1. DAVID BROMBERG & LARRY CAMBELL - WASN’T THAT A NIGHT! As many of you will have gathered, we had a very special session at the club on 31st July. Top American musicians David Brombergand Larry Campbell were in our area, en route to a main stage spot at Cambridge Folk Festival that weekend, and they arranged to drop in at the Black Swan on their night off. Booked guests Plumhall were consulted and were delighted at the prospect, floor spots were willingly cancelled and the running order rearranged.
I must say, it lived up to our expectations and more – a night to savour in the memory. David & Larry proved to be really lovely people, and well informed about the UK folk scene. They did a great half hour set in the middle of the evening, then Larry joined Plumhall with his mandolin for a performance of the Dylan song Senor (Tales of Yankee Power), a song he no doubt knew well from his years on the road with Bob Dylan’s touring band.
Augmented for the night by David Crickmore (pedal steel, etc.) and Charlie Daykin (keyboard), Plumhall performed brilliantly and won many new friends in the capacity audience. Full marks also to PA crew Chris and Eddie, who coped superbly with one of our most technically complex nights ever, and to MC Stan for keeping the night in good order.
You can see a recording of Plumhall’s number with Larry Campbell on YouTube. Cut and paste this linkwww.youtube.com/watch?v=
2. FIRST TIME SOLO FOR PATSY MATHESON, 21st AUGUST. Good music just keeps on coming and this week we are delighted to host an evening with singer/songwriter Patsy Matheson, who is now firmly back on the road after health scares last winter. Patsy did a duo show for us in 2012 with fellow former Waking the Witch member Becky Mills but this will be her first solo feature at the Black Swan, although she first set foot here way back in the late 1980s when as a student in Leeds she was herself running folk events. Patsy’s show comes at an opportune time. Her new CD has attracted a shed-full of glowing reviews and there is a feature article in the latest edition of fRoots. Here are a few review quotes:
“One of contemporary folk’s finest voices and writers... it’s as musically accomplished as you would imagine, but it’s her relaxed, assured vocals, catchy melodies and wry lyrics that are its greatest strengths” – Mike Davies, Folk Radio UK.
“Patsy is a significant and stylish songwriter. Domino Girls is her most accomplished release yet” – Andy Kershaw, Broadcaster.
“There’s an overcrowded market of female singer-songwriter-guitarists, but Patsy Matheson stands out for the quality of her singing and more importantly, her songwriting ... her best songs are thoughtful, delicate and impressively original” – Robin Denselow, The Guardian.
Stan Graham acts as MC for this one and the entry charge is £8 full / £7 concessions, with plenty available on the door. A reasonably full house would of course be most welcome!
3. YOUNG MEN MAKING AN IMPACT, GREG & CIARAN, 28th AUGUST. There is quite a buzz developing about our final guests in August. Greg Russell & Ciaran Algar carried off this year’s BBC Folk Award in the Horizon category for best new act, having previously won the Young Folk Award in 2013. Their second album is just out and has been very well received, including a Playlist (best of the month) nomination infRoots, where Colin Irwin writes: “Greg Russell’s voice has a rare sort of majesty, Algar’s fiddle is engagingly empathetic and honest with a lovely tone, the material is unhackneyed and well chosen, arrangements refreshingly simple and understated. These two surely are the real deal.” Meanwhile, just arrived is the new edition of Living Tradition magazine, on which Greg & Ciaran get the cover feature. It is not often that two quite different magazines concur so wholeheartedly about an artist!
Though young, Greg and Ciaran have had lots of performing experience (Ciaran played here with the group Trí back in 2011) and their music has a maturity which belies their years. Whether it is a traditional ballad, a modern cover (from such as James Keelaghan or Phil Colclough) or a set of instrumentals, they excel at everything they do. This one should be a cracker! Eddie Affleck is the MC and tickets are £9 and £8, on the door or (preferably) pre-booked at WeGotTickets.
4. SEPTEMBER: EDWINA & BEYOND. September’s Singers Night takes place on the first Thursday, 4th, and then we are thrilled to welcome back Edwina Hayes on 11th September. Edwina has become a firm friend of the club over the last decade and has very many admirers in and around York. We anticipate a full house for this event and indeed nearly half the online tickets have already been taken. Book soon to avoid disappointment! Stan Graham will be MC.
It should be a similar story for Hans Theessink (18th September) and Wizz Jones (25th September). Both men have been regular and popular guests of ours over the years and are outstandingly talented musicians well deserving of your continued support. Hans Theessink tickets are already around 40% sold and Wizz is not so far behind. Chris Euesden MCs both nights.
I hope to write the next club leaflet soon and get it off to our printer before the end of August. It will have full details on our club guests through to Christmas and indeed into the first weeks of 2015. Watch out for it during September.
5. A FULL AND VARIED AUTUMN LINE-UP AT NCEM. Meanwhile the new season NCEM full colour brochure has already gone to print and should begin to circulate in the next week or so. So far as the folk music element is concerned, it is a particularly well balanced and satisfying programme this season, at least in my opinion. Kicking things off (and promoted by NCEM rather than us) is Chris Wood (Saturday 20th September) who has been described as “one of the UK’s genuine folk treasures (who) with gentle intelligence weaves the tradition with his own contemporary parables.”
Master guitarist, powerful singer and unique songwriter, Martin Simpson follows on Saturday 4th October for an extended solo performance with no support act. This one should be a real delight. Whether he is playing old-time music, blues, a Dylan cover, a classic ballad or one of his own songs, Martin’s solo shows are intense, eclectic, spellbinding and deeply moving events, certainly not to be missed
For lovers of Irish and Scottish music, the season highlight may prove to be Ross Ainslie & Jarlath Henderson on Monday 20th October, joined on guitar by Ali Hutton. I saw this trio in action recently at Warwick Folk Festival and the interplay between different combinations of Uilleann pipes, Scottish border pipes (not to be confused with Highland bagpipes, by the way), whistles and flutes was awesome indeed, all underpinned by Ali’s inventive guitar and interspersed with the occasional song from Jarlath. Great stuff!
Later concerts comprise Chris While & Julie Matthews with special guest Edwina Hayes (2nd November),Nancy Kerr with her Sweet Visitor Band (26th November) and A Medieval Christmas with Blast From The Past (17th December). Booking is now open for all six events at www.ncem.co.uk or on 01904 658338.
6. HALF YEAR FINANCIAL SITUATION GOOD. That momentous club night on 31st July also marked the half way stage in our financial year and, together with a virtually full house for Steve Tilston (who was on top form) the week before, helped to mitigate the general trend of significant guest night losses in the summer season.
A few days ago I pulled together the club’s the half-year figures and I'm happy to report that we made an overall surplus of around £600 between 1st February and 31st July. Club guest nights did lose money overall (a modest £33, or perhaps 4 customers too few), but concerts, singers nights and other activities generated enough “profit” to cover all administrative and publicity costs and create that surplus. For the first time ever we have total cash assets (in the bank and in hand) of just over £7,000, which is a healthy safety net to hold when we have signed contracts worth well in excess of £10,000 in fees for club and concert guests during the next 6 months.
7. STAN IS EVER SO FRAGILE. Our very own Stan Graham has been busily working on a new CD all year and it is now due for release next month. Entitled Fragile and produced by Angus Lyon (of Blazin’ Fiddles fame) at his studio in Lanarkshire, this will be Stan’s fifth album and his first since Music & Friends in 2009, so we can expect to hear on it many of the newer songs he has debuted for us at the club in recent times. Several top class musicians have joined Stan in the recording studio, such as Jamie McClennan (Emily Smith Band, James Brothers) and Anna Massie (Bella Hardy Band, Blazin’ Fiddles). Stan is likely to be at the club most Thursdays this autumn and will no doubt be happy to sell you a copy!
Independently of the club, Stan is also busy organising a Saturday night concert for his close friend Martyn Wyndham Read at the Black Swan Inn on 1st November. I’ll have more details nearer the time, but I do know that tickets will be just £6. This is not an official club function, but only because we already had in the diary that Chris While & Julie Matthews’ NCEM concert the very next night. Meanwhile this week Stan has been invited to join Martyn on the Wednesday line-up at Whitby Folk Week.
8. SPECIAL OFFER ON FOLK CLUBS BOOK. Earlier this year (E-News 172) I reported on the new book Singing From The Floor. Subtitled “A History of British Folk Clubs”, this is an oral history compiled from hundreds of interviews by Sheffield-based folk enthusiast J P Bean. The book extends to over 600 pages and has a cover price of £17.99, but publishers Faber are offering folk club supporters 30% off if you buy on-line atfaber.co.uk and enter the discount code SINGING, any time until 31st December. There are flyers with more information available on the club leaflet stand.
The book is a fascinating read even if, being based on fallible memories, the occasional mis-remembered error creeps in. For example, both references to our own club are not factually correct, but that hardly matters. Reviewers have been enthusiastic. “A glorious book which does full justice to an honourable history” said theIndependent, while for the Guardian “there is a telling story or unforgettable vignette on almost every page”.
9. TALKING OF BOOKS. While we are on the subject of books, John Watterson tells me he has begun to research and write a biography of Jake Thackray. He doesn’t have a publisher yet, but as Fake Thackray, John is ideally placed to know and understand his chosen subject. Meanwhile another local folk musician Toni Bunnell has already written several books, some published as e-books, others in hard copy, and last week she held a signing for her latest titles The Fidgit and Samuel and the Stolen Words at Waterstone’s in York. Find our more at tonibunnell.com.
10. BEST WISHES TO JOHN CHERRY. Veteran club resident John Cherry (81) goes into York District Hospital next week for fairly major surgery. We all wish him a successful operation and a speedy recovery. Only last week John stepped in as club MC at very short notice after the designated host was indisposed, and an excellent job he made of it. We hope to see him back at the club very soon.
11. MINSTER STRAYS ARE RECRUITING. As summer begins to turn towards autumn, it is Morris dance recruitment time. Gez Pegram writes that Minster Strays Morris would “welcome new dancers or musicians of all ages (16+) and either sex.” Dancing Cotswold and Border Morris styles, the Strays practice on Monday evenings between 8pm and 10pm in the village of Thornton-le-Clay, off the A64 north of York, with beginners’ nights during September. “Enthusiasm and commitment are more important than experience” says Gez, adding “we can usually arrange lifts if needed.” He can be contacted on 07983 493274 or by email@example.com, and the website is www.minsterstrays.org.uk.
12. YOUNG FIDDLERS WANTED. Also recruiting for the coming year are York Young Fiddlers. Open to children aged between 8 and 18 who can play violin near Grade 1 standard or above and who want to learn folk tunes by ear. YYF hold their first workshop of the new season on Saturday 20th September with guest tutor Laura Barber of Blackbeard’s Tea Party. Future classes are scheduled every 6 weeks or so through the autumn and winter, culminating in a performance at our Folk Weekend next June. Find out more atwww.yorkyoungfiddlers.org.uk or on Facebook.
13. AND ADULT FIDDLERS TOO. This is an appropriate point to remind you that the above mentionedLaura Barber also runs a weekly adult fiddle class at the Black Swan Inn. “This group offers a chance to learn the fiddle in an informal and friendly group setting without the expense of private tuition” she says. “We cover a wide variety of styles, mainly folk but also classical, blues, etc. Beginners to intermediate players are welcome and I provide material suitable for different abilities”. Classes take place on Thursdays between 6pm and 7pm (so you can stay on and come to the club afterwards if you so wish!) and cost around £8, depending on numbers. Classes resume after the summer break on 11th September and Laura can be contacted on 07960 019658 or on firstname.lastname@example.org.
OTHER EVENTS IN YORK & BEYOND
As Autumn approaches the diary gets considerably fuller, or so it seems!
14. 22nd-24th AUGUST - GALTRES PARKLANDS FESTIVAL. The big music event of late summer in North Yorkshire is of course the Galtres Festival at Duncombe Park, Helmsley, over the Bank Holiday weekend. There's a whole mixture of musical styles but with a good folk/roots component over the five different stages, notably on Friday when headliners include The Levellers, Bellowhead and Blackbeard’s Tea Party. Other folk and acoustic acts over the weekend include Gilmore & Roberts, Holy Moly & The Crackers, Over The Yardarm and Beggar’s Bridge, with York-based artists including Holly Taymar, King Courgette, Dan Webster and Grand Old Uke of York. Sarah Horn’s electric folk band Aelfen are also playing, “providing a rousing, party end to the festival after The Human League on Sunday night” says proud mother Joanne Horn.
Apart from the music there's comedy, theatre, a beer & cider festival and a full family programme. Find out more at www.galtresfestival.org.uk.
15. 24th AUGUST – PICNIC IN BIELBY. A reminder that the Bielby Picnic takes place on Bank Holiday Sunday in this village near Pocklington, with Americana from the newly expanded line-up of Root 64, jazz from Snake Davis, a brass band and more besides. Find out more at www.facebook.com/pages/The-
16. 3rd SEPTEMBER – REVIVED FOLK CLUB NEAR BEDALE. The once celebrated singers club at The Woodman in Burneston near Bedale is being restarted. “Following many years of fantastic singarounds at this venue, we hope to revive and continue the local tradition” says organiser Nick Brooker. “As always, everyone is welcome to come and either take part or just listen - acoustic musicians and singers, poets, storytellers and more.” The reopening is scheduled for Wednesday 3rd September then meeting weekly. There is a Facebook page.
17. 5th SEPTEMBER – CARTHY & SWARB IN SELBY. The new season at Selby Town Hall includes three mainstream folk concerts, beginning with Martin Carthy & Dave Swarbrick on Friday 5th September. Doors open at 7.30 for an 8pm start and tickets are £15 in advance or £17 on the door. Future events include Andy Irvine & Donal Lunny’s Mozaik on Saturday 18th October and Chris Wood on Saturday 13th December. Chris is of course also coming to NCEM York on 20th September. The website is www.selbytownhall.co.uk.
18. 6th SEPTEMBER – MUSIC AT THE RAILWAY MUSEUM. A reminder that there is a ten hour “free music extravaganza” at the National Railway Museum on Saturday 6th September from 2pm. Music On Rails will include a wide range of local singers and bands, with acoustic music represented by the likes of David Ward Maclean, Aimie J Ryan, Holly Taymar and Boss Caine. Most of the latter acts will be on the moving train stage, free tickets for which must be pre-booked, due to limited space. Find out more atwww.nrm.org.uk/planavisit/
19. 6th & 7th SEPTEMBER – MASSED MORRIS IN YORK. The annual Festival of Traditional Dancebrings Morris dancers galore to York city centre on 6th & 7th September. There is a procession through town on Saturday at 10.30, then dancing for much of the day in King’s Square, St Helen’s Square and St Sampson’s Square. A social evening follows at the Black Swan Inn, with singing and session playing, and then there is more city centre dancing on Sunday morning and lunchtime. This is the 27th festival, hosted as ever by York’sEbor Morris. Well done, lads!
20. 7th SEPTEMBER – IRISH MUSIC IN HELPERBY. The Ripon International Festival sometimes runs an event in the Helperby Village Hall and this year they have the outstanding Irish singer, fiddler and concertina player Niamh ni Charra, and her trio. The concert is at 7.30 on Sunday 7th September and tickets are £15 (£10 students and children) from the Festival Box Office 01765 603994.
21. 13th SEPTEMBER – COMPANIONS IN MURTON. Local group The Fine Companions (as seen at our Folk Weekend) announce a concert at Murton Church, just outside York, on Saturday 13th September. Tickets are £6 from David Waddington on 01904 489393 or Glenn Stott on 01653 690212. The show starts at 7.30 and drinks and nibbles are available.
22. 13th SEPTEMBER – FLOOK IN SALTAIRE. The reformed Flook launch the new Saltaire Live concert season at the Victoria Hall on Saturday 13th September. Future events include another local date on the Mozaik tour, 17th October, Hot Club of Cowtown, 14th November, and Capercaillie, 28th November. The website is www.saltairelive.co.uk.
23. 14th SEPTEMBER – RODDY IN DRIFFIELD. Moonbeams present one of their occasional concerts at The Bell Hotel, Driffield, on Sunday 14th September, with Scottish singer Roddy Woomble. Skerryvore follow on Saturday 22nd November. Find out more at www.moonbeamsevents.co.uk.
24. 17th SEPTEMBER – CBS IN SCARBOROUGH. “In Flanders Fields” is Coope Boyes & Simpson’s themed show about the First World War, bringing together eye-witness narratives, contemporary poetry and specially written songs. It can be seen and heard on Wednesday 17th September at St Mary’s Church, Castle Road in Scarborough. Tickets are £12 or £10 through WeGotTickets.
25. 19th-21st SEPTEMBER – OTLEY FOLK FESTIVAL. Yorkshire’s premier autumn folk festival is of course the Otley event, now in its 23rd year. Find out all about it at www.otleyfolkfesival.com.
26. 19th SPTEMBER – TRIO GITAN IN REETH. The next acoustic music concert at Reeth Memorial Hall (www.reethmemorialhall.co.uk) promises everything “from classical music to klezmer, Parisian swing to Celtic fiddling” with Trio Gitan on Friday 19th September. John Tams & Barry Coope follow on 11th October, Vin Garbutt on 31st October and Kitsyke Will on their “comeback” tour on 14th November.
A reminder may be appropriate that Kitsyke Will also appear at the Fraser Theatre in Knaresborough on this reunion tour, on Friday 7th November. Knaresborough Mummers and Robin Van Zelst also perform and tickets at £10 are now on sale through WeGotTickets.
27. 20th SEPTEMBER – BOLTON BULLFROG IN POPPLETON. There are still a few tickets available for the one-man show by singer, comedian and actor Bernard Wrigley at All Saints Hall, Poppleton, on Saturday 20th September. “Very funny and very entertaining” says Poppleton Live’s main man John Watterson. Contact John or Carol on 01904 785366 for tickets.
That’s all for now. Expect another burst of news around mid/late September.