No messin’. Let’s dive right in, shall we? There’s lots of folk and world music news to get our teeth into, and you’ll want to be getting out there and making the most of it.

Last week’s fRoots LiveBlog was another great success. Hundreds of you swarmed all over the page during that busy couple of hours, eager to get the latest from the artists themselves. (Take a look by clicking here if you want to have another peep.) We’ll be doing it again on the first Sunday in March, so pop it in your diary.

One thing to note regarding the above: all usual Big Ears protocols are suspended during those live blogs, so if you were looking for your usual news sections, they’ll be restored this week. Note that this week’s Fare Thee Well section also contains news from the previous week.

And now, without further ado…

Parish notices

An important reminder about the world we live in and the power of music to rattle the status quo. Please read, listen and consider sharing.

And another important reminder about the world we live in, this time in terms of not crediting artists where credit is due. (It’s worth noting that the folk Twitterati instantly rallied around Nancy and the BBC finally made a brief twitter announcement this morning, which you can find here.)

On a more bluesy note, the good people at Dust to Digital have come up trumps again. Lonnie Johnson would’ve been 120 years old this week. Here he is at 64, playing ‘Another Night to Cry’.

Stick in the Wheel have announced launched dates for the second volume of their Folk Field RecordingsYou can catch the London launch at Cafe Oto on May 1st, featuring with Frankie Armstrong, Laura Smyth and Ted Kemp, Belinda Kempster, Fran Foote and C Joynes. The show then moves to Newcastle’s The Cluny on May 11th, with performances from Richard Dawson, Sandra Kerr, Bryony Griffith, Mary Humphreys & Anahata and more.

Wouldja look at that! There’s a new fRoots Radio podcast out. Click below to listen, or read more by clicking here.

A common question at folky gatherings worldwide: how is Joni Mitchell doing these days? Does anyone know? Well, with the great woman celebrating her 75th year (see below), she’s been seen out and about on the town this week. Here she is receiving a standing ovation at the Clive Davis Pre-Grammy Awards party, in the company of Robbie Robertson last night.

It’s perfectly possible that we’ll bump into her (pretty please!) at the 2019 International Folk Music Awards Show this week, where editor Ian A Anderson will receive a Lifetime Achievement Award on behalf of fRoots. Who else is receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award? None other than a certain J Mitchell…

Who’s releasin’

Introducing an amazing-looking new project featuring “new spells from Robert Macfarlane” and music/ performances by Karine Polwart, Julie Fowlis, Seckou Keita, Kris Drever, Kerry Andrew, Rachel Newton, Beth Porter and Jim Molyneux. With artwork by Jackie Morris, this project is a musical response to Macfarlane’s book, The Lost Words, and focuses on nature words lost from the language of our children – an attempt to “sing nature back to life”. It comes in an exquisite hardback presentation, and we can’t wait to get our hands on it!

Presumably releasing soon, given that his Twitter account displays plenty of studio shots from Real World Studios, is 12-string maestro, Toby Hay. His self-run Cambrian Records label seems to be working overtime – they’ve just announced this news regarding an album from David Roberts, too.

In case you’ve been hidden under a rock, there’s a new Lau album out. Midnight and Closedown arrived in the world last Friday. You’ve already got your copy, right? No? Click here and it’s all yours.

Another album that you probably know all about, but should still spread the word for those that don’t… Eliza Carthy‘s Restitute sees the light of day with a launch party at Cecil Sharp House on the night of the 14th (Thursday). That’s providing cramped-up hands heels, of course.

Having made waves at Celtic Connections, we think this new Buffalo Blood album, recorded on location in the New Mexico Desert, looks like something worth your attention. Out this coming Friday, you can pre-order it here.

Mikey Kenney has only gone and released Reverie Road, hasn’t he? It’s not like we’ve been harping on about it for ages. You can have a proper go on it by clicking here.

Last but very much not least, the aforementioned Joni Mitchell gets a 75th birthday tribute, recorded last year at a star-studded show. Note, this is not the woman herself performing, but a list of admirers including Norah JonesJames TaylorRufus Wainwright, Graham Nash and many more. You can pre-order it here.

7 days on the road

Kicking off this week’s gig trawl is the indefatigable Iona Fyfe, whose February tour of Austria and Germany is already underway. Keep up with her on her Instagram channel, here.

Yer man Mikey Kenney is out on the road this week, bringing his Reverie Road to Bury (Saturday, 16th), before dialling up the frequency in the following week.

Alasdair Roberts materialises in the company of Ambel Skuse and David McGuiness this week in Glasgow (Thursday) and Edinburgh (Friday). He materialises again with increased regularity and geographical variety the following week. Keep your eyes peeled.

Ewan McLennan is hanging up his gigging shoes following the current tour, so make sure you see him while you can. He’ll be in Kendal on Saturday night, and then several other places (Durham, Glasgow and Preston) the following week. Prepare yourselves for blubbin’.

The hardest working men in folk music, Faustus, are on the road again this month. You can catch up with their Cotton Lords tour in Helmshore (Wednesday), Stocksfield (Thursday), Southport (Friday) and Settle (Friday). Loads more stretching into February and March, too.

The James Brothers are on the road for the next two weeks. You can spy them in Hambledon (Wednesday), Redbourn (Thursday), Burton on Trent (Friday) and Matlock (Saturday).

There are two men currently involved in what might be called The Never-Ending Tour. One is Bob Dylan. The other is Jim Causley. Only one of these men have denied this. Conversely, Mr Causley keeps gamely on – and we’re all the better for it! Catch up with him in Oxford (Friday) and Mamhead (Saturday) and then forever more everywhere else (fingers crossed).

The very legendary John Kirkpatrick is on the road this week, taking in Chatteris (Thursday), Ely (Friday) and Bursledon (Saturday). He’s out and about throughout the rest of the month, too, so keep your ear to the ground.

Speaking of legends, Martin and Eliza Carthy are joining forces again this week, once at Eliza’s Cecil Sharp House gig (Thursday, along with plenty of other friends), once at the Love Folk Festival (Friday), and once at the Stamford Arts Centre (Saturday). That’ll be it then until May, so catch them while you can.

Spiro are making a rare appearance this week in Presteigne (Saturday). You’ll not see them again following that until May or June.

If you venture down to Haywards Heath on Friday, you’ll find none other than Jim Moray in the Clair Hall. He’ll be in Cardiff the following week, should you wish to follow him around.

Fare Thee Well

As mentioned at the top of this article, this week’s Fare Thee Well also includes mention of people who we said goodbye to at the beginning of the month.

Bill Spence kept the trad going, in his own inimitable way, for as long as he possibly could. We received word of his passing on February 8th. Here’s a video of him playing merely a month early. Legend.

February 6th saw the passing of one of the key figures in the 60s Greenwich Village Scene and beyond. Izzy Young ran the Folklore Centre, which at various times inspired passing youngsters including Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Emmylou Harris, Dave Van Ronk and Tim Buckley. In 1973 he moved to Stockholm, where he opened the Folklore Centrum, which he ran until his death.

One of the greats of World Music, Ayub Ogada, left us on February 1st. Ayub was a key part of the growth of that movement, having played a set for the ages at WOMAD in 1988, before recording and touring with Peter Gabriel in the early 90s. He’ll be sorely missed.

Also incredibly important to the World Music scene, Phil Stanton left us on January 26th. Phil was behind the hugely influential Rough Guide series of CDs that so many of us devoured in the mid-90s. A true inspiration.