THURSDAY CLUB EVENTS
1. THIS WEEK, 2nd NOVEMBER – MARTYN WYNDHAM-READ. Our guest this coming Thursday will be a familiar name to many of you. Martyn Wyndham-Read has been a fixture on the English folk scene for over 50 years. He is both a confirmed enthusiast for traditional songs and ballads, and a long-standing champion of new songwriting, including the work of our own Stan Graham, who has become a close friend. For several years Martyn and his wife Danni ran celebrated songwriting and music-making breaks at their French home, La Jeusselinière, at which Stan became a fixture. Australian songs also feature prominently in Martyn's repertoire – he spent several formative years down under as a young man and was one of the first singers to popularise Aussie songs in Britain.
Needless to say, Martyn is an exceptionally fine singer and a deceptively modest guitar accompanist. These days, however, he does not do a great many performances, so we are thrilled that he can come up to York. John Storey (a La Jeusselinière veteran himself) is the MC for this one and we anticipate floor spots from Ian Pybus, Toni Bunnell and Judith Haswell. Tickets are £9 beforehand through WeGotTickets or £10 on the door.
2. 9th NOVEMBER – JAMES KEELAGHAN. The following week, 9th November, we conclude our autumn Canadian strand with one of that country's foremost folk songwriters and touring musicians, James Keelaghan. We greatly admire this man, who is both a majestic singer and a writer of songs which draw on real people, places and events and have been described as "poetic, layered tales (which) are richly rewarding and utterly compelling".
This will be James' eighth visit to York, which is an indication of how highly we rate him. Note that in a change to our printed brochure, this will now be a solo performance, since advertised accompanist Hugh McMillan has a health problem and has had to pull out of the British tour. Chris Euesden, who has been known to cover one or two of James' songs, hosts this one and tickets are £10 beforehand through WeGotTickets or £11 on the door.
3. 16th NOVEMBER – DANA & SUSAN ROBINSON. We move across the border from Canada to USA on Thursday 16th November for some more transatlantic favourites of ours, Dana & Susan Robinson. These guitar-playing, banjo-frailing, fiddle-sawing, and harmony-singing interpreters of the American rural experience fashion a unique blend of original song-writing and old time mountain music. Their musical journey across rural America never fails to capture the audience's imagination and listeners switch between humour and poignant reflection as the route unfolds.
For Dana it is also an eighth visit to the Black Swan since his 2001 debut, with Susan joining him on every trip since 2003. It is Phil Cerny's turn to act as MC for this one, and again it is £10 in advance at WeGotTickets or £11 on the door.
4. 23rd NOVEMBER – SINGERS & MUSICIANS NIGHT. Our November Singers Night falls on 23rd and is hosted by Stan Graham. Who knows quite what to expect? The October event had 13 acts, including visiting duos from Grimsby and Leeds, and a healthy number of non-performing listeners besides. I counted at least seven different types of instruments being played, including ukulele, harmonium and concertina – it certainly wasn't all guitars or unaccompanied voices!
5. 30th NOVEMBER – GEORGIA LEWIS & FRIENDS. Our autumn season has been dominated by return visits from established artists, but of course at the Black Swan we pride ourselves in nurturing up-and-coming talent as well. Very few new performers over the last couple of years have impressed me as much as a young singer called Georgia Lewis, and on 30th November we are delighted to present for you Georgia Lewis & Friends.
Georgia has just released what could be her breakthrough album, The Bird Who Sings Freedom. "A glorious cocktail of modern folk influences, a potent statement of intent and a first glimpse at a burgeoning talent who looks set to put her stamp on English folk music" says one early posting, while the R&R (Rock & Reel) reviewer gives it 5 stars, saying "the melodious Wiltshire singer and multi-instrumentalist seems to have emerged fully fledged on the folk scene". The fRoots writer talks about "thoughtful and innovative arrangements of traditional folk songs" alongside "an inventive approach to sourcing other material". For example, the title track is a setting to music (by Jerry Jordan) of words by Maya Angelou, while Georgia herself has done a setting of an A E Housman poem and has composed one song of her own which "shows promise in both lyrics and melody" according to fRoots.
Georgia plays a number of instruments but primarily accordion and is joined by Felix Miller on guitars and Rowan Piggott on fiddle and backing vocals. Irish-born Rowan is a rising star in his own right, with a debut solo album imminent and several published tune books to his name. I urge you to check out this trio. Chris Euesden is again scheduled to MC and tickets are just £8 in advance at WeGotTickets or £9 on the door.
6. DECEMBER & EARLY JANUARY. December brings two highly contrasting but equally impressive bands to the Black Swan Inn. Lancashire's innovative electro-folk storyteller trio Harp And A Monkey return on 7th December, with a show which will include songs from their War Stories project of new material and re-worked traditional songs relating to the Great War. Then on 14th December we welcome from the Scottish Borders for a fairly rare English date the group Real Time, in which guitarist, singer and (increasingly) songwriter Kenny Speirs and keyboards player Tom Roseburgh (both ex John Wright Band) are joined by singer Eilidh Grant and fiddle player Carly Blain.
The annual Christmas Party ends our year (21st December), but after just a single holiday week we aim to get 2018 off to a cracking start with an intimate small venue show by Chris While & Julie Matthews (4th January). Tickets are on sale for all the above guest nights at WeGotTickets.
7. 2018 CLUB EVENTS. The club diary is now complete until the end of June 2018 and a full list of forthcoming events has been posted at www.blackswanfolkclub.org.uk/programme. Have a look and see what goodies are in store! I'll be writing copy for the next brochure in November, after which guest events until at least May will go on sale at WeGotTickets.
CONCERTS AT THE NCEM & THE CRESCENT
8. MARTIN SIMPSON, NCEM 6th NOVEMBER – SOLD OUT. Don't say you weren't warned! Martin Simpson's Trails & Tribulations show at NCEM is now completely Sold Out.
9. LADY MAISERY, NCEM 20th NOVEMBER. The multi-instrumental and vocal trio Lady Maisery brings together three of the most innovative and accomplished younger women on the English folk scene – Hannah James, Rowan Rheingans and Hazel Askew. With their distinctive harmony singing – sometimes lush and rich, sometimes dark and invigorating - and their thoughtful arrangements of both traditional and original songs, Hannah, Rowan and Hazel have earned an impressive reputation in a relatively short time. Whether unearthing the hidden feminist twist in an old song, delivering a poignant anti-war ballad, demonstrating multi-instrumental talents on accordion, harp, concertina, fiddle and banjo, or reviving the lost art of "diddling" mouth music, they are supreme exponents of the power, beauty and vitality of folk song.
All three members have appeared in other guises at the Black Swan Inn, while their NCEM debut as Lady Maisery was a standout success of our 2015 season. No wonder this return visit has been selling well and as I write there are only around 50 tickets left, priced at £16 full or £14 concessions. Opening the night on Monday 20th November will be another fine female trio, Otley acapella stars Yan Tan Tether. Not to be missed!
10. PEGGY SEEGER'S "FIRST TIME EVER" TOUR, THE CRESCENT 27th NOVEMBER. We move across town to The Crescent Community Venue, off Blossom Street, for a very special show with Peggy Seeger and her sons Neill & Calum MacColl on Monday 27th November. A co-promotion with Joe Coates of PleasePleaseYou Peggy Seeger & Family – The First Time Ever Tour coincides with the publication of her memoir First Time Ever and will feature some of the best-loved songs associated with Peggy and the late Ewan MacColl, interspersed with readings from the book.
The memoir was released a few weeks ago and has already picked up some notable reviews, for example by Ludovic Hunter-Tilney in the Financial Times, under the heading "a funny, incisive and affecting memoir tells the story of the British folk revival." He concludes: "folk music and activism tend to come freighted with connotations of earnestness. But Seeger's writing goes against the stereotype. First Time Ever is funny, incisive, and affecting. At 82, despite the health problems outlined (in) the book, she continues performing. Both she and her vigorous autobiography are testament to folk's tenacity in a modern world that is proving increasingly antithetical to its values".
Tickets are on sale on both the SeeTickets and WeGotTickets websites, priced at £18. They can also be purchased at Inkwell on Gillygate and over the bar at the venue after 7pm weekdays or all day Sunday. Space permitting, tickets will also be on sale on the door at £20. Doors open at 7.30pm and the concert begins at 8pm, with no support act. Paula Ryan will be acting as MC.
11. CAROLLING & CRUMPETS WITH JOHN KIRKPATRICK, NCEM 18th DECEMBER. Our seasonal show this year at the Early Music Centre is light-hearted presentation by the celebrated singer and squeeze-box maestro John Kirkpatrick on Monday 18th December. Carolling & Crumpets is proving another popular concert, with over two thirds of the tickets sold already. They are £15 full or £13 concessions, and again there is no support act, it being a themed show.
12. EARLY 2018 CONCERTS AT NCEM. Our first two events of 2018 at the Early Music Centre are also open for booking now. The visit by Martin & Eliza Carthy on Tuesday 13th February has attracted a lot of early interest (not surprisingly!) and is already well over half sold. Also on sale now, and happening on Tuesday 27th February, is a Canadian folk music "package tour" double bill with The Ennis Sisters from Newfoundland and Nova Scotian singer-songwriter Dave Gunning. More on that one nearer the time. Further concerts (not yet on sale) will include Alistair Anderson & Northlands on Wednesday 14th March, the return of Scottish band Barluath on Tuesday 27th March and a visit by ex-Tanglefoot members Ritchie Parrish Ritchie on Wednesday 30th May.
13. REMEMBERING TOM PALEY. Folk music lovers worldwide were saddened to hear of the death of Tom Paley on 30th September. One of the great pioneers of the American folk revival in the 1950s, Tom had worked in his youth with such legends as Woody Guthrie and Leadbelly, was cited as an early influence by Bob Dylan and taught musicians such as Ry Cooder and Jerry Garcia. He moved to London in the mid-1960s and appeared at our club several times in our very early days. Tom made a triumphant return to York in 2012, at the age of 84, after the release of his acclaimed Roll On, Roll On record – a memorable night at the Black Swan Inn co-promoted by ourselves and Tim Hornsby of Mr H Presents. You can read an obituary at www.theguardian.com/music/2017/oct/02/tom-paley-obituary.
14. PAULA RYAN ON BBC INTRODUCING. Club supporter Paula Ryan was thrilled to feature in a recent BBC Introducing session on Radio York, for "unsigned and undiscovered North Yorkshire talent". The show went out on 21st October and is available online for about 3 more weeks at www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p05hgkwn#play. Paula's session is in the second half and is in two parts. Part 1 starts at 1:11 and part 2 at 1:35.
15. JOSHUA BURNELL REACHES AWARDS SHORTLIST. I was delighted to hear last Friday that young local singer Joshua Burnell has been shortlisted in the Best Performing Artist category of the annual York Culture Awards, organised by Make It York. Delighted because it was me that nominated Joshua, having been suitably impressed by his work over the last year, both on stage (e.g. at Beverley Folk Festival and in August at our own club) and in his ambitious a-folk-song-a-week-for-a-year online Seasons project. Only last week Joshua and partner Frances Sladen did a great opener set for Bella Hardy at the NCEM. The other finalists in this category are performance poet Katie Greenbrown and goodtime band Hyde Family Jam, often to be seen busking in York city centre. Winners will be announced at the Awards Ceremony in York Minster on Thursday 23rd November.
16. THANKS AND BEST WISHES, MELANIE. Freelance marketing consultant Melanie Paris has announced that she will be leaving the National Centre for Early Music (NCEM) at the end of this year after working for the organisation since it opened its doors 17 years ago. We have collaborated closely with Melanie throughout that time to publicise our folk concerts there – all 130 or so of them – and she has always been helpful, supportive and utterly professional. Even in this increasingly digital age, the high quality NCEM bi-annual brochures which she produces continue to play a major role in "selling" folk events to a far wider audience than we could possibly reach on our own.
Originally a keen jazz enthusiast, Melanie says "it has been a real privilege to work for the NCEM - my musical tastes are now very eclectic having had the wonderful opportunity to listen to such a wide range of music across many different genres". NCEM Director Delma Tomlin adds "Melanie has been key to the success of the NCEM's marketing operation – engaging audiences locally, regionally and nationally – and helping to establish the NCEM as one of the major touring venues for music in the north of England". On behalf of the wider folk audience, I'd like to heartily thank Melanie for all her hard work over the years and wish her well with new ventures. The NCEM will shortly be advertising for a new marketing manager, and meanwhile before she leaves Melanie is putting together a final brochure covering the first half of next year.
17. TONY HAYNES FAB UPDATE. Local radio presenter and folk music champion Tony Haynes has changed days for his FAB Folk & Blues programme on Wetherby community station Tempo FM. It now goes out from 8pm to 10pm on Wednesdays and can be heard live online (tempofm.co.uk) or on 107.4FM in the lower Wharfe valley, a signal that reaches as far as western York and parts of Leeds. Stripped of their station IDs, the shows also continue to be uploaded to Tony's Mixcloud site www.mixcloud.com/tonyhaynes52/. Tony also says "I am now taking bookings for 2018 from artists/bands who would like to perform live on air one Wednesday evening. Please get in touch with a suggested date."
He continues "also I have been granted air-time from 11pm to 1am on Wednesday nights for Midweek Midnight Mayhem, a new show for insufferable insomniacs. It will feature any genre as long as tracks are air-worthy. It will also revive past tracks that are in danger of being forgotten. Think John Peel, but older." This show is also being podcast on Mixcloud.
18. AND A NEW HOME FOR TONY'S THIRD SUNDAY CLUB. Tony Haynes also writes that his recently launched third Sunday of the month singers club in East Ayton, near Scarborough, has moved to the newly refurbished Denison Arms on the Main Street. "The landlord and landlady are ex-pats from the Wadebridge Folk Festival in Cornwall" says Tony. "They are keen to have us at their pub. Please give us your support and tell your friends". The next gathering should be on 19th November, 7.30pm for an 8pm start.
19. PLUS A SECOND SUNDAY AFTERNOON SESSION. Local group Alterego (which includes club supporter Steve Marshall) hosts an Acoustic Session on the second Sunday of each month at the Wenlock Arms in Wheldrake, so next on 12th November. Starting at 4pm, it is "a chance to get together and play acoustic music and sing songs in a pub environment. All styles welcome, or just come along to listen." And if you want to eat first, the pub serves food until 4pm.
OTHER EVENTS IN YORK
20. IRISH TRAD NIGHT AT THE GILLYGATE, 4th NOVEMBER. York Irish have announced the return of their popular Irish traditional music night. All musicians and singers are invited to come and join in at The Gillygate pub next Saturday, 4th November from 8pm
21. ROB HERON AT THE CRESCENT, 21st NOVEMBER. Based in Newcastle upon Tyne, Rob Heron & the Tea Pad Orchestra are probably one of the hardest working bands on the UK roots circuit, playing their own distinctive mix of Western Swing, Blues, Gypsy Jazz and Country, or "North Eastern Swing" as they've coined it. Joe Coates of PleasePleaseYou presents them at The Crescent in York on Tuesday 21st November. Tickets are £10 through www.pleasepleaseyou.com.
22. TWO BLACK SHEEP & A STALLION CD LAUNCH, 22nd NOVEMBER. Local stalwarts Two Black Sheep & A Stallion have finally completed their latest CD and will be giving it a formal launch at the Black Swan Inn on Wednesday 22nd November. The group is now officially a five-piece with Ron Akehurst, Martin Bartlett and Pete Outhart joined by Damian Fynes and Frank Pallister. Many tracks remain acapella, but Damian's guitar, Frank's banjo and Martin's fiddle are also featured. The 17-track disc is entitled The Last of the Careless Men, a line from the Henry Lawson poem The Outside Track, as set to music by York's own Gerry Hallom. Female vocal trio The Lennanshees will also sing at the launch night and it is hoped that Rob Van Sante, who recorded and mastered the disc, will be there as well. The 8pm launch event is free, but because room capacity is limited, "tickets" need to be booked in advance. Contact Pete on email@example.com or Damien on firstname.lastname@example.org.
23. SOUNDSPHERE'S CHRISTMAS CONCERT, 9th DECEMBER. Here is advance news of this year's Christmas Show by Sarah, Paula and Judith, aka Soundsphere. Tis The Season is described as "a winter wonderland of Yuletide songs, a joyous celebration in song of all things Yule" and will be held in the sparkly candlelit atmosphere of the York Cemetery Chapel on Saturday 9th December. It is a "bring your own bottle" event, although the ticket price of £7 includes a complementary glass of mulled wine and a mince pie. Doors will open at 6.30pm for a 7pm start and bookings can be made by emailing email@example.com or contacting Sarah Dean on 07963 792504.
EVENTS FURTHER AFIELD
There seems to a huge amount of interesting live music around our wider region in coming weeks. Here in approximately chronological order are brief details of things that have been brought to my attention.
24. GIGSPANNER IN HELMSLEY, 3rd NOVEMBER. The album launch tour for Peter Knight's Gigspanner brings the ex-Steeleye Span fiddle player and his band to Helmsley Arts Centre this coming Friday at 7.30pm. Tickets are £16 through www.helmsleyarts.co.uk. Gigspanner move on to the Victoria Hall in Settle on Saturday 4th November, www.settlevictoriahall.org.uk.
25. HOTCLUBS AND SESSIONS IN SALTAIRE. The Saltaire Live season in the Victoria Hall continues with Hotclub Of Cowtown this Friday, 3rd November (£16.50), with York-based trio Stillhouse in support, and then has Scottish supergroup Session A9 on Sunday 26th November (£15), both shows at 7.30pm. See www.saltairelive.co.uk.
26. MILE ROSES IN BRIDLINGTON AND COTTINGHAM. Edwina Hayes, Kate Bramley and Simon Haworth, aka The Mile Roses, continue their autumn tour with "home area" shows at Bridlington Folk Club on Tuesday 7th November (01262 674592) and Cottingham Live on Wednesday 15th November (01482 844543). Both nights are likely to be busy, I suspect!
27. PAPERBOYS IN SELBY, 7th NOVEMBER. Canadian folk rockers The Paperboys appear at Selby Town Hall on Tuesday 7th November, with support from our recent club guest Sarah Jane Scouten (this time minus her backing band). Tickets are £14 advance or £16 on the door – see www.selbytownhall.co.uk.
28. LIVE MUSIC IN MIDDLESBROUGH. Live music enthusiast Leigh Sayers runs occasional folk and roots-related events at The Studio in Toft House on The Avenue in Linthorpe, Middlesbrough (TS5 6SA). Coming up on Saturday 11th November is Fake Thackray, aka our very own John Watterson, then on Saturday 2nd December it is The Jon Strong Band with support from Pete Davies. Doors open at 7pm for a 7.30pm start – details from firstname.lastname@example.org.
29. EMILY BARKER IN FARNDALE, 11th NOVEMBER. Also on Saturday 11th November, singer Emily Barker makes her fifth appearance at the iconic Band Room venue in Farndale with her current band. Tickets (£15) and further details at www.thebandroom.co.uk.
30. EDWINA & FLOSSIE AT CHERRY BURTON, 18th NOVEMBER. Immediately after the above mentioned Mile Roses tour, Edwina Hayes is doing some dates with Flossie Malavialle, including the Village Hall in Cherry Burton near Beverley on Saturday 18th November at 8pm. "Together the pair will play their own sets, and collaborate on some songs to make for a memorable evening" say the organisers. Tickets (£10) are available from www.wegottickets.com, further info on 01964 551145.
31. ROISIN BAN CEILI IN TOCKWITH, 18th NOVEMBER. Róisín Bán – now a four piece and including Gordon Tyrrall – play for an Irish Ceili Night on Saturday 18th November at the Village Hall in Tockwith, west of York. Barry Evans calls the dances, doors open at 7pm and the show begins at 7.30pm. Tickets are £10 on 01423 358808.
32. HUTTON RUDBY VILLAGE HALL EVENTS. The Village Hall in Hutton Rudby (off the A19 near Stokesley) is another venue beginning to promote a range of live music events. They have already had a night with the young Orcadian folk group Fara, and continue with singer-songwriter Martyn Joseph on Saturday 18th November, with tickets at £16. Amy Wadge and Luke Jackson will follow on Friday 26th January next year, tickets £12. Booking is through www.huttonrudbyvillagehall.org.uk or ring Janet on 01642 701586.
33. LEEDS IRISH GATHERING 2017. The annual celebration of all things Irish in Leeds takes place between 18th and 26th November and includes a lot of music events, including Brian Kennedy, Matt Tighe, Lau and the Tom McConville Band, plus informal sessions. Find full details at www.irisharts.org.uk.
34. "WINTER" MUSIC & THEATRE SHOW IN HOVINGHAM, 25th NOVEMBER. Glenn Stott writes "musicians from folk bands The Fine Companions and Malarkey collaborate with Me & Thee Theatre to stage a performance celebrating Winter through songs, stories and poetry. There is an original writing and poetry interpreted and brought to life with some fine folk songs and tunes". It is on Saturday 25th November at Hovingham Village Hall, with doors open at 7pm for a 7.30pm start and tickets £9, reserveable on 01653 690212, and also on sale on the door.
35. TOM RUSSELL IN POCKLINGTON, 28th NOVEMBER. With a new album recently released US singer-songwriter Tom Russell is touring Britain and revisits Pocklington Arts Centre on Tuesday 28th November at 8pm, a venue he has filled on several earlier occasions. Remaining tickets are £20 through www.pocklingtonartscentre.co.uk.
36. DAR WILLIAMS IN TADCASTER, 29th NOVEMBER. Another fine American singer-songwriter, Dar Williams, appears on Wednesday 29th November in Tadcaster, a town which doesn't see much live music, so her visit is doubly welcome. Venue is the bar and restaurant Everything Good Goes on Westgate, an intimate space holding no more than 70 people, I am informed. Tickets are £13.50 through Eventbrite or ring 07988 496567.
37. COMING UP IN REETH. The Memorial Hall in the Swaledale village of Reeth has been hosting frequent live music events for several years now. Their last concert this year is by Tom McConville & Tony Wilson on Friday 1st December at 8pm. The 2018 programme has already been announced and includes such treats as Danish duo Andreas Tophøj & Rune Barslund (27th January), English duo Megson (16th February) and Welsh band Calan (13th April). You can find full details on www.reethmemorialhall.co.uk.
38. MATTHEWS SOUTHERN COMFORT IN OTLEY, 2nd DECEMBER. The latest re-formation of Iain Matthews' chart-topping early 1970s band Matthews Southern Comfort are in Britain shortly and have dates at Selby Town Hall (sold out) and at Otley Courthouse on Saturday 2nd December at 8pm. The latter still has some tickets left at £15 – see www.otleycourthouse.org.uk. I'm a great Iain Matthews fan, so I'll certainly be there.
38 items – that must be a record! All being well, I should be back in about 4 weeks' time.