What news, what news? Well, first off, it’s the 4th edition of Big Ears, which makes our new column a month old. Seriously – where have we been without it? How the pre-Big Ears era of traditional folk and world music survived so long is a complete mystery. Not to worry, though. We’re here now, and this week we’re bursting at the seams. 

Before we kick off in earnest, we’ve a few of the usual announcements. 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.

Parish notices

Sadly, it has been a week of goodbyes and thank yous. Over on our Facebook page, we’ve bowed our heads and noted the passing of these great artists.

We’re not sure how to segue from that sombre news to this next piece, but we’ll give it a go. This week we saluted the work of Geoff Cripps, the founder member of foremost Welsh folk propagators, Allan Yn Y Fan. Don’t worry… he’s not dead (thank the heavens!) but he has announced that he will no longer be performing live with the band. You have four more opportunities to witness Allan Yn Y Fan in Geoff-led action. See the poster below, and give the man a standing ovation.

There are plenty of festival announcements coming in, most notably this from Celtic Connections, which hit the socials on Friday.

However, the announcements were not without controversy. The troubling “visa hassle and stress” that hit the headlines around Womad this summer have struck again…

In happier news, we wish the wonderful Lankum huge congrats on winning the prestigious Best Group at the RTE Radio 1 Folk Awards.

…and we announced our own annual poll. As the Ed noted, it’s significant as the Radio 2 Folk Awards appears to be in a bit of a muddle. Does that make the fRoots Critics Poll the most important barometer in the foots music category this season? Mais oui! Watch this space.

Before we move on, we just wanted to highlight this little post from “Weird Bristol”, concerning the Bristol Troubadour. The fRoots Ed has more than his fair share of stories relating to the BT, as well as certain claims to coining the Clifton Village name. Maybe he’ll write a book about it all one day. (Please join us in encouraging him to write a book about it all one day.)

Who’s releasin’? 

There are a number of albums on the release event horizon, both inbound and announced. Here’s who we’ve noticed making digital waves over the last week, and the albums to grab over the next seven days.

Last year, those in the know started receiving a certain CD in the post from a chap named Nick Hart. He did a handful of live performances and people started getting quite excited. What made it all the more interesting was that the album had been recorded and pressed sometime before, and then apparently left in a garage until he got around to telling anybody about it.

Not so for his second release. Nick started releasing video diaries of the sessions for his next album. His reluctance to play the game is palpable, and the two bone-dry vids that have been posted so far will raise a smile. More importantly, the snips of music that we hear along the way sound very much like more of the same, which is no bad thing indeed.

One of folk music’s most important Martins is back in the rehearsal studios (as if he needs it). He’s joined by the wonderful cellist, Liz Hanks, and one of folk music’s most important Nancys. Exciting times. Watch this space (or go and watch him in person – far more interesting – at Hitchin Folk Club next Sunday).

Dr Strangedub, the new album from Dub Colossus, is up for funding on Kickstarter. At the time of writing there were 67 hours to go until the end of the campaign, and the band were £325 from their target. If each of the people reading this blog post were to contribute £5, the band would have £2,394,660. Your credit cards at the ready, please.

Fans of the folk fiddle maestro need wait no longer: The Unfinished Violin hits the shelves this week. Look at the sheer excitement in this Insta-video! It feels like a big moment for Sam Sweeney, and we’re delighted for him. Make sure you read our review here, and you can still pre-order by clicking here.

If that’s not enough Sweeney for your earholes, he’s also busy mixing the new Leveret album. That’s why they call him Mr Farenheit.

(Sorry, everyone else is jabbering on about Queen, so why shouldn’t we get in on the retro zeitgeist? We could make pretty convincing claims to have kickstarted the retro zeitgeist. Copper Family retrospectives, anyone? It doesn’t get much more retro zeitgeist than that.)


If that album announcement is not enough to have you setting the alarm clock and hibernating until early Feb, coming out only sporadically to attend their gigs, then we don’t know what is.

There must be so many people out there longing for an album of traditional, music hall and industrial songs from Birmingham and the surrounding areas. Well, the queues at the record shop doors needn’t wait any longer. Here’s news of Jon Wilks’s new album, out on Thursday. Don’t forget to read our Root Salad with him in this month’s edition of the magazine (which can be purchased here, in case you didn’t know). Pre-order at this link.

Oh, and in case you didn’t know, there’s more blood on more tracks from this little-known singer-songwriter. Not sure what he thinks he knows about folk music, but he might be worth a listen. Pre-order by clicking here.

A week on the road

Out and about over the coming seven days you’ll find…

If you read this in time, you may be able to grab a coat and make it to Bristol’s Alma Tavern for this afternoon’s Rowan Rheingans show. If not, grab a sleeping bag instead and camp outside Clerkenwell’s Betsy Trotwood until she appears on Monday evening.

Moore Moss Rutter are out on the road this coming month, kicking off their autumn tour this Friday in Saltaire, before heading to Dunton on Saturday and Topsham on Sunday. Get those feet a-poundin’!

“Musical beacon”, Jim Moray, is also heading out on an autumn jaunt. Allow him to lead you around the country, starting this week in York (Thursday) and Doncaster (Friday). The tour then stops for a few days before getting fully into the swing of things deeper into November. Keep an eye on his socials for further details.

If you’re in Bristol this coming Sunday, Rachael Dadd is a captivating performer of acoustic music influenced by her world travels. She often performs in conjunction with her husband, the Japanese avant garde artist, Ichi, and their shows together are a wonderful mix of the folky and the far out. They gig way too infrequently in this country, in our humble opinion. Catch her while you can.

Anyone who ever got smug about being able to pat their heads and rubs their tummies at the same time needs to go and see Will Pound on tour. That’ll teach ’em. The order of things: watch video above, gather jaw from the floor, book tickets to see him this week in Bournemouth (Saturday, and then throughout November elsewhere).

And that’s all from us this week. Catch you on the flip side.