Big Ears 10, though! The 10th Big Ears! Enough Big Ears to bring us into double figures! Surely that gives us every excuse to celebrate with a decidedly dubious Christmas tune.

Take it away, Sam!

But why stop there? Let’s keep the festive spirit going. Crack open the bubbly for this year’s fRoots Critics Poll winners. Not sure who they are? Have at ye!

Make sure you check back here on Tuesday, when we’ll be posting new reviews and plenty of info regarding the latest issue of fRoots, which will be knocking a dent in your doorsteps in the very near future.

Parish news

News comes down from above (from EFDSS on high, to be precise) that a survey is nigh. They’re trying to find out what young folk performers think about folk clubs, along with their keenness to run folk clubs in the future. If you’re between 0 and 30, then they’d like to hear from you…

The aforementioned Christmas minstrel, Sam Sweeney, has been doing a survey of his own. This one has more to do with how people listen to folk music (or his album, at least) – a subject that we find particularly interesting.

Read through the comments and the quick answer is that, while CDs are still numero uno in Tradfolkland, many people buy physical copies for playing in the car or keeping in their collection, but tend to stream the music when they’re listening on headphones or around the house. People are less likely to download a digital copy.

“Is this news?” we hear you cry. Well, maybe not, but it’s certainly a talking point. We’d love to hear your feedback. Does the future belong to the streamers, or is it time the cassette made a comeback?

Speaking of CDs, if you’ve yet to do your Christmas shopping, Mr Rob Harbron is pitching up on Twitter Street corner with oodles of Yule spilling out of his suitcase…

Xmas things are happening fast. New Years Eve Ceilidhs are starting to pop up all over the shop, and tickets to such shindigs make for excellent stocking fillers. For your consideration, we present this one…

…and also this one…

But the award for the most exciting series of words strung together in a single sentence goes to this one. “Disco, ceilidh and pipers”… the mind boggles!

Who’s releasin’? 

Given the time of year, the answer to that question ought to be, “hardly anyone!” However, we spotted a few posts midweek and thought they might be worth your time. Let’s start with one of our Critics Poll finalists, shall we?

And then there’s this going on all up in yer Instagrams…

Worth a look, too, is this Kickstarter fund for the Jigdoll Ensemble. Dig deep, people. It’s Christmas time (there’s no need to be afraid).

And if you’ve not got your pre-order for the Scots Singer of the Year’s latest release, well get scribbling to Father Christmas. He might just be able to sort you out.

Also out a mere two days ago is the new album, Late Cut, by concertina man, Steve Turner. No tweet to share with you on that subject, but you can find out about it by heading to his website at www.steve-turner.co.uk.

7 days on the road

Most of the nation’s folk musicians are tucked up in their beds now, with dreams of St Nick Morris dancing through their heads. The hardcore, however, are out salting the streets…

Those two wise men, Belshazzar’s Feast, zigzag across the country this week, alighting in Colchester (Monday), Leicester (Tuesday), Sheffield (Wednesday), Croydon (Thursday), Greyshott (Friday) and South Petherton (Saturday).

Meanwhile that other wise man, Martin Carthy, is said to be following a bright start towards Sheffield, where it will hover above the Nether Edge Folk Club on Wednesday night before guiding him home to the Yorkshire coast for a well-earned rest.

Lady Maisery have joined forces with Jimmy Aldridge & Sid Goldsmith for the Awake Arise Tour, which will be bringing seasons greetings and songs to a venue hopefully somewhere near you for a few more dates yet. They’ll be in Chesterfield (Tuesday), Abergavenny (Wednesday), London (Thursday) and Ashby-de-la-Zouch (Friday).

Jim Causley is on a mega-trek that stretches across the land, hitting Okehampton (Wednesday), London (Thursday), Maidstone (Friday) and Canterbury (Saturday), and then keeps going almost until the big day itself.

Merry Chrimble to the lot of you!


Remember, if you like what we’re doing and you want to support our ongoing dedication to all of this fine music, please consider taking out an fRoots subscription, or perhaps even making a donation. You can also click whenever it says “pre-order here” and we’ll get a little kickback from Amazon. It really does make a difference. We thank you.