Folking Around … news from around the wonderful world of folk


If you’re quick you might just get to Make Music Day in Abingdon on 21 June in celebration of International Make Music Day. Organised by a small, but dedicated, group of volunteers there are several workshops going on, including a songwriting one led by Megan Henwood (who will also do a set in the evening). There is live music in the Market Place, and in several of the pubs, cafes and restaurants as well as several busking spots. Hopefully, Adam Barnes will also be playing a set in the Market Place. Things kick off at 2 p.m. through until late in the evening. For more information check out website


Marry & Emily

Shire Folk faves Marry Waterson and Emily Barker will be taking their excellent new collaboration, A Window to Other Ways (read our review in SF160), out on the road in October and November. Coming to a town near you, including Revelation in Ashford, Bath’s Chapel Arts Centre, Birmingham’s Hare & Hounds, and the Arlington Arts Centre near Newbury. www.emilybarker.com; website

Talking of collaborations you don’t want to miss, June Tabor and Oysterband are back together this autumn for a major new tour. The 2019 Fire and Fleet tour will take in fifteen dates across the UK this autumn, including St George’s Hall in Bristol, Salisbury’s City Hall, Warwick Arts Centre, and Cheltenham Town Hall among other places. There’ll be songs from their seminal 1990 album Freedom & Rain and their multi-award-winning 2011 follow-up Ragged Kingdom, of course, plus we’re being promised exciting new material. website

Anyone who has seen the Demon Barbers incendiary live shows will be excited to hear that Damien Barber is back with a new line-up, Damien & The Omen, to mark thirty years in the business. Comprising of Damien, Ben Griffith (percussion, guitar, vocals), Matt Aplin (piano), and Hugh McDermott (double bass), they’re heading into the studio with Grammy Award winning producers Kipper Eldridge and Donal Hodgson to work on an album that will be released next year. website

Another new group about to take flight is The Magpie Arc, featuring the combined, and not inconsiderable, talents of Martin Simpson, Nancy Kerr, Adam Holmes, Tom A. Wright, and Alex Hunter. There’s no music from them yet but can you imagine how good it’s going to be when there is! @TheMagpieArc. News from Adam’s website is that he is also collaborating with Heidi Talbot in a new duo called Arcade. An album is planned for September, followed by a UK tour. As we have said before, folk artists must be the most collaborative bunch of any group of musicians!

If you’ve ever wondered about the inspiration for ‘So Long Marianne’ and ‘Bird on a Wire’, then an upcoming film by noted, award-winning documentary filmmaker, Nick Broomfield, will be of interest. Called Marianne & Leonard: Words of Love, it focuses on the relationship between Leonard Cohen and his Norwegian muse Marianne Ihlen, and is released in UK cinemas on 28 July. website

Save the date! The next AmericanaFest UK will be held in London, on 28, 29 and 30 January 2020. So successful is the UK’s premier Americana festival that it’s moving to a bigger venue for its fifth anniversary. Tickets will go on sale soon for the awards show at the iconic London venue, The Troxy. website


Kip & Dave

Popular duo Winter Wilson (Kip Winter and Dave Wilson) have a fifteen-track live album coming out in August entitled Live & Unconventional. Recorded during their winter tour in 2018, when they supported Fairport Convention, some tracks feature the band as the duo’s ‘backing band’. As always, Kip and Dave are spending the summer touring the UK in their camper van and can be seen at the Cleakheaton, Wickham, Cropedy Fringe, Moira Furnace, Edinburgh Fringe, Shrewsbury, Fleetwood and Derby festivals. They are also touring Canada in September (probably in a hired camper van!) and a full list of their dates can be found at website

Richard Thompson has just released The Cold War – Original Motion Picture Score. This is a nineteen-track album of music used in the film of the same title directed by Erik Nelson. The film, which has a limited cinema release in July, but can also be found on many streaming services, is a documentary based on some recently discovered footage that was made as part of the research for the 1943 film by William Tyler called The Memphis Belle: A Story of a Flying Fortress. For more information and background go to website

The BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards, which have always taken place in April, have moved to October this year. They will be taking place in the Bridgewater Hall, Manchester on Wednesday 16 October, so make a note in your diaries. The more observant among you will have noticed that the Manchester Folk Festival takes place from 16 to 20 October and the festival is hosting the awards.

Talking of festivals, it’s not long to the 55th Towersey Festival (23–26 August) in Oxfordshire. The festival has just announced that Track Dogs, a four-piece band based in Madrid, but hailing from Ireland, UK and the USA, have been added to the line-up. The festival has a partnership with the Rambling Roots Revue, and Smith & Brewer, Ciara Rafferty, Pepe Belmonte and Lucas & King will all be performing. For the full festival line-up go to website

On Wednesday 29 May from 9 to 11 p.m., the first Shire Folk Showcase radio show took to the air on Kennet Radio 106.7, a community station for Newbury and Thatcham. The show is also archived on their website, kennetradio.com, for listening at any time. So off you go! The idea for the show came from Stephen Ottner of ACE Space in Newbury, who also presents another folk music show on Kennet Radio called Folk Ace. Stephen suggested that the Editors could choose a selection of new music from all the albums they get sent to review. This they did and twenty-four brand new tracks were played during the first show, including ones from such stars as Kate Rusby, Martin Simpson, Marry Waterson & Emily Barker and Thea Gilmore. Local Oxford artists were also represented with tracks by Dolly Mavies and Samantha Twigg Johnson. The show, which includes the Editors talking their normal nonsense about folk, roots and acoustic music (and probably football, especially Tranmere Rovers!) is going to be broadcast quarterly. So you don’t miss it, the dates for the next few shows are 31 July, 30 October, 29 January 2020 and 29 April 2020.


Keston Cobblers


Maz O'Connor


Kim Edgar


Shire Folk Album of 2018

Moore, Moss Rutter