Late October 2007
Here’s another mixed bag of folk and acoustic news from the York area. I must begin with an apology to some recipients of E-News 73 two weeks ago, who got their mailing in a rather garbled plain text format. Due to problems with Internet Explorer I had to use a Firefox browser for some mailings and I discovered that it does not support the Rich Text formatting in Hotmail to which I am accustomed. Sorry about that.
- LAST CALL FOR MALINKY. There are still plenty of tickets left for tomorrow night’s concert (23rd) by excellent young Scottish band Malinky at the National Centre for Early Music. There has been a welcome upturn in sales since my piece in E-News 73, but we are still 40/50 sales short of what we need just to break even, so do come along if you possibly can. You’ll hear some great singing and playing, and save the club coffers from excessive depletion at the same time. Doors open at 7.00 for a 7.30 start by support act Anna Shannon, then Malinky will be on stage just after 8.00 for two full sets. There’ll be no shortage of unreserved tickets on sale, but if you do want to book beforehand, call the Box Office on 01904 658338. Tickets cost £12 full or £10 for concessions.
- THE WELCOME RETURN OF STEVE TURNER. Our club guest this Thursday (25th) at the Black Swan is a magnificent singer in the traditional style, Steve Turner, who last performed for us way back in 1989! Doors open at 8.00 for an 8.30 start, under the direction of Tony Morris, and entry is £6 (£5 concessions).
Steve Turner comes from a family of singers and concertina players and indeed his grandfather is recorded as such in the 1890s. Steve was drawn to the folk scene around Manchester in the late 1960s and then joined the Geordie band Canny Fettle in 1970. He spent eight years with them, recorded two albums and toured widely in Britain and Europe. In 1979 Steve won a national competition “Stars of the ‘80s”, organised by Melody Maker and began a professional solo career which saw him become a stalwart of the British club circuit. He made four successful solo albums for Fellside Records and also toured internationally.
In 1991 Steve bowed out to pursue other interests and built up a business trading in classical violins. But as he says “folk music has a habit of getting in your blood” and since 2004 he has made a limited return to the folk scene, where he has been warmly welcomed. His singing is as powerful as ever and his repertoire continues to focus on traditional songs and ballads, augmented by a few music hall and modern day numbers. Accompaniments come from concertina, cittern or mandola.
- DOUBLE SINGERS NIGHT DELIGHT. November is a five-Thursday month this year and that means a double dose of our popular Singers & Musicians Nights – one on the 1st and another on the 29th. These “open house” evenings always draw a large and talented crowd of singers, players and poets, with bags of variety and some first class entertainment. We try to kick off at 8.30 and with anything from a dozen artists upwards, the evening is certainly full. At just £2.50 for listeners (£1.50 concessions) it is also great value, while all performers are made welcome and are asked to contribute a token £1 towards club funds.
- CLIVE GREGSON - 25 YEARS OF SINGING. Our first club guest of November (8th) recently celebrated 25 years as a professional musician and has been neatly summed up thus (by The Independent): “as fine a singer-songwriter as anybody has the right to expect ... he does the lot”.
Born and raised in Manchester and now based in Nashville USA, Clive Gregson is an accomplished songwriter, singer and guitarist, very highly rated by his fellow musicians. His songs are widely covered by other artists and Guitar Player magazine named him one of the 1000 best guitarists of all time! He first hit the music scene in the early 1980s with his rock band Any Trouble, before touring with the Richard Thompson Band and forming a ground-breaking partnership with Christine Collister. More recently he has worked with artists such as Iain Matthews (in Plainsong), Eddie Reader and Boo Hewerdine and he remains a member of Nanci Griffith’s band, while also producing a string of excellent solo recordings.
It is a real pleasure for us that Clive has an ongoing affection for the British folk club scene where he and Christine first made their mark, and he still finds time to do one or two small venue UK tours each year. This one is £8 on the door (£6.50 concessions) and as usual we are happy to take seat reservations. As I am on holiday prior to Clive’s show, it is best to ring the MC for the night, David Swann, on 07933 239133. Floor performers will include Yorkshire’s own folk/country star Edwina Hayes, whose debut CD was co-produced by Clive.
- 2008 DIARY TAKES SHAPE. I’ve been busy recently booking 2008 guests for both the club and the NCEM and the first few months of the year are now fairly close to fully programmed. At the Black Swan Inn highlights include the much requested return (after 19 years!) of Bernard Wrigley, and a visit by the reunited women’s trio Bryony who were virtually our resident club band for a while in the 1980s. Duos include Eddie Walker & Fraser Speirs, Karen Tweed & Roger Wilson, Kirsty McGee & Mat Martin and a squeezebox fest with The Sultans of Squeeze (alias John Kirkpatrick and Chris Parkinson). The aforementioned local favourite Edwina Hayes begins the year for us and later there is a welcome visit by Roy Bailey. Full bookings to date have been posted at www.bsfc.org.uk.
There is also a club show booked for the one-and-only Martin Carthy, which will of course have to be an all-ticket event. I’ll have full details of that one in the next E-News, and newsletter subscribers will get a first chance to buy tickets before the event gets wider general publicity.
Next Spring at the NCEM includes a grand Scottish night with Shetland fiddler Jenna Reid and her band, followed by a very English evening of acapella singing from The Young Coppers, the latest generation of the famous Sussex folk family. Coming later are current hot favourites Lau and those old friends of ours Tanglefoot. I’ll have full details of all of these NCEM shows in due course, with booking opening in January.
Next some other York news, beginning with feedback from the Folk Day meeting:
- YORK FOLK DAY BECOMES FOLK WEEKEND. Around a dozen supporters joined myself and the Black Swan Inn landlord at last week’s Open Meeting, with other people sending in comments by e-mail. The general mood was very positive and we agreed that next year we will expand to a two day event, over Saturday and Sunday. After five years of steady growth, the present one-day format has reached full capacity in the time and space available. A two day event should give us leeway to have an equally enjoyable but slightly less frenetic celebration of the local folk scene. We must at least give it a try – if it doesn’t work out we can always go back to Saturday only in 2009!
The other major decision was to switch to a slightly late date in 2008, 31st May and 1st June, the weekend after the late May Bank Holiday weekend. Opinion was more divided on this one, and there are certainly arguments both ways, but on balance the meeting favoured the later date. Put it in your diaries NOW!!
The latest information will shortly appear on www.bsfc.org.uk/folkday.php
- SATURDAYS AT THE BLACK SWAN. Staying with the Black Swan Inn, coming Saturday nights see a succession of excellent folk/roots/acoustic gigs taking place in the function room (usually from 8pm), all of which are worth checking out:
- On 27th October there is good time Western Swing with local heroes Los Yobos
- On 3rd November local singer-songwriter Dan Webster appears in a triple bill with Hayley Gaftarnick and Andy Stones. £3 on the door.
- On 10th November it is The Alley Cats from Bridlington, a three-piece family Americana band, playing jug band, old-time and hillbilly blues on guitar, mandolin, banjo, fiddle and string bass. This gig has been arranged for them by Phil Quinn of Union Central, who says they are “highly entertaining”. £5 on the door.
- On 17th November acoustic band Beneath The Oak are back in action, with support from Sarah Dean (of Soundsphere, in solo mode). This one is £3 entry.
- On 24th November it is “New Singers, New Songs” with members of the York Songwriters Circle, including Stan Graham, Belle Union, Paul Ryan, Tim Pheby, John Storey, Maggie Allred, Ruby Paul and many others. This one is £4 with all proceeds to Woodlands Respite Care Centre.
- MEANWHILE AT THE EARLY MUSIC CENTRE & GRAND OPERA HOUSE. After Malinky, the folk club’s next concert at the NCEM is not until Vin Garbutt on 4th December (plenty of tickets still available at present), but there are a range of other events scheduled for this lovely concert hall.
The NCEM’s own World Sound series continues with a performance by Scottish band Moishe’s Bagel, who play “rip-roaring, foot-stomping, jazz-inflected Klezmer and Balkan music, an intoxicating, life-affirming mix of East European dance music (and) Middle Eastern rhythms”. This one is on Friday 2nd November at £12 (£10). The Box Office is on 01904 658338, online at www.ncem.co.uk.
Also at NCEM, independent promoters One Step Up present New York songwriter Lucy Kaplansky on 16th December, while across town at the Grand Opera House on 25th November they offer an evening with Beth Nielsen Chapman.
Staying with Grand Opera House, Friday 30th November brings Legends of Folk Rock: The Gathering, a one-off tour by some of the leading names in folk rock over the last 30 years. The line-up includes Jerry Donahue (Fotheringay, Fairport), Rick Kemp (Steeleye Span), Clive Bunker (Jethro Tull, Pentangle), Ray Jackson (Lindisfarne) and Doug Morter (Magna Carta, Albion Band) with vocals by Kristina Donahue. Book at www.GrandOperaHouseYork.org.uk or on 0870 606 3595.
Lastly a miscellany of other news items and events in the wider region:
- STOLEN BANJO ALERT. Recent club guest Damien O’Kane had his prized tenor banjo stolen a few days ago in Newcastle. He says “it is a rare instrument by Phil Davidson, made from birds-eye maple with a Celtic design on the back of the neck at the body and my nickname Dee inlayed behind the design”. If you see or hear of this banjo being offered for sale, please contact email@example.com.
- NEW FOLK CLUB FOR NORTH YORKSHIRE. A new club is to be launched at The Black Horse Inn, Kirkby Fleetham, by local musicians and enthusiasts Paul & Wendy Arrowsmith. The inaugural free session is scheduled for 24 November with Wendy herself, plus Kim Guy and Ian McKone, and then future meetings will be on the third Saturday of the month: 15 December (free) with Keepers Fold and others, and 19 January (£2) with Richard Grainger and others. Kirkby Fleetham is 1.5 miles off the A1 near Northallerton, so very accessible, and the pub has cask beers and a good performance space.
Not content with half measures, Paul is also planning a Winter Warmer Weekend for 15 – 17 February, with indoor camping at the village hall, plus facilities for campervans, etc. not to mention local B&Bs. I should have more information about this one in due course. There’s no website yet, but you can contact Paul for more about the club or the folk weekend on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Incidentally, Wendy Arrowsmith won the songwriting competition at the Saltburn Folk Festival this summer, then last month saw the release of her CD “Now Then”. She has a website at www.wendyarrowsmith.com.
- JEZ’S SONG FOR GEORDIE. Jez Lowe goes on tour next month with his special show “A Song for Geordie”, described as a journey through 300 years of music from the North East. Jez looks back at the writers and composers who have contributed to the Geordie musical tradition, from Tommy Armstrong to Alex Glasgow to Alan Hull to Mark Knopfler, as well as Jez himself and of course “Trad”.
Jez and The Bad Pennies are joined by Tyneside singer Benny Graham and young borders fiddler Shona Mooney, and the evening also includes rare video footage and other visual backdrops. Local performances include East Keswick Village Hall, near Wetherby (11 November, 01423 339168), Reeth Memorial Hall, (16 November, 01748 884759)’ Sheriff Hutton Village Hall, near York (18 November, 01423 339168) and Whitby Coliseum (25 November, 01947 603475).
- FROM FLANDERS FIELDS TO COXWOLD. “In Flanders Fields” is a special presentation by Coope, Boyes & Simpson taking place at St Michael’s Church in Coxwold, north of York, on Thursday 1st November at 8pm. Yes, it clashes with our own club Singers Night, but it is well worth a mention nonetheless!
The concert brings together eyewitness accounts, poetry of the time and songs commissioned for the Passchendaele Peace Concerts. “With superb acapella singing and evocative songs, this internationally acclaimed trio hauntingly bring home the humour and courage of those who took part in the war to end all wars”.
Tickets cost £10 and have to be bought in advance. They are available from Shandy Hall in Coxwold, 01347 868465, email@example.com.