View this post on Instagram


A post shared by fROOTSmag (@frootsmag) on

The answer to the above question has to be, “not enough”, for there are few more kindly, more enthusiastic, more damned skilful than Martin Simpson. One of the two great Martins of folk music, he’s someone we’re very thankful to have in our midst, and so we’ve whacked him on the front of this month’s fRoots, issue number 424, and he’ll be landing on your doorstep sometime this week. It’s a full-on career retrospective, and there’s even an early interview in there from the early 80s, so it’s a proper Simpkins bonanza. The man deserves it!

Oh, and if that wasn’t enough, there’s this too

Oh, and while we’re at it, check him out way back in 1982. Tell us you’ve still got that bow tie, Martin! Please! 

So, what are you waiting for? Fire up your smart payment devices and get your pre-order in while stocks last.

[wp_eStore_fancy2 id=71]

Parish notices

Great to see The Guardian picking up on the new generation. More pressingly, though… “Woke Folk“, anyone? The comments from the Grauniad faithful suggest it hasn’t gone down too well…

There’s a special-looking event taking place at Kings Place this coming Saturday – a panel discussion entitled Women in Folk, featuring Rachel NewtonEmily PortmanSarah CoxsonSarah Jones and Jo Frost. Tickets can be had by clicking hereEmily Portman will be in discussion with Shirley Collins at the same venue on the same day, followed on the Sunday by another Emily show entitled, Now She’s Fair Altered Her Meaning: A Gendered Response to British Traditional Songs. 

Over the same weekend, Kings Place also have a solo Rachel Newton show, a Solasta show and a show called She Moved Through The Fair: The Legend of Margaret Barry, featuring Colin IrwinMary McPartlan, Lisa Knapp, Gerry Diver, Gillian Horgan, Luke MacLeod and Rioghnach Connolly. 

You might as well just bring a tent.

Great news for anyone with even the slightest interest in the folk song collectors of yore. This looks fantastic. Now… how to get to Thirsk…?

A competition wouldn’t usually be considered “news”, but when it features the very, very legendary Anne Briggs, who are we to keep the opportunity all to ourselves?

A bit of unfortunate news for fans of Fisherman’s Friends

Some fresh news from yer man, Sam Sweeney. Sounds like a top day out if you’re in the area.

In other Sweeney news, here he is with Leveret, answering the question most gig-goers have asked themselves at one time or another: what does the band get up to backstage? Sex, drugs and rock’n’roll? Nope. Measuring themselves against the physical height (as opposed to any other kind of height) of Martin Carthy? Yep.

Here’s a bit of interesting research and a short film to accompany it that we missed a few weeks back. If you’re not sure what a Fylde Guitar is, ask this month’s cover star. He’ll be able to tell you a thing or two.

Who’s releasin? 

There’s plenty of Instagram evidence that Lankum are back in the studio for their next album. But it doesn’t sound like you thought it might…

The Askew Sisters are ready to press record, but they need a little support from you to get things moving. C’mon! Why wouldn’t you?

Here’s an attractive song from Katherine Priddy, who is currently supporting everybody and everyone across the nation. There’s a kind of Celtic Nick Drake vibe going on here. We like! The accompanying EP is out now.

You’ll have spotted this if you’ve read the Guardian piece above, but there’s a brand new Lisa O’Neill video out for ‘The Galway Shawl’, which comes from the album, Heard a Long Gone Song. 

Folk on Foot has a new episode out this coming Friday. You can have a look at their preview film here, featuring the inimitable Julie Fowlis and a very atmospheric-looking Loch Ness.

7 days on the road

Touring the upstairs rooms of pubs, village halls, theatres and arts centres this week, you’ll find the following troubadours on the UK’s roads.

Mike Kenney is at Pebbles Tavern, Watchet, tonight (Sunday). Be quick!

As reported in last week’s edition, Merry Hell are everywhere… 

You’ll find the Rheingans Sisters in York‘s NCEM (Monday), Sheffield’s Greystones (Wednesday) and Leicester’s Guildhall (Friday), so go along and cheer them on. Anna’s thumb needs it.

A week today (Sunday 17th), you can catch Ben Walker at the Hobgoblin in Brighton. He’s got more gigs throughout the remainder of this month and into the next. Catch him while you can.

If you’re near Penarth on Friday, then this should be worth checking out…

You can catch Jon Wilks doing his Brummie songs at Bodmin Folk Club on Friday, and then at Whitchurch Silk Mill (Hampshire) the following night.

Leveret are busy this week, hitting Bury St Edmonds (Monday), Bristol (Tuesday), Leeds (Wednesday), Sheffield (Thursday), Reading (Friday) and rounding out their tour in Bath (Saturday).

If you’re in a political mood (and why wouldn’t you be after reading that Guardian article?), and happen to be in Birmingham this week, this sounds like it might be right up your street…

Jon Boden is out and about with his Remnant Strings, and you can catch him in Kendal (Tuesday), Bury (Wednesday), Spalding (Thursday), Lincoln (Friday) and Oxford (Saturday).

Chris Wood is back on the road this week, playing in Shrewsbury (Thursday), Doncaster (Friday), and Wotton Under Edge (Saturday).

Aside from performing in the Margaret Barry show, Lisa Knapp is also out and about this week, performing at The Goose is Out in Nunhead, this coming Thursday.

You can catch a Martin Carthy show in Sheffield this week. He’ll be at The HUBS on Saturday night.

Our cover star, Martin Simpson, will be in Peterborough on Friday night. Take your copy of fRoots with you and he might just sign it.

If you’re in Newcastle tonight, and you have your wits about you, you can catch the final date of The Covern tour, which has been wowing fans up and down the country all week.

A few Kitty Macfarlane gigs for you: one tonight (Sunday) in Bournemouth, a second in Bremen (Thursday) and a third in South Petherton (Saturday). Does that count as a world tour?

Fare Thee Well

This week we say a fond fare thee well to Gordeanna McCulloch. A service will take place at Daldowie crematorium on Wednesday. Our condolences go to her partner, Jim MacKay, and to her nearest and dearest.

A brief note: There’s unlikely to be anyone in the office next Sunday. We’ll all be having a post-publishing lie down. Therefore, Big Ears will return the week after.

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.