FEATUTRE HEADING: blah blah balh


Feature Intro:After having won the Musician of the Year award at this year’s Folk Awards and playing with almost everyone from Jon Boden and Eliza Carthy to Hannah Ja


Feature Interviewer SF: Question

Feature Interviwee BH: answer



Sam Sweeney















White Horse Whisperers

Rachel Newton: Five Questions


Fresh from wowing a packed Ashmolean with her trio at Folk Weekend Oxford and closing the festival as part of Emily Portman’s band, Shire Folk caught up with celebrated harpist Rachel Newton, to talk about harp playing, writing in the studio and clogging!


SF: As well as being a gifted harpist you’re also an accomplished fiddle and viola player, so how did the harp become your instrument of choice?

RN: I started the harp and fiddle around the same time and love playing both. I think the main reason I’ve focused on the harp is that it is so great to sing with and I can accompany myself on tune sets as well. Also, as it’s a less common instrument, I was being asked to play with lots of people and I used it more and more frequently.

SF: The first time I saw you play was with The Shee, but these days you’re also a member of the Furrow Collective and the Emily Portman Trio as well as a successful solo artist. How do you balance it all? Also, what’s happening with The Shee as I’d like to see more of Amy’s clogging?


Rachel Newton

RN: I’ve learned so much from playing in all these different groups. As I’ve started playing the solo gigs too it has become a bit hectic! I am hoping to focus on my solo career a lot more. However, I’m still managing to squeeze it all in at the moment and The Shee are launching a new album, Continuum, later this year with a tour so there will be a chance to see some clogging.

SF: Congratulations on Here’s My Heart Come Take It – it manages to be both rooted in the tradition as well as taking it in a more experimental direction. How did the style of the album come about?

RN: Thank you! I didn’t really plan a certain style as such. My main aim this time around was to make it a more organic album with layers and ideas being added as we went along and more creative input from my band. I think I’ve built up a certain sound and style over the years and it felt like that just naturally came out in this album.

SF: In what way does it differ from your previous solo works, The Shadow Side and Changeling?

RN: I wrote nearly every part for my first two albums before going into the studio. This time around I was deliberately much less prepared. I didn’t even know for sure what songs I would end up recording until I was recording them! I was a little nervous about doing it this way, but I think it really paid off. Mattie Foulds, who recorded and co-produced the album as well as being the drummer in my band, was brilliant to work with in this way.

SF: Here’s My Heart Come Take It feels more like a studio album then the previous albums, so does that give you issues when you’re playing it live?

RN: We played some live launch gigs as the trio (Lauren MacColl and Mattie Foulds) and we adapted the songs to work in a slightly different way. I think it worked well, although I did have to practise very hard at combining several harp and piano parts into one! I am planning on extending the band for certain gigs, adding a few more instruments to really recreate the album sound. I’m so excited to give that a go!

Rachel’s latest album, Here’s My Heart Come Take It, is out now.

Jonathan Roscoe


Rachel Newton


Shire Folk Album of 2018

Moore, Moss Rutter