Late November 2011
In recent days there have been several newsworthy developments around upcoming club guest performers, so here is an “interim” mailshot, keeping you informed and hopefully encouraging more of you to come along and enjoy their music.
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1. URBAN FOLK QUARTET FEATURED IN R2. The new issue of music magazine R2 (formerly Rock ‘n’ Reel) landed on doormats and news-stands recently. I was very pleased to see that it included a small feature on our upcoming concert guests The Urban Folk Quartet, written by the York-based R2 contributor Oz Hardwick. He reports how the band received a rapturous reception at Cropredy Festival this summer, and quotes Joe Broughton “from the start, we’ve been very much about the live experience and it’s like every gig has led to two more bookings”. “It’s music to engage ears, heart and feet simultaneously”, says Oz, “and the pleasure the band take in making it is plain to anyone who has seen them”. See them for yourselves on Monday week (28th) at the Early Music Centre. There are still plenty of tickets available – indeed we badly need another 50 or so sales to cover all our costs – so do come along if you can. It should be a great night. Tickets are £13 (£11 concessions) from www.ncem.co.uk, on 01904 658338, or on the door. Note that online booking was switched off last week at NCEM for an essential system upgrade but it should be available again from tomorrow (21st).
2. FOLK AWARD NOMINATIONS FOR EMILY SMITH. Perhaps because their greatest successes (Cropredy aside) have so far been on the continent, The Urban Folk Quartet do not feature in the shortlist for the BBC Folk Awards, which was announced last week in Mike Harding’s Radio 2 show. However, I was delighted to see that our December NCEM concert guest, Emily Smith, has picked up two BBC nominations. She is in the running for the prestigious Folk Singer of the Year award, and also earns a nomination in the Best Traditional Track section for her version of “Sweet Lover of Mine”, from the recent CD Traiveller’s Joy. What is more, Emily and her band have also been nominated as Live Act of the Year in Scotland’s national Trad Music Awards. That augurs really well for her visit to York. The results for that one will be announced in Perth on 3rd December, while for the BBC Folk Awards we have to wait until 8th February.
With Jamie McClennan on fiddle, Matheu Watson on guitar and James Lindsay on double bass, Emily is at the National Centre for Early Music on Monday 12th December. Holly Taymar is the opener act, Stan Graham does the introductions, and the show kicks off at 7.30. At this stage, we again need around 50 more sales to break even. Tickets for this one are £14 full or £12 concessions, available as above.
3. MORE FOLK AWARDS FOR CLUB GUESTS. Those BBC Folk Award shortlists (four in each category) include a fair number of other Black Swan guests, past or future. Other Folk Singer of the Year nominees, alongside Emily Smith, include Jon Boden (at the NCEM last April with John Spiers) and Jackie Oates (coming to the Black Swan in January, with tickets selling fast). Spiers & Boden are also in the running for Best Duo, alongside Jonny Kearney & Lucy Farrell, whom we showcased in a Young Performer Night in 2009.
Jackie Oates also gets a nomination in the Best Album category, as does Martin Simpson, who is coming to the NCEM in February. Martin is also shortlisted as Musician of the Year, as are the melodeon player Andy Cutting, who will be in Martin’s band in York, and the brilliant young harmonica player Will Pound, who guests at the Black Swan next April with his banjo playing partner Dan Walsh.
Particularly significant in a young artist’s career is the Horizon Award for best up-and-coming act. This year’s nominees include our recent (October) club guests Pilgrims’ Way (“the best group I’ve seen since early Steeleye Span” was one audience response that night), and our Young Performer guest from last April, Lucy Ward (“an amazing voice, and a terrific stage presence too” was one bit of feedback I received). Lucy also picks up a nomination in the Best Traditional Track category, alongside Emily Smith and Martin Simpson, while one of the songs picked for the Best Original Song award is The Reckoning by our club guest of last June, Steve Tilston. The full list of BBC award nominations can be found at www.bbc.co.uk/folk.
4. OTHER NEWS SNIPPETS.
· David Ferrard, this Thursday’s guest (24th) at the Black Swan, announces in his latest mailshot that “this will be my last tour for a while, as I take a little break from gigging in 2012.” So don’t miss out. There are still lots of tickets left, including on the door.
· Kieran Goss, our visiting Irish singer a week on Thursday (1st December) has been announced as the special guest on Fairport Convention’s Winter Tour early next year. That’s 37 dates in 7 weeks, which should win him a whole lot of new fans. Fairport always pick a class act to tour with them, so get ahead of the game and see what all the fuss is about by coming along to Kieran’s Black Swan show. There are plenty of tickets available at this stage from www.wegottickets.com.
· Dick Gaughan does two nights at the club this year. There are only 10 tickets left for the Thursday performance (8th December) but about 30 for the Wednesday extra (7th December). Mind you, bookings are now coming in almost daily through WeGotTickets, so don’t leave it too long.
· The Magical Christmas Tree seasonal special on 15th December is beginning to pick up sales after a slow start, and as mentioned above Jackie Oates’ visit (19th January, with Karen Tweed) is also selling well - half the tickets have gone already.
I’ll be back, probably with a more wide-ranging newsletter, early next month.