5th January 2022
Well first off, a very Happy New Year to all our readers! The end of 2021 and the beginning of 2022 is one landmark and another one of sorts is this 250th E-Newsletter from the Black Swan Folk Club.
As you know we’ve pretty much got everything running as normal again, although after the postponement of 2 high profile performers Allan Taylor and Martin Carthy due to illness last year the Omicron virus took a hold around Christmas and it seemed that we had no choice but to cancel the annual Folk Club Christmas Party which was a big disappointment.
We open again this Thursday (Jan 6th 2022) though with a club night every week on the usual day (Thurs) and at the usual time (8-15pm), plus regular concerts at the Crescent and the National Centre for Early Music. We’re still here and looking forward to some excellent live music in 2022.
However for the time being we’re requesting that performers and audience be aware of the guidelines in place regarding the pandemic and please don’t attend any event if you feel you have any Covid-like symptons. Better still, take a lateral flow test before you come along just to make sure.
And so here’s what’s planned so far for this year.
As I’ve said we reopen this Thurs Jan 6 2022 with special guest JEZ LOWE
No stranger to the Black Swan Folk Club Jez has been a guest at the club on numerous occasions playing to a full house. He won a double nomination in the 2015 BBC Folk Awards – for best singer and best new song – a timely reminder of his standing in the UK folk and acoustic music scene. Not only is he one of the busiest live performers in the country, but his songs are among the most widely sung by other performers, whether by long-established acts like Fairport Convention, The Dubliners and Bob Fox, or by the new breed of stars like The Unthanks and The Young Uns.
The next week Thursday January 13 we’ll be entertained by Celtic trio ROISIN BAN
And it's a real pleasure to welcome them back to the Black Swan Folk Club. A Leeds based band playing Irish and general Celtica - with Chris Dyson on fiddle, box player Paddy Heffron,& Gordon Tyrrall guitar, flute and vocals
On Thursday January 20 it’ll be time for another Singers and Musicians night or ‘Open Mic’ as we’re now calling them. We’re also continuing with a special feature spot for ‘open mic’ nights. Stepping up for this one will be one of our most popular residents JUDITH HASWELL. No advance tickets for the ‘open mic’ nights just a minimum donation of £3 on the door.
For the last Thursday in January Thursday 27 we have the return of a master of song and stories ANTHONY JOHN CLARKE.
Welcoming A J back to the Black Swan Folk Club. This is bound to be another highly entertaining evening with tales and original songs, best known of which are "The Broken Years" (about The Troubles), "The Only Life Gloria Knows" (about homelessness), and "Tuesday Night Is Always Karaoke"
And on Sunday January 30 we have our annual
Winter Folk Day in conjunction with York Resident’s Festival. They’ll be live folk music in the club room in the afternoon between 2pm and 5-30pm and in the evening from 7-30pm to 10-30pm. As usual the programme comprises a variety of folk artists who regularly perform at the Black Swan Folk Club and at local venues around York. This event is free to all York residents with a small donation being asked of everyone else.
The timetable reads like this:-
2pm Two Black Sheep and a Stallion, 2-30pm Dave Hardy,
3pm The Old Humpy Band, 3.30pm Phil Cerny, 4pm Leather’o,
4.30pm Paula Ryan, 5pm Stan Graham. (tea-break 5-30pm to 7-30pm)
7-30pm While Sail, 8pm Toni Bunnell,
8-30pm Chris Euesden, 9pm Sarah Dean, 9.30pm Ramshackle .
Our first concert of the year will be at the National Centre for Early Music Walmgate YORK YO1 9TL on Wednesday Feb 2. We’re presenting this one in conjunction with York based promoters Please Please You. It’s a slice of Americana with Texan JARROD DICKENSON. Doors open at 7pm and they’ll be live music from 7-30pm.
Hot off the heels of his fully sold-out ‘Unplugged & Distilled’ acoustic tour at the end of 2019, Dickenson returns to the UK for an electrified duo show with new songs and stories in tow. ‘His songs carry an independent spirit and grit… a hard-bitten, yet romantic eye that seems bred into Lone Star Songwriters.’ Q Magazine ‘Jarrod Dickenson’s rootsy, broad-ranged Americana draws deeply from tradition while forging all-new sounds.’ PopMatters ‘His deep, emotional, often luxurious voice envelops songs of love and loss, enticing you into these stories.’ American Songwriter
Another co-promotion with Please Please You sees RTE Folk Awards winner JOHN FRANCIS FLYNN at The Crescent Club
8, The Crescent YORK YO24 1AW on Monday February 7
Fresh from a double award-winning appearance at the 2021 RTE Folk Awards, John Francis Flynn returns to the UK for a more extensive tour.
‘His solo flight swoops and soars with the confidence.’ The Irish Times ‘Folk Album of the Year’ Mojo Magazine **** ‘Human experience burns ferociously on this extraordinary debut from the uncompromising Irish artist John Francis Flynn. An extraordinary debut.’ The Guardian **** ‘Double Tin Whistle and Tape-Loops. Revelatory new takes on English and Irish folk songs in the manner of Sam Amidon. A singular and striking clarity of vision…. An extraordinary debut by any standard.’ Uncut Magazine ****
Back to the Folk Club and our Thursday night itinerary for February looks like this:-
Thurs February 3 BROOKS WILLIAMS and AARON CATLOW *
Thurs February 10 THE MATTHEWS BAARTMANS CONSPIRACY (featuring Iain Matthews and BJ Baartmans)
Iain Matthews’ visits to the Black Swan are always highly anticipated. From Fairport Convention to Matthews Southern Comfort through Plainsong and beyond Iain Matthews, now resident in Holland, returns with his latest collaboration 'The Matthews Baartmans Conspiracy. With Dutch guitarist B J Baartmans making up the other half of the duo they'll be playing songs from their latest album 'Distant Chatter' released on Talking Elephant.
Thurs February 17 Singers and Musicians Night ‘Open Mic’ with a feature spot from DAVID SWANN
Thurs February 24 PETE MORTON
A man who's given us some fine evenings at the Black Swan Folk Club. Pete Morton began his musical journey after he came across a Buffy St Marie record. It was from that moment on he decided to become a folk singer. Discovering the songs of the early sixties protest movement, it inspired him to write and take his songs into folk clubs and beyond. For thirty years, Pete has been performing to audiences all over the world. Throughout that time he has been regarded as one the best on the contemporary roots music scene. His latest album 'A Golden Thread' has received rave reviews with eight newly self penned songs, a Pete Seeger classic 'Oh Had I A Golden Thread', and versions of the traditional gems, 'Barbry Allen' and 'The Farmers Boy'. Often referred to as an old time troubadour he has a compelling stage presence and approachable style that delivers an unruly mix of humanism, politics, love, social commentary and humour all wrapping its way around the folk tradition.
And in March we have
Thursday March 3rd- BOB FOX at The Black Swan Folk Club
For more than 40 years BOB FOX has been regarded as one of “the iconic voices” of British folk song. Deeply influenced by the working-class culture and industrial folk song prevalent in his native County Durham he has become a first-rate exponent of storytelling through song.
Tickets are now available.
Sunday March 6- BLAIR DUNLOP at The Crescent Club YORK YO24 1AW
For a man still in his twenties whose debut album Blight & Blossom, won the coveted Horizon Award at the 2013 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards and whose 2010 debut EP is now a collector’s item Blair was declared the “vital bridge between Brit folk’s first and latest flowerings” by Q Magazine. Back to basics and simple presentation of melody matched with intensity of lyric will be the way forward for his forthcoming EP.” To support the new release he’ll be performing solo, one man and one guitar.
Thursday March 10-LUCY FARRELL with special guest Iona Lane at The Black Swan Folk Club. *
Thursday March 17 Singers and Musicians ‘Open Mic’ with a feature spot from RAMSHACKLE at the Black Swan Folk Club (no advance tickets)
Friday March 18 will hopefully be a folk club special at The Black Swan with JACQUI McSHEE and KEVIN DEMPSEY. Details regarding this special concert are still being arranged and we’ll bring you confirmation as soon as we have it.*
Thursday March 24-WHITE SAIL and PAULA RYAN at the Black Swan Folk Club *
Thursday March 31-CLIVE CARROLL at the Black Swan Folk Club
Another visit from this legendary guitarist. Born in England, Clive began his musical journey in Chelmsford, Essex. His parents had a taste for American country and old time music and it wasn’t long before Clive was playing in the family band on a homemade banjo. By his early teens, guitar in hand, he was traversing the worlds of soul, pop, funk, and traditional Irish music, balancing his affinity for Slayer with the etudes of Tárrega A chance meeting with English guitar legend John Renbourn proved the catalyst for Clive’s debut album, “Sixth Sense”, which Renbourn deemed “a milestone in the journey of the steel-string guitar”. Since then, Clive has established himself as one of the world’s premier acoustic guitar players. Lauded guitarist Tommy Emmanuel has taken Clive on the road, and similar nods to Clive’s musicianship have been given by everyone from classical guitarist John Williams, to pop icon Madonna. If you’re a fan of truly remarkable guitar virtuosity this one is not to be missed.
We’re also looking forward to
PEGGY SEEGER and CALUM MacCOLL at the Crescent Club on Wed April 6
Making a very welcome return to The Crescent on her rescheduled ‘First Farewell Tour’, the charismatic Peggy Seeger – singer, songwriter, feminist, icon, Ewan MacColl’s partner and muse – is the undisputed queen of folk and political song. Join Peggy and her son Calum MacColl, an exceptional musician in his own right, for a glorious evening of up-close performance by these two world class musicians. Expect to hear some of Peggy’s new songs from her hugely successful ‘First Farewell’ album, some old favourites, a few surprises, and plenty of relaxed family banter.
PETER KNIGHT’S GIGSPANNER BIG BAND at the Crescent Club on Saturday April 30
Beginning life as a trio - with legendary Steeleye Span fiddle player Peter Knight being joined by percussionist Sacha Trochet and guitarist Roger Flack - the line-up has been expanded to form the Gigspanner Big Band, with acclaimed multi-instrumental duo Edgelarks (Phillip Henry and Hannah Martin - BBC Folk Awards 'Best Duo') and Bellowhead co-founder and melodeon player extraordinaire, John Spiers, joining the fray.
As collaborations go, it doesn't get much more mouth-watering than this.
While Peter Knight, as part of Steeleye Span’s classic 1970s line-up, helped invent a brand of folk rock that is still influential today, John Spiers, has had an equally profound impact on the landscape of traditional music over the last two decades.
Characterised by riotous inventiveness, technically gifted individual playing and subtle collaborative interaction, this coming together of several of the biggest names on the folk-roots scene, combines a deep knowledge of roots traditions with a ceaselessly boundary pushing approach.
ANDY IRVINE at the Crescent Club on Monday 16 May
Andy Irvine is one of the great Irish singers, his voice one of a handful of truly great ones that gets to the very soul of Ireland. He has been hailed as "a tradition in himself." Musician, singer and songwriter, Andy has maintained his highly individual performing skills throughout his over 50-year career. From Sweeney's Men in the mid 60s, to the enormous success of Planxty in the 70s, his duo with Paul Brady in the later 70s and then from Patrick Street to Mozaik, LAPD and Usher’s Island, Andy has been a world music pioneer and an icon for traditional music and musicians.
KRIS DREVER and RACHEL BAIMAN
at the National Centre for Early Music on Sun May 29
On the heels of their respective new solo albums, Scottish folk star Kris Drever (LAU), and Nashville-based Americana artist Rachel Baiman present a joint tour of the UK and Scotland in the Spring of 2022, featuring solo sets from each as well as unique collaborations drawing on their respective original material. Acclaimed guitarist and songwriter Kris Drever has won multiple awards including 7 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards, two shortlist nominations for Scottish Album of The Year (with his trio Lau) and much acclaim for his solo recordings and concerts including glowing reviews from The Herald, The Guardian, Mojo and Q Magazine. Kris has collaborated with Cream’s Jack Bruce, Tinariwen, Joan As Police Woman, Jerry Douglas, Danny Thompson, Rosanne Cash, Eddi Reader, Julie Fowlis, Karine Polwart, Seckou Keita, The Lost Words: Spell Songs collective and many more. With her 2017 debut Shame, Americana songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Rachel Baiman emerged as a fearless voice of the American female experience. “Shame” was featured on NPR’s “Songs We Love”, called a “Rootsy Wake-up Call” by Folk Alley, and described by Vice’s “Noisey” as “flipping off authority one song at a time.” On her new full-length album Cycles, Baiman has found a grittier musical medium for her signature unabashed and defiant songwriting, employing a majority-female team including co-producer Olivia Hally, known as the front woman of Indie-pop band Oh Pep! Drever and Baiman are both heavily seeped in folk traditions, yet happily influenced by modern sounds. Together they present a complimentary and transatlantic take on roots music, with stunning vocal harmonies and instrumental prowess.
THE UNTHANKS at York Barbican on Tues May 31
The Unthanks return to live touring after two years off the road, with the rich and colourful sound of their eleven-piece ensemble, showcasing forthcoming new album, Sorrows Away, alongside favourites such as Magpie, The King Of Rome and Mount The Air.
Follow the links here for details regarding tickets or access the links from the folk club website.
*Denotes tickets on sale soon. Watch our website and Facebook and Twitter pages for updates. www.blackswanfolkclub.org.uk
I said it in our last letter and I’ll say it again. ‘Let’s hope 2022 is a little less chaotic than 2021.’
Looking forward to seeing you soon.
Chris and The Black Swan Folk Club