Folking Around … news from around the wonderful world of folk


Folking Around

Our cover star, Kate Rusby, has just finished her twenty-fifth anniversary tour (cue: she doesn't look old enough, etc.), but she's not going to be sitting back and taking it easy, oh no. In fact, come 1 December you'll find her at The Sands Centre in Carlisle kicking off her Christmas tour. This 14-date jaunt takes in such places of folky erudition as Cambridge Corn Exchange, The Forum in Bath, G Live in Guildford, and ends at The Sage in Gateshead on 20 December. Plus there's a new festive album on its way. It's all go. website

Here at Shire Folk Towers we love to see a new folky start-up in our parish, so it was with great delight that we heard about a new folk club in North Hampshire. Kicking off in October, Whitchurch Folk Club will be based in Whitchurch Parish Hall and the Gill Nethercott Centre (also in Whitchurch). They've got some great stuff coming up over the next few months, including Jack Rutter, Belshazzar's Feast, Lucy Farrell, Eliza and Martin Carthy, and Alasdair Roberts. If this sounds up your strasse (and why wouldn't it?) then you can find out more at www.grizzlyfolk.com/whitchurch-folk-club/

One of the very best live acts on the folk circuit is hitting the road for their autumn tour shortly. A new, yet to be titled, studio album will be released in 2018, in the run-up to their tenth anniversary celebrations, but first The Urban Folk Quartet will be playing eleven dates across the country including the Warwick Arts Centre at the University of Warwick, The Old Queen's Head in that there London, the Foxlowe Arts Centre in Leek and the Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery. website

Last year Scottish songstress Karine Polwart put together a theatre project called Wind Resistance about Fala Flow, a protected peat bog south of Edinburgh, which she described as 'a hymn to people and place'. Well, she's taking the stage show on the road and to coincide with the Edinburgh Royal Lyceum Theatre shows in November, she's releasing a new album – A Pocket of Wind Resistance. This companion piece has been crafted with sound designer and composer Pippa Murphy, combining traditional and original songs with field recordings and electronics. Sounds like something for those cold winter nights that are just around the corner. website

The excellent Megson are pressing on with their Pushing On tour this November, visiting the likes of the Hawth in Crawley, Cheltenham's Woodmancote Village Hall and our good friends at Hitchin Folk Club on 26 November, where the award-winning Hattie Briggs will be the support. Stu Hanna is also the musical director of the Cambridge Folk Ensemble, so if you're in that vicinity and you can hold a tune or play any sort of folky instrument, check 'em out. website

So Irish songstress Cara Dillon has rather snuck out a new album, Wanderer. To accompany it she's out on tour in early 2018, but first she's touring her rather wonderful Christmas album from last year, Upon A Winter's Night, when she'll undoubtedly be coming to a place near you, including The Stables in Milton Keynes, All Saint's Church in Bristol, Cheltenham's Pump Room and the Cheese & Grain in Frome. Next year it'll be a duo tour with husband Sam Lakeman, when she'll be hitting the high spots of the likes of Wiltshire Music Centre in Bradford Upon Avon and, of course, Nettlebed Folk Club. You can find out more about all these shenanigans at website

Shire Folk faves BSaid the Maiden have a new album out in November called Here's to Health. They have a twenty-date tour to promote the album starting at the Ilfracombe Folk Festival on 21 October and finishing at Uxbridge Folk Club on 30 November. If you are regular reader of Shire Folk you may recall us talking about the Company of Players. This is a project Jess Distill from the Maidens has been working on for nearly two years now. It really is a folk 'supergroup' of some of the best young musicians in the country and they have recorded an album of songs to commemorate the death of William Shakespeare 400 years ago. Talking with Sam Kelly (who is a member of the Company) a few weeks ago, he told us that the album should be out early in the New Year.

On 2 December the final Haddenham concert and ceilidh will take place. They started in December 1972 and in that time there have been 438 ceildihs, including numerous concerts, 31 festivals and 19 New Year's Eve Extravaganzas. The Editorial team at Shire Folk would like to thank John Heydon and all involved at Haddenham for all their fantastic efforts over the years and for supporting our magazine by booking advertisements.

Kings of the South Seas have just had short run of live shows in early October. The band premiered their new album, due for release in Feb 2018. The album is called 'Franklin', is the trio's second release and is inspired by Lord John Franklin's fateful 19thCentury polar expeditions. The catastrophic failure of Franklin's final trip left a big impression on the citizens back home in the UK and a wealth of musical, theatrical and literary material emerged. Some of that material was derived from printing presses and musicals created on board icebound ships during long, brutal winters, though much of it was based on testimony of Inuit who encountered the sailors during their voyages. The band was accompanied on tour by respected Polar naturalist, Peter Wilson. For more details of the album and future events go to website

A new monthly folk and Americana music venture is starting in January 2018 at the Holywell Music Rooms in Oxford. Taking place monthly, Kitty McFarlane, Louise Jordan and Kadia have already been booked to play at this lovely venue.

Finally, congratulations to the four winners of the 2017 EFDSS Gold Badge – veteran folk musician Johnny Adams, accordionist and composer Nicolas Broadbridge, founders of Sunshine Arts Dave and Maggie Hunt, and singing siblings The Wilson Family. Awarded for unique or outstanding contributions to folk music, dance or song, it looks like your Shire Folk editors have missed out again. Maybe next year. website


Keston Cobblers


Maz O'Connor


Kim Edgar