Mid March 2007
This is by way of a short “interim” newsletter, mainly to tell you more about next week’s Young Performer event, about which I am getting quite a buzz.
- SHOWCASING THE NEXT FOLK GENERATION. We held our first Young Performers Night in 1999 and have repeated the theme once or twice most years since then. These events offer a great opportunity to sample a talented variety of young singers and players at an early stage in their careers. Previously featured artists who have gone on to bigger things include (to name a few) The Witches of Elswick, Jim Causley (of The Devil’s Interval) and Bill Jones. We even have two participants in the very first YP Night who are now married to each other, Marie Ward and Michael Jary (not that we take any credit!). The next Young Performer Night is on Thursday 22nd March and has the makings of another classic.
Gene Burton dropped in at the club on a Singers Night about a year ago and managed to make a big impression with just two or three songs. I went home with a copy of his CD and was much taken by his distinctive lyrics and insidiously catchy tunes, and most of all by his great vocal style, which is quite different from the folk “norm”. Gene is based in Southampton, so has not yet had much exposure here in the north, but if there is any justice that will soon change. He has just won the EFDSS’s 75th Anniversary songwriting competition, held at the Cheltenham Folk Festival last month (where, incidentally, York’s own Helen Bell was one of the other four finalists).
Roger Davies lives at Brighouse, near Huddersfield, and has visited several of our recent Singers Nights, always going down a storm. To judge from the newsletters I see from other local clubs and promoters, we are not alone in being mightily impressed by his fresh take on the singer/songwriter/guitarist model. He has one CD out already and a second one, Northern Trash, is imminent. A couple of week’s ago Roger supported Harvey Andrews at the Wickersley Music Day in South Yorkshire. Harvey, a famously stern judge, is reported as being ecstatic about Roger’s performance, saying “That lad has everything...I couldn’t teach him a thing...the best I’ve seen in 20 years”.
Completing our Young Performer line-up with a bit of a contrast, West Yorkshire duo James Meadows & Steve Lacey play mostly traditional songs and tunes, with James on tenor banjo and bouzouki and Steve singing and playing guitar. Both have worked with a variety of bands during their short careers, while as a soloist James reached the semi-finals of the BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Awards in 2006 and has appeared several times at the famous Birdsedge Village Festival run by Jacey and Brian Bedford.
Doors open at 8.00 on Thursday 22nd, for the usual 8.30 start, but note that with a 40/45 minute set for each young artist there will be none of the usual floor spots. Entry is £5, with all proceeds split three ways amongst the participants. Do come along if you possibly can – I’m sure you’ll not regret it.
- JUDY COOK CALLING. Next, a brief reminder that we welcome noted American traditional singer Judy Cook on 29th March. She promises songs about “cowboys, miners, lumberjacks and Old Nick himself – chorus songs and narratives, songs both serious and silly”, joined occasionally by her partner Dennis on harmonies.
- CITY OF YORK FOLK DAY PLANNING. There are just two months to wait for Folk Day 2007, on 19th May, and I’m getting increasing numbers of approaches about performance spots at this year’s event. I’ve taken a few days off work next week and intend to devote a bit of that time to pulling ideas together and coming up with an outline programme. My apologies to those of you to whom I have not sent an individual reply so far, but I will attempt to contact everyone once that outline programme has been completed. We’ll do our best to fit in everyone, but it does look as through we’ll be oversubscribed for both the Marquee stage and the indoor room, in which case there’ll need to be some hard decisions.
- LAST MINUTE NOTICES (1). Early readers of this newsletter in reach of the northern Dales area should note that the phenomenal young Shetland fiddler and singer Jenna Reid headlines at Reeth Memorial Hall this Friday night, 16th March, accompanied by Kevin Mackenzie (guitar) and Bethany Reid (keyboard, fiddle) and supported by Newcastle University student band Waxwing. To check last minute ticket availability, ring John Little on 01748 884759.
- LAST MINUTE NOTICES (2). This Saturday, 17th, there is a “special evening of jazz and bluegrass (bluegrazz?)” at the Black Swan Inn when accomplished Canadian singer Fran Hobbs will be joining York’s own bluegrass kings The Crocker Brothers. For more info. and tickets ring York 633849.
- LAST MINUTE NOTICES (3). Also this Saturday, 17th, there is a St Patrick’s Day Ceilidh at The Melbourne Centre on Melbourne Street in York. Dance to the music of Byland Rigg and enjoy the singing of Accessible Arts’ unique singing and signing choir, Hands and Voices. It’s a 7.30 start, running until 11pm, with tickets £4 or £2 on the door only and a licensed bar available. For more information contact Rose or Mollie on York 626965.
- NOT QUITE LAST MINUTE NOTICE. The indefatigable Jim Clarke asks us to point out that he takes his new outfit Dodgy Jim’s Blues Band to the Social Club, High Street, Holme on Spalding Moor on Friday 23rd March. Doors open at 7pm and it is a Free Entry event. I can’t recall the last time I heard of live music in Holme, so well done Jim!
- REMEMBERING ANN. Lastly, notice of a Weekend Singaround at the Green Dragon Inn, Hardraw in Wensleydale, from Friday 30th March to Sunday 1st April, with the main singaround event taking place on the Saturday evening. The weekend celebrates the memory of Ann Garbutt, a popular figure on the North Yorkshire folk scene who is sadly missed since her death in October 2006. For over 30 years Ann ran folk clubs with her husband Norman, latterly in the Ripon area, and it is her Ripon friends who have organised this weekend, just the kind of musical gathering Ann would have loved. It’s all free, though donations to Yorkshire Cancer Research are welcome. Some accommodation is available at the venue (01969 667392). Find out more by calling Lyn on 07837 956803.
I should be back within a week or two with yet more folk-related news.