Black Swan Folk Club

E-Newsletter 136

Late October 2011


I had not intended to issue another Newsletter this month, but I need to tell you about a change of programme on our Young Performers Night next week. I will squeeze in a few other reminders as well, but keep it brief. The next “normal” newsletter should be issued in a fortnight or so.
1.        ALL SET FOR WIZZ JONES. After a string of musically brilliant but financially stressful club nights, I can cautiously say that things are looking promising for this Thursday (27th) with Wizz Jones. Musically, we know there will be no problem: Wizz always manages to impress and entertain in equal measure. Numbers-wise, advance sales are quite good, getting on for half capacity. There’s still plenty of room at present, but if you are coming along, either get down in good time (8pm if possible), or keep an eye on the WeGotTickets listings and put in an online booking if the available tickets figure drops low. It would be great to have a full house for this one!
2.        LUKE & SARAH TAKE OVER FROM CHASE. Newcastle University student band Chase has had to pull out of our Young Performers event on Thursday 3rd November, due to an unavoidable clash with a mandatory coursework performance. In their place we have secured a young acoustic duo, Luke Hirst & Sarah Smout. I’ve had my eye on these two for some time and was anyway thinking of inviting them to the club sometime next year, so I’m delighted they’ve been able to take this slot at short notice.
As a duo they are a relatively new act, but both Luke and Sarah have been making music in other guises for quite some time. A gifted guitarist and songwriter, Luke Hirst is a recent graduate of Leeds College of Music who has been working on the acoustic end of the rock music scene for several years. Meanwhile Sarah, who plays cello, sings and writes songs, has spent the last eighteen months as a member of Rosie Doonan’s band The Snapdragons. Together Luke and Sarah offer their own original songs and a few imaginative arrangements of other material, with cello, guitar and their two complementary voices. They took the Young Performers Award at the Wath Festival in April of this year and are about to release their first official mini-album. They don’t have a full duo website yet, but you can find out some more at
A reminder that the other half of the bill on 3rd November is Chris Ricketts,a solo singer specialising in shanties and songs of the sea, alongside other traditional folk material. He is a strong and confident singer and also a very capable guitar accompanist. Indeed, his guitar playing reminded one critic of such luminaries as Martin Simpson and Steve Tilston. As it happens, he launches his first solo CD next Tuesday in his home town of Portsmouth, immediately before heading north to York. The album has already picked up pre-release airplay from Mike Harding in Radio 2. Chris’s website is
Each young act will be performing for about 60 minutes, in two half hour mini sets, with the evening hosted by not-so-young Master of Ceremonies Phil Cerny but no other floor singers. Entry is just £6 on the door, or £5 for concessions, with doors opening as usual at 8pm. Tickets can also be booked beforehand through
We’ve been running Young Performer nights for many years and they are always an enjoyable way to spend a musical evening. The encouragement of new talent is an important part of our role, I believe, and indeed I understand that this policy was one of the factors in our being named Folk Club of the Year in the BBC Folk Awards 2009. So do come along if you possibly can and give these youngsters an appreciative audience.
3.        COMING NEXT. On 10th November we welcome back after a 9 year gap the mighty American singer and guitarist Kristina Olsen. Check her out – she really is a great entertainer. Our Singers Night follows on 17th November then on 24th November it is the return of Scottish-American singer David Ferrard, who first impressed us doing an NCEM concert support spot in 2008 then turned in a great club performance in April 2009.
Talking of shows at the National Centre for Early Music, our next one of those brings an awesomely good live band to York for the first time, The Urban Folk Quartet, fronted by Joe Broughton. There’ll be much more about them in the next Newsletter, but put the date Monday 28th November in your diary NOW!
December is an exceptionally tempting month, I hope you’ll find. We have a small venue show for the acclaimed Irish singer-songwriter Kieran Goss on 1st December, TWO nights with Dick Gaughan, 7th & 8th December (already selling well on WeGotTickets), and a seasonal special with Maggie Boyle, Pete Morton and Chris Parkinson under The Magical Christmas Tree on 15th December, plus the return of leading Scottish singer Emily Smith to the NCEM with her current band on Monday 12th December.
And then it’s Christmas and we get a week off!
Keep supporting live music in general and the Black Swan in particular!