Early December 2005
LEEDS ACOUSTIC SHOWCASE. Next Thursday’s club is an attempt to try some-thing a bit different. I’ve become increasingly aware of the large amount of good acoustic music being made out there by (mostly young) musicians who have little or no contact with the conventional folk club scene. Once upon a time the clubs were a natural seedbed for such performers, who often draw on many of the same influences and inspirations as our older generation. Leeds seems especially blessed with talented youngsters, and Michael Brothwell has done us a service by featuring some of them on his Radio York show. Our next club meeting (8 December) showcases three of them. Here’s some of what I wrote in my Press Release.
"Ben Wetherill spans the ages, a young man with a foot in the past but striding forward to a big future" wrote a reviewer of his recent Whitby gig (Robert Nichols in The Link). Ben is a sophisticated pop/jazz/folk songwriter and also has a distinctive take on traditional songs such as Barbara Allen and John Barleycorn, his voice described as "quivering somewhere between Nick Drake and Noel Coward". He’s a dab hand on the ukulele as well with a fondness for George Formby numbers. Dressed in suit, tie and brogues, he is a truly original young man.
23 year old Fran Rodgers has an arrestingly pure voice, light and delicate. Courtesy of her parents’ record collection, she grew up influenced by artists such Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Nick Drake and Jeff Buckley, and her own singing has been likened to Joni Mitchell. She writes engaging lyrics ("songs of melancholic beauty and passion, but not without wit" said The Evening Gazette) and she has some good covers as well. "Hers is a voice that warms your ears and dampens your eyes" was another reviewer’s verdict.
David Broad’s musical influences stretch back even earlier, to rural America in the 1930s, 40s and 50s, to the times of country blues players such as Fred McDowell and Mississippi John Hurt and folk singers like Leadbelly and Woody Guthrie. Dressing the part and playing acoustic, slide and steel guitars, David captures the musical essence of those distant times and reinterprets it for the 21st century.
Each singer will get a full 40-minute slot, with no floor spots this week other than an opener by our MC Chris Euesden. It’s £5 on the door, with ALL TAKINGS going to the three acts. Come along with an open mind and give them a listen.
- JOHN WRIGHT & VIN GARBUTT TICKETS. Tickets for John Wright’s gig on 15 December are now more than half gone, and it’s already looks like being the same story for Vin Garbutt tickets (26 January), which only went on sale this week! Act fast to avoid disappointment. Tickets for both nights (£8 / £6.50) are available over the bar at the Black Swan or from me at club meetings or by phone / post.
- CHRISTMAS IS COMING. Yes, just three weeks to go to the club Christmas Party night (22 December), always a joyous and fun-filled evening. Keep your diaries clear. Regulars will know that is the one night of the year when we hold a fundraising raffle. Any donations for the Prize Draw would be much appreciated: booze, food, CDs / DVDs, novelty items or whatever − just send them my way.
- NEW CLUB FLYER IMMINENT. I’ll be writing our next publicity flyer over the next few days and sending it off to be printed. I’ll pass on the text to all e-mail subscribers with the next Newsletter in a couple of weeks time, but meanwhile let me tell you that early 2006 brings us the return of old favourites Vikki Clayton (5 January), Eddie Walker (19 January) and Martyn Wyndham-Read (2 February) as well as Vin Garbutt. There are Singers Nights on 12 January and 9 February and our first NCEM concert promotion is Ashley Hutchings’ new venture Rainbow Chasers on St Valentine’s Day, 14 February. All confirmed future bookings are listed on the club website − which Michael Jary makes a great job of updating.
- SHOPPING & PARKING ALERT. If you are coming to the club over the next three weeks, remember that it is pre-Christmas Thursday night shopping in York. Roads will be busier than usual, the city centre pedestrian zone will be in place, and latecomers may find the Black Swan Inn’s private car park is full − in which case they will have to use the council’s Haymarket site next park to the pub, which now costs a flat rate of £2 after 6pm.
- STAN GRAHAM ON DVD. Our resident video producer Eddie Affleck has just issued his DVD of Stan’s CD launch night at the club last June. As well as Stan’s own performance (ably accompanied by Graham Hodge) Eddie has captured floor spot numbers by Phil Cerny, Val & Mike, John Cherry, Don Walls and Monkey’s Fist. The 60 minute recording is available from Eddie for £10 (email@example.com, 01904 798371) and I anticipate having a few copies for sale at club meetings (alongside both of Stan’s CDs and albums by Phil Cerny and Los Yobos). Stan himself recently completed a solid week of club bookings in Scotland and then took himself and Julie off to Jamaica to recover!
- FROM ISRAEL TO YORK. Back in October of 2004 we had a particularly magical Singers & Musicians Night at the club. One of many excellent acts that day was an Israeli contemporary folk trio who were visiting England, Goldoolins. They have kept in touch ever since and recently pointed me to a glowing 4-star review of their new CD Songs of the Turly Crio on the Allmusic website (www.allmusic.com). To my surprise when I looked it up I found they had shot the cover photo at St Mary’s Abbey in York, presumably on that very same visit to York. Good luck to them!
- ROUND & ABOUT. Here are other upcoming local rootsy gigs of special note:
- Stanley Accrington brings music and zany humour to the Yorkshire Wolds on Wednesday 7 December, with a concert at Weaverthorpe Village Hall. Contact Jim Clarke for more info: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Los Yobos have a mini-tour of York "Swan" pubs, playing The Old White Swan, Goodramgate on Tuesday 6th and The Black Swan Inn on Saturday 10th. Both gigs will be free entry and they plan to do entirely different sets!
- Chumbawamba present their "unplugged" acoustic set of radical songs past and present at Howden Shire Hall on Saturday 10 December. Tickets are £12.50 on 01430 431535 (day) or 01430 431488 (evenings).
- Also on 10 December is the next Open Mic evening organised by Kirkburn Acoustic Club at the Village Hall in Kirkburn near Driffield. For more details or to book a floor spot, contact David or Jean on 01377 229048.