Black Swan Folk Club

E-Newsletter 251

24th January 2022

Hello everyone


Moving into Spring now and here’s an idea of what we have lined up at the club and in concert over the next few months and for later in the year.


This Thursday April 14 at the club we have a first-time guest appearance for


Den came along and played a few songs at one of our singers nights under the marquee in the car park last September and impressed so much we’ve invited him back for a guest spot. Strong melodies, catchy sing-along choruses and intelligent lyrics, are the trademark of his self-composed songs and with latest album "Join All The Dots" he presents a quirky outlook on modern life's issues and challenges, including relationships, parenting, war and terrorism with an unusual viewpoint that entertains and is thought-provoking, making connections between situations and events that at first may seem to be unconnected.

Den's songs and his style - from wildly comic to deeply poignant – “make listening a pleasure and an experience not to be missed."


0n Thurs April 21- we are delighted to welcome


back to the Black Swan Folk Club. Midlands-born guitarist and songwriter Sam Carter has earned a reputation for vivid, narrative-driven song-writing and captivating live performances. He is a highly regarded instrumentalist, renowned by many as 'the finest English-style fingerpicking guitarist of his generation' (Jon Boden). Over the past fifteen years, Sam has toured the world, won a BBC Folk Award and made appearances on national TV, including a spellbinding performance on Later… with Jools Holland.


On Mon April 25 at The Crescent Club we present:-


She is an Irish singer, multi-instrumentalist and songwriter based in Wicklow, whose anachronistic vocal talent toes the line between folk and vivid dreamscapes. Her songs are lyrically ornate and intertwined with the artistry of a writer beyond her years. The instrumental delicacy of her work is tempered with explorations into the avant-garde, contributing a challenging, emphatic and new voice to folk music.

Special guest at this one will be AMY MAY ELLIS.


On Thurs April 28-we present another ‘Open Mic’ at the Black Swan Folk Club this time with a feature spot from THE OLD HUMPY BAND, (no advance tickets)


Next a big concert event at The Crescent Club on Sat April 30 with


A unique force in British folk music with high-energy, virtuosic performances appeal equally to traditionalists and to those looking for something more experimental, and they have garnered praise from publications as varied as fRoots, The Telegraph and The Wire, where they were described as ‘melodically folk-rooted yet open and innovative beyond the constraints of genre’

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.

In the past we’ve hosted the 3 piece Gigspanner and duos Peter Knight and John Spiers and The Edgelarks. This time we are going for the full team.


Thurs May 5 there’s a rather special event at The Black Swan Folk Club


From the USA it’s the first time in for this banjo and fiddle exponent who’ll provide a workshop before his performance.

Virtuoso banjo player and fiddler Aaron Jonah Lewis has been elbow-deep in traditional American music since first lessons at the age of five with Kentucky native Robert Oppelt. Concerts take audiences on a journey through the back roads of American old time and folk music, with detours through ragtime and early jazz. Aaron is passionate about sharing his musical talents of both fiddle and banjo.

Before the concert Aaron will present an old-time fiddle workshop.

The workshop starts at 6-30pm and the club opens for Aaron’s concert performance at the usual time 7-45pm music from 8-15pm.

You can book tickets for the workshop and concert combined or for the workshop only.


On Sunday May 8 at The Crescent Club we present:-


It’s 40 years since Martin Simpson recorded his first album, Golden Vanity, in 1976. Now known as a guitarist of formidable talent and equally at home playing English traditional folk, American folk and blues and his own compositions, he is consistently named as one of the very finest fingerstyle guitar players in the world.

For this show Martin is joined by Andy Cutting. A musician’s musician (BBC Radio 2 Folk Award Winner Best Musician 2008, 2011 & 2016), Andy Cutting is a soulful and technically outstanding melodeon practitioner with an ear for a fine tune. Many of his tunes have been purloined along the way: some considered contemporary classics on the folk scene. A warm and emotive performer, modestly engaging his audiences with his self-deprecating wit and then flooring them with staggering musicianship. There are few melodeon players who put so much feeling into their playing, whether it is a set of dance tunes, or accompaniment to a slow English ballad.

The combination of these two first class musicians is a mouth-watering proposition.


On Thurs May 12-


Are our guests at The Black Swan Folk Club. Brigid and Steve first played for us at the Black Swan four years ago when they were the special guests for our performer that evening Clive Carroll. This time they headline themselves.

The duo consisting of bluegrass banjo exponent and one time member of the legendary Dillards Steve plus singer and songwriter accordionist and musical saw exponent Brigid. is highly effective and entertaining and their show promises to be one of our more original and entertaining evenings.


No introduction needed for our concert at The Crescent Club on Monday 16 May.


One of the great Irish singers, his voice is one of a handful of truly great ones that gets to the very soul of Ireland. Musician, singer and songwriter, Andy has maintained his highly individual performing skills throughout his 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 he has been a world music pioneer and an icon for traditional music and musicians.


And another artist needing no introduction


is our guest at the Black Swan Folk Club on Thurs May 19

Award winning guitarist and songwriter Steve is no stranger to the Black Swan and always pulls a big crowd to his performances.

He is one of our most celebrated songsmiths, widely recognised within the world of folk and contemporary music; the words, arrangements and subtle, quite superb guitar playing could be no one else.

The story of Steve’s “lost” letter from John Lennon was the inspiration for Danny Collins, a film starring Al Pacino, which went on general release in the UK in May 2015.

A writer of the classic songs including The Slipjigs and Reels, Here’s to Tom Paine, The Naked Highwayman and The Reckoning, he is also a published author whose first novel All for Poor Jack is an historical tale set in Bristol and the New World, full of colourful characters. It’s a mighty good read and has been enjoyed by the likes of Bob Dylan no less!


Mon May 23-GRACE PETRIE is at The Crescent Club YORK

This concert is now SOLD OUT.


Thurs May 26 will be an ‘OPEN MIC’ at The Black Swan Folk Club


And on Sun May 29


are at the National Centre for Early Music, Walmgate, YORK

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 performance 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.

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.

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.


To finish the Spring programme

Tues May 31 sees THE UNTHANKS at York Barbican.

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.


Further listings into the summer and beyond:-

Thurs June 2 will be a pre-Folk Weekend ‘Open Mic’ at The Black Swan Folk Club

And then on Sat June 4 and Sun June 5 The Black Swan Folk Club presents our annual:-


2 days of free music outside, under the Marquee and inside in the folk club room at The Black Swan Inn. They’ll be performances from an array of artists including:-

Kaminari Taiko, The Ale Marys, The Duncan McFarlane Band, Clurachan. Two Black Sheep and a Stallion, Holly Taymar, Blonde on Bob, Les Rustiques, Caramba and many more

Thurs June 9 PLUMHALL are at The Black Swan Folk Club

Sun June 12 STICK IN THE WHEEL  are at the Crescent Club York

Thurs June 16 it’s an ‘OPEN MIC’ at The Black Swan Folk Club

Thurs June 23-leading Celtic guitarist TONY McMANUS and JULIA TOASPERN are at

the Black Swan Folk Club

Thurs June 30 ‘OPEN MIC’ at The Black Swan Folk Club

Thurs July 7 FAKE THACKRAY at The Black Swan Folk Club

Thurs July 14 ‘OPEN MIC’ at The Black Swan Folk Club

Thurs July 21 HENRY PARKER at The Black Swan Folk Club

Thurs July 28 ‘OPEN MIC’ at The Black Swan Folk Club

Tues Aug 30 DELLA MAE (USA)-The Crescent Club YORK

Thurs Sept 1 CHRIS and KELLIE WHILE at The Black Swan Folk Club

Mon Sept 5 the return of LIAM O’MAONLAI and WHITE SAIL

(this time at The Crescent Club)

Thurs Sept 8 MARIA DUNN and SHANNON JOHNSON at The Black Swan Folk Club

Friday Sept 30 BREABACH are at the National Centre for Early Music

Tues Oct 4 YE VAGABONDS are at The Crescent Club in York

Thurs Oct 6 CATHRYN CRAIG and BRIAN WILLOUGHBY are at The Black Swan Folk Club

Wed Oct 12 DAOIRI FARRELL is at the National Centre for Early Music

Thurs Oct 27 CLIVE GREGSON at the Black Swan Folk Club

Thurs Nov 10 TOM McCONVILLE and MICHAEL BIGGINS are at The Black Swan Folk Club

and ALLAN TAYLOR postponed from 25 Nov last year will now play the Black Swan Folk Club on Thurs Nov 17

Thurs Nov 24 AIDEN PATTERSON and DASHWOOD play The Black Swan Folk Club

Sun Nov 27 TALISK are at The Crescent Club York


All our concerts at the Crescent Club and the NCEM are in association with Please Please You Promotions.


Ticket links and availability for all the above can be found by going to the Black Swan Folk Club website  

Also watch our Facebook and Twitter pages for updates.


Other folk events in York include:-

Regular open sessions

Every Tues at The Maltings, Tanner’s Moat in York (tunes only)

Every Friday at The Three Legged Mare, High Petergate, York


Friendly and inclusive French and Breton music session, playing from the dots. Based at the historic Black Swan Inn, Peasholme Green, York. Every third Wednesday in the month, from 8pm.


Mixed Cotswold and Border Morris, looking for new talent. We practise at Sand Hutton Village Hall, Monday nights from 8pm. Details on the minster strays website


Inclusive group performing dances from medieval to Victorian times. Looking for new members. We practise at Temple Newsam on Saturday mornings. Details on our website

And at the National Centre for Early Music in York they also have: -

FLOOK on April 27th


JOHN McCUSKER on November 2nd

LADY MAISERY on November 16th


KATIE SPENCER plays The Crescent Club YORK on Sun 22nd May


Janice Newton Director of The Creation Waggon Play; in association with the Guild of Building and York Festival Trust is looking for folk singers and actors (unpaid) to take part in this year’s Waggon Play:The Creation.

This year’s performance includes a new folk song she has composed to support the message and medieval language in the text of the play. 

Janice writes ‘Think of a party after a successful harvest; everyone joyful and relieved the grain is gathered safely. Everyone will have bread and ale and grain for the winter store! Hurrah!

And now it is time to Celebrate big style together !  Joy, Happiness and Elation!

This is the feel/atmosphere of the Yorkshire folk song that I want to replicate in the performances.  There will be stamping, clapping and a little easy dancing. ( jigging about a bit) And perhaps a little hissing if you are cast as a devil!’

Rehearsal is outdoors, to prepare for outside performance; Saturday afternoons in a York City green space from the 16th April between 2-5 pm.

Performances of the play are on Sundays 19th and 26th June 2022. There may be two midweek evening performances between the Sundays (tbc) 

Free to watch by all. The Medieval Waggon Pageants are Rolling again through York’s Historic Streets. 

So, If you would like to join in the fun and celebration of The Creation, as a performer in the singing ensemble ( unpaid); please contact:

Janice Newton on 07391288743.  Please text me first, in case I don’t hear my phone and I will ring you back with further information.



Finally The Magpies Music Festival is taking place again this year on 12th and 13th August once again at Sutton Park near York. Several important artists on the bill including SETH LAKEMANJOHN SMITHROB HERON and the TEAPAD ORCHESTRA THE DAN WEBSTER BAND and of course THE MAGPIES and there’s more. Get all the details at


That’s all for this Newsletter we’ll be back again soon.


Looking forward to seeing you at our events.


Chris and The Black Swan Folk Club



24th February Update: 


This is another condensed mail shot to keep you informed of the events we have planned over the next few months. Although we’ve had some great music at the club and in concert since the start of the year, the truth is that advance ticket sales are not as good as we had hoped and so this newsletter is a reminder to everyone that we’re well and truly up and running once again with some top-class folk music. We’d love to see you all back at the club and at the concerts.


First off, last call for a club favourite PETE MORTON who is at the Black Swan tonight Thurs Feb 24

….and then we have:-

Thursday March 3rd- BOB FOX at the Black Swan Folk Club

Sunday March 6- BLAIR DUNLOP at the Crescent Club YORK YO24 1AW

Thursday March 10-LUCY FARRELL with special guest Iona Lane are at the Black Swan Folk Club.

Thursday March 17 ‘Open Mic’ with a feature spot from Ramshackle at the Black Swan Folk Club (no advance tickets)

Thursday March 24-WHITE SAIL and PAULA RYAN are at the Black Swan Folk Club

Thursday March 31-CLIVE CARROLL is at the Black Swan Folk Club.

Wed April 6-PEGGY SEEGER and CALUM MacCOLL are at the Crescent Club York.

Thurs April 7-there’s an ‘Open Mic’ at the Black Swan Folk Club (no advance tickets)

Thurs April 14-DEN MILLER is at the Black Swan Folk Club

Thurs April 21-SAM CARTER is at the Black Swan Folk Club

Thurs April 28-‘Open Mic’ at the Black Swan Folk Club (no advance tickets)

Sat April 30-PETER KNIGHT’S GIGSPANNER BIG BAND are at the Crescent Club York

Thurs May 5-AARON JONAH LEWIS (from the USA, first time in for this old-time banjo and fiddle exponent who’ll provide a workshop before his performance.)

Sunday May 8-MARTIN SIMPSON and ANDY CUTTING are at the Crescent Club York

Thurs May 12-BRIGID KAELIN and STEVE COOLEY (more banjo, this time Bluegrass style from ex-Dillards member Steve Cooley with Brigid on accordian and musical saw. They provided us with with a top rate performance the last time that Clive Carroll played the club in February 2018.)

Monday 16 May-ANDY IRVINE is at the Crescent Club York

Thurs May 19-STEVE TILSTON is at the Black Swan Folk Club

Mon May 23-GRACE PETRIE at The Crescent Club YORK (Sold Out)

Sun May 29-KRIS DREVER and RACHEL BAIMAN are at the NCEM, Walmgate, YORK

Tues May 31 sees THE UNTHANKS at York Barbican. 

June 3, 4 and 5 are the dates for this year’s

City of York ‘Roland Walls’ Folk Weekend at the Black Swan Inn, York. (no advance tickets)

Thurs June 23-leading Celtic guitarist TONY McMANUS and JULIA TOASPERN play the Black Swan Folk Club

Tues Aug 30 DELLA MAE (USA) play The Crescent Club YORK

and ALLAN TAYLOR postponed from 25 Nov last year will now play the Black Swan Folk Club on Thurs Nov 17


Tickets are available for all the above except where noted. Go to for all events held at The Black Swan Inn and to for the rest.

You can access the box offices directly from the links on the Black Swan Folk Club website.

Watch our website and Facebook and Twitter pages for updates.


Postponed from last Christmas BLONDE on BOB with their repertoire of ‘Nothin’ But Dylan’ are at the Black Swan Inn on Saturday March 26 from 8pm with special guests FREEWHEELIN’(featuring Graham Hodge and Billy Bills) tickets a