Black Swan Folk Club

E-Newsletter 153

16th October 2012

 This is an interim newsletter (hopefully) drumming up a bit more support for our two club events this coming week.  I’ll try to have a full-length newsletter out by the end of the month with lots of interesting snippets from beyond the immediate folk club.




This coming Thursday at the Black Swan we welcome back The Carrivick Sisters, one of the UK's top young bluegrass and folk acts. Twins Laura and Charlotte gave us a stunning club debut in the summer of 2010, to an appreciative full-house audience, and we are thrilled to be bringing them back to York.


These youngsters play in a delightful hybrid of bluegrass and folk styles, mixing original songs and instrumentals with a few carefully chosen covers. It is superbly done, with tight sibling vocal harmonies, multi-instrumental virtuosity (between them they play guitar, mandolin, fiddle, dobro and clawhammer banjo) and a lovely stage manner.  They grew up in South Devon, an area rich in folklore, legend and history, and much of their original material is inspired by those local roots.


Laura and Charlotte began performing as a duo in 2006, originally as buskers before starting to play “proper” gigs, then turning professional when they left school in 2007.  That same year they won a major busking competition and gained their first spot at the Glastonbury Festival, then in 2008 Laura achieved second place at the RockyGrass Fiddle Contest in America.  The sisters were finalists in the prestigious BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Awards in 2010 and were named Band/Duo of the Year in the 2011 FATEA Awards.  Most recently, Charlotte took first place in both Old-Time banjo and fiddle at FOAOTMAD's (Friends of American Old Time Music & Dance) 2012 Gainsborough Festival.


Despite their youth, Charlotte and Laura have built a formidable reputation for engaging and entertaining live performances.  Their busy touring schedule takes them all over the UK and to major festivals in Canada and mainland Europe.  They have released four CDs, most recently "From the Fields" in 2011.  They are also in considerable demand as music tutors and shortly after their visit to York Laura will be teaching bluegrass fiddle and Charlotte guitar at the Sore Fingers residential school (see


Tickets for Thursday night are a modest £8 full or £6.50 concessions, from or on the door, and Stan Graham will be acting as MC for the evening.  Doors open at 8pm and there will be live music from 8.30pm.





For our Sunday Special on 21st October, we move from the brilliant younger generation of players exemplified by the Carrivicks to a true founding father of modern American folk and roots music, Tom Paley.  Accompanied by two members of his current band, The Old Time Moonshine Review, this living legend returns to the Black Swan Inn more than 30 years after his last appearance there!


Born in 1928 and raised in New York City, Tom Paley fell in love with folk music as a young man.  He began playing guitar, fiddle and 5-string banjo and was soon well-known for his great instrumental skill.  As early as 1950 he was sharing the stage with Woody Guthrie and then in 1958, along with Mike Seeger and John Cohen, he formed the hugely influential New Lost City Ramblers, the group that almost single-handedly generated a great wave of renewed interest in the traditional music of rural America.  Both as a solo artist and as member of the Ramblers, Tom has been cited as a source and influence by every later generation of American roots musicians, including such notables as Bob Dylan, Ry Cooder and Jerry Garcia of The Grateful Dead.


In the mid-1960s Tom Paley moved to Europe, living first in Sweden then settling in London, where he maintained his love of American folk, old time and bluegrass music but kept a relatively low profile in terms of recording and performing.  All that has changed this year!  Now 84 and still in rude good health, Tom Paley recently released a widely praised new CD, 59 years after his recording debut, and he has gone on the road with friends from The Old Time Moonshine Review.  His return to the spotlight even attracted a feature on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme on US Independence Day, and there have articles and glowing reviews in many music magazines.  Spies at a recent performance over in West Yorkshire tell me that Tom is playing just as well as ever and singing with real spirit.


Tom Paley’s appearance in York is a joint project between ourselves and local promoter Tim Hornsby of Mr H Presents and promises to be something really special.  It being Sunday, doors will open at 7pm for a 7.30pm start, with club resident Phil Cerny, himself a young folk fan in Greenwich Village in the early 1960s, acting as both MC and support act.


Tickets are just £10 in advance (no concessions for this one, I’m afraid) at or they will be on sale on the door for £12, subject to availability.


I hope to see you at one or other (or both!) of these great events.