Black Swan Folk Club

E-Newsletter 102

Late June 2009


July is a five Thursday month, which means we have four guest nights lined up rather than the usual three (alongside the regular Singers Night, which falls on the 9th July), each guest act being something rather special and distinctively different. Things have taken a welcome upturn during June, audience numbers wise and atmosphere wise. These acts should build on that trend!

  1. JON BRINDLEY, 2 JULY. Jon is a truly exceptional musician and singer from Wigan who has performed all over Britain and Europe, from street corners and cafe bars to big festivals and folk clubs. Playing brilliant guitar and occasionally fiddle and singing with great passion, he breathes new life into any song he chooses to sing, whether a hackneyed old favourite or one of his own compositions.
    Jon last appeared at the Black Swan in 2001, after which the twin constraints of poor health and a young family kept him pretty much within his Lancashire homeland for several years. I caught up with him again at Brampton Live last summer and was bowled over by the power of his 30 minute main stage set. I collared him immediately and asked him back to York. By all accounts his performances at Beverley Festival this month were equally stunning, while another local music promoter relates how Jon “took the place by storm” on his debut visit.
    Entry is £ 6 (£ 5 concessions) – on the door or beforehand via and Tony Morris acts as MC. Find out more about Jon at

  2. KATRIONA GILMORE & JAMIE ROBERTS, 16 JULY. This dynamic young fiddle / guitar / voices duo have just released their debut CD Shadows And Half Light, which has been picking up very favourable reviews, e.g. 5 Stars in Rock ‘n’ Reel, “well done guys, this is worthwhile music” in Stirrings. Of course we already had a fair idea of just how good they were: they shared a Young Performers Night for us 2007, having previously that year opened for Van Eyken at the Early Music Centre. Since then they’ve been working away at their own self-penned material (“sharp contemporary songs with roots deep in the British folk tradition”) while also finding time to perform with Kerfuffle (Jamie) or Tiny Tin Lady, Rosie Doonan or Gerry McNeice (Kat).
    Find out more, read those reviews and hear music samples at or Eddie Affleck MCs this one and the price is £ 6 (£ 5).

  3. BLIND SUMMAT!, 23 JULY. Some of you will have seen this four-piece North Yorkshire band on the Sunday marquee stage at our recent Folk Weekend. They comprise Wendy Arrowsmith (well known to us as a solo performer) on vocals, guitar and accordion, Paul Arrowsmith on banjo and vocals, Joolz Cavell on vocals, guitar and percussion and Rebekah Findlay on vocals and fiddle. They “have forged a strong partnership and have an eclectic but distinctive sound mixing traditional English, Scottish and American songs and tunes with self-penned offerings and a smattering of well-chosen contemporary songs from other sources. This material is delivered via a multitude of instruments and four strong voices arranged to find the very essence of any song”.
    Find out more and hear samples at Chris Euesden hosts this one and entry is again £ 6 (£ 5 concessions).

  4. ANTHONY JOHN CLARKE, 30 JULY. This Belfast-born, Liverpool-based singer has been well known around the British, Irish and North American folk circuits for many years (e.g. touring in support of Fairport Convention) but he has somehow eluded the Black Swan until now. He’s an exceptional singer, songwriter and entertainer who makes a lasting impression on audiences with his unique blend of music and humour. His songs tell of experiences which are by turns touching, thought provoking and comic. It will be a pleasure to welcome him to York at last.
    Big-time AJC fan David Swann acts as MC for this event and tickets are £ 7 (£ 6 concessions) – online beforehand or at the door as usual. Find out more at

  5. AUTUMN DIARY NOW FULL. The last two dates in our autumn schedule have recently fallen into place. There will be musical fireworks with a Young Performers Showcase on 5th November, featuring two nominees from this spring’s New Roots competition: harpist Fiona Rutherford and contemporary duo Jonny Kearney & Lucy Farrell. A bit later, The Askew Sisters have been engaged for a return visit on 26th November following their excellent debut in 2007. The full autumn line-up is now listed on the club website.

  6. CONCERTS UPDATE. After the summer break our next Early Music Centre concert is Eric Bogle & John Munro on Monday 7th September. This is the very last English date on Eric’s farewell UK tour and not surprisingly tickets are already well over half sold, still with two months to go. I have some available on Thursday evenings or contact the NCEM Box Office on 01904 658338, Stan Graham does the support spot and acts as MC.
    Booking for the main autumn season at NCEM will open in late August or thereabouts. This season will include Faustus, Jackie Oates and her band, Chris Wood and his Handmade Life band, plus (not promoted by us) Show of Hands and Martin Simpson & Martin Taylor. Keep watching for news.

  7. 2010 SUGGESTIONS. There are already several club and concert bookings in the diary for 2010, mainly overseas artists and others available on specific tours. Highlights so far include Bruce Molsky, Dana & Susan Robinson and Clive Gregson (for the Black Swan Inn) and Filska, Uiscedwr and Breabach (for NCEM). I’ll announce more details in due course, but meanwhile if there are singers or bands you would particularly like to see in York, do send in your suggestions.


  1. FOLK WEEKEND ON YOU TUBE. Go to to watch Union Central on stage at the recent Folk Weekend. So far we haven’t managed to get any still pictures from this year onto the club website photo gallery, but hopefully that will change before long. If you have any good images from the weekend you are happy to share, please let me know.

  2. SUNDAY NIGHT AT THE SWAN. Staying with matters visual, I had an email last month from the Art In The Mill gallery in Knaresborough, drawing my attention to a painting that they are currently showing called Sunday Night at The Swan. It is by Peter Stanaway, whose stylised and graphic oil paintings of Northern towns are apparently highly collectable. “This year he has decided to paint folk music scenes” writes Elaine Grinter of Art In The Mill. ”He is a keen folk musician himself over in Oldham and we are confident this new theme will be just as popular”. You can see the picture at, towards the bottom of the page. It really is quite a fine painting, even if the Swan in question is not our dear Black Swan. In York terms it is more like Friday Night at The Tap & Spile or Tuesday Night at The Maltings!

  3. FIDDLE PLAYER SEEKS WORK. Also last month, I had an email from the West Yorkshire-based fiddle player Chris Dyson. Chris is a veteran of many bands over the years, and a session player stalwart, but he is currently on the look-out for new musical outlets. “Just wondered if you should come across any folk artists who might be interested in a fiddle player” he writes. “As you know I play predominantly traditional Irish music but I do like most folk music and accompanying songs etc.” You can contact Chris via his work email:

  4. YORKSHIRE SONGS SEMINAR. Those champions of Yorkshire folk song The Yorkshire Garland Group have organised a Folk Music in Education seminar for Monday 20th July 2009, taking place at the Yorkshire Museum of Farming at Murton Park just outside York. This FREE event is about taking folk music into Yorkshire schools and is aimed at teachers, music leaders and any other interested parties. There will be two parallel programmes each of five presentations. Speakers include Steve Gardham, Sam Lee (of EFDSS), Ray Padgett, Bryony Griffith (of The Demon Barbers), Sam Pirt and Doc Rowe. Further details can be found at Alternatively and for registration contact Steve Gardham on 01482 850819,
    Refreshments will be provided and lunch is available to buy at the Museum. In the evening (from 7pm), Yorkshire Garland members and seminar presenters are hosting an open singaround upstairs at The Black Swan Inn, with a mix of featured artists and contributions from the floor. This evening event is open to all – participants do not have to have attended the daytime seminar, “although it would be nice to see them do both”. Do support one or both of these events if you are at all interested in passing on folk song to future generations.
    Incidentally, Yorkshire Garland members are back in action for Yorkshire Day, Saturday 1st August, when they will be singing at Ryedale Folk Museum in Hutton le Hole.


The coming month is an exceptionally full one, or so it seems. Here are some of the events I have been asked to mention or which I think merit additional publicity

  1. OTHER BLACK SWAN MUSIC. The upstairs room at the Black Swan Inn continues to host other good acoustic music events, particularly on Saturday nights. Los Yobos have an Independence Day session of Country and Western Swing there this coming weekend (4th July) from 8.30 (£ 5 on the door,, then Beneath The Oak host an evening on 11th July. BTO have just become a four piece band with the addition of singer and harpist Sarah Dean to the line-up. She’ll be with them on 11th July, together with Gary Stewart and other guests. Doors open 8pm, entry £ 3. Looking ahead to 1st August, Sarah Dean again (solo this time), David Bellis and Belle Union share a night in the Black Swan, performing a selection of their well-crafted original songs. This one is also doors open at 8pm, entry £ 3 (£ 2 concessions).

  2. YORK SONGWRITERS AT MELTON’S TOO. The Walmgate Cafe Bar and Bistro Melton’s Too hosts some intimate acoustic gigs in its top floor Loft. This Wednesday (1st July) you can enjoy three fine songwriters there (all of them Black Swan FC residents as well): Stan Graham, David Swann and John Storey. Things begin around 8.30 and entry is just £ 2.

  3. RACHEL AT THE DUCHESS. Alternatively on Wednesday night, 1st July, you could go to The Duchess in York for American singer-songwriter Rachel Harrington. She has been picking up lots of favourable comment lately, with comparisons made to such stars as Gillian Welch and the early Emmylou Harris. She is accompanied by the ex-Lindisfarne man Rod Clements and Holly Taymar is one of the support acts. Tickets are £ 8 advance or £ 10 on the door. See, where you will also see that the same venue has the godfather of British blues John Mayall on Friday 3rd July and Teddy Thompson on Monday 13th July.

  4. WORLD MUSIC IN THE CHAPEL. Also on Saturday 4th but NOT Americana, there is a fundraiser gig at York Cemetery Chapel, Cemetery Road. It is to help fund a trip to Kenya by children from Joseph Rowntree School and promises an “exotic evening of music and song from all corners of the world” courtesy of Rafiki, Capoeira, choral group Chechelele and Paula Ryan. The show starts at 7.30pm and entry is £ 6 (£ 4 concessions).

  5. FESTIVAL OF THE RIVERS – IN WORDS AND MUSIC. The forthcoming Festival Of The Rivers in York includes three summer evenings of mixed music and poetry – Wednesday 15th July at Melton’s Too (Miles Cain, John Gilham, Rose Drew and others), then Friday 17th and Saturday 18th on the Syntan Barge near the Kings Arms (Oz Hardwick, Paul Sutherland, Allan & Liam Wilkinson, TWO, and many others). Wednesday is £ 2 entry, the others £ 4. Find out more from Miles Cain, or for the full festival programme see

  6. TWO AT THE DUCHESS, TOO. The aforementioned TWO headline their own gig at The Duchess in York on Friday 24th July, with guests Dan Webster, Miles Cain and Aimie J Ryan. Tickets are £ 5 in advance or £ 6 on the door, contact as above (item 14). There’s a feature on the Sharon Winfield / Helen Turner duo in the July issue of local music magazine The Link.

  7. FESTIVAL FEVER. July is a prime month for music festivals. Alongside the big mainstream Folk Festivals there are several local events devoted to folk music or with a healthy folk/acoustic component. Take for example The Cornshed 2009, coming up at Sexhow Park Farm, Hutton Rudby near Stokesley on Friday 3rd and Saturday 4th July. This annual event is a fundraiser for the Great North Air Ambulance Service. There are local rock bands on the main stage but the acoustic Romney stage has Steve Tilston, Norma Waterson & Martin Carthy and others. See
    The following weekend brings the one-day Moonbeams Wold Top Folk Festival (Saturday 11th) at Wold Top Brewery, Wold Newton near Driffield. Headliners include Edwina Hayes, The Duncan McFarlane Band, Dan Webster and our own upcoming club guests Kat Gilmore & Jamie Roberts. See or ring 07949 974573.
    The weekend of 11th & 12th July also brings the 17th annual Folk Festival at Nature’s World ( on Ladgate Lane in Middlesbrough. This free event is close in spirit to our York Folk Weekend, with concerts, singarounds, sessions and children’s events plus a range of workshops. Lots of local Teesside artists appear, plus visitors including our own Susie Fox & Jack Firminger and David Kidman. Details from Trevor on 01642 821776.

    • Brooks Williams the American singer/songwriter/guitarist headlines Ryedale Live’s first anniversary concert on Friday 3rd July at Kirkby Misperton Village Hall, with Richard Grainger, Amaya and others doing support. See for details.
    • Landgirls of Yorkshire is the latest comedy from Kate Bramley’s BadApple Theatre Company, with original music composed by Jez Lowe. The show’s current tour takes in Reeth Memorial Hall this Friday, 3rd. Two weeks later, 17th, Reeth presents Maire Ni Chathasaigh & Chris Newman. See