5th August 2012
BLACK SWAN CLUB NIGHTS
1. JAMES FINDLAY MAKES HIS DEBUT THIS WEEK. On Thursday night (9th) we look forward to an evening of beautifully arranged and skilfully played songs mostly drawn from the English folk tradition, courtesy of debut guest James Findlay. In December 2009, James walked away with the BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award. Among a very strong group of contenders that year his amazing voice and distinctive guitar and fiddle playing stood out, and he demonstrated a strong stage presence all of his own. Bellowhead's Jon Boden, one of the Young Folk judges, was mightily impressed. “Bloody hell, what a voice!” was his first thought as James launched into his songs, adding “he is warmly charismatic with that sparkle of personality that draws a crowd along with him."
James’ vocal style and folk leanings are partly due to overhearing his mother singing traditional ballads long after he had been sent to bed as a young child. Later he became enchanted by the singing of Maddy Prior, Mike Waterson and family friend Pete Morton. The strong storytelling element in their repertoire has been a noticeable influence on his choice of material. After winning the Young Folk Award he was signed to prestigious Fellside Records. A first album was released early in 2011 to great critical acclaim and a second disc is set for release later this year.
James is based in Dorset and is coming north especially for this Black Swan show. Let’s have an enthusiastic and sizeable audience in the room to make him welcome! Tickets are £7 full or £6 concessions, available on the door from 8pm, and Paula Ryan acts as MC.
2. CALLING ALL WOMEN PERFORMERS. Next week, 16th August, we have an extra Singers & Musicians Night, devoted entirely to women performers. All female artists out there are encouraged to come along and join in, whether singers, instrumentalists or spoken word performers. Do please join us for the night if you possibly can. The evening is being hosted by Union Jill, Helen Turner and Sharon Winfield, and they have also been spreading word through their own network of contacts. Of course everyone both male and female is encouraged to attend and enjoy the music. As Helen and Sharon say: “Fellas, we'd love you to come and support both the new performers and the old hands”. Normal Singers Night prices apply - £3 full, £2 concessions and a £1 contribution to costs from performers.
3. EDWINA ENTERTAINS. Talking of women singers, they seldom come any better than the delightful Edwina Hayes who pays us a return visit on 23rd August. Nanci Griffith says she has “the sweetest voice in England” while Michael Parkinson described her as “a very talented young lady”. She’s certainly a busy lady these days. In September she goes back to America for a three week tour with concerts in New York City, Ohio and elsewhere as well as in her “second home town” of Nashville. Before that Edwina appears with Ralph McTell at a festival in Hull and then in October she has been asked to support Dougie Maclean at the opening night of his Perthshire Amber festival. See www.edwinahayes.com for her complete and very full schedule and then catch up with her at the Black Swan. Tickets are £7 full / £6 concessions, from www.wegottickets.com and on the door. Phil Cerny is MC.
4. LOOKING AHEAD TO SEPTEMBER - DAVID FRANCEY etc. After an open-to-all Singers Night on 30th August, we look forward to the return of Juno Award-winning Canadian singer-songwriter David Francey on 6th September. This will be David’s third visit to the Black Swan and we are happy to note how his UK popularity is gradually increasing as more and more people pick up on his exceptional well-crafted and expressive songs. He will be accompanied by second guitarist Mark Westberg, not Craig Werth as it says in our printed brochure. Tickets at £9 and £7 are selling steadily at WeGotTickets.
We continue with a Young Performers Double Bill on 13th September which brings together singer and multi-instrumentalist Louise Jordan with Newcastle-based acapella quartet The Teacups. After that, 20th September sees a welcome return by another North American act whose star is steadily rising in Britain, Dana & Susan Robinson.
5. TOM PALEY RETURNS TO YORK. Next for a bit of hot news I am really excited about. Working in association with Tim Hornsby of Mr H Presents, we have just arranged a very special night with the legendary American musician Tom Paley, veteran of the New Lost City Ramblers and a seminal name in the US folk and old time music revival. He last played at the Black Swan 30 years ago, when the club was being run by Mike Tavener, so this really does qualify as “long overdue”!
Tom is now 84 years old but still in rude good health and recently released a widely-praised new album "Roll On, Roll On", which even earned him a feature on Radio 4’s Today programme! He is singing and playing his banjo, fiddle and guitar as well as ever and will be joined by two other members of his current band The Old Time Moonshine Review.
This will be a Sunday Special at the Black Swan Inn on 21st October, with doors opening at 7pm for a 7.30pm start. Rather than floors spots there will be a support set by Black Swan resident Phil Cerny (himself a youthful folky in early 60s New York!), followed by two sets from Tom and his band. All tickets are £10 in advance (or £12 on the door in the unlikely event of any being left) and they are now on sale at WeGotTickets. Book early!
6. AUTUMN CLUB DATES NOW OPEN FOR TICKET SALES. While putting Tom Paley tickets on sale, I also loaded up details of our other October and November club guests. You can now book for all of the following at WeGotTickets: Nancy Kerr & James Fagan (4th October), The Carrivick Sisters (18th October), Clive Gregson (1st November), Megson (8th November), Kirsty McGee (15th November) and Bram Taylor (29th November).
7. WINTER AND SPRING PROGRAMME TAKES SHAPE. We are now well through programming the Winter/Spring 2012/13 period and we hope there will be something to suit all tastes. Confirmed club guests include Anthony John Clarke with Dave Pegg of Fairport Convention (6th December), Hannah James & Sam Sweeney (13th December), Grace Notes (10th January), Julie Matthews, solo (7th February), A “New Roots” Double Bill with Jessica Lamb and Kirsty Bromley (21st February), Debra Cowan (7th March), Kevin Dempsey & Rosie Carson (14th March), Martyn Wyndham Read (28th March), Cathryn Craig & Brian Willoughby (4th April), Pete Morton & Roger Wilson (18th April), Tim Edey (25th April), Lady Maisery (16th May), Bruce Molsky (30th May) and Bob Fox (20th June). There are still half a dozen guest slots to fill (with a couple of those presently under discussion) and Singers Nights will occupy the remaining Thursdays.
CONCERTS AND OTHER CLUB NEWS
8. CARTHY & SWARBRICK NOW BOOKING. Tickets are selling steadily for our first autumn concert at the Early Music Centre, Martin Carthy & Dave Swarbrick on Tuesday 25th September. They cost £16 full or £14 concessions and getting on for a third have been taken already. Once the NCEM’s own glossy brochure is published later this month I would expect to see a lot more sales and a Full House is certainly on the cards for this one. It should be a wonderful night. Support comes from Stuart Giddens and Pip Jopling
9. OTHER AUTUMN FOLK CONCERTS. Tickets for other NCEM autumn shows will go on sale later this month, as soon as the above-mentioned glossy brochure is ready. We have just two more concerts of our own lined up, but they should both be great fun: Kathryn Roberts & Sean Lakeman, touring to promote their high profile new album Hidden People, appear on Tuesday 27th November, and there is a seasonal words-and-music show for all the family, A Victorian Christmas, performed by musical theatre company Blast From The Past, on Tuesday 18th December. In addition there is an extra special folk concert by Maddy Prior with Giles Lewin and Hannah James, scheduled for Tuesday 9th October. This one is being promoted by the NCEM itself, but with our active support and assistance. Put these shows in your diaries now!
Looking ahead to 2013, there are already two firm concert dates in place, Steve Knightley on his annual solo tour (15th February) and youthful international folk band The Outside Track (12th April), with several other possibilities under discussion.
10. A WELCOME FINANCIAL UPTURN. In E-News 147 I reported a worrying deficit of £750 on the year up to that point. Happily the last two months have seen a significant upswing and we have more than recouped those losses. In large measure this is down to some well supported recent club nights, both guests and singers, added to a generous donation by our landlord after Folk Weekend. In fact, we reach the half way point in our financial year with a modest surplus of £185, which is about 1.5% of a turnover of £12,150. I can supply further details if anyone is interested.
11. THANKS TO ALL CONCERNED. Strange to think but it is already two months since our City Of York Folk Weekend. The weather was not at its kindest, but it could have been worse (and has been on several other weekends this summer!), and I think we can account it another solid success. This is the first full-length newsletter I have issued since then, so here are some overdue thank you’s:
· To all of the performers who took part – singing, dancing and playing. It would have been impossible without you!
· To our landlord Andy and his staff who kept the beer and food flowing, sorted out emergency drain clearance and generally helped things run smoothly
· To Ben Westwood and his student helpers, who did great work with the marquee PA, and to Aaron Turner for the loan of his mixing desk when the indoor PA broke down
· To Tracey and all the other volunteers who rattled collecting tins, put up or packed away furniture, gathered up glasses and rubbish, and so on.
A few photographic souvenirs would be nice. If anyone has some good shots which they are happy to share with us, please get in touch.
12. 2013 FESTIVAL DATES. I propose that we stick with the same weekend next year, which will be the 7th, 8th & 9th June. Put those dates in your diary now! That weekend takes us completely clear of the school half term, which I know some of you find difficult, but still places us well before the next big regional folk event, Beverley Festival (21st-23rd), and not in a direct clash with anything else folky that I am aware of in this part of the world.
13. WATCH OUT FOR THIS STOLEN GUITAR. Norman Cross of Hull is well known in East Yorkshire folk circles. Sadly, he recently had his choice guitar stolen. He writes “the model is a Guild JC30 AO7, serial number JF300338, manufactured Feb 22 1988 in Westerly, Rhode Island. It is blond with maple sides and arched back, spruce soundboard with a cutaway, no pickup and in a Guild case with GUILD in gold lettering on the lid. It is in excellent condition.” If you should hear of anyone trying to sell a guitar matching this description, please contact Norman on email@example.com. He can provide photos if required. Any information will be gratefully received.
14. RED COW IN CLOVER. Chatting the other day with Steve Morrison of Red Cow Music at 13 Goodramgate, I was pleased to hear that business is flourishing, with a steadily growing trade in melodeons, mandolins, whistles, ukuleles and other acoustic instruments, many being bought by younger people and indicative of a healthy interest in acoustic music making. The website at www.redcowmusic.co.uk has recently had a make-over and now offers online shopping for a range of instruments, accessories, tutors and songbooks. They also have an in-store instrument repair service and run ukulele classes.
15. MORRIS MUSICIANS WANTED. It’s that time of year again! Our local mixed Morris side Minster Strays (www.minsterstrays.org.uk) write that “we are seeking new musicians to join us, ideally from September. We will provide music and support, though we can't offer tuition as such or provide instruments. Musicians need to be available for our Monday night practice sessions and on other days (mainly during the summer) for public performances, including lots of country pubs! Typical Morris instruments are fiddle, melodeon and concertina, but this is not an exclusive list. Anyone interested should contact Ann for more information on 01757 701847 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are a lively friendly bunch and they'd be made very welcome!”
16. FOLK SHOWCASE IN LONDON. Folk21 is the new grass-roots organisation which is attempting to revitalise the folk club scene. It is holding a series of Regional Days around the country, allied to showcase concerts designed to introduce venue organisers to new artists and vice versa. There is to be one such event in London early next year.
The organisers write “folk artists are invited to apply to perform a thirty minute acoustic set at the Folk21 London Regional Day, which will be hosted by Folk21 and the English Folk Dance and Song Society at Cecil Sharp House on Saturday 23rd February 2013. The evening Showcase concert, headlined by Robb Johnson, will provide an opportunity for artists to perform in front of folk club organisers and members of the London public.
To be eligible you must be based outside the Greater London region and already be performing at folk venues. We hope that by asking artists to apply outside of their own regions it will help them to expand their reach, equally providing a chance for London’s club organisers and promoters to hear artists that they may be unfamiliar with.”
To apply please email email@example.com with a dated list of six recent or future folk club gigs (or equivalent) as well as a link to your website and links to YouTube or other video/audio clips, if available. Apologies for the short notice (I only heard of this after my last E-News), but the deadline for applications is this coming Friday, 10th August.
17. YORKMIX, YORK’S NEW DIGITAL NEWSPAPER. There’s a new digital newspaper for York. It lives at www.yorkmix.com and is “thrown together” by a trio of ex Evening Press journalists. “Just like the city”, they say, YorkMix “aims to be diverse, lively, curious, contrary, a bit maddening at times and easy to get around. Whether YorkMix will evolve into a 2,000-year-old destination harbouring decapitated Romans and an inadequate ring-road is in the hands of Mother Destiny. We like to think it will. It is already a place to share your thoughts, achievements, discoveries; a home for suggestions, discussions, disagreements. Just like Walmgate Bar, our portcullis is always up. We are open for contributions. Please wander our virtual foot-streets, and add some snickleways of your own.”
David Nicholson, one of editorial trio and an occasional Black Swan supporter (he came to see Will Kaufman in June and reported back very favourably), writes that they are already getting up to 1,000 hits a week “and we haven't even started promoting it fully yet.” There is a wide-ranging What’s On section, which includes our listings, though accompanied by a Black Swan Inn pub sign which is most definitely not that of the York Black Swan!
18. ASSIZING THE BLACK SWAN’S ALE. York’s annual Assize of Ale takes place next Saturday, 11th August, with one of the two processional routes visiting the Black Swan Inn at 4.40pm. This medieval tradition began as a way of testing the quality of ale sold at local taverns but continues these days as a charitable fund-raiser. This year’s chosen charities include the York Citizen’s Advice Bureau and two others. If you are in town on Saturday afternoon look out for the Assize processions and make a contribution.
19. GET A PROPER NEWSLETTER. You may know of Proper Music, www.propermusic.com, which is one of the main UK distributors for folk CDs and other specialist genre recordings. They publish a regular and free music magazine called Properganda which is well worth reading - while stocks last, you can pick up the summer edition at our Thursday night club meetings. Proper also do a regular email newsletter service and until 31st December they are entering all new sign-ups in a prize draw with the chance to win a pair of tickets for one of the big 2013 music festivals. Simply pick up one of the post-paid sign-up cards from the folk club leaflet stand, fill in your details and send it off. You’ll also get a discount code giving you 15% off your first order at their mail order site.
OTHER YORK EVENTS
Generally speaking (and excepting ourselves at the Black Swan) August is a quiet month for live folk music in York, save for one really big show:
20. THE UNTHANKS AT THE MINSTER. A final reminder that the rather wonderful Unthanks, together with the Brighouse & Rastrick Brass Band, are in concert at York Minster on Friday 17th August at 8pm. Just released and picking up a lot of favourable reviews is a joint Unthanks/Brighouse CD. “Their boldest experiment yet ... a risky project, but it works” said The Guardian’s critic, while Mike Harding interviewed them enthusiastically at last weekend’s Cambridge Folk Festival, broadcast on his latest Radio 2 show. This is the final date this summer for the combined ensemble, and where better than in one of the world’s great cathedrals? “An extraordinary event that is not to be missed” – for once the publicity pitch is not overstated. Rear Nave seats are still available at £21 each, from 0844 939 0015, www.boxoffice.yorkmister.org.
21. STAN AT THE GALLERY. On a humbler note, York Art Gallery are presenting a series of free half-hour lunchtime mini-concerts this month and on Friday 31st at 1.30pm it is the man himself, York’s number one folk songwriter, Stan Graham.
22. JACKIE OATES AT THE DUCHESS. The lovely Jackie Oates gave us a great club night in January when she was accompanied by Karen Tweed. She returns to York with her full band for a concert at The Duchess on Saturday 1st September. This is £12 in advance or £14 on the door and the Duchess website (www.theduchessyork.co.uk) reassures us that this will be a seated event.
Also coming up at The Duchess are Glaswegian nu-folk band The Trembling Bells (21st August) and US singer-songwriter Eliza Gilkyson (8th October), with Fairport Convention, The Albion Band and Martin Simpson to follow in November. Thankfully this season, none of those clash directly with anything we are running.
23. FULL HOUSES IN POPPLETON. John Watterson is doing a great job with Poppleton Live. He is putting on two shows this autumn (Kat Gilmore & Jamie Roberts in September, Vin Garbutt in November) and tells me that both are already Sold Out. Well done that man! If you want to beg a place on the list for any returns, contact him on firstname.lastname@example.org.
EVENTS FURTHER AFIELD - FESTIVALS
Late summer/early autumn is a prolific time for music festivals in and near North Yorkshire:
24. SALTBURN THIS COMING WEEKEND. The 15th annual folk festival takes place this weekend (10th-12th) at Saltburn, the lovely Victorian seaside town in East Cleveland. It is a friendly event using a multitude of different pubs and halls around the town. I believe there are still some weekend and day tickets available, or at many concerts it is possible to pay on the door. See the full programme at www.saltburnfolkfestival.com.
25. FOLLOWED BY WHITBY. Move down the coast a week later for the annual Whitby Folk Week. One of the country’s top folk festivals, with hundreds of events at dozens of venues around the town, this starts on 18th August. Day tickets are usually available and at many concerts it is possible to pay on the door. Their web address is www.whitbyfolk.co.uk.
26. THEN TO SCARBOROUGH. Move on a couple more weeks and further down the coast and find an Acoustic Gathering in Peasholm Park, Scarborough, on 8th & 9th September. This embraces a variety of musical styles, with most folk interest on the Sunday, which is headlined by 3 Daft Monkeys and also includes Katriona Gilmore & Jamie Roberts, all for just £5. The website is www.acousticgathering.co.uk.
27. WITH OTLEY AND HELMSLEY TO FOLLOW. Rest up for a couple of weeks then move well inland and you’ll find the 21st Otley Folk Festival on 20th -23rd September. This is at www.otleyfolkfestival.com, but does not yet have a finalised programme available. Finally, move back eastwards on the 28th-30th September for the Helmsley Folk Weekend, a very nice smaller scale event centred on the town’s Arts Centre. See who’s on when at www.helmsleyfolkweekend.co.uk.
EVENTS FURTHER AFIELD – CONCERT VENUES
Several arts venues, clubs and other concert promoters in the wider region have recently announced details of their autumn shows. Amongst them:
28. KULA PRODUCTIONS mostly run shows on Saturdays at the Frazer Theatre in Knaresborough where autumn highlights include Heidi Talbot with Ian Carr and Duncan Chisholm on 15th September, Scottish multi-instrumental duo Mairearad Green and Anna Massie on 17th November and Fake Thackray on Saturday 1st December. Find out more at www.kula-productions.com.
29. SELBY TOWN HALL has folk/acoustic events including a great guitar pairing of John Renbourn and Wizz Jones on Sunday 14th October, Fay Hield and her new band The Hurricane Party on Saturday 20th October and our own concert guests of last spring, State Of The Union (Boo Hewerdine & Brooks Williams) on Saturday 15th December. The website is www.selbytownhall.co.uk.
30. KIRKBY FLEETHAM FOLK CLUB is an occasional concert venue these days, with the great young group Mawkin next up at the Village Hall on Saturday 22nd September. The Big Birthday Bash festival weekend follows on 23rd-25th November. Full details at www.kirkbyfleethamfolkclub.co.uk.
31. POCKLINGTON ARTS CENTRE seems to have less folk and roots programming than usual, but you can catch the Americana band ahab on Friday 12th October or enjoy Thea Gilmore on Wednesday 21st November. There is also the annual Acoustic Blues Weekend on 16th-18th November. The website is at www.pocklingtonartscentre.co.uk.
32. GREEN HAMMERTON VILLAGE HALL near York is the setting for an “adopted hometown” concert by Jez Lowe and the Bad Pennies on Sunday 9th September. Benny Graham is the special guest and tickets cost just £8.50. See www.jezlowe.com.
That’s all for now, folks. This has been a long outpouring, but it does follow a couple of much shorter bulletins. I hope you found at least a few things of interest.