Black Swan Folk Club

E-Newsletter 107

Mid Oct 2009


  1. JACKIE OATES NEXT MONDAY (19th) AT NCEM. Winner of two of this year’s BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards, including that for Best Newcomer, the charming singer and fiddle player Jackie Oates is our next concert guest at the National Centre for Early Music. I last saw Jackie at the Folk Awards ceremony in London in February, where she heartened me by being almost as tongue-tied as I had been in accepting her prizes!
    Jackie is known for her pure, haunting singing style and unique treatments of English ballads and songs. She first came to prominence with the Mercury-nominated Rachel Unthank & The Winterset, with whom she played at the Early Music Centre in 2006, having previously joined the Unthank sisters on one of their early folk club outings at the Black Swan in 2004.
    After going solo, Jackie won acclaim for her 2008 album The Violet Hour, produced by Phil Beer (of Show of Hands fame), which was included in Mojo’s Top 10 of last year and included the song The Lark in the Morning which won her the Folk Award for Best Traditional Track.
    Jackie’s newly released third CD, Hyperboreans, has been widely acclaimed by reviewers and has picked up extensive airplay (by folk CD standards) on national, local and internet radio. Produced by her brother, folk iconoclast Jim Moray, the new album continues her distinctive exploration of the traditional folk repertoire while also taking in some modern songs – one written for her by Alasdair Roberts, another a radical cover version of The Sugarcubes’ Birthday, which has also been released as a single. Here are some quotes:
    ‘Expectations for Hyperboreans were high. On all fronts Oates delivers, with beautiful singing, innovative arrangements and an intriguing selection of songs’ ***** Songlines, Oct ‘09

    ‘A subtle leap of faith for the outstanding young singer.’ **** The Telegraph

    Each successive playthrough of this immediately likeable (and long-term unforgettable) disc convinces me more of its stature and its eligibility for the best-of-year lists’ Netrhythms

    ‘Her ebullient cover of ‘Birthday’ and the rush of electronica on the desolate ‘Past Caring’ are pure genius on a richly rewarding album.’ Independent [album of the week]

    For this tour Jackie Oates on voice, violin and viola is accompanied by her regular guitarist James Dumbleton, alongside accordion player Mike Cosgrave and double bass player James Budden. The opening set comes from another up-and-coming young folk act (and recent club guests at the Black Swan) Katriona Gilmore & Jamie Roberts. They will be on stage at 7.30pm, then Jackie and her band will do two full length sets from 8pm. Chris Euesden acts as Master of Ceremonies.
    Tickets sales so far have been a touch disappointing and there are still plenty left. In fact, we still need about 60 more of you just to cover the basic fee and the concert overheads. So do please consider coming along next Monday. Have a look at if you want to find out more about her, or sample her songs at Tickets are £ 13 each (£ 11 concessions) and can be bought via 01904 658338, online at and from 6.30pm onwards on the door on the night.

  2. CLUB NIGHTS VERY CLOSE TO SOLD OUT. By contrast with the Jackie Oates concert, some of our autumn club nights have been selling very well. As I write (Monday evening) there are just 4 tickets left online for Chris Sherburn & Denny Bartley this Thursday (15th), 8 for Harvey Andrews on 29th October and 5 for Dick Gaughan on 10th December. If you haven’t booked yet and want to come to one or other of those, get onto the website at once!
    One little niggle with WeGotTickets is that I have to split available tickets into Full Price and Concessions bundles and of course I never judge it quite right. If you want Full Price tickets and there are only Concessions left (or vice versa) buy whatever is available and pay me the difference (or request a refund of the excess) on the night.
    David Kidman MCs for Chris & Denny and Stan Graham takes charge on the Harvey Andrews gig. Amongst the floor spots this week will be a visiting songwriter, David Stevenson – see
    Between those two busy guest nights we have another of our very good value Singers & Musicians Nights (22nd October), then we begin November with a Bonfire Night sparkle in the shape of a Young Performers Double Bill (5th November). Hopefully I’ll have another newsletter out in time to tell you more about that one. Taking part are two duos: Jonny Kearney & Lucy Farrell, from Northumberland, and Edinburgh-based harpist Fiona Rutherford with Martha Bean on double bass.

  3. CONCERTS UPDATE. After the Jackie Oates concert, we are not at the NCEM again until Monday 30th November, when we have a very special night with Chris Wood and his Handmade Life band. Tickets are selling steadily for this one (about 100 to date) but we do need something close to a Full House (180) in the end, as this is the most financially challenging booking we have ever risked taking on. So do consider coming to this one as well, if it in any way tickles your fancy!

  4. MORE BOOKINGS FOR NEXT YEAR. Bookings are being made steadily for 2010 and the first six months of the year are now virtually full. The concert vacancy on Monday 15th February which I mentioned in E-News 106 has been filled by the young Irish band Beoga, about which I am very excited. With fellow Irish 5-piece Grada coming in on Monday 8th March, top trio Uiscedwr on Monday 22nd March and Scottish outfit Breabach on Friday 16th April it is very much a Celtic music season at the NCEM next Spring, a suitable contrast to this autumn’s strongly English-flavoured line-up.
    Recent additions to the 2010 Thursday night schedule at the Black Swan include Dave Burland (4th February), Pete Morton (1st April) and Archie Fisher (24h June), as well as a full booking for a particular protégé of ours, Anna Shannon (17th June). I hope to have the website listing of future guests fully updated within the next few days.

  5. FOLK WEEKEND 2010. The recent Open Meeting confirmed that Folk Weekend 2010 will be held over 5th & 6th June. Indoors, this year’s winning formula will be pretty much repeated, while outside the landlord proposes to hire a much bigger marquee to stand across the far end of the car park, with the smaller marquee which he bought this year acting as a real ale beer tent. The meeting looked at options for doing something on Friday night as well, but decided against. The event will remain very much a Free one, but it is costing us increasing amounts to mount and publicise, so there may be some attempt to raise voluntary funds next year – perhaps a raffle, or the regular rattle of collections tins!
    Other Open Meeting decisions included agreement in principle to renew the folk club’s house PA. A working party has been established to take this forward, comprising Michael Jary, Eddie Affleck, Stan Graham and Chris Euesden. It was also agreed to investigate production of a club promotional CD, to include tracks from our 9 or 10 “core” residents, plus a similar number of the fine performers who most regularly frequent our singers nights. We’ll get the PA business sorted first, then turn our attention to the CD.


  1. STAN’S WORLD TOUR. Stan Graham is set for big things. In mid December he and Julie leave for America, partly on holiday but also to do gigs in several different states. They are back briefly in February, then Stan has been invited to accompany Vin Garbutt on a two month trek around Australia, taking in most of that country’s major folk festivals and other folk venues. Stan will be driving and “road managing” but also doing plenty of performing, both support spots for Vin and club, concert and festival shows of his own. Well done, Stan!

  2. ONLINE GIG GUIDE FOR YORK. Since the demise of The Talk magazine and its associated website, York has lacked a good dedicated guide to its live music scene. Now local music fan Phil Young has taken up the challenge, launching at the start of this month. Check it out. It is early days yet, and he has ambitious plans to take in theatre, club nights, comedy, quiz nights and all sorts of other live entertainment as well as music, plus publishing user reviews and photos. We wish Phil good luck with it all. Our own dates are already listed there, complete with box office hyperlinks where appropriate.

  3. CHARITY CEILIDHS. E-News subscriber John Kesterton writes: “Would it be cheeky to mention two ceilidh fundraisers that a local band are doing? We are called Gaelstrom and we’re playing at Huntington Memorial Hall on Saturday 24th October in a fundraiser for the hall, and on Saturday 7th November at English Martyrs Church Hall, Dalton Terrace, with funds going to St Leonard ’s Hospice.” By all means, John. For tickets or other information contact John on

  4. ARTS COUNCIL FUNDING FOR EFDSS. For a good many years the Folk Club has been affiliated to the English Folk Dance & Song Society (EFDSS). We signed up simply to take advantage of their corporate public liability insurance scheme, and at first the society’s other doings didn’t seem all that relevant. However, I’ve been much impressed by the changes that have been wrought in EFDDS in recent years and it is now a much more focussed, streamlined and outward-facing organisation.
    Arts Council England seems to think so too and they have just made EFDSS one of their Regularly Funded Organisations. The Society will receive £ 400,000 of funding over two years, enabling it to become much more of a national development ag ency for folk music and to set up a number of exciting new initiatives that will benefit the folk sector.
    Chief Executive Katy Spicer is quoted as saying: "This is exciting news for EFDSS and the folk arts in general. We are very much on the crest of a folk revival and this money will allow us to be proactive in how we support English folk arts. We will shortly be announcing a range of schemes to support artists through showcases and partnerships, as well as developing our existing education strategy. We will also be working towards creating the definitive online resource for both our members and the general public, creating a new website that will make even more of our library and archive collections available."


  1. DUCHESS DATES. Subterranean music venue The Duchess in Stonebow House, York, has a range of folk and roots related shows coming up, scattered amongst the more usual rock band fare. Oysterband are there on 20th October, followed by cult American songwriter Fred Eaglesmith on 27th and The Unthanks on 28th October. Karine Polwart appears on 8th November then on 15th November it is Peggy Seeger, joined by Norma & Mike Waterson and Martin Carthy. Dates already announced for 2010 include Tom Russell and Judy Collins. See

  2. BASEMENT GIGS. Staying with subterranean venues, the Basement Bar at City Screen Picturehouse has the excellent Catfish Keith on 24th October, then on Friday 30th October it is those three young Leeds musicians who gave us a great club night in August: Serious Sam Barrett, David Broad and Michael Rossiter. See

  3. GRAND UKULELES. The Grand Opera House has very little folk-related programming this season, but you may be interested in The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain who are there this Friday, 16th, or if you have nostalgic mainstream tastes aim for The New Seekers on Sunday 8th November . See

  4. STORYTELLING FESTIVAL. This coming Sunday, 18th, sees the first ever York Festival of Storytelling. The organisers write: “This event, for everyone aged 0-100+, will feature storytellers from York and beyond, including Taffy Thomas, Miles Cain, Ingrid Barton, Adrian Spendlow, Anneliese Emmans Dean, Helen M Sant, Nettlefoot Kate (aka Cath Heinemeyer), Linda Fryer, Mary Passeri and others. Performances, workshops, story walks, puppetry, music, fine food, an evening bar and a bonfire. There are separate adults' and children's events as well as a good many that will appeal to both in equal measure. A chance to dip not only your toe, but your whole self, into the rich world of oral storytelling, and perhaps emerge as a storyteller yourself.” It all happens at York Steiner School, 10am until 10pm. Find out more at


  1. BELLOWING IN BRADFORD. There are still tickets available for Bellowhead when they perform at St George’s Hall in Bradford this coming Saturday, 17th. They are £ 18 (seated) or £ 16 (standing) and can be booked on 01274 423000 or online. This is a Saltaire Live production; their next show in Saltaire itself will be the Kathryn Tickell Band on Friday 13th November (ouch). See Incidentally we found ourselves with not just two (Paul & Benji) but three members of Bellowhead on our own stage at the recent Faustus concert, since Bellowhead percussionist Pete Flood has recently joined Faustus as well!

  2. BLUES AND RAGS. Country blues duo Rag Mama Rag, aka Ashley and Deborah Dow, are the guests of Hunsley Acoustic Music at The Half Moon, Elloughton, also this coming Saturday, 17th. See or ring Will on 01482 665656.

  3. WETHERBY FESTIVITIES. A reminder that the upcoming Wetherby Festival has some folk and roots events, including Simon Mayor & Hilary James on Tuesday 20th October and Blazin’ Fiddles on Friday 30th, plus world sounds from Tango Siempre and Subitango on Sunday 1st November. See

  4. KFFC EVENTS. The Kirkby Fleetham Folk Club has a house concert with local player Ian McKone and Dave Ruch, from America, on Saturday 24th October, then in November (13th-15th) it is their 2nd Big Birthday Bash. See Dave Ruch moves over to Hutton le Hole on Sunday 25th for an afternoon (1pm-3pm) show at the Ryedale Folk Museum. See

  5. JUNE TABOR IN HOWDEN. A reminder that the mighty June Tabor makes a rare local appearance at The Shire Hall in Howden on Saturday 7th November, when she will be accompanied by Andy Cutting (accordion) and Mark Emerson (violin). Tickets are £ 14. See


Lastly, a few longer ahead events which I have been asked to mention now.

  1. GEORDIE CHRISTMAS IN THORGANBY. This year Jez Lowe & Kate Bramley have put together a seasonal show called Geordie’s Winter Almanac, featuring The Bad Pennies, Benny Graham and Andy Cadie as well as Jez himself. The nearest chance to see it looks like being at Thorganby Village Hall on Tuesday 15th December. Ring 01423 339168 for details or go to

  2. LARK RISE TO KNARESBOROUGH. Kula Productions over in Knaresborough have not programmed a great many folk events recently but they wish to announce that is corrected on Friday 19th February 2010 when they present The Lark Rise Band, featuring Ashley Hutchings. See

  3. SPRING IN IREBY. Former York area resident and part-time music agent and promoter Charles Devlin requests a mention for the small(ish) scale festival he now runs in his new home of Ireby, which is a small village a few miles nor th of Keswick, on the fringes of the Lake District. The 2010 event takes place 28th & 29th May with a line-up headed by Kate Rusby, Luka Bloom, Po’Girl and Southern Tenant Folk Union. See I’ve heard many good reports of this event so, Charles, I’m happy to oblige.

That’s all for now! I hope to be back early in November with much more good news.