Black Swan Folk Club

E-Newsletter 199

2nd April 2016


1.        THIS WEEK - WINTER WILSON.  This coming Thursday, 7th April, we are pleased to present Kip Winter and Dave Wilson, making a long overdue return to York – they were last with us way back in 2006!  At that point they were still combining their music with day jobs, but in 2012 Winter Wilson took the brave decision to become full-time professional musicians.  It seems to have paid off, and they are now one of the busiest acts on the UK folk scene, with an enviably full diary and a solid reputation for great songs, stunning harmonies, good accompaniments and lively stage humour.
Dave Wilson is the accomplished songwriter half of the duo, and plays guitar and banjo, while Kip Winter has one of the best singing voices in the folk business and contributes accordion, flute and second guitar to the mix.  In York they will be featuring songs from their new albumAshes and Dust, alongside back-catalogue favourites.
This event has already attracted quite a bit of interest, not least with local media.  In anticipation of their York appearance, Dave and Kip were session guests on the BBC Radio Leeds Durbervilles Folk Show last Sunday, 27th March, still available to listen to on the BBC website through, and Tony Haynes has recorded a short phone interview with them for his Vale Radio FAB show next Monday, 4th April, when he will also play a CD track or two.  Tony will also be with us on the Winter Wilson night, recording for a future FAB show.
Stan Graham hosts this one and tickets are modestly priced at £8 and £7, on the door or beforehand through WeGotTickets.
2.        SINGERS NIGHTS CONTINUE MONTHLY.  Next week, 14th, it is our open houseSingers & Musicians Night, hosted this month by David Kidman.  Perhaps a quick reminder is called for – these nights are open to all-comer performers, and of course listeners are essential too.  Typically, we get around a dozen performers in a wide range of styles (though nights with twenty or more acts have been known!), a mix of club residents and popular local regulars with visitors from further afield.  The latter are often very impressive, and indeed three of our “Singers Night Discoveries” have been invited back to share a full guest night later this month (see item 4) while another, Cohen Braithwaite-Kilcoyne, was asked to open at our recent Fay Hield NCEM concert and went down really well - “almost surpassing” the main act, according to one enthusiastic Twitter message afterwards.
Singers Nights are run acoustically (no PA) and entry is just £3 (full price) or £2 (retired, students and other concessions), while singers are asked to put £1 in the kitty.  These nights are usually monthly, occasionally more often. Future dates are 12th May, 2nd June, 23rd June and 21st July.   Like guest nights, they now start at the slightly earlier time of 8.15pm.
3.        SAM CARTER – HOW THE CITY (OF YORK) SINGS.  Since being named Best Newcomer at the 2010 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards Sam Carter has been stirring audiences from Camden to Canada and all points in between, including two memorable previous shows for us, back in the city where he was once a university student.  Described as ‘the finest English-style finger-picking guitarist of his generation’ by Bellowhead’s Jon Boden, Sam is equally happy to perform intimate solo shows on acoustic guitar, as he will for us on 21st April, or strut the stage on electric guitar with his Jim Moray collaboration band False Lights, as nominated in this year’s Folk Awards.  Sam has played on Later with Jools Holland and appeared on the Andrew Marr Show, guested with Richard Thompson, collaborated with revered South Asian classical musicians, and toured the UK with the all-star tribute show The Lady: A Homage to Sandy Denny.  Last year he was involved in the Parliament-commissioned Sweet Liberties project celebrating the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta (see also item 13 below).
In a happy coincidence, Sam’s upcoming York gig will be the first after next week’s release of his third solo album How The City Sings, which captures this fervently admired singer, songwriter and guitarist at his most passionate and moving, with twelve new songs that are at times affectingly intimate and at others brimming with righteous rage.  We can expect to hear several songs from the new album, alongside some favourites from the back catalogue.
Phil Cerny MCs this one and tickets are priced at £11 and £10, on the door or beforehand through WeGotTickets.  Sam has a newly redesigned website at
4.        A TRIPLE BILL OF “SINGERS NIGHT DISCOVERIES”.  On Thursday 28th April, we offer something a little different, a shared night with three different acts, all of whom came along to one of our Singers & Musicians nights last year and made great impressions - and all of whose names begin with “k”, by sheer koincidence!
Travelling from furthest afield, Gemma Khawaja is a Norfolk-based singer/guitarist who performs mostly traditional songs of the British Isles, or new songs inspired by folk customs and poetry.  “I enjoy stories and themes found in traditional songs and ballads”, she says, “I love the richness and beauty of the melodies and the journey each song takes you on.”  Her new album had a brief “thumbs up” review in fRoots recently: “performs with captivating authority … minimum frills, maximum thrills style … folk club organisers pay attention!”
Leeds-based Dariush Kanani is a folk/blues acoustic guitarist and singer in the long and noble tradition of such players as John Renbourn and Stefan Grossman.  The latter writes “beautiful, clean guitar tones with intricate arrangements and a magical voice are the powerful ingredients for Dariush's music.  I'm jealous!”  Only last week, Dariush was supporting another acoustic guitar legend, Wizz Jones, at The Green Note in Camden Town.
Also coming from Leeds and formerly part of larger folk group The Heathen Kings are The Fireside Knights.  “With a boundless enthusiasm for traditional music and stories” says their website “Mark, Rachael and Steve bring their individual musicianship [guitars, mandola, percussion and bass] and dynamic three part harmonies to their live performances.  Cheeky and charming by turns, they are an inspired trio!”
On 28th April each act will do a single 40/45 minute set, running order as above, with no floor performers other than an “ice-breaker” MC spot to kick off the show at 8.15.  Tickets are £8 (£7 concessions) on the door or beforehand through WeGotTickets.  Do come along!
5.        NORTH AMERICAN VISITORS IN MAY – AND A TOP ENGLISH DUO.  On 5th May we welcome back a Canadian singer who has become one of our firmest favourites, Dan McKinnon.  “One man, one backpack, one guitar, a gorgeous voice and a bucket full of intelligent story songs” says his publicity, “what more could you want?”  We stay with American visitors on 19th May, when we present the local debut of US singer Kyle Carey, whose highly-rated “Gaelic Americana” sound draws on the traditional music of Cape Breton, Ireland and Scotland, alongside Appalachian folk song and poetry.  And to end the month on 26th May we bring back last year’s Folk Awards Best Duo, Josienne Clarke & Ben Walker – a keenly awaited show which is already (be well advised!) half sold at WeGotTickets.
6.        SUMMER & BEYOND.  Our Thursday night club programme is now complete for the rest of 2016 and all dates have been posted on the programme page of our website.  June guests are mother and daughter duo Chris & Kellie While (9th), Vicki Swan & Jonny Dyer (16th) and a double header of Kirsty Bromley and Lucy Wise (30th), while July brings us Howdenjones (7th), local star Graham Hodge (14th) and old favourite Bram Taylor (28th). Later in the year, we can look forward to such outstanding guests as The Rheingans Sisters, Greg Russell & Ciaran Algar, Hannah Sanders, David Francey, The Mile Roses (comprising Edwina Hayes, Kate Bramley & Simon Howarth), Jimmy Crowley, Brooks Williams and Jackie Oates.  WeGotTickets booking for summer guests should be available by early May at the latest.
7.        YOUNG’UNS SOLD OUT.  First, a reminder that the performance by 2015 BBC Folk Group of the Year The Young’uns at the NCEM on Friday 15th April is Sold Out, and has been so for a couple of months, with a waiting list for any returns.
8.        MELROSE QUARTET AT THE EARLY MUSIC CENTRE.  Our final NCEM event this season takes place on Monday 16th May and showcases the combined talents of Nancy Kerr, James Fagan and Richard & Jess Arrowsmith, alias The Melrose Quartet.  This band has an illustrious pedigree, bringing together multiple BBC Folk Award winners James and (Singer of the Year in 2015) Nancy with another of Sheffield’s most versatile musical couples.
Together the Melrose Quartet offer a bold take on English songs and tunes both old and new, with many of the latter penned by Nancy or Jess.  Glorious four-part harmony singing combines with crunchy twin fiddles, full-bodied melodeon and powerful bouzouki in a performance that leaves imaginations stirred, hearts singing and feet tapping.
Support comes from York’s acapella favourites Two Black Sheep & A Stallion and tickets are on sale through the NCEM website and box office (01904 658338) priced at £14 and £12.
9.        OTHER NCEM EVENTS THIS SEASON.  NCEM folk-related shows still to come but not promoted by us at the Folk Club include Martin Simpson & Martin Taylor next Tuesday, which is Sold Out, and The John McCusker Band on 3rd May, during his 25th Anniversary Tour, for which tickets are still available.  John is joined by Andy Cutting, Adam Holmes, Innes White and Toby Shaer.  Later on, June Tabor appears at the NCEM with Iain Ballamy (saxophones) and Huw Warren (piano) as folk/jazz fusion trio Quercus on 17th June.
10.     NCEM AUTUMN CONCERTS – A SNEAK PREVIEW.  We now have five folk concerts lined up for the Early Music Centre’s autumn season.  From Scotland we welcome fiddle quartet RANT (3rd October) and bring back the ever popular Breabach (24th October), while from England we will enjoy return visits by O’Hooley & Tidow (1st November) and Chris Wood (30th November), and for an Irish seasonal show we have Celtic Christmas Strings, withMaire Ni Chathasaigh & Chris Newman (21st December).  Booking for all of these won’t be open until late summer, but put those dates in your diaries now.
11.     DRAFT PROGRAMME ALMOST READY TO BE RELEASED.   I have more or less completed the first draft of a full programme for our annual City of York Folk Weekend, and all being well it will be posted on the Folk Weekend section of the folk club website by the end of the coming week.  Here is a brief summary of the main events:
Friday 3rd June – a Ceilidh in the marquee with FiddlersWreck, an Irish night in the Wolfe Room hosted by York Irish Association, and as an “official fringe event” the regular Friday night York session at its new home in The Three-Legged Mare (see item 20).
Saturday 4th June – Marquee concert spots by Sarah Dean, Leather’o, The Duncan McFarlane Band, Chechelele, Melthem, Phil Cerny, The Bronze, Roisin Ban, Moonshine Creek, Union Jill, Paula Ryan and The Bramble Napskins, plus dancing by Acorn Morris.  Indoors, late afternoon and evening concerts with a further 11 acts, plus a spoken word lunchtime session and a storytelling and music event, an open-ended musicians session, and a series of rolling folk club and singaround gatherings.
Sunday 5th June – Marquee concert performances by Dan Webster, Gerry McNeice & The Ale Marys, Soundsphere, Union Central, Blackbeard’s Tea Party, Stan Graham, The A-Rhythmics, Rambler’s Gate, The Foresters and Blonde on Bob, plus Japanese drumming by Folk Weekend favourites Kaminari Taiko.  Indoors, afternoon and evening concerts with a further 12 acts, plus singing and songwriting workshops, an under-5s children’s event and plenty more opportunities to have a go yourself in singarounds and musicians’ sessions.
12.     PUBLICITY NEEDED – PLEASE SPREAD THE WORD.  The more people at this event, the better it is for all concerned (unless you are queuing at the bar, I suppose!), so please help us spread the word far and wide.  Tell all your friends about it, bearing in mind that it is a totally FREE weekend, so people can drop in whenever they want and then stay for 10 minutes or 10 hours.  Use social media to push the weekend (there is a Facebook page and if you can use printed publicity, just let me know – or download the poster yourself – it will soon be available on the Folk Weekend section of the folk club website.
13.     WE ARE FEATURED IN SPRING EDITION OF “ENGLISH DANCE & SONG”.  As reported in E-News 197, our club is indeed featured in the spring edition of English Dance & Song, the quarterly glossy magazine of EFDSS, The English Folk Dance & Song Society. Credited to Richard Catton, who also took the photos, the two-page article is the first in a projected series which aims to focus particularly on the relationship between folk clubs and their pubs or other host venues.  Certainly in our case the two are inextricably linked – we have always met at the Black Swan Inn and take our name from the pub – and the importance of the club’s activities to the pub is stressed by our landlord Andy Cross in the feature article.  At a time when other clubs are having venue problems (see item 21 below), it is great to know we have a secure base for the foreseeable future.
English Dance & Song is a subscription magazine mailed to EFDSS members.  It is not widely sold elsewhere, but you can purchase it online if you wish – see the link  It is always a good read for anyone interested in English folk music.  Other features in this current issue include our forthcoming concert guests The Young’uns (see item7), and the recent Sweet Libertiesproject which included Sam Carter (see item 3), Nancy Kerr (see item 8) and past club guests Maz O’Connor and Patsy Reid.
14.     MORE CLUB NIGHTS REVIEWED.  Local critic Martin Longley has posted another multi-part review online, this one covering February club guests The East Pointers and Bob Fox, as well as Fairport Convention’s Winter Tour show at the Grand Opera House.
15.     WEGOTTICKETS WEBSITE REVAMPED.  If you’ve used WeGotTickets to buy tickets for club events in the last two weeks or so, you’ll have noticed that their website has had a makeover.  In fact there has been a full rebrand, with new logo and colour schemes, but also improved graphic content and a better advanced search function “to help you find more of the events you love”.  All the old features are still there too “we haven’t binned any functionality that you relied upon”, they say.  Further updates are planned for coming months, including things like additional payment methods and improved mobile device optimisation.  We’ve used WeGotTickets ever since we went into online ticket sales – they are very open to small venue promoters like us (unlike some other ticketing sites) and for the most part they are easy to use by you, our customers.
16.     CELEBRATING DAVE GREGORY.  The acoustic music scene in York and far beyond was deeply saddened by the sudden death last month of instrument maker Dave Gregory.  A craftsman builder of guitars and mandolins, Dave was hugely admired and respected for his excellent workmanship.  He settled in York in the mid-70s with his partner Susie and became a seemingly immutable pillar of the local music world.  As well as making and repairing instruments, Dave was also an active performer, in the Hot Not Bothered ceilidh band, in Los Yobos, and at the Sunday night Golden Ball sessions.  Well over a hundred friends attended a service of celebration at York Cemetery Chapel, and a long row of Gregory-built instruments graced the front of the room.  Many of these were played afterwards at a wake in the Golden Ball.  Our deepest sympathy goes to Susie, Peter and all Dave’s other family and close friends.
17.     BEST WISHES TO JUDITH HASWELL.  We also send our best wishes to club supporter and regular floor singer Judith Haswell.  A serious fall on a skiing holiday in the French Alps last month left her with a fractured pelvis and a broken ankle.  After spells in hospitals in France, in Leeds and here in York, Judith is now back at home with her partner Richard.  However, she will have limited mobility for quite a while and has had to drop out of several guest night floor spots.  She says she fully intends to be fit again in time for our Folk Weekend in June!  We wish her a full and speedy recovery.
18.     AND ALSO TO DAVE SWARBRICK.  We were also sorry to hear that legendary fiddle player Dave Swarbrick has been seriously ill lately.  He was taken into hospital in Birmingham in January with a major chest infection and has been in a Critical Care Unit ever since.  The most recent update from his partner Jill (posted last Thursday) says “Dave's had a really good day today.  He's been unplugged from the ventilator and has managed, with assistance, a much longer walk.  He's chirpy and wishes everyone to know that he's ready to do a quickstep and move on to the tango!”  Jill adds “he's knocked out by all the messages and cards … they are the best medicine … keep them coming please”.  If you want to send Dave a get well message (or a card for his 75th birthday, which falls on Tuesday), the address is Critical Care A, Queen Elizabeth Medical Centre, Birmingham B15 2TH.
19.     A “FAB” NEW FOLK CLUB FOR YORK.  Vale Radio’s Folk & Blues Show presenterTony Haynes has started a new twice-monthly folk and blues club at The Cottage Inn, 115 The Village in Haxby, where there is a 100 capacity function room available.  This new venture replaces his singers club at The Lighthorseman on Fishergate, but will still take place on the second and fourth Sundays of each month, starting at 7.30.  The difference is that performances will often be recorded for broadcast on Tony’s Monday night show.  In particular, the second half of the night will often feature a longer set by a band – sometimes folk, sometimes blues – as bands are simply too large to perform live on air in the cramped Vale Radio studios.
“It might be worth a mention that singers would need to pre-book with me first, at least for the time being” says Tony, and I am encouraging bands who would like some air time to get in touch too.”  Tony can be contacted on 07708 970083 or  And of course listeners are more than welcome.  The whole evening is free.
20.     AND A NEW VENUE FOR THE FRIDAY NIGHT SESSION.  Meanwhile York’s lively and long-running Friday night folk session has also been on the move.  After nine months at The Woolpack (and before that at The Victoria Vaults), Ruth, Steve and all the regular players and singers have relocated to The Three Legged Mare on High Petergate.  Things get underway around 8.30 and continue until about midnight.
21.     THREE CLUBS HOMELESS IN WEST YORKSHIRE, AND ONE NEARER YORK. Further afield, we were sad to hear of the sudden closure of The Black Bull Inn at Birstall, home to no fewer than three different folk clubs, The Croppers (weekly) and The Drovers and Just Voices (both monthly).  Hopefully all three will find alternative homes soon.
Nearer to York, the third Sunday of the month Singers Club at Thorganby has also been hit by pub closures.  This gathering has been taking place at The Jefferson Arms ever since The Ferry Boat Inn closed its doors, but now the Jefferson is also closing, at least temporarily.
Also closed briefly was The Light Dragoon at Etton near Beverley, home of the long-running first Monday of the month Processed Pea Folk Club.  Thankfully, a relief pub manager is now in place and the pub has reopened just in time for next Monday’s event, 4th April, with young Hull singer songwriter Lucy Marshall, but the longer term future is still uncertain.
22.     SINGERS & BANDS WANTED FOR LITTLE FESTIVAL OF LIVE MUSIC.  Folk and acoustic acts are needed for this year's York Little Festival of Live Music.  Organiser Ellen Cole writes: “we are currently looking for acts to join us at this year's festival, which will run at the York Food and Drink Festival from 23rd September to 2nd October.  Each act will get a 45 minute slot and all money raised will be donated to a local cause”.  Last year, that was mental health charity York Mind.  If you are interested in taking part, please email your details to Ellen on
23.     SARAH GOES ON THE ROAD.  Sarah Dean writes to say that she is going on the road during April, as support for The Heather Findlay Band, beginning in Holland tonight, 2nd April, and continuing around Britain.  Heather was the vocalist with progressive rock outfit Mostly Autumn and also worked with Angie Gordon in Odin Butterfly.  She is touring with a full band and Sarah writes “I am really excited to be working with such talented musicians … I will be doing a support spot and also adding harp, backing vocals and various recorders to the band”. The tour includes Fibbers in York on Thursday 14th April.  Meanwhile, Sarah takes a night out between the Dutch and British legs of the tour to do a floor spot at the Black Swan this coming Thursday.
24.     UNION CENTRAL AT THE BLACK SWAN.  York’s premier modern bluegrass band Union Central have a gig coming up on Saturday 16th April at the Black Swan Inn.  For further information about the band, see and for ticket reservations ring 01904 783029.  After they had to pull out last year due to illness, we are also looking forward to having Graham, Phil, Hannah, Kat and Geoff play at our Folk Weekend this year
25.     ROGER DAVIES AT CITY SCREEN BASEMENT.  Fresh from his nationwide trek supporting Fairport Convention on their latest winter tour, west Yorkshire songwriter Roger Davies has a show at the City Screen Basement on Sunday 24th April, promoting his new live album release.  Tickets are £7 and doors open at 7.30pm.
26.     HOLY MOLY & CALE TYSON AT THE CRESCENT.  Local independent promoter Joe Coates, aka PleasePleaseYou, usually has several interesting shows in the pipeline.  Those coming up soon include English “gypsy folk’n’roll” band Holy Moly & The Crackers on Wednesday 20th April and Nashville-based “new country” singer-songwriter Cale Tyson, with a full band, on Bank Holiday Monday 2nd May.  Boss Caine and Mulholland are also billed for the latter.  Both shows are at The Crescent off Blossom Street, behind the Reel cinema.  Tickets are available through (£8 for Holy Moly and £10 for Cale Tyson), or they can be bought over the counter at The Inkwell on Gillygate.
27.     POPPLETON FESTIVAL CHANGES.  To remind you, the Poppleton Live Festival is taking place over two weekends this year, between 29th April and 8th May.  However, there have been some major changes announced since their printed brochures were issued, and all events (other than the Sunday night Poppleton Proms) will now take place in the “more intimate” All Saints Hall venue, rather than some shows being at the much larger Poppleton Centre.  Also, The Animals & Friends and Richard Digance are no longer taking part.
Americana musician Mean Mary appears on Friday 29th April and the unique Les Barker on Bank Holiday Monday 2nd May.  The Lindisfarne Story Band headline on Friday 6th May, then the Saturday Spectacular on 7th May has a revised line-up.  Organiser John Watterson writes: “Following their fabulous opening of the festival in 2015, The Grand Old Uke of Yorkare returning to kick off the day.  From Leeds things take a Latin American turn with Mestisa. We have the fabulous locals King Courgette and the notorious Fake Thackray.  Also from York is Rachel Croft and then from Manchester The Mather Robinson Band.  After our traditional teatime break we will resume with Madison's Thread.  When we heard Lee Maddison's distinctive voice, we knew we had to bring him to Poppleton.  Rounding off the day will be Blackbeard's Tea Party, York’s very own top class folk rock band.”
With the switch to a smaller venue there are only limited tickets left for the second weekend’s events.  Find out more and book your tickets at
28.     ANOTHER FORESTERS FUNDRAISER.  The next public concert by veteran local outfit The Foresters takes place on Friday 13th May at the Tramways Club on Mill Street in York and is a fundraiser for local charity York Racial Equality Network, which is chaired by Foresters member, Fred Ring.  The aim of the network is “to promote awareness of the needs of black and minority ethnic people in the York area” and to “provide independent, impartial information and mutual support to individuals who are experiencing racial harassment, victimisation, discrimination or isolation.”  Tickets are £8 in advance (£10 on the door) £5 concessions by email to or by calling Ginnie Shaw on 01904 500281.  After that The Foresters next public outing will probably be on the Sunday evening of our Folk Weekend in early June.
29.     KAREN TWEED COMES TO YORK.  Lastly, a reminder that the celebrated accordion player Karen Tweed is going to be in York over the weekend of 21st/22nd May.  She will be doing a Saturday evening concert at the Black Swan Inn, then running an all-day workshop (not just limited to accordion) on the Sunday, also at the Black Swan.  Karen is very highly regarded as a music tutor, so this could be a must for budding players amongst you.  At this stage I’ve still had no further details but if you’d care to register interest, contact Alastair Robinson
30.     ROBERTS & LAKEMAN IN THORNER.  There is just time to tell you that one of our favourite duos, Kathryn Roberts & Sean Lakeman, have a show tomorrow, Sunday 3rd April, at the Victory Hall in Thorner, near Leeds.  Tickets are £12.50 or ring Dave Stainthorpe on 07988 496567.
31.     HANNAH JAMES IN REETH.  The next folk concert at the Memorial Hall in Reeth, Swaledale, is the Jig Doll solo show by Hannah James.  The date is next Saturday,