5th October 2018
THIS MONTH'S CLUB EVENTS
With last night's visit excellent full house club gig by Sherburn, Bartley & Sanders still ringing in our ears, let's move straight on to next week, when we two top class solo acts for you.
1. MONDAY 8th AT THE NCEM – JON BODEN. Best known as the lead singer and main arranger of the hugely successful "progressive folk" juggernaut that was Bellowhead, and as one half of much-loved duo Spiers & Boden, Jon Boden launched his solo career in 2016, after Bellowhead called it a day. Showcasing his playing talents on fiddle, guitar and concertina and performing a mix of self-penned songs and re-worked traditional numbers, his dynamic solo shows have been enthusiastically received and critically acclaimed. I was certainly impressed myself, when I saw Jon do a solo main stage set at a major festival last year, so when the chance came to book him for the NCEM, I leaped at it.
In one context or another, Jon has shared in eleven BBC Radio 2 Folk Award wins, more than any other artist, and he is surely the stand-out performer of his generation in English folk music, combining a deep knowledge of and love for our folk traditions with an adventurous desire to take the music in new directions. Who better to launch our autumn run at the NCEM?
There is no support act for this one, so Jon will be on stage at 7.30pm, and there are still some tickets left, priced at £20 full or £18 concessions (over 65, etc.). You can book online at www.ncem.co.uk or (office hours) on 01904 658338, or the box office opens on the night of the performance at 6.30pm.
2. THURSDAY 11th OCTOBER AT THE BLACK SWAN – RACHEL NEWTON. Next Thursday brings us the auspicious York debut of feted Scottish singer and harpist Rachel Newton, who specialises in interpreting traditional songs in both English and Scottish Gaelic, as well as performing her own instrumental pieces. She was voted Instrumentalist of the Year in the 2016 Scots Trad Awards and then Musician of the Year in last year's BBC Folk Awards, and is now doing her longest ever solo tour to mark the release of her fourth album West at the end of last month.
West was recorded in her late grandparents' old croft house in Achnahaird, Wester Ross. "I wanted to make something that was truly solo - just my voice and my harps," she says of the record. "It felt important to record such an album in a space that held a special meaning to me personally. My grandparents' croft house was where I spent all my school holidays. Growing up, it felt like the perfect setting. I hope that people will get a sense of the place and the landscape through the music." See Rachel talking about the album at https://youtu.be/vv23u0Te1Rw.
Here are two early reviews. "West is an intriguing album that solidifies Newton's reputation as one of the best talents in British folk music" says website Bright Young Folk, while Folk Radio UK says "recorded in the comparative solitude of Wester Ross, West never sounds sparse or minimalist. It's almost as if the setting has helped her pour more of herself into this album than ever before. It is a significant accomplishment; a rich, deeply moving, and immensely enjoyable album".
Of her previous album Here's My Heart Come Take It (2016), "haunting and compelling" was The Guardian's verdict, "a thing of great beauty" said fRoots and "brings traditional songs freshly to life without losing their essential strangeness" wrote the Financial Times.
Rachel plays fiddle and viola in addition to harp and works across a range of performance platforms including theatre and storytelling. A skilled collaborator, she is a founder member of ground-breaking bands The Shee and The Furrow Collective and also plays with the Scottish/Norwegian group Boreas.
Tickets are £11 in advance through WeGotTickets or £12.50 on the door. Phil Cerny will be acting as MC, the floor singers will be Eddie Affleck, Steve Marshall and Paula Ryan, and there will also be a couple of songs from Iona Lane, a student on the new folk music degree course at Leeds College of Music. It should be a cracking night.
3. THURSDAY 18th OCTOBER AT THE BLACK SWAN– JACK RUTTER. Our second debut club guest this month (at least as a solo performer) is Jack Rutter, a highly respected young singer and multi-instrumentalist playing within the British folk tradition. His solo set features a range of well-known and rarer traditional songs from a variety of sources, delivered with guitar, bouzouki or duet concertina accompaniments that complement his signature "honest, unaffected vocals" (Yorkshire Evening Post). "A truly captivating singer of traditional songs, Jack's record (Hills, 2017) feels like one of the classic folk albums of the 70s" was the above-mentioned Jon Boden's verdict, while another critic wrote of his live act "traditional songs and narratives delivered with an easy going stage presence and rich unassuming Yorkshire charm".
Jack grew up in the Holme Valley area of West Yorkshire, a place steeped in a wealth of traditional song, and since graduating from Newcastle University he has gone on to forge a hugely successful career playing folk music professionally in various guises across Britain and Europe, including in the trio Moore Moss Rutter (enjoyed at the Black Swan about 5 years ago), with Seth Lakeman's band and with Jackie Oates' band.
Newly returned from a month in America, Stan Graham is scheduled to be your MC on Thursday 18th October, and the floor singers will be Judith Haswell, Chris Euesden and John Storey. Tickets are £9 in advance or £10 on the door.
4. TUESDAY 23rd OCTOBER AT THE NCEM - TALISK. Our second concert this month at the NCEM returns the focus to Scotland. Band of the Year in the latest BBC Alba Scots Trad Music Awards, 2015 winners of the BBC Young Folk Award and Horizon finalists in 2017, Talisk are one of the fastest rising and busiest instrumental acts on the folk scene. Mohsen Amini on concertina (Musician of the Year in this year's BBC Folk Awards), Hayley Keenan on fiddle and Graeme Armstrong on guitar create a captivating and energetic sound that has earned them media praise and standing ovations from audiences far and wide. "The technical ability of each member is clear in the energetic, dynamic sound produced… with concertina, fiddle and guitar melding seamlessly together to produce a mature sound which belies their three short years together," wrote the Songlines reviewer.
Talisk release their hotly-anticipated second album Beyond to tie in with the current tour. Hear the great opening track Montreal at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n44J0dCgo1w. The band has already had a year packed with UK, European and US tours and festivals. So far in 2018, they have played 17 of the latter, from WOMAD UK, where they amassed one of the weekend's largest crowds at the BBC Radio 3 Charlie Gillett stage, to Glasgow's Festival 2018 on George Square, to Philadelphia Folk Festival and Milwaukee Irish Fest, and Norway's Nordsjøfestivalen, and all this after 2017 performances at other leading festivals as Cambridge, Tønder, Celtic Colours and Celtic Connections.
What is more, there will be some top class support to entertain you at the NCEM, with a half hour opener from local stars Bella Gaffney & Polly Bolton at 7.30pm on Tuesday 23rd October. Tickets are £16 full or £14 concessions at www.ncem.co.uk or on 01904 658338
5. THURSDAY 25th OCTOBER AT THE BLACK SWAN – SINGERS NIGHT. This month's open house Singers & Musicians Night takes place on 25th October with Steve Marshall taking a turn as MC. As usual, we don't know exactly who or what to expect but these nights are almost always great fun, and often throw up a few delightful surprises. Entry is £3 on the door to non-performers.
6. THURSDAY 1st NOVEMBER AT THE BLACK SWAN – JIM MORAY. Iconoclastic English performer Jim Moray starts our November line-up. Winner of numerous BBC Folk Awards and author of a series of ground-breaking projects (most recently the semi-orchestral Upcetera and the folk rock False Lights), Jim stands at the forefront of the folk scene and is hailed as a pivotal influence. Previous solo shows at the Black Swan (2014, 2016) sold out in advance and this year's visit is heading the same way, with only about 15 seats left as I write. Early booking is therefore strongly advised - £12 at www.wegottickets.com. Chris Euesden acts as compere.
7. TUESDAY 6th NOVEMBER AT THE NCEM – DAOIRI FARRELL. Dublin-born singer and bouzouki player Daoirí Farrell is widely acclaimed as one of most important performers to come out of Ireland in recent years, breathing vigorous new life into the Irish folksong repertoire. His breakthrough album True Born Irishman lead to three BBC Folk Award nominations in 2017, more than any other artist, with wins in the Horizon (for best newcomer) and Best Traditional Track categories. Since then Daoirí (pronounced Derry) has toured widely around Britain and far beyond, including with the Transatlantic Sessions, and at leading festivals such as Cambridge, Shrewsbury and Costa del Folk.
Daoirí's debut appearance at the Black Swan in 2016 was one of our standout nights that year (and a full house), so we had no hesitation in inviting him back to York at the much larger NCEM venue. On Tuesday 6th November support comes from popular York-based Irish singer Damian Fynes and tickets are £15 full and £13 concessions at www.ncem.co.uk or on 01904 658338.
8. THURSDAY 8th NOVEMBER AT THE BLACK SWAN – KIM LOWINGS & THE GREENWOOD. Each autumn I used to attend an event called the English Folk Expo, designed to showcase up-and-coming artists working within the English folk tradition to club, concert and festival promoters. One of the acts which impressed me at last year's Expo was the singer and dulcimer player Kim Lowings and her band The Greenwood, in which she is joined by Tim Rogers on percussion, Dave Sutherland on double bass and her father Andrew on guitar and bouzouki. Hence this York debut booking on 8th November. The band's energetic sound has been described as "punchy and authentic" by Mike Harding, no less, and cleverly combines original compositions with innovative new arrangements of familiar traditional songs. Tickets are £9 at www.wegottickets.com or £10 on door, with students half price as usual. Phil Cerny takes another turn as MC.
9. ***CHANGE OF PROGRAMME, THURSDAY 15th NOVEMBER AT THE BLACK SWAN***
MND FUNDRAISER WITH RAMSHACKLE IN PLACE OF ANGE HARDY. Shortly after sending out the last club newsletter, I heard that our booked guest on 15th November, Ange Hardy, was cancelling all her outstanding engagements. You can read her explanation at www.angehardy.com/gigs.
Rather than have me book another guest artist at short notice or organise an extra singers night, our club residents immediately offered to run a Fundraising Night. As most of you will know, I am now seriously ill with motor neurone disease (MND) and while I can still sit at a computer and do things like this newsletter, my mobility is greatly reduced. Proceeds from this concert will be divided between helping to pay for practical measures (i.e. the recently installed stairlift) which help me continue to attend the club and making a donation to the local branch of the MND Association.
Headlining the night will be Ramshackle, our lively club "house band" comprising Stan Graham, Judith Haswell, Chris Euesden, Phil Cerny and Eddie Affleck. Other club regulars will be doing short floor spots as well. Please come along and help us raise as much money as possible! We have kept the ticket price as it was to have been for Ange Hardy, namely £9 in advance at www.wegottickets.com or £10 on door.
10. MONDAY 19th NOVEMBER AT THE NCEM – SIOBHAN MILLER. After leading singers from England (Jon Boden) and Ireland (Daoirí Farrell) and a top Scottish instrumental act (Talisk), our fourth NCEM show this autumn features one of the foremost young singers in Scotland. Siobhan Miller is a truly exceptional talent whose soulful and stirring take on folk song has won her Singer Of The Year an unprecedented three times at the Scots Trad Music Awards, as well as this year's Radio 2 Folk Award for Best Traditional Track. Siobhan's superb vocal style has been honed through collaborations with many of Scotland's top musicians and tradition bearers, while her extensive range spans choice contemporary songs and lyrically rich self-penned material as well as traditional favourites.
Siobhan will be accompanied on 19th November by her small backing band, comprising Euan Burton (bass), Aidan Moodie (guitar, vocals) and John Lowrie (piano, percussion). Support comes from adventurous local trio White Sail (Jane Stockdale, Chris Bartram & Sarah Dean) and tickets are £16 or £14 from the NCEM website or box office.
11. THURSDAY 22nd NOVEMBER AT THE BLACK SWAN – SINGERS NIGHT. John Storey will host November's club open night. All are welcome at what is usually a very varied and enjoyable informal evening.
12. THURSDAY 29th NOVEMBER AT THE BLACK SWAN – STEVE TILSTON. Forty seven years down the road from his seminal first album, Steve Tilston remains firmly at the top of his game. As a celebrated song-smith and a superb acoustic guitar player, he has few equals. Steve has entertained us many times over the years and it will be a great pleasure to welcome him back to York again on 29th November. Stan Graham will be your MC and tickets are £11 in advance at www.wegottickets.com or £12.50 on door.
13. THURSDAY CLUB NIGHTS. December brings us genius multi-instrumentalist and singer Tim Edey (6th) followed by our old mate Dave Burland and his friends The Awkward Squad (13th). We have our customary Christmas Party on 20th December, then take a week off between Christmas and New Year.
The club diary is largely sorted for the first half of 2019 and all fully confirmed dates have been posted at www.blackswanfolkclub.org.uk/programme. Look out for Jez Lowe, the Jon Palmer Acoustic Band and Kentucky female folk duo The Local Honeys in January, with lots more good music to follow.
14. TUESDAY 18th DECEMBER AT NCEM - SONGS FOR CHRISTMAS WITH EMILY SMITH. For her fifth visit to NCEM, the much admired Scottish singer Emily Smith will be presenting her unique Christmas show. Accompanied by Jamie McClennan and Anna Massie (guitar, fiddle, backing vocals), she promises a beautiful blend of original and traditional festive songs. Sing along with old carols, tap your toes to upbeat instrumentals or simply close your eyes and let Emily's evocative voice help you dwell on the joy and peace that Christmas can bring. From humble beginnings in 2012, she has honed this show into a widely-acclaimed and moving, family friendly seasonal night out. Support comes from popular Ryedale singer-songwriter David Swann and tickets are £17 full or £15 concessions.
15. COMING TO THE NCEM IN 2019. Also now open for booking are our first two NCEM shows of 2019: a return visit by Phil Beer on Tuesday 12th February (almost exactly 10 years after he presented us with our Folk Club of the Year trophy at the 2009 BBC Folk Awards) and a Celtic special with Mike McGoldrick, John McCusker & John Doyle on Tuesday 26th February. Confirmed NCEM events later next Spring include The Rheingans Sisters, Peter Knight's Gigspanner and The Melrose Quartet.
16. FAREWELL CHRIS SUTTON. I was deeply saddened last week to hear of the death of long term club supporter Chris Sutton, who passed away on the morning of 27th September after a relatively short battle with a particularly aggressive form of cancer. Chris and his partner Jood were great enthusiasts for folk music and had been attending club events at both the Black Swan and the NCEM for many years, as well as frequenting several summer festivals each year in their trusty campervan. Chris was diagnosed only in the spring of this year and despite steadily worsening health came to the club several times this summer, most recently for Pete Morton in July. He and Jood managed to make their annual pilgrimage to the Cropredy Festival in early August ("a great success despite the occasional obligatory downpour" he told me afterwards) and they were all set to go to the Shrewsbury Festival over the bank holiday weekend, until a sudden deterioration in his condition kept them at home in York.
Chris was a lovely bloke, knowledgeable but unassuming, thoughtful and kind, always willing to help out when something needed doing. Over the last couple of years he had also emerged as a musician himself, sometimes bringing his accordion along to Singers Nights and playing us a few tunes. We will miss him greatly. Heartfelt condolences go to Jood and their children Ben and Katie and his sister Jane.
Chris's funeral takes place next Thursday, 11th October, at 12:20pm at Bishopthorpe Crematorium, with a chance afterwards to raise a glass on his behalf at The Woodman in Bishopthorpe village. "I would love to see everyone there…it will be a very 'folky' send-off" says Jood.
17. VIDEO LINKS NOW ON OUR CLUB WEBSITE. Our webmaster Michael Jary has tweaked the programme page on the club website (www.blackswanfolkclub.org.uk/programme) and we now have the facility to add a YouTube link or similar for every club and concert guest. I have added such links for events to the end of this year, opting in most cases for a live performance video which will give you a taste of what to expect if you come along that night. Let me know what you think.
18. JOSHUA BURNELL NEW CD. It is only a few months since York's young folk rock singer Joshua Burnell released his magnificent Songs From The Seasons album but he already has a brand new studio album ready to roll. Called The Road To Horn Fair and graced with mediaeval style cover art by illustrator Randy Asplund, it features 10 traditional songs and tunes. The official release date is in January 2019 but pre-orders will be dispatched to arrive next month, in line with an album launch event scheduled for Pocklington Arts Centre on Wednesday 21st November. As an added incentive for those who pre-order, a bonus CD The Snickleway To Horn Fair will be hand printed and assembled and sent along with the order as a special thank you. This bonus CD will cease to be available once The Road To Horn Fair is officially released.
Joshua's 7-piece band now includes fiddle player Holly Brandon (who also works with Bella Gaffney & Polly Bolton) as well as Jack Woods on mandolin (also in Leather'o), Matthew Mefford on bass, Ed Simpson on drums, Nathan Greaves on guitar and Frances Sladen on vocals. The full band will be in action at Pocklington and there will be an opening spot by Rachel Croft as well, at 8pm. Tickets are a very modest £8 in advance through www.pocklingtonartscentre.co.uk
19. FOLK RADIO UPDATES AND REMINDERS. Listeners to this week's BBC Radio 2 Folk Show will have heard the sudden news that presenter Mark Radcliffe is taking an immediate break from the programme as he has been diagnosed with cancer. It seems the problem has been caught at an early stage and Mark fully expects to be back in action by the beginning of next year. We wish him well for a speedy and successful recovery, and meanwhile Scottish singer-songwriter Ricky Ross will be presenting the Folk Show at 8pm on Wednesdays.
Closer to home, remember that BBC Radio Leeds hosts the Durbervilles Folk & Roots Show every Sunday at 8pm. Last Sunday they had the excellent Kitty Macfarlane in session. Meanwhile over on BBC Radio Sheffield our recent club guest Greg Russell presents a three-hour show on alternate Tuesdays at 7pm, called New Traditions with Greg Russell. All of these radio shows can be heard for up to a month after broadcast on the BBC website.
Lastly, York's own Tony Haynes continues to do sterling work on the Wetherby community radio station Tempo FM, broadcasting a 2 hour show every Wednesday. This week his studio guests were that sublime York vocal group Two Black Sheep & A Stallion. All Tony's broadcasts are available to listen to online at www.mixcloud.com/tonyhaynes52/.
20. NEW FOLK CLUB IN HARROGATE. After several years without a regular folk club venue in Harrogate, a new venture is being launched next month. Starting on 4th November, Harrogate Folk Club will meet on the first Sunday of each month at 7.30pm in the upstairs function room of The Empress, on Church Square beside the Stray (HG1 4SP). The organisers Tom and Sally Richardson "feel the time is right for a new folk revival in Harrogate, to capture the enthusiasm and talent of young musicians in the area". They say that they aim to provide "an informal, intimate and high quality musical experience". There will be a top quality professional guest artist every third month, with singers and musicians nights other months, each one featuring a particular local artist or band.
The opening night on 4th November will be a general singers and musicians evening, then on 2nd December the featured local act will be Americana duo Steamtown (see also item 27 below), then on 6th January Flossie Malavialle will be the first "big name" guest. Artists booked for later in the year include Cohen Braithwaite-Kilcoyne, Jez Lowe and Dan Walsh. There is a Facebook page at www.facebook.com/HarrogateFolkClub, or for general enquiries ring 0773 432 3572.
OTHER EVENTS IN AND AROUND YORK
21. THORGANBY FOLK, 13th OCTOBER. A reminder that Thorganby Folk begin their autumn season with top female trio Lady Maisery on Saturday 13th October, at the usual venue in Thorganby Village Hall. Booking is through www.ticketsource.co.uk/thorganby-folk. Alternatively, if you would prefer to book direct and pay by BACS, cheque or cash, email them on email@example.com. The next Thorganby Folk show is on Friday 21st December and is a reprise visit by O'Hooley & Tidow on their Winterfolk tour.
22. ACOUSTIC & FOLK SESSION AT THE BLACK SWAN, 20th OCTOBER. Ellen Cole has announced the line-up for the next of her occasional Eboracum Sessions at the Black Swan Inn, on Saturday 20th October. Bella Gaffney & Polly Bolton will kick things off at 3pm, followed at 4pm by Katie Spencer, 5pm Union Jill and 6pm David Ward Maclean (happily much recovered from the stroke which took him out of action last June). Nick B Hall (of Plumhall and the Hall Brothers) is on at 7pm and The Rich Hardcastle Band end the show at 8pm. The event is family friendly, says Ellen, and entry is free for children under the age of 16. For others, tickets are £6 if booked in advance through www.eventbrite.co.uk and £8 on the door. There is a Facebook page at www.facebook.com/events/263329054398148/.
23. IAN FELICE, 27th OCTOBER. Joe Coates of PleasePleaseYou joins forces with Green Chilli Roots to presents Ian Felice of American act The Felice Brothers at The Winning Post, York on Saturday 27th October at 7.30pm. Tickets are £15 in advance at www.seetickets.com. Some of you may recall that a few years ago the folk club collaborated with Joe Coates to put on Ian's brother, Simone Felice, at the Black Swan Inn.
24. FOLK EVENTS AT THE CRESCENT IN NOVEMBER. Next month looks like being a busy one for folk and roots music in York. On top of our five events at the Black Swan and two at the NCEM, there are several folk concerts scheduled for The Crescent Community Venue off Blossom Street. Highly rated Devon singer and guitarist John Smith is there on Sunday 4th November, high-energy Scottish band Skerryvore appear on Sunday 18th November and East London outfit Stick in the Wheel perform on Friday 23rd November. Find out more at www.thecrescentyork.com.
25. WILL POUND IN KIRK HAMMERTON, 16th NOVEMBER. The virtuoso accordion and harmonica player Will Pound is doing a house concert/village hall British tour next month, and one of the venues is the Village Hall in Kirk Hammerton, near York, on Friday 16th November. I know little more about this event, so if you are interested I suggest you contact the named tickets person who is called Duncan, on firstname.lastname@example.org.
SELECTED EVENTS FURTHER AFIELD
26. FUNDRAISING EVENT IN MALTON 20th OCTOBER. There is a fund raising concert for Malton Museum taking place on Saturday 20th October, with local folk band the Fine Companions and others. It is at the Assembly Rooms in Malton with tickets £8 on the door, which includes one drink. Doors open at 7pm and you are advised to use the entrance via the Museum on Yorkersgate.
27. STEAMTOWN IN RIPON, FRIDAY 26th OCTOBER. Last Friday of the month folk events continue at St Wilfrid's Community Centre in Ripon. This month, 26th October, it is an Open Mic night with featured guests Steamtown, a local Americana duo who have been writing and performing together on guitar, banjo, harmonica and suitcase drum since 2016. "They give an amazingly harmonious and energetic performance" says organiser Tish Hall-Wilkinson. Entry will be £5 and as there is no bar you are advised to bring your own bottles. November's guests, on the 30th, will be north-east folk group Fourum. Ring Tish on 01423 325664 for further information or for tickets.
28. CARTHY & KIRKPATRICK IN HOWDEN, SATURDAY 27th OCTOBER. East Yorkshire promoters Howden Live are proud to present Martin Carthy & John Kirkpatrick at the Shire Hall on Saturday 27th October, with support from Jack Parker. Tickets are £15 and doors open at 7.30pm for an 8pm start. For further enquiries and tickets ring 01430 432510 or go to www.howden-live.com, or visit Touchwood Homecare in Howden. "Early booking was never more advisable" say the organisers.
29. WINTER WILSON IN ELLOUGHTON, SATURDAY 3rd NOVEMBER. Staying with East Yorkshire, local promoter Will Richardson is presenting folk duo Winter Wilson at the Village Hall in Elloughton on Saturday 3rd November, with doors open 7.30pm for an 8pm start. Kip Winter (vocals, accordion, guitar and flute) and Dave Wilson (vocals, guitar and banjo) have been a popular attraction on the British folk circuit for several years and were invited by Fairport Convention to do the prestigious support slot on the band's 2018 winter tour. Tickets are £12 from Will on 07814 608131, email@example.com, www.hamgigs.com. Please bring your own refreshment, he says, as there is no bar.
All being well there should be another of the newsletters around the end of October, my health permitting.