We’re three weeks into our Big Ears adventure and one thing is quickly becoming clear: we may have photoshopped ourselves into a peculiarly animal-themed corner. Visitors to the fRoots website would be forgiven for thinking they’d stumbled upon the digital portal of their local veterinary clinic rather than an up-to-the-minute overview of what’s going on in the world of folk and world music. We shall attempt to change this in the coming days. In the meantime, we’ve stuck a picture of something that might be a kangaroo in the slot above. Goodness knows why.

Aurally-enhanced marsupials aside, what’s going on in our folkish community? It has been a rather quiet week, what with everyone’s attention focused on the People’s March. In honour of said event, this week’s blog post will feature brief but regular updates from folk’s unofficial Brexit correspondent, John Squeezy Spiers.

Over to you, John.

More from John later.

A week on the road

As usual, there are plenty of gigs to get out and see. Over the coming seven days, we’ll be trying to catch these absolute corkers.

Karine Polwart is playing in Brighton (Monday), Cambridge (Tuesday) and Leeds (Wednesday). We’re not sure what the world is coming to when the BBC Folk Singer of the Year has to resort to begging cakes for her rider, but we’re so busy kneading we’ve not the time to ponder.

For the record, Karine’s tour has also thrown up some lovely soundcheck gems like the above version of ‘Video Killed the Radio Star’. Gawd bless Youtube. Bootlegging hasn’t been the same since you turned up.

Greg Russell appears to be winding up his gigging year, playing Dorking on Saturday, Oct 27th. We hope the lad will subsequently try to rest. He may take the fRoots 2018 award for busiest folk performer (before you write in, there isn’t one), having played with everyone and their sister this year, as well as hosting a very promising folk show called New Traditions on BBC Sheffield. (You can find that by clicking here.) Catch him while you can. We have a feeling he’s going places (metaphorically speaking, of course; not just on tour).

Those very fine Ye Vagabonds are doing a couple of dates at almost opposite ends of the country this week, with an appearance in Whitby (Monday) and then one in Bodmin (Friday). They launched the tour with a sellout gig at Liverpool Philharmonic this weekend, before heading over to John Lennon’s National Trust home to help Lisa O’Neil (mentioned last week) launch her album.

We don’t intend to focus too heavily our Big Ears on the same artists all the time, but we wouldn’t want to pass up on the chance to share this with you. Here’s Lisa and friends singing ‘The Leaving of Liverpool’ outside the gates of Dr Winston O’Boogie’s childhood home.

Kicking off an autumn tour this weekend is Rachael McShane, supporting her new album When All is Still. Trad fans are raving about this one, so we’d recommend you tidy up your beard and head to the box office, pronto. Here’s a brief clip to get you in the mood.

Catch Rachael this week in Maidenhead (Wednesday), Shoreham-by-Sea (Thursday), Andover (Friday), London (Saturday) and on the Isle of Wight (next Sunday).

You’ll not find him on Twitter or Instagram, but that’s no reason to miss out on the man, the legend, Martin Carthy, who finishes a brief run in Lyme Regis on Monday night. He’ll be all over the place in November (but in a good way), so watch this space for details.

Marry Waterson will be in Dublin this coming Saturday as part of the ensemble that will perform as Tradition Now: Freedom doesn’t Fall from the Sky, celebrating women in folk and traditional music. Also featuring Karan Casey, Pauline Scanlon and Niamh Dunne, so it looks like a cracking line-up. Get there if you can.

Meanwhile, we’re hearing that there’s a Brexit update coming in. Mr Spiers?

Thanks John. Back to the studio.

Parish notices

Not immediately touring, but recently recorded and to be much admired, here’s a great little clip of Ben Walker and Rob Harbron rolling along on a trad duet at Cecil Sharp House. Nothing appears to have been confirmed, but those dates he mentions sound very promising indeed.

Any of you up for some Brit-folk Futurism? Some English trad meets squeeky bonky music? Thought as much. Lap it up over on Soundcloud. This is Mike Cooper at 75.

World music fans amongst you will want to be following the Womex Instagram feed as the event cranks into action this week. You’ll be seeing some great artists, including Moonlight Benjamin, who graces our cover this autumn, and Ranky Tanky, who will be featured in our coming issue.

Not content with being a member of the award-winning trio, The Young’uns, David Eagle is now through to the quarter finals of the New Comedian Of the Year competition. You can catch him doing his non-folk thing at the Museum of Comedy in Holborn on Tuesday. Why not heckle him for a song? Quality entertainment either way.

For those who take part in the weekly online folk club that is #TradSongTues, the upcoming theme is political songs. Can’t imagine there are many of those knocking about the tradition. Very much anticipating a quiet one…

Speaking of which… John?

He’s nothing if not on the ball.

And that’s all from us this week. We look forward to bringing you more gigging news next week, hopefully with more appropriate pictures. Have a good one.

Main photo by Aleksandar Jason/Unsplash.