I always find this an interesting time of year as all the summer festivals start to announce their line-ups and a fair few of them have adverts in this issue. I tend to start reading the line-ups from the bottom up, as what I often want to see are some of the new and upcoming musicians I have heard and often reviewed over the last year.

Top of my to-see list for 2019 is the trio The Trials of Cato. I really enjoyed their album Hide & Hair, which came out last November. It wasn’t just me who was impressed as it recently won the FATEA Magazine ‘Debut Album of the Year’. They are playing loads of festivals including Warwick, Beardy, Purbeck, Swanage and St Neots, where they are supporting Martin Simpson.

Sidmouth Folk Festival has its usual stellar line-up – from it, can I recommend Jimmy Aldridge & Sid Goldsmith. They are not exactly new on the circuit as their third album, Many A Thousand, came out last year. However, there is a distinct progression with each new album and they are definitely worth seeing if they are in your vicinity this year.

Some of you may have seen Norwich-based trio Alden Patterson & Dashwood when they supported Show of Hands on their recent tour. They have a huge number of gigs this year and will be at Chester, Wimborne Minster and Gate to Southwell festivals. They will be playing material from their latest album, By The Night, which appeared in our top ten albums of 2018.

Folk by the Oak (see back cover) always has a great line-up and the smaller Acorn Stage is where you will often find some real gems. This year they have two real Shire Folk faves in Grace Petrie and Elephant Sessions.

It was only a couple of years ago that Sam Kelly and the Lost Boys were playing on the Acorn Stage at FBTO. Now, quite rightly, they are often the headline act as they are one of the best live bands around. They play with amazing energy and certainly get the crowds on their feet and dancing. You can see them at Sidmouth and Gate to Southwell festivals with the full band and as a trio at the Wirral Folk Festival

Wherever you decide to go this this year, have fun and let’s hope the sun shines and we don’t need those dreaded wellies!

Graham Hobbs



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 1800–2000 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.

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Graham Hobbs & Jonathan Roscoe
Co-Editors, Shire Folk



Shire Folk Album of 2018

Moore, Moss Rutter