17th June 2013
CLUB GUEST NIGHTS
1. APOLOGIES ON BEHALF OF JEFF WARNER. Unfortunate confusion over booking dates meant that Jeff Warner did not show up at the Black Swan last Thursday as we had been expecting – in fact he wasn’t even in Europe! Jeff’s UK representative had e-mailed me looking for a booking “in May/June 2013” when it now seems he had intended to say 2014. He then failed to spot that the date we agreed, 13th June, is not even a Thursday in 2014! He sends his profuse apologies, while I have resolved to be more rigorous in future with this kind of informal booking where there is no written contract. We have now agreed a replacement date for Jeff of 8th May 2014.
2. BOB FOX, JUST AN OLD WARHORSE. Definitely coming to us this week, 20th June, is that superlative singer Bob Fox. Bob has entertained us right well numerous times in the past, but since his last visit in 2010 he has been largely absent from the folk circuit, having won the coveted part of Songman in the hit London stage show WarHorse. And now he says “I'm delighted to announce that I will be resuming the role of Songman in the forthcoming WarHorse UK Tour, starting in September this year and running through to February 2015”. So if you don’t catch him this time, you’ll have to wait two years before he is back in the folk clubs! As I write there are about 20 tickets left for this one, on the www.wegottickets.com website, priced at £10 full price or £8 concessions.
For details of that WarHorse tour production, see www.warhorseonstage.com/tickets/uk_tour - the nearest shows so far seem to be in Bradford or on Bob’s home turf in Sunderland.
3. DANA & SUSAN OVERCOME THEIR SNAKES & LADDERS. Playing fiddle, guitar, banjo and mandolin and performing a distinctive blend of original songs and old time mountain music, Dana & Susan Robinson have more than earned their place as one of our favourite North American acts. We were very disappointed when they had to cancel their UK tour last year, after Dana fell off a ladder at home in Asheville North Carolina and broke his wrist, shortly after which Susan was bitten by a copperhead snake! Happily they are both fully recovered and indeed they have been performing in Britain since early June, playing old favourites alongside songs from the acclaimed new album American Hornpipe. They reach us in York next week, 27th June, and tickets are now on sale at WeGotTickets.
Here is a quote from the magazine Dirty Linen: "Many songwriters have been heralded as modern day Woody Guthries or keepers of the American rural spirit, but that mantle might be better entrusted to musicians like Dana Robinson who embody both the heart and the soul of folk music", while Mike Harding sums them up as “authentic, rooted and fused with great music of the past”. Do come along and see what they mean.
4. JULY AND BEYOND. Our high summer season focuses on home grown talent from Yorkshire and northern England, including South Yorkshire’s Ray Hearne (July 11th), Eddie Walker in his farewell year (July 25th), multi-talented Rebekah Findlay (August 8th), the glorious Young ‘Uns (August 15th, already selling well) and one-time York residents Emily Weygang & Ben Harker (September 5th), plus ex York University student band Nish As Rish (August 22nd). However there is still a leavening of overseas acts in the fine shape of Australian women’s vocal group Salvation Jane (July 18th) and US country roots singer Katy Moffatt (September 12th). See the club website or WeGotTickets for more info.
5. A SUMMER’S EVENING WITH STAN AND THE FORESTERS. Our final NCEM concert before the summer break comes up on Wednesday 3rd July and is a double bill of much-loved local acts. In and around York, The Foresters have been performing their melodic blend of folk, country and pop songs, laced with good humour, for some forty years. They comprise Mike Brown (guitar, mandolin and banjo), Fred Ring (bass), Dee Marshall (flute and percussion), Brian Oxberry (percussion), Steve Marshall (guitar) and recent recruit Jo Wheldon (fiddle), with all of the band singing. Since his retirement, and sometimes joined by Dee, Steve has become a frequent visitor to our club nights and is a very welcome addition to the team, while the full band have made notable contributions to our Residents Festival events. They gamely volunteered for the difficult lunchtime opening spot on the Saturday of the recent Folk Weekend and gave us a splendid start to the day.
Our own Stan Graham surely needs little introduction here. As we know so well, he is an outstanding songwriter, his work reflecting on real people and events with strong words and rousing melodies. His songs are increasingly covered by other artists and have won him several awards, while in concert Stan also does some fine cover versions. A thoroughly relaxed and accomplished performer, he has a great voice and bags of personality.
Each act will be doing a full length set and they may well join forces for the finale. Tickets are a modest £10 each and can be bought through the NCEM Box Office, 01904 658338, www.ncem.co.uk. They are also available in person from both of the performers.
6. FULL-ON ENGLISH FOLK WITH FAUSTUS. Our concert promotions will resume on Friday 27th September with English music trio Faustus, recently returned to the fray with a vengeance following a two year break. Saul Rose on melodeon (Waterson:Carthy, Warhorse), Benji Kirkpatrick on guitar (Seth Lakeman Band, Bellowhead) and Paul Sartin on fiddle and oboe (Bellowhead, Belshazzar’s Feast) have vast musical ability and experience and share a deep love of traditional folk song. With Folk Weekend hits Rakish (their name now shortened from Rakish Collier) doing the support, this should be a great show. Tickets are now on sale at £14 full or £12 concessions.
7. VERY BEST WISHES TO CAROLINE. Much of the success of our concert promotions at the NCEM over the last twelve years has been down to the friendly, helpful and efficient attitude of the centre’s staff. One key player throughout has been their Box Office Manager Caroline Smith (formerly Sartin). She is now expecting her first child and is about to go on maternity leave, so I am sure you will join with me in sending her our very best wishes. Caroline will be a hard act to follow but I know that replacement Bethan Thomas has been given extensive training and we look forward to working with her.
LOOKING BACK AT FOLK WEEKEND
8. A HUGELY SUCCESSFUL EVENT. What a grand time we had at our recent City of York Folk Weekend! We were blessed with some excellent weather and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. There were a few minor problems, such as a couple of last minute withdrawals from the Saturday running order, but overall things ran extremely smoothly and I’ve had nothing but positive feedback, both verbally and by e-mail. One correspondent writes “to pass on my congratulations to you and the team for another fantastic success. I had a lovely day on Saturday seeing lots of great music and catching up with friends, and it was a privilege to be part of it”. Another visitor says how delighted he and his wife were. “Of course the weather helped, but the whole thing was so good that it really lifted us up. The performers we saw were superb, but the most striking thing is the warmth and friendship which is so evident. I hope we never miss one, and long may it last.”
9. THANKS ALL ROUND. I’d just like to reiterate my heartfelt thanks to all of the following:
· The very many singers and bands who gave freely of their time and talents
· Our landlord Andy Cross and his hard-working but always courteous team
· JSS for providing excellent concert PA at short notice, and particularly to their very capable and calmly efficient sound engineer Simon
· Richard Nagy for our festival artwork
· Edwina Hayes for programming and providing PA for the Friday night concert
· Everyone helping out as MC, steward, Wolfe Room PA crew, collection tin shaker, etc
10. CAPTURED FOR POSTERITY. We were lucky to have a skilled professional photographer on site for much of the weekend. Music enthusiast John Illingworth took lots of excellent images, showing under Gallery on his website www.fiji-images.co.uk. Most of these have also been posted on Folk Weekend’s Facebook page www.facebook.com/YorkFolkWeekend. Please add your own comments there and share with friends.
11. AND WE BROKE EVEN AS WELL! Thanks to your generous contributions in the collection boxes, and despite having higher costs this year, mainly down to PA hire charges, we managed to break even. In fact collections, plus income from the CD stall, exceeded our total costs by the magnificent sum of £1.58. We could hardly have come any closer!
12. DE-BRIEF MEETING. This year I propose to hold a de-brief meeting sooner rather than later (date to be announced), where those actively involved in preparing for and running the weekend can get together and review how things went. There will always be things we could try to do better or differently next year. If you have any comments, criticisms, compliments or suggestions you would like us to consider, please send them my way.
13. NEXT YEAR’S FESTIVAL. There will certainly be a Folk Weekend again next year and we are planning for the same time of year, i.e. the 6th, 7th and 8th June 2014. Put those dates in your planning diary straight away!
14. I WAS HACKED - APOLOGIES. A few weeks ago my personal Yahoo email account (not this club one) was hacked and used to send out a lot of junk email. I can only apologise if you were bothered. Until three years ago I used that account for club business as well as for personal stuff and if you have been a newsletter subscriber for a long time you would still have been in that account’s address book. I immediately acted to secure the account and I have now deleted all non-personal contacts from the address book. Judging from junk messages I receive, this sort of hacking take-over seems to be getting more and more frequent. I just hope it never happens with this club account!
15. NEW BEER GARDEN AT THE BLACK SWAN. Immediately after Folk Weekend, work began to create an extra beer garden at the Black Swan, on the opposite and sunnier side of the driveway from the existing decked area. This will enhance the pub for outdoor drinkers but takes out four car-parking spaces, so perhaps I should remind you that additional parking is available immediately adjacent to the pub in the council’s Haymarket Car Park. This is free after 6pm if you have a York residents badge and £2 to everyone else. On busy club nights it would be a nice gesture if residents badge holders attending the club could park free in Haymarket, leaving the pub car park for people travelling in from further afield.
16. FOLK MUSIC ON AIR – RADIO AND ONLINE. In the run-up to Folk Weekend, I was invited to appear on the Durbervilles’ Folk & Roots Show on BBC Radio Leeds, along with two of the weekend’s acts, Paula Ryan and Stuart Giddens & Pip Jopling. This prompts me to give you a mini summary of various bits of folk music broadcasting you can hear on the radio or online at the moment:
· The Durbervilles’ Folk & Roots Show goes out live 8pm-9pm on Sundays on BBC Radio Leeds and is available on the web for the following week. It is a lively mix of records and studio guests, with a diary of regional events.
· The Radio 2 Folk Show is hosted by Mark Radcliffe 7pm-8pm on Wednesdays and then online for 7 days. This week’s show will be a Nick Drake special. I’m still not enthusiastic about Mark’s style of presentation but perhaps that is just a personal thing.
· Mike Harding issues a weekly podcast on Sunday evenings, lasting an hour plus and full of interesting and often unexpected music, some of it I suspect he wasn’t allowed to use when on Radio 2. Find the current podcast and all previous ones at www.mikehardingfolkshow.com.
· fRoots Radio is a monthly podcast from the people at fRoots magazine, full of fine but diverse music. Find out more at www.podwireless.com. “Please give it a try if you're not in the habit” they say, “we think it's every bit as good as anything on mainstream radio – better in fact, because we get to hear lots of of music that regular broadcasters don't.”
17. CONGRATULATIONS TO EDWINA. The lovely host of our Friday night Folk Weekend concert, Edwina Hayes is very excited to have been confirmed as the support act on Fairport Convention's prestigious winter tour in February and March 2014. This is a career-enhancing opening which this year (2013) fell to Fake Thackray, so Fairport are doing the York area proud. Edwina also has a new album in the works and was given a surprise presentation of card, gift and cake at the Folk Weekend, marking her 40th birthday. Next month she has an interesting shared gig coming up with fiddle virtuoso Stewart Hardy. That is at the Back Room in Cottingham on Wednesday 10th July, where they will perform both individually and together. See www.andy-hammond.co.uk.
18. THANKS FROM JOHN. Harrogate singer/songwriter John Storey recently launched his new album with a full house Sunday afternoon show at the Black Swan. Inside the well-packaged CD I was pleased to read the following liner note: "finally, my thanks go to the folk clubs and festivals in and around Yorkshire that provide a venue for live music, in particular to the Black Swan Folk Club, York, simply one of the very best folk clubs anywhere."
OTHER YORK EVENTS
19. LUCINDA WILLIAMS is at the Grand Opera House tomorrow night, 18th June, if you like Americana and can afford the hefty ticket prices.
20. AL PARRISH the former Tanglefoot singer, our own club guest about a year ago, appears solo at the Spurriergate Centre on Wednesday night, 19th June. Tickets are available £7 in advance or £8 on the door, from 7.45pm. See www.thespurriergatecentre.com.
21. DON WALLS SPECIAL. A reminder that much loved local poet Don Walls (no relation) is centrepiece of an event next Saturday, 22nd June, at the Unitarian Chapel on St Saviourgate at 7.30. Commemorating his son Peter, who died a year ago, there will be music and song from a host of local performers and Don will be reading some specially written poems.
22. PUBLIC CEILIDH WITH DR PEACOCK. York Railway Institute on Queen Street is the venue for an open ceilidh on Sunday 23rd June, with Doctor Peacock, the fairly new dance and busking band put together by former Blackbeard’s Tea Party front man Paul Young and also including our old mate Chris Barnes. We often hear that there are too few public ceilidhs in York, so Paul says that should this be successful, they hope to make it a regular event. There is a Facebook page www.facebook.com/events/464582866960070/ and tickets are available through WeGotTickets or on the door from 7.30pm, priced at just £5. “All are welcome” Paul says, “regardless of age, experience and number of left feet. This is for first-timers and hardened ceilidh-goers alike”.
23. JENI & BILLY AT THE SWAN. A reminder that Nashville duo Jeni & Billy have a gig at the Black Swan Inn on Tuesday 25th June at 8pm, organised by and with support from York's own King Courgette. Tickets cost just £5 and can be bought at The Little Apple Bookshop on Petergate or reserved on 01904 676103.
24. TIM ERIKSEN AT THE GUILDHALL. An evening of “hard-core Americana” is promised when New England's Tim Eriksen appears at York Guildhall on Friday 26th July, in an event organised by the Arts Barge Project, www.theartsbargeproject.com. Tim will “fill the wonderful acoustic space of the Guildhall with his stark and gutsy vocals and breakneck fiddle and guitar”, they say, and he will also be joined by former Cordelia’s Dad band-mate Cath Tyler for a burst of Sacred Harp singing, as seen in Tim’s famous contribution to the film Cold Mountain. Doors will open at 7:30pm for 8:00pm and tickets priced at £8 and £10 go on sale this Wednesday through www.yorktheatreroyal.co.uk.
SOME YORKSHIRE SUMMER FESTIVALS
25. BEVERLEY FOLK FESTIVAL takes place this coming weekend at Beverley Racecourse and still has some weekend, day and individual event tickets available. Headliners include The Proclaimers, Show of Hands and Oysterband. See www.beverleyfestival.com for full details.
26. THE 26th CLECKHEATON FOLK FESTIVAL happens over the weekend of 5th-7th July at various venues in this West Yorkshire town, with headliners including Maddy Prior, The Demon Barbers and Steve Tilston. Their website is www.cleckheatonfolkfestival.org.
27. MOONBEAMS WOLD TOP FESTIVAL is scheduled for 12th & 13th July at the Wold Top Brewery near Hunmanby, with many of our local favourites plus headliners including Skerryvore, Richard Digance and The Mighty Doonans. See www.moonbeamsevents.co.uk.
28. FOLK AT DORMAN’S CLUB in Middlesbrough is a free event over 13th & 14th July, similar in spirit to our own Folk Weekend and with lots of local singers and bands taking part. There are afternoon concerts in a main marquee, plus singarounds, sessions and workshops. Further information from Trevor Lister on 01642 821776.
29. SALTBURN FOLK FESTIVAL takes place over the weekend of 9th-11th August at various venues in this lovely Victorian seaside resort, with a very full guest list. See www.saltburnfolkfestival.com for full details.
30. WHITBY FOLK WEEK is the Big One – happening this year 17th to 23rd August with the usual cast of thousands. Find out more at www.whitbyfolk.co.uk.
EVENTS FURTHER AFIELD & FURTHER AHEAD
31. JUNE 21st IN OTLEY. Canadian old time / bluegrass outfit Gordie McKeeman & His Rhythm Boys appear at the Courthouse Arts Centre, www.otleycourthouse.org.uk.
32. JUNE 29th IN FARNDALE. The Band Room continues its busy international summer season with Tasmanian Celtic band The Blue Mosquitoes. Founder member of The Wailin’ Jennys Ruth Moody follows on July 5th and then it is Cajun with Steve Riley & The Mamou Playboys on July 22nd. See www.thebandroom.co.uk.
33. JULY 12th IN REETH. Vin Garbutt appears at the Memorial Hall, with our very own Paula Ryan doing the support. Rising star Lucy Ward follows at the same venue on 9th August. Seewww.reethmemorialhall.co.uk.
34. JULY 19th IN HELMSLEY. “Uncorked” is a combination of fine wines in the Studio Bar at Helmsley Arts Centre, with top flight acoustic performances in the Auditorium, with York’s own Holly Taymar & Chris Bilton contributing to the latter, alongside pianist and singer Peter Gill and storyteller Ian Douglas. See www.helmsleyarts.co.uk for details.
And lastly, I’ve been asked to give early notice of three autumn events:
35. SEPTEMBER 7th IN PICKERING. Recently resident in Pickering, David Swann presents an evening of acoustic music at The Kirk Theatre in aid of Yorkshire Air Ambulance. David will be singing both solo and with his new band Freefall, and John Medd and Frozen Gin are also on the bill. See www.davidswann.co.uk.
36. NOVEMBER 22nd IN SALTBURN. A very special concert at Saltburn Theatre celebrates the life and work of the late Graeme Miles, with The Unthanks, The Young’uns, The Wilsons, Martyn Wyndham-Read and others. Tickets are £15 through www.seetickets.com – look under “A-Celebration-Of …..”
37. NOVEMBER 23rd IN MALTON. The York/Malton folk band The Fine Companions (as seen on the Sunday of our Folk Weekend) have ambitiously booked the main hall at The Milton Rooms for a showcase concert. The venue is at www.themiltonrooms.com.
Another whopper! All being well, I’ll be back around mid-July with a further bulletin.