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. 

Parish news

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.

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.

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.)

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…

Who’s releasin’? 

Those Ninebarrow boys are busy finishing up their walking book. There’s a little vid to get you in the mood. Lookit!

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.

And, as many of you will already know, there’s new music from Planet Lau

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.

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.

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.