loan/she does her best to emulate the sound of choking'. What other BBC Folk Award-winning singer writes like this? There's no competition as far as we're concerned. Support comes from the elegant, evocative, multi-instrumental folk singer Chaney, who accompanies her slowly unwinding traditional songs of love and longing on guitar, piano and exquisite Indian harmonium.