Black Swan Folk Club

E-Newsletter 98

Early March 2009


  1. RUTH CHANGES PARTNERS. This Thursday night’s club gathering with highly-rated youngster Ruth Notman is now Sold Out. Unfortunately, we have just heard that Saul Rose is unable to accompany her as previously trailed, but in his place comes an equally gifted musician, Julian Sutton, who has been wielding his accordions in Kathryn Tickell’s band for several years. In fact, Julian and Saul are both members of Ruth’s extended musical army, along with cellist Hannah Edmonds and fiddle player Peter Tickell, all of whom will feature on her second album Picnics & Fireworks which is scheduled for June release. No doubt Ruth will be previewing some of the material for us on Thursday.

  2. TICKETS GOING FAST AT NCEM. There are only 40 or so tickets left for next Tuesday’s NCEM concert by Norma Waterson, Martin Carthy & Chris Parkinson. If you want to come, get in touch with the Box Office soon on 01904 658338 or at I’ll have some tickets with me this Thursday night as well.
    Selling even faster is the Spiers & Boden concert on 30th March. In fact, the NCEM have NONE LEFT from their quota. I still have a dozen or so, which I will also be offering for sale this coming Thursday. If you haven’t yet booked but want to come and are not in the audience this Thursday then give me a ring ASAP to sort something out. Also SOLD OUT already is the Aly Bain & Phil Cunningham concert on 28th April which is being promoted by NCEM themselves, not the club.
    Renbourn & Williamson tickets (15th April) are getting on for half sold already, and for John Tams & Barry Coope (13th May) sales are well above a third. Support acts have been chosen for all four concerts: Tony Morris opens next Tuesday and Amy Atkinson & Midnight Special support Spiers & Boden. Nu-folk trio Beneath The Oak open for Williamson & Renbourn, and Roger Davies does the honours for Tams & Coope. All events start prompt at 7.30pm prompt.

  3. DURBERVILLES AHOY. It’s a third visit to the Black Swan for West Yorkshire folk/roots/ alt country outfit The Durbervilles on 12th March. Here’s what they say in their own publicity blurb: “Musically, the band has a sound which evokes a Yorkshire take on the Bruce Springsteen Seeger Sessions. Original songwriting, mixed with a twist of Cajun and a sprinkling of Crosby Stills and Nash style harmonies”. Their most recent album Alternative Route to All Destinations features guest contributions from Ric Sanders of Fairport Convention and Jude Abbott of Chumbawamba. It has enjoyed Radio 2 airplay and there was a track on a recent Rock ‘n’ Reel magazine cover-mount CD. Live, I understand there has been a recent collaboration with another club guest Steve Tilston. Find out more at
    The band comprises Lee Walsh on lead vocals, guitar and mandolin, David P. Crickmore on lead guitar and other stringed stuff, Gus Taylor on accordion, Ruth Wilde on bass and Mark Boyce on drums. “Intelligent music to party along with” said fRoots. Chris Euesden MCs this one and floor performers will include a first visit this year from all-round good guy Geoff Watson. Tickets at £ 6 (£ 5 concessions) can be bought via or will be available on the door.
    Don’t forget, by the way, that Lee and David also host The Durbervilles Radio Show every Sunday evening on BBC Radio Leeds, 8pm-9pm, presenting a great mix of folk and roots music.

  4. CRAIG & WILLOUGHBY’S ANGLO-AMERICANA. Our final club guests for March are also making their third visit to the Black Swan and also blend folk and roots styles. Cathryn Craig is an American singer/songwriter while Brian Willoughby was for many years the lead guitarist in British band The Strawbs. His strong English folk-rock influences mix remarkably well with her US country/roots approach, blurring boundaries and showcasing her wonderful voice, his nifty guitar work and a clutch of intricately crafted but eloquent songs. One of those numbers, Alice’s Song, has been picking up extensive Radio 2 airplay recently courtesy of Aled Jones. Find out more at Chris Euesden also gets to MC this one and tickets are £ 7 (£ 6 concessions) from as before or on the door.

  5. MORE ON THE FOLK AWARDS. If you were listening to Mike Harding’s Radio 2 programme on 18th February you’ll have heard our little segment of the Folk Awards, which had been omitted from the main broadcast two weeks earlier – both Phil Beer’s presentation speech and my few words of thanks. “I have to admit that it brought an iddy-biddy tear to my eye” says one correspondent! Meanwhile, there is a news piece and a picture in the March issue of local advertising magazine Your Local Link, and the same picture features in a report in the E-Newsletter issued by the National Centre for Early Music. We are getting prints made of some of the best pictures and our landlord says he will make them into a display in one of the pub bars.

  6. THE BLACK SWAN GETS A MAKEOVER. Talking of our dynamic new landlord Andy, you’ll have noticed fresh paintwork, new lampshades and many other improvements if you’ve been to the pub lately. The beer cellar and the kitchen are also getting a makeover. Even the panelling in the Wolfe Room is being cleaned up and receiving new coats of varnish. Just about the only thing Andy can’t do much about at present is the furniture, for some sort of legal reason. And if you are missing the club room tapestry, rest assured it has only gone away to be professionally cleaned and repaired. It will be back, we are assured.

  7. RUNNING ORDER ON CLUB NIGHTS. We managed an early start and two intervals once again last Thursday evening when exuberant trio Zoox played the club. Most responses I’ve had so far have been very much in favour of the new “two intervals” format so we’ll stick with it.

  8. FOLK WEEKEND APPROACHES. Yes, it is now less than three months to the City of York Folk Weekend 2009. The Black Swan landlord tells me he is negotiating the hire of a marquee and for my part I shall begin detailed planning later this month, once I get back from a short holiday. Thanks to everyone who has already approached me about assisting or participating in some way. Your messages have been carefully filed and I will get back to you once detailed planning is under way, I promise.


  1. NEW SEASON FOLK MAGAZINES. The Spring issues of Tykes’ News (£ 1.50), Folk Roundabout (£ 1) and Folk News (50p) are now in stock at club meetings, and David Kidman usually brings along South Yorkshire rag Stirrings (£ 1.50) as well. Between then they give you comprehensive coverage of folky goings on across Yorkshire and the North East, including news of many of this summer’s northern folk festivals.

  2. SUNDAY FOLK ON THE WEB. There are two very enjoyable monthly Singers Clubs in villages south of York. First Sunday Folk has been meeting for many years now at The Crown in Hemingbrough, while Folk at The Ferry takes place on the third Sunday of each month at The Ferry Boat Inn which is just this side of Thorganby, delightfully situated on the banks of the River Derwent. Susie Fox attends both clubs regularly, as well as the Black Swan, and tells me she has now created a shared website for the two clubs. Navigate to or and have a look. Incidentally, go to the “Poetry” tab and you’ll find a splendid picture of Don Walls, taken recently at the Black Swan, together with one of his poems.

  3. THREE HARES CLOSES. As those clubs flourish, another one sadly closes. The Three Hares at Bilbrough started a regular folk session a few months back, as reported in these newsletters at the time. Unfortunately, the recession has been biting deep, exacerbated by a fire which gutted the pub kitchens, and the landlords have taken the difficult decision to cease trading. The duo behind the folk sessions, Ron Whisker & Pete Armitage, write “we had the pleasure of listening to some highly talented performers. We would like to personally thank all who supported our Acoustic Evenings both as performers and audience and would like to think we can resurrect our evenings at some stage in the future so the spirit of the Three Hares will continue.” I will of course let you all know if they manage to find an alternative venue.

  4. ANYBODY NEED AN ACCOUNTANT? Another victim of the recession is a long-term supporter of folk events in our region, who is losing her day job in accounts with an electrical goods business which has gone into administration. “I have decided to go freelance” she says, “I can do monthly accounts, payroll, VAT, business plans and cash flow management”. If you could use her services, ring Rana on 07747 804329.

  5. SONGWRITING NEWS. The York Songwriters Circle continues to flourish. As well as their monthly “workshop” meetings at the Black Swan Inn, they have public showcase concerts in The Loft at Melton’s Too on Walmgate in York on 18th March and 6th May, while Circle member Tim Pheby launches his new CD there on 8th April and Paula Ryan performs on 22nd April. The wonderful Graham Hodge is in the same friendly little venue TONIGHT, 4th March, if you are in town. Find out more about gigs at Melton’s on and for more about the Songwriters Circle contact David Swann on 07933 239133.
    Incidentally, David tells me that a songwriters group has started up in Pickering as well, meeting on the first Monday of the month in the Bay Horse. Contact him if you want to know more.


  1. SATURDAY NIGHTS AT THE BLACK SWAN. The tradition of local acoustic / roots bands playing the Black Swan Inn on Saturday nights is back on track as the pub gets over the December crisis. This coming Saturday (14th) it’s country and western swing in “unplugged” mode from Los Yobos. The following week (21st) there’s a shared evening with Beneath The Oak, harpist songwriter Sarah Dean and two acts not known to me, Zeuk and Gary Stewart. Bluegrass outfit Union Central return to one of their favourite venues on 28th March. You’d best reserve tickets for that one from Phil Quin on 01904 783029 since their shows usually fill the house. Lastly for now, Miles Cain and his band return on 4th April, supported by TWO, alias Helen Turner & Sharon Winfield. Most nights are £ 5 on the door.

  2. FOLK AT THE STEER. Two newsletters ago I reported that The Steer Inn on the A1079 near Wilberfoss was interested in hosting folk concerts. Well, some people have taken up the challenge! On Tuesday 17th there’s an evening with singer-songwriters Paula Ryan and Sarah Dean (of Soundsphere fame) plus the aforementioned Beneath The Oak. The latter trio also tell me they are playing at The Oporto in Leeds on Monday 23rd March. What an active bunch!

  3. KULA KEEPING BUSY. Newish promoters at the Frazer Theatre in Knaresborough Kula Productions have already had some very successful events and follow up with a Sold Out Carthy & Swarbrick concert later this month. Future attractions include folk/acoustic acts such as Christine Collister. The website seems to be down at present.

  4. POCKLINGTON COUP. The enterprising folks at Pocklington Arts Centre have secured a date on the UK summer tour by US legend Roger McGuinn. The former Byrds front man (seen recently on the BBC’s Folk Americana series, where he duetted with recent Black Swan guest Eric Andersen) is there on Thursday 11th June and tickets are now available at £ 24 – see I don’t often plug events happening on “our” night of the week, but as it is a Singers Night that day at the Black Swan I am happy to make an exception.

  5. UNTHANK ASSEMBLY. The Howard Assembly Room is a newly renovated venue in Leeds which has been developed by Opera North. As part of a series called “Voices” they present Rachel Unthank & The Winterset on Saturday 28th March. What is more, Rachel & Co have invited along The Wilson Family as special guests. It sounds like a great evening. Find out more and book (£ 15) at

  6. NICK TELLS TALES. For the York Literature Festival this Saturday, 7th March, storyteller, singer and harpist Nick Hennessey appears at the Friargate Theatre. Nick has performed previously at the Black Swan, both solo (2006) and with band Serious Kitchen (2003). He will be presenting a one-man show around the ancient Finnish epic The Kalevala, “stories of creation, the birth of song, the origin of fire, in an ancient world rich in spirits of forest, sea and sky”. Tickets are £ 7 (£ 5) on 01904 613000. Note that “this event is only suitable for children aged over 12”.

    • The Groanbox Boys are a much touted new roots duo. Check them out at Otley Courthouse on Friday 6th March (
    • Darlington Spring Thing is traditionally one of the first northern folk festivals. It takes place this year from 11th to 15th March at Darlington Arts Centre (
    • Daby Touré continues the World Sounds series at NCEM York on Friday 13th March, followed by Balkan singer Téa Hodžic and her trio on 20th March (
    • Elbow Jane are a fine five-man contemporary folk band that I have considered (but so far failed) to book for the Black Swan. You can catch them instead at Elloughton Village Hall in East Yorkshire on Saturday 14th March. Paul Liddell is also on the bill. (
    • The Young Acoustic Roots Final for 2009 takes place at the Phoenix Theatre in Bawtry near Doncaster on Saturday 14th March. Finalists are Chloe Merriott from Harwich, Scarborough duo Hugo Hughes & Kimberley Collier and from Stoke Ciaron Algar & Lizzie Campbell. Bernard Wrigley headlines and Roger Davies also performs. Tickets on 01709 739093.
    • Breabach are a great young Scottish band. They appear at Otley Courthouse on Sunday 15th March in an evening co-promoted with Saltaire Live (
    • Chumbawamba are also presented in concert soon by Saltaire Live. This time it is at the main Victoria Hall venue in Saltaire on Friday 20th March with the great Coope Boyes & Simpson in support (
    • Tom McConville, the well-deserved Folk Awards choice as Musician of the Year, is in concert at Helmsley Arts Centre on Saturday 21st March, joined by David Newey on guitar (as seen at the Black Swan last year) and Claire Mann on flutes and fiddle. (
    • Emily Barker & Red Clay Halo appear at the lovely Band Room venue in Farndale on Saturday 21st March. This mesmerising Australian singer has been described as “the missing link between Lucinda Williams, Gillian Welch, The Be Good Tanyas, Rachel Unthank etc”. She sang the theme song on the recent Wallandar TV series. (

Wow – another packed month! I’ll try to be back in late March or very early April.