Black Swan Folk Club

E-Newsletter 92

Mid Nov 2008

Hello again. A swift return as there’s yet more good music coming up...


  1. TIM O’BRIEN AT NCEM. There are a handful of tickets left for Tim O’Brien’s concert at the Early Music Centre tomorrow night (15th). Their Box Office isn’t open on Saturdays until an hour before the performance starts, so book today (Friday) or turn up early “on spec” on Saturday for the chance of getting one of the last tickets. Chris Euesden does the support spot at 7.30, after which we have two sets from Tim.

  2. EMILY SMITH AT NCEM. Our last concert promotion of the autumn at the Early Music Centre is the outstanding Scottish singer Emily Smith, who makes her second appearance there on Tuesday 25th November. She is joined by her three man band of Jamie McClennan on fiddle, Ross Milligan on guitar and Kevin McGuire on bass, while Emily herself plays accordion and keyboard.
    Emily is a delightful singer with a beautifully expressive voice. She has a rare ability to write modern day folk songs of the highest calibre, often inspired by places and events in her native Dumfries and Galloway. Alongside these she sings traditional ballads, Burns songs and other covers and slips in a few instrumental pieces too. Only last week she was nominated for Scots Singer of the Year in this year’s Scottish Music Awards. You can find out more about this exceptional artist at
    The support act will be a young Edinburgh-based singer David Ferrard who is making a bit of a name for himself at the moment. He won the Danny Kyle songwriting competition at Celtic Connections in 2006 and the Burnsong competition in 2007. Artists covering his songs include Roy Bailey and his recently released debut album Broken Sky includes contributions from Karine Polwart amongst others. Find out more and hear several songs at
    After a brisk start, ticket sales for this event have gone decidedly sluggish and there are still lots available. I don’t understand why this should be the case, but it would be a real shame (as well as a financial embarrassment) if we didn’t double the existing sale between now and the start of the show – Emily certainly merits it! Tickets are £ 12 (£ 10 concessions) from the NCEM Box Office on 01904 658338, Get yours soon!

  3. YOUNG FOLK GET EVEN YOUNGER. After November’s Singers & Musicians Night (20th November) our next club guest night is a Double Bill showcase for two winners of last spring’s New Roots folk talent contest. All the musicians travelling to York on 27th November are still in their teens – which I think is a first in our long series of such Young Performer events.
    Niamh Boadle is a 14-year old folk musician from Lancashire, playing traditional Irish and English songs and tunes and switching between guitar, whistle, fiddle and bodhran. She has also begun to try her hand at writing her own songs. Amongst her influences she lists Nancy Kerr & James Fagan, Cormac Byrne (Uiscedwr), Niamh Parsons and Malinky – all good stuff. Visit and you will find a very competent and enthusiastic youngster whose maturity and style belie her tender years.
    JiggaWatt are a four-piece band based around South Yorkshire and aged between 15 and 17. Sarah plays fiddle, Danny the guitar, Rob is on percussion and Josh plays bass. They play a lively mix of traditional music, ranging from Irish and English folk to Bluegrass and have been getting out and about at folk festivals over the last couple of years. “It’s not often I’m drawn to a festival beer tent these days”, says Damien Barber (ho-hum!) “so there was a minor miracle at Shepley this year – Jiggawatt! Keep an eye out for them...there’s a lot more to come”. Their MySpace address is
    One of the judges at the New Roots competition was Pete Coe and he has graciously agreed to come up to York on 27th November to be our guest MC and introduce the acts. Do come along and support this event if you possibly can. Young performers’ nights are always great fun and fill one with hope for the long-term future of our scene. Doors open at 8pm and entry is £ 6 (£ 5 concessions).

  4. FIL CAMPBELL / MIKE SILVER. The club programme continues into December with a belated return visit by the Ulster singer Fil Campbell, who for this tour is accompanied not only by her master-percussionist husband Tom McFarland but also by mandolin and guitar player Brendan Emmett. Fil is an experienced and passionate performer. She sings the traditional songs she learned as a child, she has been writing new songs since her school days, and she is a master interpreter of other people’s compositions. The most recent of her four album releases, Songbirds, is a collection of folk songs popular in Ireland in the 30s, 40s and 50s and associated with female singers such as Mary O’Hara, Margaret Barry and Delia Murphy. It has since been developed into a TV documentary series for RTE. Fil & co appear on 4th December, on a door price of £ 7 (£ 6 concessions) with jovial John Cherry as MC.
    The following week, 12th December, Mike Silver is our special end-of-the-year guest. Stan Graham hosts that one and prices are £ 8 or £ 6.50 concessions. Booking for both Fil Campbell and Mike Silver is available at

  5. LIVE REVIEWS ON-LINE. For some time there has been a reviews page on the club website. Up ‘til now it has contained mostly CD reviews submitted by the indefatigable David Kidman, but I am now thinking of expanding it to take in more reports on club concerts and events – either as full texts or as hyperlinks to other sites. For example, freelance critic Allan Wilkinson did a thoughtful review of the Rachel Unthank & The Winterset concert now loaded at (ignore the attribution to “Michael”, caused by a glitch in our system). This one is also posted on the DigYorkshire site ( where you get the chance to give it a rating. To see more of Allan’s fine writing go to
    York’s music magazine The Talk also gives us some good coverage. The November issue has reviews of The Churchfitters and the Kerr Fagan Harbron / Methera concert – see Also doing regular reviews is our local daily paper The Press. For example, last Saturday’s edition included Richard Foster’s account of the Chris Wood club night the previous Thursday. All these reviews are also online at their site, though you have to do searches to find them.


  1. ALLAN’S TWANGFEST - ADDENDUM. A footnote to my piece in E-News 91 – I should have pointed out that University Radio York is only on-air in term time, so the present run of Allan Nelson’s Twangfest ends on 14th December.

  2. MICHAEL’S BEERY SUCCESS. Talking of Allan Nelson takes me nicely back to former York University student and erstwhile Radio York Folk Programme host Michael Brothwell. Picking up the Metro free paper the other day, I came across a full page feature on Leeds Brewery, the business Michael quit Radio York to build up with his partner Sam Moss. Despite difficult times in the pub trade, it seems they are doing well. Their draught beers are highly regarded and they now have a pub in Holbeck, The Midnight Bell, and a newly-opened cocktail bar in the waterfront area, The Pin. See for details of their products.

  3. REBOUND FOR GOOD RECORDS. Delivering club posters in town the other day, I called in at Rebound Records and stopped a while to browse. Fatal! They have an excellent selection of folk CD stock, including plenty of less obvious items and a good smattering of new and recent releases. The Americana section also seemed very good and owner David also maintains a vinyl department for the more “serious” collector. Record shops are struggling these days, so do give this one your support if you are at all interested in buying less mainstream releases. David also welcomes part-exchangers and sellers. Rebound Records are at 5 Gillygate, York 653313.

  4. DAN’S DIAMOND LAND. Well-known York-based songwriter Dan Webster is pleased to announce that his new CD is out at last. To judge from the sample tracks on his MySpace page, Diamond Land takes Dan’s music a significant leap forward. Go to and have a listen for yourself.


And finally another round up of other folk, roots and acoustic music events taking place around the York and North Yorkshire region.

  1. KATE AT THE OPERA. Don’t forget that Kate Rusby is at the Grand Opera House in York on Sunday night (16th). Tickets at £ 20 are still available. Look at

  2. KFFC BIRTHDAY BASH. Also still available are just a handful of tickets for Kirkby Fleetham Folk Club’s weekend “Big Birthday Bash”, 21st-23rd November. This takes place at Leeming Village Hall on the Friday night, then at Kirkby Fleetham Village Hall for the rest of the weekend. Artists appearing include Marie Little, Brother Crow, Mary Humphries & Anahata, Duncan McFarlane and of course Wendy Arrowsmith & Blind Summat. Find out more and book at

  3. BELINDA AT THE GROVE. Since leaving The Winterset, pianist and composer Belinda O’Hooley has teamed up with fellow songwriter Heidi Tidow. Their well-crafted songs, sublime harmonies and Belinda’s northern banter can be sampled at The Grove in Leeds on Saturday 22nd November (0113 243 9254).

  4. THE SELBY BLUES. Also on Saturday 22nd November, cutting-edge blues singer, songwriter and bottleneck slide guitarist Catfish Keith appears at Selby Town Hall with tickets a very modest £ 8 in advance or £ 10 on the door. Find further details at

  5. GUITAR ACE AT THE SWAN. Highly-rated and hard-working acoustic guitar wizard Jon Gomm has a self-promoted gig at the Black Swan Inn on Sunday 23rd November. A recent feature in local music magazine The Link summed him up thus: “a singer-songwriter and acoustic solo performer with an incredible virtuoso style ... he uses one guitar to create drum sounds, bass lines and sparkling melodies all at the same time ... soulful vocals ... material influenced by everything from Robert Johnson to Radiohead, Joni Mitchell to Bob Marley”. Tickets are £ 4 in advance through WeGotTickets, or £ 5 on the door. His website is

  6. DAVID, MAGGIE & JOHN. A reminder that a trio of songwriters well known to Black Swan audiences, David Swann, Maggie Allred and John Storey, share an evening together at Melton’s Too on Walmgate in York on Wednesday 26th November.

  7. LIGHTGARDEN BRIGHTEN THE WINTER. David Moss & Masha Kaestner, aka LightGarden, present an evening of overtone chanting and other “timeless songs and music” at St Helen’s Church in York (opposite Betty’s Tearooms) on Friday 28th November. It is one of a series of concerts in which they are using the natural acoustic qualities of churches to enhance the magical sounds of vocal harmonics or overtone chanting. This is the ancient Mongolian technique of singing two notes at once, in which David and Masha are acknowledged experts.
    Interwoven with gentle humour and instrumental prowess on organ, harmonium, bouzouki, fiddle and mandolin, the result is a unique and magical musical experience, as we heard when they appeared at the Folk Club last spring. It’s a 7.30pm start and tickets at £ 8 (£ 6 concessions) can be reserved on 01947 897313. Find out more at

  8. PATSY AT THE POST. Former Waking The Witch singer and songwriter Patsy Matheson headlines a Triple Bill at the Winning Post in York on Saturday 29th November. Also appearing are Gina Dootson and Miles Cain and it promises to be a grand evening. It gets the front cover treatment on the current edition of The Talk. It’s an 8pm start, tickets £ 7 on the door or £ 5.50 in advance on 07525 751219.

  9. BODEDGA IN COURT. Also on Saturday 29th November up-coming Scottish band Bodega appears at Otley Courthouse Arts Centre, in another co-promotion with Saltaire Live. Winners of the BBC Young Folk Award 2006, Bodega make music “with fierce energy and imagination”. The line-up includes pipes, accordion, harp, guitar and vocals, plus sensational Shetland fiddler Ross Couper. The start time is 8pm and tickets can be booked at £ 9 (£ 7 concessions) through the Dig Yorkshire ticket service.

  10. REMEMBERING LAL. Ten years on from her sad death, the great Lal Waterson is remembered at the National Centre for Early Music on Tuesday 2nd December. Jo Freya’s Lal Waterson Project brings together such a star cast as Jim Boyes (Coope Boyes & Simpson), Fi Fraser (Old Swan Band), Jude Abbot, Harry Hamer and Neil Ferguson (Chumbawamba) and Mary McMaster (Poozies) for an evening of Lal’s very special songs. This event is NOT one of our own club promotions at NCEM but we are happy to lend it enthusiastic support. The usual box office details apply, 01904 658338 and, and tickets are £ 14 (£ 12 concessions).

  11. FESTIVE FOLK NIGHT AT HENSHAWS. Henshaws, the society for blind people, announces a fundraising Festive Folk Night at their Knaresborough Arts & Crafts Centre on Friday 5th December. Artists appearing include Pete Coe, Claro Sword Dancers, performing the Knaresborough Sword Dance, and traditional singer John Greaves. Knaresborough Mummers will present the The Blue Stots Play and the Blind Jack Band will play. It all starts at 7.30pm and tickets are £ 7 on 01423. 541888. The Centre is on Bond End in Knaresborough.

  12. FIBBERS AND THE DUCHESS. York city centre now has two mainstream rock music venues, both of them in Stonebow House, just along from the Black Swan. Both offer the occasional folk/acoustic act alongside the staple rock fare. At Fibbers ( Martin Simpson performs on 14th December and looking ahead I see Lau listed for next February. Over at The Duchess ( Jackie Leven appears on 10th December while the new year brings Drever, McCusker & Woomble, Eliza Carthy and others.

  13. UNION CENTRAL AT THE SWAN. Following their last House Full gig at the Black Swan, bluegrass outfit Union Central return there on Saturday 13th December with another dose of excellent Alison Krauss covers. Early booking advisable – contact Phil Quin on 01904 783029. Doors open at 8pm for an 8.30 start and the cost is £ 5. The band have a website at

Another long one! There are other events in December which I could have mentioned. Hopefully, I’ll get another bulletin out early in the month, in time for them.