9th April 2012
The next fortnight has a distinctly Scottish flavour
1. MORE SUPPORT NEEDED FOR JENNA REID. First up, a reminder that our next concert at the Early Music Centre is The Jenna Reid Trio this coming Wednesday, 11th April. Jenna is one of the brightest young talents on the Scottish traditional music scene. A child protégé of the great Shetland fiddlers Tom Anderson and Willie Hunter, Jenna Reid has appeared all over the world with the bands Filska and Dòchas and with Scottish supergroup Deaf Shepherd. More recently, she has featured in TV’s Transatlantic Sessions and was invited to join Blazin’ Fiddles. She first visited the NCEM with Dòchas in 2006 (alongside Julie Fowlis) and returned for a headline show with her own band in 2008.
A fiddle player and composer of huge ability and great charm, and an occasional singer and accordionist besides, Jenna is joined this time around by her younger sister Bethany Reid, another award-winning fiddler and pianist, and guitarist Kevin Mackenzie.
Jenna writes “I'm really excited about my new solo album, Morning Moon, which is coming out soon”. This is her third solo CD, a rich collection of traditional and contemporary tunes which showcases the stunning slow airs and fiery up-tempo fiddling that she has become known for. She will have pre-release copies with her in York.
Doing the opening spot on Wednesday will be the new pairing of club regulars, Sarah Dean & Eddie Affleck: both fine singers with tasty guitar and atmospheric harp accompaniment. They tell me they have been rehearsing hard!
In 2008 Jenna came within a cat’s whisker of selling out the Early Music Centre. Perhaps it is the difficult economic climate, but this time it is a very different story. Sales so far are less than half the venue capacity and, more significantly, approximately 35 fewer than we need to break even, so once again can I urge you to come along. If Scottish / Celtic music has any appeal for you, this one should not disappoint in the least. Tickets are £14 each (£12 concessions) and can be reserved at the NCEM Box Office 01904 658338 (from 9am Tuesday), booked online at www.ncem.co.uk, or bought on the door.
2. AND COME TO A GREAT SONG-BASED SHOW WITH JEANA & SIOBHAN. We stay with Scottish folk music the following week, 19th April, when Jeana Leslie & Siobhan Miller make their Black Swan debut on a rare foray into England, in a trio format with Aaron Jones (of Old Blind Dogs and Claire Mann & Aaron Jones fame) on guitar.
Jeana, from Orkney, and Siobhan, from Midlothian, are both hugely talented young singers, blessed with lovely natural voices that blend beautifully. They met whilst studying at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama and began exploring and developing a shared love of song. They graduated with Honours in 2009, by which time they had already won the BBC Young Folk Award (2008) and been voted Up & Coming Artist of the Year 2008 in the Scots Trad Music Awards.
In performance, Jeana and Siobhan focus strongly on communicating through traditional, modern and self-penned folk song, sympathetically supported by Jeana’s skilled piano and fiddle playing and usually (as in York) with a guitar accompanist. They really know how to bring a song to life. Critics and audiences alike respond warmly to their fresh approach to vocal arrangement and their open, outgoing onstage personalities.
The duo’s second album, Shadows Tall (2010) is a real gem and is one of the most played amongst my many recent CD acquisitions. I’ve not seen them live myself, but having enjoyed them so much on disc, I am really looking forward to this one.
Here’s what Mike Harding said on Radio 2: “From the moment I first heard them I knew that Siobhan and Jeana were the pure drop, the real thing. Their voices are rich and resonant, their understanding of and feel for the music profound. Added to that they are damn fine musicians and can hoof it a bit too!”
We’ve priced this one at £9 full or £7 concessions – not bad for such a fine trio – and tickets can be bought beforehand at www.wegottickets.com or on the door on the night. Sarah Dean and Paula Ryan are sharing MC duties for this one.
FUTURE NCEM CONCERTS
3. IN THE HUT WITH SAM & GARY. Our late April concert guests are The Hut People, who appear at the Early Music Centre on Tuesday 24th April. Sam Pirt (The Pack, 422) and Gary Hammond (The Beautiful South) have gained a reputation as one of the most entertaining and unusual folk acts around, attracting rapturous feedback from audiences, promoters and critics alike. They perform a high-octane blend of self-penned tunes mixed with British, Nordic and European folk music, engagingly executed by Gary’s dazzling array of exotic percussion and Sam’s driving accordion and occasional foot drumming and step dancing. It’s an unlikely instrumental combination (and I was sceptical myself, until I saw them live at a festival last summer), but in fact it works brilliantly, thanks to their combination of musical virtuosity with exuberant good humour, spontaneity and a total commitment to getting listeners involved.
The new Hut People CD, their second, is called Picnic and is released on the respected Fellside label. They have chosen the York concert to be the official CD launch, and you are invited to come down to the NCEM a little earlier than usual on 24th April (from 6.30pm) to meet the band and have a chat. The concert proper will begin at 7.30pm with an opening set by singer/songwriter Tim Pheby, followed by two full sets from the Hut People.
Tickets cost £12 full / £10 concessions, from the NCEM Box Office as above, or from us at Thursday club meetings. There are plenty left and again they should also be available unreserved on the night.
4. BOO HEWERDINE UNITES WITH BROOKS WILLIAMS. For our final concert this season we change musical styles and present the exciting new collaboration between two brilliant singer/songwriter/guitarists, Boo Hewerdine and Brooks Williams, both of whom filled our club room to capacity last year. The date is Wednesday 9th May.
The partnership is called State Of The Union, with the eponymous CD just out and already picking up great reviews in Q and The Word, with many more to come. Boo and Brooks are touring their joint material around selected venues this spring, including York, before some summer festival bookings and a big autumn tour. Here is some official publicity spiel:
Hewerdine is an English songwriter and lead singer of indie legends the Bible. Williams is a slide guitar wizard from Statesboro, Georgia, USA. Their plan was to record an album using vintage mics and equipment live in just 5 days. After a day and a half they realised they had finished. Recorded in the order you hear on the record, the aim was to capture the sound of two guitarists and singers from completely different backgrounds working together in harmony. The result was even better than they had hoped for.
Boo has had his songs recorded by such artists as Eddi Reader, kd Lang, Jerry Douglas, Kris Drever and Heidi Talbot while over the course of 17 albums Brooks has secured a peerless reputation as a songwriter as well as being recognised as one of the world’s best guitarists. Listen to their cover of The Petshop Boys’ Rent and you will hear perfectly what an exciting mix raw American acoustic slide guitar and English literate pop can achieve.
You can find out more and watch video clips at www.stateoftheunionmusic.com. David Swann is the highly appropriate MC and Support Act for this one, since he has done songwriting workshops with Boo and in 2010 did musical charity work in Africa with Brooks. Tickets are selling now at £15 full or £13 concessions.
5. A SUMMER’S EVENING TEA PARTY WITH BLACKBEARD’S. For the second year running we have organised a summer season concert at the NCEM for local folk-rock heroes Blackbeard’s Tea Party. The date is Wednesday 4th July and tickets should go on sale within the next week or two through the NCEM website and Box Office. Blackbeard’s have invited that great young duo Katriona Gilmore & Jamie Roberts to be their support act and it should be a really great evening.
FUTURE THURSDAY CLUB NIGHTS
6. PLENTY OF OPPORTUNITIES FOR SINGERS. This Thursday, 12th April, it is a Singers & Musicians Night at the Black Swan, and we have another such night a fortnight later, 26th April, and again two weeks after that, 10th May, the general rule being to have a Singers Night in weeks when we promote an NCEM concert. So all you singers, players and poets take note – particularly women artists and younger performers. Our “open house” nights are normally well supported and offer a great evening’s informal music. However, we must admit that the majority of their participants are male and middle aged (or more!). While the club books lots of female and youthful guest acts and gets many women and quite a few young people in the listening audience, those groups seldom figure in the floor acts. In fact, to encourage them to take part, we are going to run two special nights this summer, one for Young Singers (July 19, which Pip Jopling & Stuart Giddens have agreed to host) and one for Women Singers (August 16, hosted by Union Jill).
7. CAR PARKING UPDATE. The Haymarket car park alongside the Black Swan Inn is still closed (E News 143, item 9) and unfortunately the York Council website is now saying “for about four months, i.e. until the end of May. Meanwhile I omitted to mention last time the multi-storey Shambles car park, probably because it is privately operated and so does not figure on the Council website. It is located at Garden Place, YO1 7NZ, just off Stonebow, two or three minutes from the Black Swan and costs £3 for overnight (after 6pm) parking. See www.q-park.co.uk.
8. ANDY IRVINE RETURNS. The great Irish folk troubadour Andy Irvine has been making music since the 1960s, both solo and with groups such as Sweeney’s Men, Planxty, Patrick Street and Mozaik. He’s been our hugely popular club guest many times in the past and returns to the Black Swan on Thursday 3rd May. Tickets are on sale now at WeGotTickets and advance booking is surely advisable for this one.
9. SUMMER DIARY DATES COMPLETED. We recently filled the last gaps in our summer club schedule and I have begun to write the next club brochure, which will cover the period from mid May to late September. As soon as the brochure is ready for the printer I’ll also put guest night tickets on sale on WeGotTickets. In summary the line-up looks like this:
MAY – 17th Chris Sherburn & Denny Bartley (tickets already on sale), 24th Bill Adair, 31st Al Parrish (of Tanglefoot)
JUNE – 7th Singers Night, 14th Cara Luft (from Canada), 21st Will Kaufman presents another Woody Guthrie show, 28th Harvey Andrews, on his farewell tour
JULY – 4th (at NCEM) Blackbeard’s Tea Party – see item 5), 5th Singers Night, 12th Debby McClatchy, 19th Young Singers Night (see item 6 above), 26th Allan Taylor
AUGUST – 2nd Singers Night, 9th James Findlay, 16th Women Singers Night, 23rd Edwina Hayes, 30th Singers Night
SEPTEMBER – 6th David Francey (from Canada), 13th Young Performer Double Bill: Louise Jordan and (tbc) The Teacups, 20th Dana & Susan Robinson, 25th (at NCEM) Martin Carthy & Dave Swarbrick, 27th Singers Night.
All these dates and more are also listed on the club website.
FOLK WEEKEND UPDATE
10. THE PROGRAMME TAKES SHAPE. The running order for the Marquee stage is now complete and I am currently putting finishing touches to the sequence of indoor events. As soon as the full programme is ready I’ll ask our Webmaster to put it up online. To whet your appetite, here is a summary of Marquee and outdoor performers, in order of appearance:
Friday 8th June (kindly programmed by Phil Simpson): According To Eve / Dan Wilde / Andy Stones / The Vintones / Roger Davies / The Hut People
Saturday 9th June: Eddie Affleck / York Young Fiddlers / Blackbeard’s Tea Party / Acorn Morris / Gloria Jeffries / The Gerry McNeice Band / Jessica Lawson / Pale And Interesting / David Swann / Stan Graham / Ebor Morris / Broken Ground / Two Black Sheep and a Stallion / Holly Taymar & Christopher Bilton / Miles Cain & Friends / King Courgette
Sunday 10th June: Tim Pheby / Caramba! / Kaminari Taiko Drummers / The Basement Band / Sarah Dean / Minster Strays Morris / Union Central / Paula Ryan / The Fine Companions / Phil Cerny / Dan Webster / Graham Hodge / Union Jill / Moonshine Creek
11. TONY MORRIS NEW WEBSITE & SINGLE. Refreshed by his annual winter sojourn overseas, Tony Morris is back in England and keeping busy. He has just released as a CD single his unaccompanied topical song Jubilee “which has proved such a hit with audiences, in particular with primary school children” he says, adding “for obvious reasons I was not allowed to use an image of HM on the CD so the picture which appears is that of my Whitby grandmother”. The CD costs £3 and is available directly from Tony at his regular attendances at Whitby Folk Club, The White Hart Folk Club at Mickleby, Saltburn Folk Club, Pickering Acoustic Music and the Black Swan Folk Club. It will also be available at Saltburn Folk Festival, at which Tony Morris is a booked guest. In conjunction with this and future releases, Tony has set up a new website, called Folk for Folk, which can be found at www.tonymorris.org.uk.
12. NEW SMALL VENUE AVAILABLE IN TERRINGTON. Ian Hughes of the Back o’the Shop Art Cafe in Terrington has been in touch to offer “a free licensed venue to start a small folk club on a regular basis, room capacity around 40 comfortably”. Anyone interested can contact Ian on 01653 648530 or e-mail email@example.com.
Ian runs occasional concerts at Terrington Village Hall, the next of which is a fundraising event on Saturday 19th May, for local charity Ryedale Special Families, who provide care, support and activities for families with children who have disabilities or special needs. Appearing “in the round” are local favourites Edwina Hayes, Andy Stones, Holly Taymar & Chris Bilton, plus Nashville singer/songwriter duo Amelia White & Mark Huff. It is a 7.45pm start (doors open at 7.00pm) and there is a licensed bar. Tickets are £10.00, available from Terrington Stores, 01653 648488, or reservable on the above e-mail.
13. AN HISTORIC SKETCH OF THE BLACK SWAN. Clearing up the overflowing Folk Club e-mail inbox, I rediscovered a message from a few months ago from long-term subscriber David Appleyard. In it, he pointed me to a sketch of the Black Swan Inn drawn by his late father. This can be viewed at www.josephappleyard.co.uk/thr/RTTR-5.JPG. It is undated but clearly precedes the 1930s “restoration” of the pub, when the current windows were installed and the black and white timbering of the frontage was exposed. A very similar photographic view is displayed in the bar area of the pub. Thanks, David.
SOME UPCOMING CONCERTS AND EVENTS
I’m cutting back on mentions for events which compete with our own for your attention, but here are just a few selected items:
14. DAVID & HISSYFIT HEAD TO MICKLEBY. The above mentioned (item 11) White Hart Folk Club at Mickleby near Whitby plays host this coming Saturday (14th) to our very own David Swann, along with Cottingham-based vocal duo Hissyfit. See www.bellplace.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/whitehartfolkclub.htm.
15. TWILIGHT IN FRIARGATE. Local musician and musical activist Phil Simpson is putting on a concert at Friargate Theatre in York on Friday 20th April with Canadian folk/acoustic act Twilight Hotel. See www.twilighthotel.ca to find out more about them. Support comes from Jonny Gill and Carissa Lee Broadwater & Dave Keegan. Tickets are £7 in advance on York 613000 or online at www.wegotttickets.com , or £9 on the door from 7.30pm
16. MARTIN ON MOONBEAMS. Also on Friday 20th April and after an extended break, Moonbeams Acoustic returns to the fray to present Martin Simpson in concert at the Bell Hotel in Driffield, with Edwina Hayes in support. The annual Moonbeams Wold Top Festival is scheduled for 13th & 14th July, headlined by Show Of Hands. Find out more at www.woldtopbrewery.co.uk/events/moonbeams.
17. MALTON & NORTON FOLK. 20th April is also the first day of the Malton & Norton Folk Festival, with a session at The Union pub in Norton. Most events take place in Malton on Saturday 21st, with daytime sessions, singarounds and dance displays and an evening concert at Suddaby’s with Roy Bailey, King Courgette and Two Black Sheep & a Stallion. Find out more at www.maltonfolk.co.uk.
And that’s another ample newsletter. I’ll be back sometime in early in May, I expect.