“A virtuoso exponent of mandolin, banjo and Irish bouzouki. ”
— BBC Radio 6 Music
“Folk with finesse. ”
— Daily Mail
— Sunday Times
“An authentic folk voice in a beguilingly contemporary setting. Polly's music has a lighter-than-air quality which I find utterly compelling. ”
— BBC Radio 2
“This is a really beautiful record. What a stunning debut. ”
— BBC Radio York
“I mean this in the best way; this doesn't sound like anything I've heard before.”
— BBC Radio Devon
“This is beautiful. Magical. I got a little bit lost in it for all the right reasons.”
— BBC Radio Tees
“A modern, tight approach to the alt-folk genre. A strong, individual voice, great musicianship and an impressive songwriting talent.”
“Polly's highly original and unexpected tune-writing and a take-no-prisoners right hand makes for killer music. ”
— Luke Plumb, Shooglenifty
“She makes the tune come alive. Her playing is fantastic, positive and gutsy. Put simply, traditional players don't come any better than Polly.”
— Simon Mayor
Polly Bolton first picked up the mandolin as a child and has been touring internationally in various line ups on mandolin, Irish bouzouki, 5-string banjo and vocals since her teens.
She is known as a powerful performer with a charismatic stage presence and passionate live delivery. She has performed at festivals including Glastonbury, Shambala, Wilderness, Boomtown Fair, Deer Shed, Larmer Tree, Festa do Avante (Portugal), Musicport, Towersey and Warwick, and has supported artists including Molly Tuttle, John Smith, Tcha Limberger & Mozes Rosenberg, LAU and The Hot Club of Cowtown.
As a session player and a composer, Polly has an innovative approach to writing and arranging. She is influenced by a wide range of musical styles and instruments from across the globe including the American bluegrass and old time tradition, Celtic folk, Eastern European folk, Middle Eastern traditional music, Indian classical music, and metal and progressive rock.
Polly is endorsed by Eastman™ and plays an MD815-SB. Polly uses a Blue Chip CT55 pick, Thomastik-Infeld Precision flat wound mandolin strings and is endorsed by Pinegrove Leather for mandolin and Irish bouzouki straps.
Polly's current projects include:
Polly began working with vocalist and guitarist Bella Gaffney, fiddle player Holly Brandon and cellist Sarah Smout to fuse Celtic folk with old time and bluegrass in an exciting new collaboration. Over the past two years, the band has moved away from the conventions of genre, incorporating powerful Eastern flavours and progressive rock influences to create their own brand of contemporary transatlantic folk. Onstage, they are already establishing a fearsome reputation for their glittering live shows, rapport and genre-busting original and traditional material. They released their debut album "Tidings" in June 2020. This project is generously supported by Arts Council England.
Polly's bold new solo project which is set to challenge the perception of the folk genre altogether. An eclectic array of influences has informed this unique offering. Driven by Polly’s powerful bouzouki and the urgent, infectious drumming of Liam Hardy, and patterned with evocative fiddle from Holly Brandon, the lead single and title track Honeyblood is at once reminiscent of Bjork, Aurora and The Incredible String Band. The song takes the listener inside a beehive to the court of a queen bee who has embarked upon her mating flight, where a drama of power and murder of Shakespearian proportions unfolds. Producer Isaac McInnis offers electric bass and manipulates a clawhammer banjo part to create a beguiling synth-like layer which adds further contemporary sheen to this visceral track. Produced, recorded and mixed by Isaac McInnis (The Howl & the Hum, Benjamin Francis Leftwich) at Crooked Room Studio in York. Mastered by Kevin Tuffy (Chaka Khan, Kelly Rowland, Stormzy) at Alchemy in London. The album is set for release in 2021.