Black Swan Folk Club

E-Newsletter 90

Early Oct 2008

Hello again. This time it is only a short interval since the last bulletin. To be frank, I need to give this Thursday’s club guest an extra push, in hopes of persuading more of you to come along. There’s lots of other stuff to tell you about as well, so here goes...

  1. UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL WITH KATY MOFFATT. This week’s club guest, Katy Moffatt, really is a treat. Although from the “country” end of the American singer-songwriter scene, her material and her intimate solo performing style fit snugly into the setting of the Black Swan, as we discovered on her marvellous club debut last year. She is about to release a new CD, Fewer Things, produced by top Americana musician Andrew Hardin and including original songs (two co-written with old sparring partner Tom Russell), plus covers by writers such as Nick Lowe and John Hiatt.
    Curiously, advance ticket sales have been slow so far. There will certainly be plenty of tickets available on the door on Thursday night (9th October), but if you fully intend to come and can book in advance at (£ 8 full price) or (£ 6.50 concessions) then please consider doing so. Apart from anything else it would make me a bit less jittery!! Chris Euesden MCs this one and it is the usual 8pm doors open for an 8.30pm start.

  2. FOLK AMBASSADORS FROM NEW YORK TO OLD YORK. Our “North America” month continues on 23rd October with Steve Suffet and Anne Price from New York. Both have a long history of involvement in the US folk scene. Steve happily describes himself as an “Old Fashion Folk Singer”, with a strong strand of social comment and protest in his material, but humour too. I’ve just received his new CD, which includes a selection of his own songs plus traditional ballads, blues, cowboy and gospel numbers, a Carter Family favourite, and covers of Si Kahn and Woody Guthrie.
    Anne Price likewise sings a wide variety of traditional, contemporary and self-penned songs, including Appalachian ballads, Irish and Scottish songs, country songs, songs of the sea, cowboy songs, songs about work, feminist songs and love songs. Interpreted with her rich, expressive voice, her songs can be funny or sad, thought-provoking or moving. She plays guitar and mountain dulcimer, or sings unaccompanied. She was born and raised in New York City and has been performing since 1979 in coffeehouses, schools, libraries, political benefits, and festivals. At the Black Swan, she and Steve will both do solo sets as well as coming together for the occasional duo. This one is £ 6 (£ 5 concessions) and Stan Graham acts as Master of Ceremonies.

  3. DAVID FRANCEY – CRAFTSMAN SONGWRITER. Around thirty people attended David Francey’s club debut in 2004 (one of his very first UK shows, preceding a slot at Towersey Festival) and everyone went away thoroughly impressed and asking when he’d back. Well, it has taken four years but at last he’s touring Britain again and returns to us on 30th October, accompanied by multi-instrumentalist Craig Werth.
    Scottish born but long resident in Canada, David is a storyteller who establishes a personal rapport with his audience in minutes. His wry humour and astute observations combined with his openhearted singing style have earned him a loyal following across Canada and the USA. His songs are timeless gems that will be sung for many years to come. On stage, David is an absolute gentleman and a truly inspiring performer. His albums Far End of Summer (2002) and Skating Rink (2004) won back to back JUNOs (Canada’s equivalent to a Grammy) in the “Best Roots and Traditional Solo” category. Waking Hour (2005), recorded in Nashville with Kieran Kane, Kevin Welch and Fats Kaplin, also received a nomination for the JUNOs while his latest release Right of Passage (2007) has just won David his third JUNO.
    David Francey’s songs have been recorded by a wide range of folk and roots artists, including James Keelaghan, The Del McCoury Band, Malinky, The Rankin Family, The Barra MacNeils, Chris & Kellie While, Claire Mann & Aaron Jones, and Colcannon. After David’s 2004 show our own Chris Euesden promptly learned a couple of them, so club regulars will be familiar with Paper Boy and Redwing Blackbird, and of course Chris is MC for this event. Tickets are £ 8 (£ 6.50 concessions), bookable online through, with a limited number probably available on the door as well.

  4. EARLY MUSIC CENTRE UPDATE. Thanks to everyone who came along to our first concert, last Friday, with Methera and Kerr Fagan Harbron, which was a great success and gave the two bands a wonderful launch to their joint tour.
    The concert by Rachel Unthank and the Winterset on 20th October is now Sold Out, not surprisingly in view of their current high profile. Tickets are still available for Tim O’Brien on 15th November, but don’t leave it too long, as this one is already half sold, while Emily Smith’s performance on 25th November is also selling well. Book online at or through the box office on 01904 658338. Alternatively, I have a limited number of tickets for both nights for sale on Thursday evening club meetings.

Next, a few items of general interest:

  1. INAUGURAL BILBROUGH FOLK NIGHT – SINGERS WANTED. A little while ago (E-News 85) I mentioned that the Three Hares Country Inn at Bilbrough was interested in putting on folk events. Well, local musician Ron Whisker was dining there recently, fell into conversation with the landlord and ended up agreeing to host an initial night on Tuesday 14th October. The hope is that this will become a regular event on the second Tuesday of each month. Ron will perform with his musical partner Pete Armitage, and has lined up another duo to take part, but he’d welcome further singers and musicians to come along, plus of course an audience. “The owner is a big folk fan and wants to make it a success” he says. The music room is in the converted village forge, real ales and good food are available and admission will be free, with a start time of 8pm. The Three Hares is on the Main Street in Bilbrough, which is just off the A64 west of York. The pub’s contact number is 01937 832128 or you can get in touch with Ron on

  2. FIDDLE PLAYER WANTED. A new young bluegrass and folk group based in the Pocklington area are looking for an enthusiastic fiddle player to join a line-up which already includes guitar, mandolin and double bass. This request comes via Steve & Denise Marshall of veteran local outfit The Foresters, so if you are interested contact them for more information on 01904 490440,

  3. DRUMMING IN OTLEY & SHIPLEY. Paul Wrigley asks me to tell you about drumming workshops which he and his partner are running. “Come along to a drum circle” he says, “have fun and be inspired, creating rhythms with others. No drumming or musical experience necessary. Children supervised by a responsible adult are welcome. Both venues are wheelchair friendly. All drums and percussion are provided.” Venues and dates are the Kirkgate Community Centre in Shipley between 1pm and 3pm on Saturdays 11th October, 8th November and 20th December, or Otley Courthouse Arts Centre between 2pm and 4pm on Saturdays 26th October, 23rd November and 21st December. The cost per session is £ 4 (£ 3 concessions) and you can find out more information from Anna and Paul on 01943 465413.

  4. LIVING TRADITION ON-LINE. The Living Tradition is one of the few national magazines devoted to folk music and it is one which I stock for sale at club meetings. The publishers are looking at ways to make its content more widely available and as an experiment they have put the whole of the current issue on-line for free. You can read it, print out parts of it, and you can forward the links and invite friends to view it. Go to and click on the cover picture. Feedback would be appreciated and you are also urged to sign up for their free e-mail newsletter to be kept in touch with developments. Of course, if you prefer conventional hard copy, I still have a couple left for sale at the modest price of £ 3.25.

  5. NEW LOCAL PROMOTER FOR ACOUSTIC MUSIC. Two local acoustic music fans Rudie and Ian are planning a series of events in the Basement Bar at York City Screen under the name NxNY, North by North Yorkshire ( and They kick off next Friday, 10th October, with American songwriters Rod Picott & Amanda Shires, plus local support from Holly Taymar. Of most interest to Black Swan supporters will probably be a performance by Boo Hewerdine on 20th November (clashing with a Singers Night at our club, but what the heck!) Tickets can be bought through the City Screen.

And finally another gallop through other folk, roots and acoustic music events taking place around the York region. Generally speaking, this list does not repeat outstanding events which were given a mention in E-News 89.

  1. IN COURT AT OTLEY. The Courthouse arts venue in Otley has several good events coming up. On Friday 10th October there is a contemporary song event with Chris Layhe, York duo TWO (Helen Turner & Sharon Winfield) and the new pairing of Michelle Plum & Nick Hall (of The Hall Brothers). Uiscedwr are in concert on Saturday 18th October. This is the new line-up with Karen Tweed and James Hickman joining founder members Anna Esslemont and Cormac Byrne. Later, there is a bluegrass event on Saturday 25th October with American pickers Bill Evans & Megan Lynch. Find out more at

  2. TOWN HALL GIGS IN SELBY. Selby is another town with a lively arts venue, here within the Town Hall. Californian singer-songwriter Corinne West (a Bob Harris radio favourite) appears on Saturday 11th October, followed by “world music” concerts with Etran Finatawa (Niger, 17th October) and Siyaya-Onke Ose (Zimbabwe, 24th October). Catfish Keith follows in November. Check out further details at

  3. JOIN THE BIG NATIONAL CEILIDH. Saturday 18th October is Big National Ceilidh day, with folk dances around the country, all raising funds for the WaterAid charity. There is no event in York, but over in Scarborough top ceilidh band Peeping Tom with caller Pete Rees lead a dance at the Sports & Tennis Centre on Filey Road, YO11 2TP. The evening runs from 7pm until midnight, has a real ale bar, and costs £ 10 per ticket. These can be booked from Jude Pickering on 01723 507920.
    Other Big National Ceilidh events are taking place in Castleton (Eskdale), Hull, Leeds, Burley in Wharfedale and elsewhere in Yorkshire. Look up the full list at then dig out those dancing shoes.

  4. OXJAM IN LEEDS. For determined non-dancers on 18th October, there is an Oxfam charity music day at St James Church, Church Lane in Crossgates, Leeds (LS15 8JB). The evening session (7pm-10.30pm) is largely devoted to folk and acoustic artists, with Roger Davies, the aforementioned Michelle Plum & Nick Hall, Katriona Gilmore & Jamie Roberts and others. Tickets are £ 5 (£ 2 children) from Heather Woodhead on 0113 264 3448.

  5. LAST CHANCES TO ENJOY LAST NIGHT’S FUN. Hugely popular band Last Night’s Fun have announced that they are splitting up at the end of this year. You can catch two of their final local shows at Brigshaw Arts Centre in Kippax, Leeds on 17th October (Different Stages Theatre Company, 0113 287 2068) and at Howden Shire Hall (with support Light Garden) on Friday 5th December ( Both events are likely to sell out very fast!

  6. FIFTY YEARS OF ROY BAILEY. Roy Bailey celebrates half a century of music making and political dissent with a very special concert “Rolling Home” at Sheffield City Hall on Sunday 19th October. Guests joining Roy on stage include Tony Benn, John Kirkpatrick, Martin Simpson, Chumbawamba and Nancy Kerr & James Fagan. Tickets are £ 20 from the Box Office on 01142 789 789, Not that Roy is thinking of retiring just yet – 10 days later (29th October) he and Tony Benn present their “Writing On The Wall” anthology of dissent in words and music at Leeds City Varieties (08456 441 881,

  7. TOM WAITS CELEBRATION AT YORK UNIVERSITY. One event in the new classical music season at York University caught my eye. On Wednesday 22nd October, Opera North present “Mercy and Grand: The Tom Waits Project”. This show “brings together ten songs by Tom Waits, numbers by Kurt Weill, a sea shanty, a hymn, a couple of gypsy tangos and a Fellini film score, all played by a versatile “circus band” ensemble”. The singer is Jess Walker and the band includes violin, accordion, guitar, clarinet, piano, bass and percussion. Find out more at

  8. WETHERBY FOLK IN THE FALL. I’ve been asked to say a bit more about the two-day folk festival in Wetherby at the end of this month. The venue is Wetherby High School and the concerts give good length sets to some top-class artists. Friday night (31st October) kicks off with Edwina Hayes and continues with Bellevue Rendezvous and the Rachel Walker Band (which includes one of our York favourites, Jenna Reid). On Saturday (1st November) the concert runs from 12 noon with Duncan MacFarlane, Rachel Hair, Ruth Notman, The Calum Stewart Trio, Bella Hardy & Chris Sherburn, The Karine Polwart Trio and The Shee. Find out more and make your bookings at

  9. UPCOMING AT POCKLINGTON. This lively Arts Centre has Heidi Talbot, Kris Drever, John McCusker & Boo Hewerdine on Saturday 11th October and Tom Russell (Katy Moffatt’s one-time collaborator – see above) on Tuesday 14th October, with more good things to come. See

There’s certainly no shortage of good live music, so do keep on supporting it.