Black Swan Folk Club

E-Newsletter 234

16th January 2019

I had intended to issue this latest newsletter at the beginning of January but as my health continues to deteriorate, I find I have less energy than used to be the case. Suffice it to say that we had a good start to the year, with a nice mix of familiar faces and newer participants at the Singers Night on 3rd January, followed by an excellent performance by Jez Lowe last week in front of an appreciative full house audience.


1. THIS THURSDAY, 17th JANUARY – THE JON PALMER ACOUSTIC BAND. This Otley-based folk, roots and rock & roll combo gave us a great debut show in 2016, so we had no hesitation in inviting them back for a re-match. For this show, the line-up is guitars, mandolin, double bass and violin, with Jon their masterful songwriter and dynamic lead singer, joined by Nick Settle, Wendy Ross, Ricky Silvers and Matt Nelson. Percussionist Roy Whyke will not be with them on Thursday.
Describing the band as “a cross between The Pogues and Bruce Springsteen’s Seeger Session Band – with a bit of Waterboys and Saw Doctors thrown in for good measure”, Leeds Music Scene said the Jon Palmer Acoustic Band left them “spellbound and desperate for more!” Jon is a former winner of the Grolsch UK Songwriter of the Year, and a published songwriter with Sony.
Tickets for this one are £9 in advance or £10 on the door, with students half price as usual. Chris Euesden will be acting as MC and the anticipated floor singers are Martin Heaton, Steve Marshall and Eddie Affleck.

2. THURSDAY 24th JANUARY – ALL THE WAY FROM KENTUCKY, THE LOCAL HONEYS. On Thursday week, 24th January, we switch our focus to North America, with the debut visit by a very promising young female folk duo from Kentucky called The Local Honeys. Singers Linda Jean Stokley (fiddle) and Montana Hobbs (banjo) fuse Appalachian and bluegrass folk traditions and are dedicated to the preservation of old songs and tunes, alongside creating new music within those traditions. They were the first women to graduate from Kentucky State University’s Traditional Music programme and alongside covers of traditional songs they also write “protest” songs about things like strip mining and rural poverty. At the same time they can certainly tear into hard driving fiddle tunes, sing the high lonesome sound, and tell a damn good story.
This will be a first ever visit to the UK for Linda and Montana, where they are little known so far. Having watched them extensively on YouTube and having repeatedly played their debut CD, Little Girls Actin’ Like Men, I really rate them and I hope they make a success of this tour. They are doing a run of folk clubs and small arts spaces, starting at Kings Place in London and running up to Celtic Connections in Glasgow, and I would urge you to come along and check them out when they stop over in York. Tickets are £9 in advance or £10 on the door, students half price. Fellow American Phil Cerny will be MC for this one and the scheduled floor singers are Simon Alexander, Chris Euesden and a special guest visiting Dutch singer, Kees Kwant.

3. SUNDAY 27th JANUARY – YORK’S WINTER FOLK DAY. The annual York Residents Festival takes place over the last weekend in January and as usual we are running a free showcase event on the Sunday, 27th January. York’s Winter Folk Day will compromise afternoon and evening concerts in the upstairs room at the Black Swan, featuring a range of singers and groups who are based in or close to the city. As a Residents Festival event, this will be entirely FREE to holders of York Cards and local SU cards. Non-York residents are also welcome to attend if there is space, although we may ask you for a token financial contribution. We will also be holding collection tins for our chosen charity, the Motor Neurone Disease Association (for more about this, see item 19).
The finalised afternoon line-up looks like this: 2.00 White Sail, 2.30 Toni Bunnell, 3.00 Two Black Sheep & A Stallion, 3.30 Stan Graham, 4.00 The Old Humpy Band (alias Steve & Dee Marshall and Jo Wheldon), 4.30 Judith Haswell and 5.00 Phil Cerny. We take a 2 hour break at 5.30 and then music resumes in the evening: 7.30 Ian Pybus & Annie Curran, 8.00 Leather’o, 8.30 Crispin Halcrow, 9.00 Paula Ryan, 9.30 Ramshackle, wrapping up no later than 10.30. Stan Graham, Phil Cerny and Paula Ryan will be sharing MC duties, Chris Euesden and Eddie Affleck will be looking after the PA, with help from several other volunteers, and it should be a thoroughly enjoyable day!

4. THURSDAY 31st JANUARY – SINGERS AND MUSICIANS NIGHT. We end the month with another of our friendly Singers and Musicians nights on 31st January, this time with John Storey taking on MC duties, and as usual anyone is welcome to perform. People start to arrive around 7.45pm and the music gets under way at 8.15. Admission prices have been unchanged for years and for listeners are £3 full price or £2 students, while performers are asked to put £1 into the club kitty. Subsequent Singers Nights this year fall on 28th February, 28th March, 18th April and 16th May.

5. THURSDAY 7th FEBRUARY – NINEBARROW. The award-winning Dorset duo Ninebarrow make their Black Swan debut on 7th February. Over the last 2 or 3 years Jon Whitley and Jay La Bouchardiere have been impressing audiences across England with their innovative take on the folk tradition and in 2017 they were nominated in the Horizon category, for best new act, in the BBC Folk Awards. Combining skilled musicianship with breath-taking vocal harmonies, they deliver great original songs inspired by landscape and history, alongside distinctively reworked traditional numbers.
This show has already attracted quite a bit of interest and about half the available tickets have now been sold. Remaining tickets are £10 in advance (students £5) or £11 on the door if there are any left. Chris Euesden is again the designated MC and we anticipate floor spots from Stan Graham, Paula Ryan and Phil Cerny.

6. THURSDAY 14th FEBRUARY – DUNCAN MCFARLANE & ANNE BRIVONESE. Our guests on 14th February are familiar faces in York. With his well justified reputation for exuberant live performance (as regularly enjoyed with his full band at our Folk Weekends) Duncan McFarlane is always a popular guest. He writes great songs in the folk idiom and mixes them with choice traditional and modern covers. A stylish guitarist, he is joined by regular foil Anne Brivonese on fiddle and backing vocals. Tickets are £8 in advance or £9 on the door, students half price, Stan Graham acts as MC and the floor performers are due to be Matthew Mason, Sarah Dean and Eddie Affleck.

7. THURSDAY 21st FEBRUARY - DAN WALSH & ALISTAIR ANDERSON. The exciting cross-generational partnership of Dan Walsh & Alistair Anderson gave us a truly memorable full house performance five years ago and we are delighted to bring them back on 21st February. Alistair is of course a celebrated Northumbrian piper, concertina player and composer, first coming to attention 50 years ago with legendary Tyneside outfit The High Level Ranters and later the founder of both Folkworks and the Newcastle University folk music degree course. Dan Walsh comes from the younger generation of folk musicians that Alistair has done so much to encourage, one of the finest young banjo players in Britain, as well as a superb singer and guitarist. We can expect some impressively dextrous and energetic musical fireworks. Tickets are £12 in advance or £14 on the door. Judith Haswell makes her debut as an MC and the floor singers are scheduled to be Toni Bunnell, Ian Pybus and Phil Cerny.

8. MARCH CLUB NIGHTS. Our March line-up again contains a hugely popular band which revisits us regularly, some local favourites, and a highly rated first-time visitor. First up, we welcome back Anglo-French trio The Churchfitters on 7th March. If you have ever seen them before, you will know that this is a madcap multi-instrumental folk band like no other, one of the most exuberant, energetic and entertaining acts we host. Churchfitters’ shows almost always sell out, so book early! Tickets are £12 in advance.
Otley-based trio Yan Tan Tether did one half of an enjoyable double bill two years ago and have also opened for us at the NCEM. They return for a full booking on 14th March. Rosie Knighton, Tess Leslie and Lynne O’Malley have built a glowing reputation around Yorkshire. Their hallmark is beautiful acapella arrangements of traditional and modern folk songs, with spine-tingling harmonies and rollicking good choruses. This one is £8 in advance or £9 on the door.
The Shetland-based singer Jenny Sturgeon makes an auspicious York debut on 21st March with her Trio. Jenny writes songs rich with imagery, inspired by folklore, history and the natural world. “She brings together the old and new with a rare skill" said one review. She also plays in the critically acclaimed alt-folk band Salt House, while in her own trio she is joined on fiddle and guitar by two top class Scottish players, Jonny Hardie (Old Blind Dogs) and Charlie McKerron (Capercaillie). This should be a must for all lovers of Scottish acoustic music. Tickets are £10 in advance or £11 on the door.

9. APRIL CLUB EVENTS. April brings us two contrasting return visits, by the wonderful Scottish duo of Mairearad Green & Anna Massie (11th) and the young blues and folk singer/guitarist Sunjay, formerly Sunjay Brayne, (25th). There will also be a Young Performers Night (4th), featuring two north of England bands Nidd and Don’t Feed The Peacocks, both of whom grew out of the National Youth Folk Ensemble.

10. MAY CLUB EVENTS. May is a five Thursday month and we have four contrasting guest nights lined up for your entertainment, although one of those nights, with the political singer-songwriter Grace Petrie (9th) is already Sold Out – the fastest selling night in our club history with all tickets going during the first week on sale! That still leaves you with the flamboyant 5-piece band Pilgrims’ Way (23rd) in an appearance rescheduled from March 2018 when it was scuppered by snowy weather, as well as eagerly-awaited debuts by the highly rated Irish brothers Brían and Diarmuid MacGloinn, alias Ye Vagabonds (30th) and the excellent Anglo-Irish duo of Rosie Hodgson & Rowan Piggott (2nd).

11. ALL SET FOR YORK FOLK WEEKEND, 31st MAY-2nd JUNE. My club colleagues are determined to run our annual Folk Weekend again this year, with Stan Graham and Chris Euesden taking the lead in organising it. I will help and advise as much as possible, but with my health deteriorating all the time I can no longer act as the lead organiser. Pub management at the Black Swan Inn are also fully behind the event and as usual they will take on responsibility for marquee hire, licensing matters and suchlike. We are looking at the same weekend as in recent years, i.e. the one immediately following the Late Spring Bank Holiday weekend, which this year means Friday 31st May to Sunday 2nd June. Planning work will begin around the end of January, once our Winter Folk Day (see item 3) is out of the way. What this space!


12. PHIL BEER, TUESDAY 12th FEBRUARY. Our first NCEM concert this year brings back to York the engaging multi-instrumentalist and singer Phil Beer. Charming, disarming and exceptionally talented, Phil is something of a national treasure on the folk, roots and acoustic music scene. Best known as one-half of award-winning powerhouse Show of Hands, he also tours regularly with a solo show. In his 2019 “String Theory” nights he sets out to share some of his most-loved songs at carefully selected venues across the UK. With the odd laugh thrown in for good measure, Beer’s flawless musicianship (fiddle, guitar, mandocello, mandolin, South American cuatro and more) and rich vocals will leave you wide-eyed and wanting more.
Phil Beer visits York on Tuesday 12th February, which is a particularly significant date for us as it falls almost exactly 10 years to the day after he presented us with our Folk Club of the Year trophy at the 2009 BBC Folk Awards. There is no support act for this one – Phil will be on stage at 7.30pm prompt – and all tickets are priced at £17, through the NCEM website or on York 658338. Chris Euesden will be acting as MC.

13. McGOLDRICK, McCUSKER & DOYLE, TUESDAY 26th FEBRUARY. Our second NCEM show this year is a Celtic special with Mike McGoldrick, John McCusker and John Doyle on Tuesday 26th February, an act we have been trying to get into the diary for a long time. Ten years since their first trio performances, these musical magpies are out on the road again with their distinctive blend of top class folk songs, stirring tunes and charming bonhomie. Masters respectively of flute, fiddle and song/guitar, Mike John and John have shared stages and recording studios with some of the biggest names in popular music, from Bob Dylan and Mark Knopfler to Paul Weller and Joan Baez, as well as being key participants in the annual Transatlantic Sessions tour. We can expect a beautifully crafted musical treat, one to be savoured for a long time.
Popular North Yorkshire singer-songwriter Martin Heaton will be the support act and as I write there are fewer than 30 tickets left for this event, so if you have not booked already, do so very soon. Tickets are priced at £20 full or £18 concessions (over 65, etc.).

14. THE RHEINGANS SISTERS, MONDAY 11th MARCH. In August 2016 we were treated to an excellent performance at the club venue by Sheffield-based Rowan & Anna Rheingans, and speaking personally, I have also enjoyed evenings of their music at other local venues such as Thorganby Folk and Loosely Folk in Thirsk, while Rowan has also been seen several times at the Black Swan and at the NCEM with that great trio Lady Maisery. Hence this year we are taking a chance and trying out The Rheingans Sisters at our bigger venue, on Monday 11th March.
Rowan and Anna make playful, powerful and deeply connecting music that is wholly contemporary while firmly anchored in European folk traditions. They have developed a rich artistic approach to music from British and continental cultures, alongside their own beguiling compositions (one of which was voted Best Original Track in the 2016 Folk Awards). Audiences everywhere are captivated by the sisters’ full-hearted live shows, with their adventurous use of fiddles, voices, banjo, bansitar and percussion. Their latest album, Bright Field, has been very well received and features in several “best of 2018” listings – see item 27 below.
Judith Haswell is the opening act and tickets are £16 full price or £14 concessions.

15. CHARITY NIGHT: MARTIN SIMPSON plus CHRIS WHILE & JULIE MATTHEWS, TUESDAY 26th MARCH. Several national folk names have willingly offered to assist our MNDA fundraising effort and and so it is that two top acts will be sharing the billing at a grand charity night at the NCEM venue on Tuesday 26th March. Martin Simpson and Chris While & Julie Matthews are both acts that I have booked many times over my long career, so I was delighted when they offered to come up to York and support our chosen cause. Chris & Julie are two of England’s finest acoustic songwriters and singers and perform with great stage presence, while Martin is consistently named one of the best folk guitarists in the world, with a rich repertoire of original songs, traditional ballads and choice covers. They will each do a full length (60 minutes+) set at the NCEM and tickets are priced at £20 full or concessions £18.

16. PETER KNIGHT’S GIGSPANNER, WEDNESDAY 17th APRIL. Since leaving folk-rockers Steeleye Span, legendary fiddler Peter Knight has focussed on Gigspanner, where his playing is complimented by the flawless guitar work of Roger Flack and the hand drums and percussion of Sacha Trochet. The trio has established a burgeoning reputation as one of the most innovative acts on the folk/roots scene. British folk music forms the bedrock of their repertoire, but their arrangements stretch the envelope and bring in subliminal, multicultural influences from French, Cajun, Cuban, East European and other traditions. “Spellbinding" "sublime" "blown away" "inspired" and "magical" are words which occur over and over again in reviews. Judge for yourself when Gigspanner make their York debut on Wednesday 17th April. Tickets for this one are £16 full or £14 concessions and note that there will be no support act on this evening.

17. THE MELROSE QUARTET, MONDAY 20th MAY. Comprising the award-winning Nancy Kerr on fiddle with James Fagan on bouzouki or guitar, Jess Arrowsmith on fiddle and Richard Arrowsmith on melodeon, and with all four of them being strong singers, the internationally renowned Melrose Quartet has a reputation for state-of-the-art modern British folk music that truly connects with audiences. They have a rich repertoire of both acapella and accompanied traditional songs, alongside self-penned numbers that merge seamlessly into the folk canon, and they also excel at instrumental sets that re-invigorate social dance rhythms from Britain and beyond. Nancy and James have of course entertained us many times at the Black Swan and the full Melrose Quartet turned in a great performance at the NCEM 3 years ago, so this is an auspicious return on Monday 20th May.
Recently formed local trio The Old Humpy Band (see also item 3 above) will be the opening act and tickets are again £16 full or £14 concessions.

18. ALSO COMING TO NCEM: SAM SWEENEY AND JUNE TABOR. As well as hosting events promoted by our club, the NCEM venue does run occasional folk concerts itself, and there are two such coming up later this year. Sam Sweeney presents his acclaimed show The Unfinished Violin on Bank Holiday Monday, 6th May, in which he is joined by Rob Harbron on concertina, Ben Nicholls on bass and our own recent club guest Jack Rutter on guitar. And then on Midsummer Day, Friday 21st June, June Tabor returns to the NCEM with her folk/jazz trio Quercus, in which she is joined by Iain Ballamy on saxophones and Huw Warren at the grand piano. Find out more at


19. BACKGROUND. As regular readers will know, I am seriously ill with motor neurone disease, a progressive and untreatable neurological condition which is invariably fatal sooner or later. I have received some wonderful support from club colleagues and from other members of the folk music scene, locally, nationally and internationally. One way in which people are helping me is by organising fundraising activities for national charity the Motor Neurone Disease Association (MNDA) or for other organisations which assist sufferers of this dreadful condition. In my last newsletter I reported on how successful the MNDA charity night at the Black Swan on 15th November had been. Here is some more fundraising news.

20. SOUNDSPHERE AND TWO BLACK SHEEP & A STALLION. Well done all of you in Soundsphere and in Two Black Sheep. Last month these two primarily vocal groups ran a Winter Wassail night at the Black Swan Inn and donated all the proceeds, £355, to the MNDA. “We had so much fun there will definitely be more joint concerts with Soundsphere and Two Black Sheep & A Stallion”, they say.

21. AND THANKS TO STRADA MUSIC. Also last month, the booking agency Strada Music, based near Beverley, gave a generous donation to MNDA in response to our appeal. Strada was formed in 2016 by the merger of the Adastra and Regent businesses and over the years I have booked many club and concert artists through Strada and its precursors. Thanks go to everyone at the agency: Chris Wade, Phil Simpson, Graham Smout, Polly Bolton, Leila Cooper and Martin Peirson.

22. FUNDRAISING AT THE WINTER FOLK DAY. As I mentioned above (item 3) we will be soliciting donations to MNDA during the Winter Folk Day on 27th January.

23. ROLAND’S RIDE. An old school friend of mine, a fellow folk music enthusiast and a rugby fan, is planning a fundraising cycling event on Sunday 5th May in association with Darlington’s Mowden Park Rugby Club. He is calling it Roland’s Ride in my honour. There will be 100k and 50k routes, starting and ending in Darlington but mostly exploring quiet country lanes in rural North Yorkshire, including passing by my childhood home. Proceeds from this event will go to the charity created by ex-rugby player and fellow MND sufferer Doddie Weir, the My Name’5 Doddie Foundation, which raises funds to aid research into MND. I should have further details of this event in the next newsletter but meanwhile if you are a keen cyclist and would like to support this cause, put that date in your diary!

24. ANOTHER CHARITY CONCERT NEXT AUTUMN. Still in the planning stage is a second MNDA fundraiser concert scheduled for Tuesday 24th September at The Crescent venue off Blossom Street. Martin Carthy will certainly be headlining. We’ll have more details nearer the time but maybe put that date in your diary as well!


25. STAN ON STAGE. Our Stan Graham is a busy man these days! As well as taking on much of my role in the day-to-day management of club events, he has recently been involved in a stage play up in Scotland. Written by the Ayrshire-based playwright Dave Dewar, the play celebrated the life of Elsie Inglis “one of Scotland’s most inspiring women: physician, surgeon, humanitarian, medical pioneer, suffragist, and founder of the Scottish Women’s Hospitals for Foreign Service during World War I.” There were three performances of the play at different venues in Scotland late last year, featuring eight folk musicians including Stan, two actors, a war diary reader and a narrator.

26. FAREWELL FRANK BECHHOFER. I was saddened to hear recently of the death of the Edinburgh-based agent and retired academic, Frank Bechhofer. Although I only met Frank once in person I felt I knew him pretty well. At one time he represented many of the leading acts on the UK folk scene and this was in the days when bookings were usually arranged by telephone, so we often had a chat. Frank had gradually withdrawn from the agency business in recent years but almost until the end he was still representing long-time client and close friend Andy Irvine, and my last (email) conversations with him were about Andy’s appearance at the Black Swan last spring. Frank, you will be missed!

27. CRITICS POLLS FOR 2018. Last month saw the usual slew of “Albums Of The Year” articles in the media. So far as folk music is concerned, one of the most important and influential is the annual Critics Poll compiled by fRoots magazine. Their Album Of The Year winner was Catrin Finch & Seckou Keita’s Soar, while Bright Field by The Rheingans Sisters was also highly placed. As listed above, The Rheingans appear at the NCEM on 11th March, while Catrin & Seckou are due at the same venue in October. Others Album Of Year nominees included Lisa O’Neill’s Heard A Long Gone Song (we are working with local promoter Joe Coates to try to bring this distinctive Irish singer to York in the autumn) and Kitty Macfarlane (who gave us an excellent night at the club in May last year) for her record Namer Of Clouds.
Meanwhile The Guardian’s folk music critic Jude Rogers selected her own Top 10 Folk albums of 2018, giving the number one spot to the above-mentioned Lisa O’Neill saying “her resolutely unpretty, belly-deep Irish drawl hymned the decline of industry, depression and the deaths of young children. Let it submerge you and a modern folk masterpiece emerges.” (Past club guest) Jackie Oates’ latest album also featured in this critic’s Top 10 and there was also a positive mention for Kitty Macfarlane’s album, which “took a sweet note for debut folk-influenced singer songwriters”.
In the pages of RnR (Rock n Reel), rather than having a composite chart, individual writers selected their top albums of last year. Past and future club or NCEM guests feature in several of these selections, notably our already sold-out May guest Grace Petrie, but also including also Reg Meuross (back with us in September), Gilmore and Roberts (visiting in June), Jackie Oates and the above-mentioned Catrin Finch & Seckou Keita.

28. MORRIS DANCE RECRUITS NEEDED. The Flag and Bone Gang are a Morris side based in Harrogate who dance in a style that originates from the East Riding. “Our kit is distinctive, incorporating head veils, arm and leg tatters” they say. “Combined with the waved flags and rattled bones, we are very different to most other Morris sides. We attend many festivals (last year Sidmouth, Warwick and Shrewsbury, amongst others) and we are currently looking for new members to join our team, both dancers and musicians.” Practices are held on Sunday evenings in Harrogate and anyone interested can contact them by email


29. YORK IRISH ASSOCIATION EVENTS. York is lucky to have an active Irish Association, which organises a large range of cultural events each year. Amongst other musical activities, they run a regular open Irish Traditional Session, the next of which is on Saturday 26 January at The Gillygate from 8pm, and then on Saturday 13th April. “All musicians welcome to join in” they say.
Other musical events they have scheduled this year include an evening of harp music with Kathleen Loughnane & Catriona Cannon on Wednesday 20th February in The Marriott Room at York Explore Library on Museum Street (email if you are interested, tickets cost £5), and then an evening with guitarist Dónal Clancy, the son of the world renowned singer Liam Clancy of the Clancy Brothers. The latter event is at The Winning Post on Bishopthorpe Road on Wednesday 3rd April and tickets cost £10.
York Irish’s flagship event is their St. Patrick's Festival, now in its fifth year and taking place over the weekend of 16th & 17th March in a marquee on St Sampson’s Square. “Join us for music, dancing, ceilidhs, face-painting, a bar and much more” they say. Full details will be announced presently.

30. RAY COOPER & WHITE SAIL, 13th FEBRUARY. Chris, Jane and Sarah of York “alt-folk” trio White Sail are delighted to once again collaborate with the Sweden-based English singer songwriter Ray Cooper on his latest UK tour. Ray has appeared almost annually in York for several years, originally under the auspices of the Viking Festival. The ex Oysterband musician accompanies himself on cello, fiddle, guitar and mandolin. This Songs From The Heart event at the Black Swan Inn on Wednesday 13th February “promises to be a magical evening of music” say White Sail. It is an 8pm start and tickets are £11, available at or through

31. POPPLETON LIVE EVENTS. John Watterson has announced the two Poppleton Live events for 2019. The first is on Saturday 16th February, when Tim Chu and Ian Bailey will perform A Celebration of Simon and Garfunkel. “Two great musicians deliver the music of Simon and Garfunkel in their own unique way that honours the original recordings, without falling into the regular tribute act category” says John. Then on Saturday 25th May Poppleton Live will host The Joshua Burnell Band, which John describes thus: “a superb up and coming York based folk-rock act. The music combines traditional folk music with a smidgen of progressive rock. The influences of Fairport Convention, Steeleye Span and other Seventies bands are evident. Well-crafted songs, great musicianship and a vibrant, enthusiastic and engaging performance style - we think you will love them.”
Both events are at All Saints Hall in Upper Poppleton, where doors open at 6:45pm and the show starts at 7:30pm. Tickets for either event are £12.50 from John on 07963 492362 or through the website

32. SARAH JANE SCOUTEN AT THE CRESCENT, 19th FEBRUARY. I was delighted the other day to read that local promoters Green Chilli Roots and PleasePleaseYou are joining forces to present the Canadian singer Sarah Jane Scouten at The Crescent Community Venue just off Blossom Street, on Tuesday 19th February, with support from local hero Dan Webster.
Sarah has appeared twice at the Black Swan, solo in 2014 and with a small band in 2017, and I love the sounds she makes. The blurb on the venue website includes following: “With flavours of Lucinda Williams, Nanci Griffiths and Iris Dement and a wealth of early country music, the three-time Canadian Folk Music Award nominee’s songs are faithful to a long-standing folk music tradition. Often spilling over into modern themes that are outspoken and edgy, her songwriting tackles issues from poverty and midwifery to tongue-in-cheek heartache songs and unabashed Canadiana. A traditionalist at heart, Sarah Jane Scouten shows her signature flair for the roots of roots music. With respect for these roots, she writes from her own perspective, playing with style to create her own distinct voice.”
Tickets are £10 in advance (more on the door from 7.30pm) and are available from Earworm Records, the venue in person or online via See Tickets.
Other events coming up at The Crescent include Laura Veirs & Sam Amidon on Wednesday 6th February, Michael Chapman with a full band featuring Bridget St. John, BJ Cole and Sarah Smout on Saturday 30th March, Sam Kelly & Ruth Notman on Sunday 7th April and (just announced) Lau on Wednesday 5th June.


With so much happening in York over the next few months, whether organised by ourselves or by others, I have cut back the listings for events in the wider Yorkshire region, but here are details of a couple which I think worth your attention.

33. RIPON FOLK CLUB EVENTS. Tish Hall-Wilkinson writes that “2018 saw a real build-up of live music in and around Ripon. I’m so pleased that the Ripon Folk Club at St Wilfrid’s Community Centre was able to contribute to this.” Ripon Folk Club meets on the final Friday of the month and so their first event this year is on 25th January with multi-instrumentalist Simon Loake, with support from Said the Raven. On 22nd February it is a singers’ night featuring Stuart Ward, plus a display of Appalachian Clog Dancing, then on 29th March Jon Palmer & Wendy Ross do a duo appearance with support from York world music trio Caramba! The Community Centre does not have a bar, so bring your own bottle. For more information or tickets, ring Tish on 01423 325664.

34. STAGE 4 BEVERLEY, 13TH TO 17TH FEBRUARY. Beverley’s winter music festival, Stage 4 Beverley, has 16 events lined up over its five days, from 13th to 17th February. Folk shows include A Transatlantic Journey with Granny’s Attic and Hannah Sanders & Ben Savage on the afternoon of Saturday 16th February and Homegrown in Yorkshire with Eliza Carthy (making a rare entirely solo performance) and The Dan Webster Band on the afternoon of Sunday 17th February. There are also some more informal events which are either free entry, or pay on the door, for example a night with Hannah Sanders & Ben Savage; Katie Spencer, Sam Martyn and others on Saturday 16th February at The Monks Walk Inn. Find the full programme of events and booking details etc. at

Health permitting, I’ll be back around the middle of February.