Black Swan Folk Club

E-Newsletter 132

Mid July 2011


1.        LAST CALL FOR BLACKBEARD’S CONCERT PARTY. There are still some tickets available for a rollicking summer evening with Blackbeard’s Tea Party this Tuesday (19th) at the National Centre for Early Music. Ticketsare priced at £10 full or £8 concessions and can be reserved on 01904 658338 or bought on the door from 7pm. The opening act at 7.30pm is the young autoharpist and singer Jessica Lawson, who tells me, incidentally, that she is about to move to York from her native Hull. We look forward to seeing more of her at the club and other local folk gatherings in the future.
2.        JOIN US FOR A LOCAL SINGERS NIGHT. It is our monthly Singers & Musicians Night this Thursday (21st), with jovial John Cherry acting as Master of Ceremonies.   We’ve had a few relatively quiet Singers Nights lately, but hopefully this one will be busy and boisterous good fun. In the last E-News I wrote about the paucity of female artists at many Singers Nights. An interesting response came from a reader in deepest Lincolnshire:
Maybe daft, but I just wanted to say thank you for your little comment re women performers being under represented and more welcome. I am looking into this a little in Lincolnshire and wondering if I can set up some sort of online group for women to get more info and perhaps a little support if they are uncomfortable about turning up as a lone woman at places to play or listen to music. In my own experience I have rarely had anything but decent treatment from male musicians but have learned to be cautious purely because of a couple of bad experiences from men making assumptions re me being in a pub on my own. Most male musicians are brilliant and I have made wonderful male and female friends through music but I think women can feel less confident about turning up at places. So, thank you for your positive comment.
If any women readers would like to be put in touch with this correspondent, please ask.
3.        BARRETT & BROAD. Two excellent young musicians from Leeds share our stage on Thursday 28th July, “Serious” Sam Barrett and David Broad. Two years ago, when they were joined by a third player Michael Rossiter, they gave us a great evening of folk & roots music, and I subsequently attended an equally enjoyable performance in the Basement Bar.
Both are gifted guitar players and strong singers with great enthusiasm for folk, blues and country music. Sam Barrett plays distinctive 12-string and resonator guitars and mixes traditional ballads and blues with his own compositions, many of which celebrate Yorkshire (e.g. Lullaby of Leeds, Lay a White Rose). “Bright, brash and very good” said R2 magazine of his debut CD. Find out more and hear some tracks at
David Broad can be heard at, where he writes: “I play folk songs, mostly the American kind. This includes Appalachian, Blues, Country and Ragtime. I mostly play the guitar but sometimes the banjo, mandolin, harmonica and double bass.” Amongst a diverse list of influences he cites artists such as Rev Gary Davis and Blind Blake, Guthrie and Dylan, Jimmie Rodgers and The Carter Family. I’m sure you get the picture. Wryly he sums up: “a middle class English boy trying to sound like a poor American.”
John Cherry again acts as MC for this one and tickets are £6 full, £5 concessions from and on the door.
4.        PRESENTING REBEKAH FINDLAY. Our guest on 4th August is making her first solo appearance with us, Rebekah Findlay. She describes herself as “a singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist based in North Yorkshire, playing a wide range of material including self penned work, traditional folk songs and covers. A contemporary sound embracing the elements of traditional folk music.” See for more info.
A classically trained violinist, Rebekah played in both orchestras and ceilidh bands in her youth, before putting her instruments down for about 10 years while she entered the world of work. She picked up the fiddle again in 2008 and also started to play the guitar. Looking for an outlet for her music, she ventured out to local folk clubs and soon became a familiar face around the region. She teamed up with Joolz Cavell and Wendy and Paul Arrowsmith in the band Blind Summat, who guested at the Black Swan two years ago, and for a while she ran her own folk club in Easingwold. Last year Rebekah released her debut CD Northern Skies, which received a great response and began to take her towards national prominence, including Radio 2 airplay from an enthusiastic Mike Harding.
Stan Graham hosts this one and tickets are again £6 and £5, either online or at the door.
5.        NATHAN RETURNS FROM CANADA. On 11th August Eddie Affleck introduces a special club guest from Canada, Nathan Rogers. This distinctive performer was a great hit on his debut visit in 2009. Singing, chanting, playing guitar and stomping his feet, he filled the room with musical energy, and so we are delighted to welcome him back for what will be one of only three English dates (and the only non-festival one) on this year’s European tour. He may be the son of a famous father (Stan Rogers), but Nathan has very much his own voice as both a writer and a performer. To quote the tour blurb, “with one foot planted firmly in folk music’s traditional roots and the other reaching into its dynamic future, Nathan Rogers has the ability to turn the folk world on its ear”. Look him up at, then come along and check him out live. Tickets are £8 full, £6.50 concessions at or on the door.
6.        COMING LATER. After our monthly Singers Night (18th August) we have an evening of exuberant Irish music from the teenage trio Trí (25th August), which includes a good friend of ours Niamh Boadle, then we welcome back Anne Lister and Mary McLaughlin, briefly reunited as Anonyma (1st September). It is sobering to reflect that they last played as a duo at the club in the late 1980s, long before the members of Trí were even born!
An old hand who has entertained us many times over the years is Pete Coe (8th September), then after another Singers Night (15th September) we welcome a debut visit by west country “fey folk” trio Tinkerscuss (22nd September). Since our current brochure was published I have heard that they will be joined in York by celebrated hurdy-gurdy player and one-time Jez Lowe partner Jake Walton. More on that in a future E-News.
7.        IRISH GIG OF THE YEAR. The Irish music event of the year in York looks set to be the visit of occasional “supergroup” Patrick Street to the NCEM on Friday 23rd September. Celebrating 25 years since they first got together, founder members Andy Irvine, Kevin Burke and Arty McGlynn are joined by John Carty for a very short UK tour. This is perhaps our most ambitious concert booking to date and needs to have a commensurate ticket price (£18 full, £16 concessions) but we are sure they will be worth every penny. For our peace of mind and to secure your seats please book early for this one. We have tickets available on Thursday nights or go to, 01904 658338.
Support for this one comes from two members of York Young Fiddlers, Grace Smith & Beth Chamberlain, who I am pleased to see on several festival billings this summer.
8.        ALL NEW STAN ONLINE.  Our star resident Stan Graham asks me to tell you that he has a totally revamped website up and running at Check it out and get a free MP3 download of one of Stan’s great songs, Whitby Harbour.
Stan also tells us with justifiable pride that “Derek Sivers, CEO of the highly successful American music website CD Baby, has selected one of my album tracks as an all-time favourite. With 150,000 artists to choose from, he asked if he could use the song Time Like the Tides to accompany his autobiography Anything You Want. My track, along with around 200 others from selected artists, will be available as free MP3 downloads to everyone who purchases the book, which is available now on Amazon.” Check it out at
9.        DON’S FAME SPREADS DOWN UNDER. The wonderful work of our resident poet Don Walls (no relation) has now spread to the far side of the world. Long-term friend of the Black Swan Dorothy Browne tells me she has been reading some of Don’s work at her local folk club, the New Edinburgh, in Dunedin on the South Island of New Zealand,, where I see she is now the club secretary. “They went down very well”, she writes. Dorothy was back in York last month visiting friends and family and no doubt stocking up with Don’s latest books!
Don has published five volumes of verse so far and we usually have some of them on sale at club meetings. They can also be bought at Little Apple bookshop on High Petergate.
10.     JON IS INSPIRED BY YORK. At the very enjoyable Moonbeams Wold Top Festival earlier this month I caught up with one of my favourite singer/guitarists, the criminally underrated Jon Brindley from Lancashire. Jon guested at Black Swan two years ago and stayed at my house afterwards. He now tells me he was inspired to write a song that day. I find the following entry on his website blog:
The Black Swan Folk Club is an inspiring place to play and the whole experience made me turn the pages of history in my imagination. Next day I walked around the city and the whole York experience was the inspiration for a new song which I’ve called Echoes from the Stone. I have so many memories of that place that I’d forgotten about.
The song hasn’t been officially released as yet, although a new CD is in the works, but Jon has kindly set me an MP3 file which I am happy to share if you want to get in touch.
11.     THOUGHTFUL WORDS FROM WENDY. Last Thursday’s club guest was Wendy Arrowsmith, who gave an excellent performance to a disappointingly small but highly appreciative audience. Wendy appears at clubs and festivals all around the country and in a recent mailshot she wrote something profound that I am sure she won’t mind me repeating:
The more I travel around from Folk Club to Folk Club, the more I realise how privileged I am to experience such diverse music from such a variety of people. Each club has its own little quirks and delights. Some have quite extraordinary raffles, others have none! Some have highly polished floor singers, others have amazing instrumentalist, whilst others have pet dogs under chairs, or specific rituals of a certain song being sung at the start of the night, etc. One folk club may meet in a lavish hotel room, another might be in a slightly draughty side room off a noisy bar, or in a community centre under the glare of strip lighting or in a Working Men's Club to the somewhat bemused but tolerant stares of the members propping up the bar. Whatever the venue, whatever the audience, the passion for live music be it traditional or contemporary, humorous or tragic is evident everywhere. How lucky I am to be part of this great movement that is "folk music." Those who scoff or judge it on the basis of a stereotyped image just don't know what they are missing!
12.     CHARITY GARDEN CONCERT SUCCESS. I hear that the recent charity garden concert hosted by Ian and Sue Pybus with guests The Foresters raised well over £1000 for the Rachel Orphanage in Burma. Well done all concerned!
13.     FAKE CDs WARNING! Popular local Jake Thackray tribute artist John Watterson, aka Fake Thackray, has just released a live album, recorded earlier this year in his home village of Poppleton. Fake Thackray Live costs £10 and can be obtained direct from John at 2 Dikelands Lane, Upper Poppleton, YO26 6JA, tel. 01904 785366.
John is a busy man. He appears at the Yorkshire Day event (see item 16 below) and also runs occasional Poppleton Live concerts in the village, the next of which features Dave Pegg (of Fairport Convention) and P J Wright. It isn’t until Saturday 19th November, but tickets are already selling well. Contact John if you are interested in getting hold of some.
14.     NEW MUSICIANS SESSION IN WASS.   There are quite a few song-based folk gatherings in rural North Yorkshire, but very few opportunities outside of York and Harrogate for musicians to get together and just play tunes. Hence a small group of dedicated players have recently started a music session at the Wombwell Arms in Wass, near Byland Abbey. They are meeting monthly to begin with and have chosen the middle Thursday of the month, which is nominally a clash with our own club but not something I am at all worried about.
“All traditional instrumental players are welcome” says one of those involved, Mick Tew, “no particular (musical) style or nationality, just whatever folks might like to play.” The next dates are 18th August and 15th September, starting around 8.30. Mick can be contacted on 01347 868201,
15.     PADDED ENVELOPES, ANYONE? I have accumulated a large number of used padded envelopes, CD mailing size and upwards. If you can find a use for them, please get in touch.
16.     YORKSHIRE DAY WITH ROGER & FAKE. A reminder that there is a Yorkshire Day Special at the Black Swan Inn on Monday 1st August. One of Yorkshire’s finest modern day songwriters Roger Davies is appearing, alongside John Watterson’s celebration of the work of an earlier Yorkshire master wordsmith in Fake Thackray. Doors open at 8pm and entry will be £6, on the door only.
17.     CELEBRATE TOM PAXTON WITH STAN & KEVIN. On Sunday 28th August Stan Graham and Kevin Loughran present an evening at the Black Swan dedicated to the songs of Tom Paxton – a great idea in its own right and a nice taster for Tom’s appearance at the Grand Opera House on Monday 7th November. Stan says “ever since the early 60s, Tom’s songs have inspired generations of songwriters and guitarists on both sides of the Atlantic. He has written an astonishing variety of memorable songs that speak straight from the heart and reflect changing times. Kevin and I will be singing many of Tom’s classic songs and perhaps a few that you will not have heard before.” Tickets £5 or £4 concessions, on the door at 7.30 or in advance from Stan on 01904 758228,
18.     WAGGON & HORSES ACOUSTIC CLUB. Live acoustic music is back up and running at the Waggon & Horses on Lawrence Street on Saturdays (see E News 129). This week (23rd) they have a young singer guitarist who greatly impressed at our January Singers Night, Harry Rowland, along with Billy Nielsen. I wanted Harry to do the support for one of our autumn NCEM concerts but he’ll be at college at the other end of the country so sadly he could not oblige. On July 30th the Waggon has Tyneside songwriter Jinski, amongst others.
19.     SOUNDSPHERE IN FULFORD. Live music continues at the Fulford Arms on Fulford Road in York and this Friday (22nd) they have the marvellous Soundsphere. Free entry too!
20.     AUGUST IS FESTIVALS HIGH SEASON. Aside from our own full programme at the Folk Club, plus those other two Black Swan shows mentioned above (items 16 & 17), August seems a lean month for folk & acoustic musical events here in York. However, there is plenty happening on the festivals front within the wider region. Mainstream folk festivals include Saltburn (12th-14th, and Whitby (20th-26th,, while there is a great one day event at Scarborough on Sunday 14th. Amongst those appearing at the Open Air Theatre will be Bellowhead, The Demon Barbers, Carthy & Swarbrick, Shooglenifty, Anna Shannon and the Duncan McFarlane Band, and all for £25! See for details. Also of note is the Galtres Festival at Crayke (26th-28th, which alongside many mainstream rock bands has acts such Blackbeard’s Tea Party, Holly Taymar, Sarah Horn & James Cudworth, King Courgette and Edwina Hayes.
21.     SWANN & PIPE IN THE BASEMENT. Looking ahead to September, here is advance notice of two nights for which frequent Black Swan visitor Phil Pipe teams up with one of our favourite residents, David Swann, for an evening of “original songs, delivered with wit and good humour”. They are at the City Screen Basement Bar on Saturday 10th September from 8pm (, and then on Friday 30th September they do a York Against Cancer fundraiser at Copmanthorpe Recreation Centre. More details later.
Incidentally, David has a new CD in preparation. Chasing The Light will be officially launched in a concert at the Spa Theatre in Bridlington on Saturday 3rd September at 8pm, when David will be joined on stage by a number of other singers and musicians. An optional supper is available beforehand but must be pre-booked. Tickets are £8 (or £14 with supper) from the Spa Box Office on 01262 678258,
There is lots more good stuff coming up in York in the autumn months. Of course that means first and foremost an excellent series of Black Swan club guests and NCEM concert promotions, but other local venues such as the Grand Opera House and The Duchess also have interesting folk & acoustic things lined up. I’ll have more details in future E-Newsletters.