Beyond Nashville: Urban Folk Quartet

In the vast realm of folk music, where authenticity and innovation intertwine, The Urban Folk Quartet (UFQ) stands out among the rest for their pursuit of a well-rounded folk sound that includes big band jazz, funk and north Indian music. Hailing not from the bustling streets of Nashville, but rather from the eclectic melting pot of the UK music scene, UFQ transcends geographical boundaries to deliver a sonic experience that captivates audiences worldwide. 


Formed in 2009, UFQ comprises of four talented musicians: Joe Broughton (fiddle, guitar), Tom Chapman (percussion), Dan Walsh (banjo, guitar) and Paloma Trigás (fiddle). Together, they create fiddle-led folk music, leaning on the tradition of Celtic and English traditional dance music. The band’s inspirations are multiple and varied. Undoubtedly, at the heart of UFQ’s enchanting sound lies a deep reverence for tradition. As well as their drawing inspiration from Celtic and English music, UFQ also rely on Eastern European and American folk traditions. The quartet pays homage to the rich musical heritage of the past while fearlessly pushing boundaries to create something entirely new. 


Their latest album, ‘True Story’, serves as a testament to UFQ’s boundless creativity and musical prowess. Released to critical acclaim, the album showcases the quartet’s versatility and virtuosity, taking listeners on a journey through intricate melodies, pulsating rhythms, and emotive storytelling. Tracks like ‘Ghost Fields’ and ‘East Avenue’ exemplify UFQ’s ability to seamlessly blend traditional folk elements with contemporary sensibilities. Through intricate instrumentation and dynamic arrangements, the quartet invites listeners to explore the intersection of old and new, tradition and innovation. 


With ‘True Story’, the band leans into their inspirations more than ever. The Middle Eastern music-inspired ‘Before Your Eyes/The Whiplash Reel’ uses the micro-tonal structure that is typical of Middle Eastern music. The banjo wheels around the ‘reel’ as the fiddle joins to add texture and interest as a countermelody. As the bass comes in later, the track finally flourishes into breakneck pace, just before coming to an end. Not all the tracks feature vocals – with the instrumental tracks truly showcasing exactly how entertaining UFQ can be even without lyrics. The album kicks off with a cover (although you’d never know) of Peter Gabriel’s 1977 track ‘Solsbury Hill’. The original song utilises the skill of the London Symphony Orchestra, whilst UFQ’s version gives the song a clear traditional edge (but doesn’t compromise the quality).  


It’s Birmingham that acts as the cradle for UFQ’s inception. It’s no coincidence that Birmingham (the UK city, not the Alabama one) is the place that UFQ originates, it’s one of the most diverse places in the UK. With influences as varied as UFQ’s, that mixture of cultures is all-important to serve as muse. The band came together as a collective of folk musicians from around the world. Originally Joe Broughton formed the Folk Ensemble, a group of anywhere up to 50 folk musicians who Broughton knew from Birmingham Conservatoire’s folk degree. Broughton is at the helm of the band, producing their latest album ‘True Story’ and playing more instruments on the record than it could be possible to identify. As for the rest of the band, UFQ suffered a loss nearly two years ago when bassist Sal Broughton passed away, however, the band goes on with the four remaining members.  


Read the full feature in our free digital magazine here:

Never miss a story… Follow us on:
Instagram: @Maverick.mag
Twitter: @Maverick_mag
Facebook: Maverick Magazine

Media Contact
Hannah Larvin, Editor, Maverick Magazine
Tel: +44 (0) 1622 823 920

Subscribe to our newsletter

Don't miss new updates on your email
Scroll to Top

We’re thrilled to announce that Maverick Magazine is now available to you through 
our exclusive FREE digital subscription! Click below to subscribe now