Shire Folk Album of 2019

Josienne Clarke album



‘Being generous of spirit
is a wonderful way to live’

Pete Seeger

The most over-used word at the moment is ‘unprecedented’. We’re being told that we live in ‘unprecedented’ times and that we must learn to live with ‘the new normal’; words and phrases that have descended into cliché a matter of weeks on from the start of this Coronavirus pandemic. While those on the front line of healthcare are literally putting their lives on the line for the good of society, there is a whole range of unexpected consequences resulting from society’s near lockdown. Relatively minor they may be, but they’re consequences, nonetheless.

coronavirusRed1One of those consequences is the impact on musicians. Hard on the heels of Brexit restricting their work, COVID-19 comes along to take it away completely. All the gigs, interviews, reviews, album launches. All of it gone overnight. The average folk musician isn’t blessed with Macca’s money or Chris Martin’s moolah to fall back on and so, as John Spiers observed recently, they are being forced to give away for free what they would usually be paid for; hosting gigs online in the hope that we – the viewers – will contribute something towards their lost revenue. That’s where the always-wise words of Pete Seeger come in. Time to apply some of that generosity of spirit, folks. It was said to me quite recently that music is one of the great comforts that will get us through this, and they’re right. So, we should do our best to support those that bring us that comfort. Support your local folk singer!

Another consequence of the current situation is that Shire Folk is going into hibernation … for the time being anyway. With our distribution points all closed and our advertising drying up we’ve had to take the difficult decision to postpone the next issue until some sense of normality is restored. But we will be back! Until then we’ll be tweeting reviews and interviews, so follow us on Twitter @folkshire and keep up to date with what’s shaking in Shire Folk Towers.

Take care everyone and stay safe. Now wash your hands!

Jonathan Roscoe


Shire Folk is a free, A5, bimonthly magazine covering folk, roots and acoustic music. It has been produced for over 40 years on a not-for-profit basis, paid for by advertising revenue. Each issue includes news items, both local and national, artist interviews, festival and gig reviews, as well as reviews of about 30 new CDs.

From our base in Oxford, we distribute around 1800 copies through an intricate network of folk clubs, record shops, libraries, music venues, pubs, morris dancing teams, festivals and individuals. Click here to see a list of places that receive bulk copies of Shire Folk. We think you can safely assume that well over 4000 people read each issue.

If you want to make sure you get a copy of the magazine , then you can have it delivered at a charge of £14 for the next six issues. Full details are on the Subscribe page.

We accept advertising on all folk-related subjects; rates and copy dates can be found on the Advertise page. If you wish to see a sample copy please email us or write to us using the details on the Contact page.

Graham Hobbs & Jonathan Roscoe
Co-Editors, Shire Folk