Evening all, and welcome to the 15th edition of Big Ears, the weekly column that likes to eavesdrop on folkie social meeeeja conversations and call it news. There’s plenty to be straining our ear-horns towards this week, so let’s fit them with bluetooth capability and push them to their very limits.
We’d hate for you to think we partook in anything as unpleasant as fat-shaming, but sometimes the headlines write themselves.
Proof, if proof be need be, that even severe flu can’t keep a good women down.
It’s never nice to have to announce anything or anyone’s demise, but we’re always on the look out for that silver lining…
Unless you’ve been asleep under a rock, you’ll know that it’s Topic Records‘ 80th birthday. The world’s oldest indie record label, and veritable fountain of goodness for all folk fans, will be celebrating throughout the year. Keep up with their plans by following the instructions bellow.
2019 marks the 80th anniversary of Topic Records, the oldest independent record label in the world. Be sure to follow us for regular updates on a whole host of exciting celebratory events and releases throughout the year. https://t.co/KBSjaLXGLJ pic.twitter.com/UgFv6VGiMP
— Topic Records (@TopicRecords) January 11, 2019
Films like this don’t come along very often. Suffice to say, we can’t wait.
Ditto books of this nature. Ditto the fidgeting with excitement.
Here’s another great find from Dust to Digital. We can’t get enough of these videos. Take a look at Sam Chatmon of the Mississippi Sheiks playing “Big Road Blues” in 1972, at the age of 75. They don’t make ’em like they used to.
Remembering Sam Chatmon, born on this day in 1897 in Bolton, Mississippi. Here he is playing "Big Road Blues" in 1972. pic.twitter.com/JLadP4q8sx
— Dust-to-Digital (@dusttodigital) January 10, 2019
Another lovely antiquity to have surfaced this week is this BBC piece on the Goathland Plough Stot Ceremony, first broadcast on January 12th, 1973. Some of us weren’t even born then! (But, let’s face it… most of us were.)
#OnThisDay 1973: Nationwide covered the Goathland Plough Stot ceremony. Scarfolk is real. pic.twitter.com/m4i0KwEiUy
— BBC Archive (@BBCArchive) January 12, 2019
Lastly, it’s always cause for celebration when someone reveals the folkie within. Ruth Jones (perhaps best known as Nessa from Gavin & Stacey) was on Desert Island Discs yesterday morning, spinning a modern folk legend…
Dream come true moment!😄😄 My lovely, beautiful, talented friend Ruth Jones @ruthjonesREAL has just played me on @DesertIsleDiscs on @BBCRadio4 with @laurenlaverne!! Aaaaaaarr whoop whoop!! 🤩Thank you Ruth. Fabulous interview.
Have a listen here:https://t.co/1AbtnJyems pic.twitter.com/pfaWkX6uy7
— Kate Rusby (@katerusby) January 13, 2019
Those Ninebarrow boys are busy finishing up their walking book. There’s a little vid to get you in the mood. Lookit!
Was this really only 5 months ago?! This has been such an exciting journey…and the book is almost finished! Last round of proof-walks over the next few weeks! 😊 Find out more at https://t.co/qSaLUrUVjZ pic.twitter.com/OtMezlTAvs
— Ninebarrow (@Ninebarrow) January 12, 2019
River Lea, the folk-focused Rough Trade subsidiary, have stepped up promotions for the forthcoming Brìghde Chaimbeul release. This one sounds like it might be special.
Taken from @brichaimbeul's debut album The Reeling, here's a video to accompany the track An Léimras / Harris Dance (filmed over Harris in the Outer Hebrides by Dòmhnall Eòghainn MacKinnon.) Pre-order the album on vinyl and CD from: https://t.co/GgcKM7cwiP pic.twitter.com/g9J7SM5leR
— River Lea (@RiverLeaRecords) January 10, 2019
And, as many of you will already know, there’s new music from Planet Lau…
Thanks to everyone who pre ordered Midnight and Closedown, CDs start shipping this weekend so expect to receive them next week if you live in the U.K. and ASAP outside the U.K, Vinyl orders start shipping next week Enjoy! pic.twitter.com/6jIlLj43Xn
— LAU (@LAUmusic) January 9, 2019
There’s news from Camp Megson concerning CONTRADICSHUN, a new album that hoves into view in early Feb. Scroll down for details of the launch party gig in Cambridge this week.
Can't wait to take out new album CONTRADICSHUN on the road soon🕺😀 Heading to some fab venues so see you there!!https://t.co/sZ8Zvt984Z@CambJunction @ShakespeareMAC @ramclub @NorthShropFolk @KingsPlace @bandonthewall @breweryarts @BarnsleyCivic @SalisburyArts @Sage_Gateshead pic.twitter.com/OaB0kBtFpK
— Megson (@MegsonMusic) January 8, 2019
7 days on the road
The year is early, and many folkies are still hibernating. Still, a few hardy souls are braving the chill wind. Here’s who we’re looking forward to seeing in the coming days.
Messrs Carthy & Kirkpatrick are a pretty special draw this week. They’ll be playing in Cardiff (Tuesday), Whitchurch (Hampshire; Wednesday),Brìghde Chaimbeul (Thursday) and Richmond (Friday). It’s worth noting that Wednesday’s gig will also feature young up-and-comer, Ian A Anderson as support. Should be a good one.
Next week we'll have Martin Carthy and John Kirkpatrick in town. BUT! We'll also have Ian A Anderson as support. A night of folk legends!
Here's an interview with Ian that Jon did a couple of years back. A must-read for #PsychFolk and Nick Drake fans.https://t.co/fOwww0kvwE pic.twitter.com/aTpCuPta7M
— Whitchurch Folk Club (@WhitchurchFolk) January 9, 2019
The aforementioned Brìghde Chaimbeul will be performing from her new album, as well as selling said album at Celtic Connections this week. Catch her on Friday in Glasgow.
And while we’re on the subject of Celtic Connections, if you’re in that part of the world this coming weekend, there’s so much to be keeping an eye on. Best to checkout the official website, but we really like the look of Moxie with Greg Russell and Ciaran Algar (Friday), Moonlight Benjamin (Saturday), Inside Dave Van Ronk with Ross Clark (Sunday), Daoirí Farrell and friends (Sunday), The Rheingans Sisters with Ryan Young & Jenn Butterworth (Sunday).
You’ll find Jim Causley wassailing in Whimple on Friday. Alliteration pleases us, therefore we think there is nothing better to do this Friday than wassailing in Whimple.
Having already hit the road with Moore Moss Rutter this year, young Jack Rutter will be doing some stuff on his own again this week (musical, obviously). He’ll be playing in Beverley (Monday), and then at the Whittlesea Straw Bear Festival (Friday).
Megson will be playing an album launch party on Saturday in Cambridge. See above for a very good reason why.
Jon Wilks will be bringing Brummie folk songs to Newbury on Saturday. Dust up your best accents and get involved.
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.