Folking Around … news from around the wonderful world of folk


There are few folk bands that we like more than the spiky Stick in the Wheel, so we're pleased to see they're out on tour during September and October. If you fancy their particular brand of raw, visceral folk (and why wouldn't you?) then you can see them at London Folk Festival, Bermondsey Folk Festival, Manchester Folk Festival, Ragged Bear Festival and (not a festival, as far as we know) Romford Folk Club. website

For those of us who think that Martin Stephenson & the Daintees Boat to Bolivia album is one of the best ever made (and that's at least one of your Shire Folk editors) then there is mucho excitement at the news that Martin and Co have released a new one called Bayswater Road. Martin is hugely prolific, of course, but this is the eighth album of original Daintees material, following on from the four classic Kitchenware albums, and the wonderful Western Eagle, California Star and Haunted Highway from this century. There are ten new Daintees songs on the album and Martin has been joined by John Steel, Chris Mordey and Kate Stephenson. Check it out at website

After having been blown away by Cara and Kim Edgar at Nettlebed Folk Club recently, we were interested to see that Kim along with Steven Polwart, Rachel Sermanni and Donald Hay has been working with over thirty children and young people to create ten songs in just five days. It sounds like the creativity of the kids knew no bounds. website

Wandering around the verdant pastures of Hatfield House for the Folk by the Oak Festival (reviewed in ShireFolk Issue 150 page 6) we noticed many people wearing Sark Folk Festival t-shirts. The Channel isle is a beautiful place, of course, but who knew the folk festival was so popular? Well, if you didn't you've missed your chance to find out next year as they're taking a break. Having started in 2010, they are taking a year off in 2018, but hopefully they'll be back in full effect in 2019, so that we can check the festival out properly. website

To much fanfare former Bellowhead-er and Spiers & man, Jon Boden has announced details of his new solo album. Called Afterglow, it will be released on 6 October. It imagines 'a near-future world where the luxuries and comfort of twenty-first-century life have become scarce and a harder, simpler existence new prevails' (it says here). Whatever, we're delighted to have him and the Remnant Kings back. You can see Jon either solo or avec group throughout November doing many, many gigs. website

We saw singer songwriter Reg Meuross at the Beverley Folk Festival (see ShireFolk review here) in June and he told us he has just launched a new album called Faraway People. It's a new collection of songs which comments on life as Reg sees it, bringing wide-ranging stories, from the ravages of austerity and the injustice of the plight of refugees. Reg is on tour in the UK throughout the autumn and can also be found at Costa del Folk in Portugal in October. For all details go to www.regmeuross.com

Duncan Chappell, one of our reviewers, has just retired and has started up Big Ginger Tom Music (website) in order that he can have the indulgence of organising his own events in the South Oxfordshire area. He has received much encouragement and support from his wife Vanessa and the promoter for The Unicorn, Abingdon, Geoff Smith. The first event is on 24 August in Harwell Village Hall, with Gilmore & Roberts agreeing to come a day early for their Towersey Festival weekend. Support is from Charlie Law, who recently supported Kitty Macfarlane. The next event is on 22 November in the Harwellian (also in Harwell) with Harri Endersby and the White Horse Whisperers on the same bill. Duncan and Vanessa look forward to welcoming you to a Big Ginger Tom Music event soon!'

Another regular reviewer, Jon Bennett, is in the band Moonrakers, who are touring this September, headlining concerts at Wallingford Bunkfest and the official launch for their new album, Tides, at the Quaker Meeting House, Oxford on 23 September. Moonrakers are also running the residential weekend, Benslow Music Folk Orchestra, in September including a public concert by the band.

Evenlode Folk is the name Shaun Morley uses to put on folk music gigs at Finstock Village Hall. Pop-up Folk is run by Nick Hooper. It used to be Stonesfield Pop-up Folk, until it moved to Finstock a year ago. Nick and Shaun are starting to collaborate on some events and to coordinate their activity. They have four gigs arranged for the rest of 2017 and early 2018 – they are Howden Jones, Buffalo Skinners, Gordon Giltrap and Nick himself.

We were pleased to hear of a new folk club in Bampton, West Oxfordshire. To start with there will be a session every Sunday from 7 to 9 pm in Bampton Village Hall. All abilities are welcome. Entry fee £2. For more details contact Andy on 07788 398186.

One last local thing … there have been a few changes at our good friends Wychwood Folk Club. All events now start half an hour earlier at 7.30 pm, with doors opening at 7.00 pm. An extra half an hour drinking time perhaps? Also, they are returning to the Swan Inn for some events, so check our diary pages or their website. website


Keston Cobblers


Maz O'Connor


Kim Edgar