4th October 2015
1. WELCOME TO READERS NEW AND OLD. A flurry of new sign-ups has taken the mailing list for this occasional bulletin up to a remarkable 998 recipients. Tell your friends and let’s make that a full thousand before the end of the month! Meanwhile our Facebook page also continues to grow, with 843 likes as I write and many visits recorded each week.
These newsletters go out approximately monthly (this one should really have been a week ago, but domestic circumstances intervened), and as well as encouraging support for our own club activities they happily give publicity to a wide range of other folk events in the region. The only things I (mostly) refrain from mentioning are shows taking place on exactly the same night as one of ours.
2. WE’VE JUST HAD ANOTHER MONTH OF GOOD MUSIC. The last few weeks of live music have been particularly enjoyable. Sadly, illness kept me away from our 2,000th recorded event with Dave Burland, but all the reports I have received say that Dave was on awesomely good form. Certainly The Dovetail Trio impressed the following week – when a group sells one CD for every third person in the room, you know they have gone down really well. Phil Beer was relaxed, versatile and thoroughly entertaining at our first NCEM concert of the season, then last Thursday Chris Sherburn & Findlay Napier attracted and entranced our first completely full house at the Black Swan in several months. Once again, many CDs were sold!
3. MORE ON OUR CLUB HISTORY. Explaining that landmark 2,000th recorded event in the last newsletter, I mentioned that the first club night entered in our surviving lists was “local (I think) group The Winfield Brothers” in September 1979. The ever encyclopaedic Henry Ayrton has been in touch to help me out: “A spot of information for your potted history of the Black Swan Folk Club. The Winfield Brothers were a Leeds-based act who specialised in various forms of vintage American roots music, enlivened by a good dose of humour. They were a quartet led by Bob Greenwood, and Paul Buckley was also in the line-up.” Thanks Henry - that makes great sense, as both Bob and Paul were involved in running this club in the late 1970s, and indeed madcap Hawaiian and lap steel guitarist Bob was still much in evidence when I arrived in York in the early 1980s. Where is he now, we all wonder?
CLUB NIGHTS – OCTOBER & BEYOND
4. MAKE A DATE WITH HARPETH RISING THIS THURSDAY, 8th OCTOBER. When booking guest artists for the club I’m always on the lookout for promising “first time” acts, and I try to have at least one debut guest each month. For October that means the US female trio Harpeth Rising, and I must say I’m looking forward to this one particularly keenly. Check out some of their many videos on YouTube and hopefully you’ll see why I am so excited, for example the title track of new CD Shifted at www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gmp8aoK3xTg.
Three unapologetic young genre-benders from Kentucky, Harpeth Rising weave together ideas drawn from folk, bluegrass, rock and classical music, playing violin, banjo and cello and utilising three part vocal harmonies in deftly lyrical original songs. Jordana Greenberg (violin), Rebecca Reed-Lunn (banjo) and Maria Di Meglio (cello) all studied at Indiana University’s School of Music but after graduating they started attending folk and bluegrass festivals and writing songs, and so exchanged careers in classical music for the world of contemporary roots and folk. They have never looked back!
Shifted is the group’s fifth album in six years and has already had some glowing reviews. They have visited Britain several times and have performed at festivals as diverse as Cambridge and Fylde as well as at numerous club and concert venues, but never before (so far as I am aware) in York. Harpeth Rising’s present UK tour started in mid-September, with rapturously received performances at (amongst other places) the Cornish Bluegrass Festival a couple of weeks ago. Immediately before they come to York they are over in Portugal for the Costa del Folk festival.
Sarah Dean is our MC on Thursday and the scheduled floor spots comprise Steve & Dee Marshall, Phil Cerny and Rio Bravo (Elaine Wallace & Matt Ransome), with Chris Euesden looking after the sound. Tickets are £10 full or £9 concessions and are still plentiful, so there should be no problem just buying on the door. Do come along if you can – they are a great group and thoroughly deserve a large and receptive audience.
5. STEPHEN FEARING NEXT WEEK, 15th OCTOBER. At his recent NCEM concert, Phil Beer made a point of saying “if you only go to one folk club event this season, make it Stephen Fearing”. That gives you an idea of the high regard in which this Canadian singer – songwriter and guitar virtuoso is held by his fellow musicians. A travelling troubadour since the late ‘80s, with nine solo albums to his credit, Stephen writes literate, stirring and emotionally charged songs and is a stunning guitar player with a smooth, intimate and powerful singing voice. In short, a mighty performer and a major talent, as we fondly remember from his one previous visit to the Black Swan back in 2010.
This event is also priced at £10 full or £9 concessions, either at WeGotTickets (where some have already been sold) or on the door. Chris Euesden takes over as MC for this one, and as I am unfortunately absent (attending the English Folk Expo to find you more great acts for 2016), Stan Graham will be on door duty.
6. CARTHY & SWARB AT THE EARLY MUSIC CENTRE, MONDAY 19th OCTOBER. After a blistering performance in 2012, we welcome back Martin Carthy & Dave Swarbrick to the NCEM venue on 19th October. This remarkable pairing first came together in 1966 and together or apart they have been an integral part of British folk music ever since, these days combining the innovative fervour of their early days with the maturity and depth of understanding which comes from a lifetime spent in the company of traditional music.
It should be a veritable master class in the performance of English folk and not surprisingly tickets are already much more than half sold at the NCEM box office. So don’t delay – book sooner rather than later to avoid disappointment. They are priced at £17 full or £15 concessions, from www.ncem.co.uk or on 01904 658338, and it is a 7.30pm start (doors open 7pm), with Phil Cerny doing the half hour support spot with a selection of his mostly American folk songs.
7. SINGERS NIGHT OPEN HOUSE, 22nd OCTOBER. Our acoustic Singers & Musicians Night for October follows on Thursday 22nd, with David Swann acting as compere. No two Singers Nights are ever the same but they almost always attract a diverse and enjoyable mix of performers. Why not give one a try? For listeners, it is £3 on the door (concessions £2).
8. SIMONE FELICE IS SOLD OUT, SUNDAY 25th OCTOBER. Please note that this Sunday Special with the cult American musician, which is a co-promotion with Please, Please You, is now completely Sold Out.
9. WELCME BACK THE CARRIVICK SISTERS, 29th OCTOBER. Identical twins Charlotte and Laura Carrivick should need relatively little introduction as this will be their third visit to our club room in five years. First emerging from Devon as teenage virtuosi, the sisters have been performing professionally ever since leaving school and are now five albums and seven years into a burgeoning career. Their mantelpiece must be straining under the weight of numerous awards for their phenomenal playing ability, plus they have a growing army of fans gained from performances at countless festivals (notably Glastonbury), clubs and concert halls, in Britain and internationally.
The Carrivick Sisters are great youthful ambassadors for roots music drawn from both sides of the Atlantic, with their sound best described as rooted in Bluegrass and country, but with a uniquely English folk twist. With those tight vocal harmonies that only siblings can achieve, they perform their mostly original songs on guitar, fiddle, mandolin, Dobro and clawhammer banjo, and they have a delightful stage manner besides.
This one is priced at £9 full or £8 concessions, on the door or beforehand through WeGotTickets, and Chris Euesden again acts as MC.
10. COMING TO THE BLACK SWAN – NOVEMBER & DECEMBER. The high class club line-up continues through November with Scottish master-musicians Mairearad Green & Anna Massie on the 5th, a Singers Night on the 12th, and another highly rated Canadian songwriter Maria Dunn making her debut on the 19th, accompanied by fiddle player Shannon Johnson. The month concludes on the 26th with a special themed show by Jim Boyes (of Coope Boyes & Simpson) accompanied by Belinda O’Hooley. Sensations of a Wound combines songs, narrative and pictures to tell the poignant story of a young Yorkshire soldier, Jim’s grandfather, caught up in the enormity of the First World War.
In alternate years December would not be complete without Scotland’s foremost solo folk singer Dick Gaughan, and sure enough he visits us again this year, for two consecutive nights, 2nd and 3rd. Lancashire’s electro-folk innovators Harp And A Monkey follow on the 10th, we have our customary Christmas Party on 17th, and a seasonal Sunday Special at the Black Swan on the 20th with The Magical Christmas Tree, offering music and merriment with Pete Morton, Chris Parkinson and our old friend Emily Sanders (who also joined Chris & Findlay for a couple of numbers at the club last Thursday).
11. CONCERTS & SPECIALS – NOVEMBER & DECEMBER. Remember that we have two more concerts lined up for the larger NCEM venue during November. Clive Gregson & Liz Simcock are there on Friday 13th November for a show with the theme Home and Away and Back Again in which they revisit the classic Gregson & Collister repertoire of the late 1980s (Home & Away being the title of the ground-breaking first G&C album). “I’m looking forward to performing some songs that I haven't played for a very long time” Clive says. Union Jill do the support and tickets are £14 full or £12 concessions.
Monday 23rd November brings one of Scotland’s hottest musical properties to the NCEM. Blazin’ Fiddles comprises four of the finest players from the Highlands and Islands: Bruce MacGregor, Jenna Reid, Rua Macmillan and Kristan Harvey, underpinned by Angus Lyon on piano and Anna Massie on guitar, the latter fresh from her club gig with us on 5th November. Stan Graham does the support for this one, since his last CD was produced by Angus, with Anna one of the main session players on it. Tickets are £16 full or £14 concessions and (be advised) are already selling well. As always, booking is at www.ncem.co.uk or on 01904 658338.
Lastly, we try out a new venue on Sunday 13th December, when we present a different kind of Scottish group at The Crescent WMC, just off Blossom Street. Now in their 25th anniversary year, Shooglenifty are a high energy band, based in traditional dance music with fiddle, mandolin and banjo prominent, but energised by the beats and bass line of something altogether more contemporary. Theirs is not a sit-down kind of music, it’s a join-in, and get-on-your feet kind of vibe, hence the new venue. This is another co-promotion with Please, Please You and tickets (all £15) are on sale at www.seetickets.com or over the counter at The Inkwell on Gillygate and Jumbo Records in Leeds.
12. PAULA ON THE WATER IN HULL. The everyday experiences of an itinerant folk singer…or NOT. Club resident Paula Ryan writes “I spent Friday night 4th September singing from a 20ft tower on a barge on the river ?in Hull, in a flaming red cloak, with orchestral accompaniment, massed choir, spectacular pyrotechnic display, stopping the traffic literally (and) opening 3 bridges while 3000 plus people watched and listened”. This remarkable performance came during the Hull Freedom Festival and can be seen on Vimeo at https://vimeo.com/138384859. “Definitely the maddest setting I have sung in to date”, Paula adds. She makes another trip to USA in November, for some more “down to earth” performances.
13. A NEW VENUE FOR CHRIS’S WEDNESDAY NIGHT GATHERING. Our good friend Chris Barnes has been running an Open Acoustic Night every Wednesday in York for many years, latterly at the Golden Fleece on Pavement. Next week, however, Chris and co are on the move, to The Watergate Inn at 24 Walmgate. Formerly known as The Five Lions, this pub is much improved we hear, with a riverside terrace beside the Foss, good food and regular live music. That is 7th October from 8.30 and every Wednesday thereafter. “Please come down and make the first one a good one” says Chris. There will be free drinks for performers, if you need an extra incentive.
14. ROGER DAVIES SUPPORTS FAIRPORT. Another good friend of ours, Roger Davies, writes “I'm thrilled and very lucky to have been asked to join folk/rock legends Fairport Convention as support act for their next tour”. Well done, Roger! The 26 date trek starts at the end of January and includes The Grand Opera House in York on Tuesday 1st March. Fairport seem to have a liking for Yorkshire-based acts, with Fake Thackray, Gilmore & Roberts (see item 16) and Edwina Hayes (see item 20) all having had this lucky break in recent years. Full details on Roger’s website or at www.fairportconvention.com/gigs.php.
OTHER EVENTS – YORK & VICINITY
15. BLACKBEARD’S CD LAUNCH. Blackbeard’s Tea Party are about to go on a national tour to launch eagerly-awaited new album Reprobates (whatever gave them that title idea?) and the tour begins within a hometown gig at The Duchess. The date is next Friday, 9th October, and with King Courgette as the support act, it should be a very lively night indeed. Tickets are very good value at £5 in advance or £6 on the door.
16. GILMORE & ROBERTS RETURN TO POPPLETON. Also promoting a new album, this time called Conflict Tourism, Kat Gilmore & Jamie Roberts make a return appearance at Poppleton Live next Saturday, 10th October. Tickets at www.poppletonlive.co.uk cost £12.50. Jamie was of course seen at the Black Swan last month as one third of the excellent Dovetail Trio.
17. A DECADE OF FIDDLERS WRECKAGE. It’s hard to believe it, but popular local ceilidh band FiddlersWreck (fronted by our club website guru and NCEM concert PA man Michael Jary) have now been on the go for all of ten years. They mark the event with an open ceilidh at Stillington Sports and Social Club, also next Saturday, 10th October, where they held their very first dance in October 2005. Tickets are £10 (£5 children under 12), which includes a supper, and proceeds are in aid of the Stephen Magson Memorial Trust. Doors open at 7pm and tickets (which need to be ordered in advance) are available through the website at www.fiddlerswreck.co.uk/ten/ or from Michael on 01347 833 083 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or in person at Stillington Post Office.
18. O’HOOLEY & TIDOW AT THORGANBY. As part of their Summat's Brewin' micro tour, the wonderful Belinda O'Hooley & Heidi Tidow appear at Thorganby Village Hall on Friday 16th October. This one is a fundraiser for the York Down Syndrome Support Group (YDSSG), with all tickets £10 and a real ale bar (naturally) and refreshments available. Doors open at 7.30pm and the gig starts at 8pm. Booking is through WeGotTickets, specifically www.wegottickets.com/event/322501 or alternatively, contact organiser Liz Allen on email@example.com or 01904 658255. Liz helpfully points out that Thorganby is served by a late evening bus on Fridays, running between York and Holme on Spalding Moor, should you wish to sample more than one of those ales! Find the timetable at http://getdown.org.uk/bus/bus/35.shtml. The last YDSSG event in January, with Steve Knightley, raised over £500, with which they purchased specialist reading packs, as well as resources for their speech and language groups. Let’s hope this event is equally successful.
19. UNION JILL AND FRIENDS IN THE BASEMENT. On Tuesday 27th October Union Jill are joined by Miles Salter & Ron James, David Swann and Chris Euesden for a night at the City Screen Basement. Tickets are just £5 from City Screen box office, at www.thebasementyork.co.uk or on the door.
20. ADVANCE NOTICE - CONCERT FOR YORK MIND AT THE NCEM. After a very successful event last year, York Mind are running another fundraising evening of first class acoustic music at the National centre for Early Music on Friday 20th November, starting at 7.30. “Four fantastic artists from across the North will be appearing this year, each bringing their unique sound and personality to the show” says organiser and host Holly Taymar. They are Edwina Hayes, Paul Liddell, Dan Webster and David Ward Maclean. “There will of course be an awesome raffle and cake stall” adds Holly “and all proceeds will be donated to York Mind (www.yorkmind.org.uk), to help local people struggling with their mental health”. Tickets are £8 full / £6 concessions via WeGotTickets, specifically www.wegottickets.com/event/334896.
21. ADVANCE NOTICE - ROISIN BAN AT TOCKWITH. One of the best received acts at our recent Folk Weekend was “Yorkshire Irish” quartet Róisín Bán. They now have a show coming up at Tockwith Village Hall, between York and Wetherby on Saturday 21st November, which promises “an Irish Ceili Night with songs, tunes and sean nos dance”. Tickets can be booked on 01423 358808. Chris Dyson, Tom Leedale, Paddy Hefferon and Steve Lacey are also booked for a night at our club venue in January 2016
22. AND A 2016 DATE FOR YOUR DIARY. Talking of 2016, make a note in your diary for Sunday 7th February when Toni Bunnell is organising a fundraising event for York’s Arc Light Centre for the homeless at City Screen Basement. Five singer-songwriters and three poets are lined-up to take part: David Swann, James Cramphorn, John Storey, Don Walls, Paula Ryan, John Gilham, Stan Graham and Toni herself. I’ll have more details in due course.
SHORT NOTICES – EVENTS FUTHER AFIELD
October seems like a bumper month all round. Here is a brief summary of other events which may be of interest.
23. CO CO AND THE BUTTERFIELDS IN HOWDEN, 9th OCTOBER. This is the latest promotion by enterprising Howden Live at the Shire Hall. Details and ticket prices can be found at www.howden-live.com.
24. WINTER WILSON IN REETH, 9th OCTOBER. Lincolnshire-based duo Kip Winter and Dave Wilson appear in the Memorial Hall (and are another act also scheduled for the Black Swan during 2016). Further information at www.reethmemorialhall.co.uk.
25. DERVISH IN SALTAIRE, 9th OCTOBER, AND SELBY, 10th OCTOBER. One of Ireland’s legendary folk bands have successive dates at Saltaire Victoria Hall (www.saltairelive.co.uk) and Selby Town Hall, but the latter is now Sold Out.
26. ROB HERON & THE TEA PAD ORCHESTRA AT ELLOUGHTON, 10th OCTOBER. This great little band appear at the latest Hunsley Acoustic Music event at the Village Hall in Elloughton, East Yorkshire, with support from Katie Spencer. Booking is through www.ticketsource.co.uk/hunsleyacousticmusicconcerts and tickets are £10
27. TRACEY BROWNE AND RAEVENNAN HUSBANDES IN THIRSK, 16TH OCTOBER. This joint show is the latest promotion by Loosely, Folk at The Golden Fleece in the Market Place. See www.facebook.com/LooselyFolk for more details.
28. CHRIS SMITHER IN FARNDALE, 24th OCTOBER. The legendary US folk/blues singer-songwriter and virtuoso guitarist is the next guest at The Band Room during its 20th Anniversary Year. Tickets are still available at £15 – see www.thebandroom.co.uk.
That’s another massive dose of good music on offer, so go out and enjoy at least a bit of it! You can expect another mailing around the end of this month or very early in November