Ian Massey is taking a well-deserved break this month, so it falls to the back-room team at YorkMix to offer a selection of the upcoming gigs in the city during May.
These are personal choices. So, apologies in advance for the near-absence of prog (Ian’s favourite genre), though Mostly Autumn (at Fibbers on May 20) do make it into the list.
One of the highlights came right at the start of the month and was long sold out. If you weren’t able to get to the triumphant homecoming of Ben Francis Leftwich at the Crescent on May 1, check out this video for Tilikum, opening track on his new album After The Rain…
Support for Sunday’s show came from Sam Griffiths, an exceptionally talented songwriter on the brink of a major career.
Still at The Crescent the much-awaited return of Cale Tyson takes place on the 2nd.
The country superstar-in-waiting graced the stage at the Basement last year with an intimate show, accompanied by Pete Lindbergh. They played a selection from his two EPs and this tender cover of country classic Make The World Go Away, caught here elsewhere on that same tour.
Now the boy from Nashville, with a voice somewhere between Hank Williams and Gram Parsons, is back with an album, Careless Soul, that straddles authentic rootsy country with more than a nod to the disarming power of heartfelt soul ballads. he brings a full band along too.
On the 5th Black Swan Folk Club hosts Dan McKinnon.
Nova Scotian Dan is firmly in the ‘old school’ of singer-songwriters, with a varied repertoire of story-songs delivered with a glorious, rich, warm voice. Tickets: £9.
Top marks to Fulford Arms’ Chris Sherrington for continuing to deliver such a varied programme of gigs each month.
Ed Tudor Pole is more varied than most! It seems a long time since the days of carefree abandon that allowed this seemingly ramshackle post-punker to forge a career that careened between hardcore punk and hyperactive highwayman in the guise of Tenpole Tudor… and, indeed it is.
Now 60, the RADA-trained maverick was a short-lived replacement in the Sex Pistols after Johnny Rotten departed. Expect mayhem, fun, and some refreshingly tender moments too.
He plays the Fulford Arms on Saturday, May 7. Tickets are £6.
Don’t be late or you’ll miss York’s Conor Hirons opening. The former Littlemores’ singer and guitarist crafts whimsical songs of intimate observation and has a disarming charm that conceals the rapier wit of a top-notch lyricist.
Quite simply, there is no-one on the circuit doing what Son Of Dave does. Incandescent blues with a harmonica as his primary weapon, and beatbox styling as his back-up.
Growling vocals that could strip paint off the walls of a recording studio and an attitude that defies you to challenge him daring to cover Leadbelly, Daft Punk, AC/DC, and even Paloma Faith.
Catch Son Of Dave at Fibbers on Tuesday, May 17 from 8pm. Tickets: £12.50.
If you’ve never seen avant-garde experimentalist New Yorker Thomas Truax before, don’t miss him at the Fulford Arms on Wednesday, May 18.
A genuinely original talent, making music on home-made instruments that appear to have minds of their own. It’s Thomas with the Hornicator, Mother Superior and Stringaling.
It’s dark, comic, strangely moving, and definitely won’t be seen on X Factor any time soon. Hurrah. Tickets are £7.
Kyle Carey‘s genre is Gaelic Americana, a fair description for this engaging and delightful performer who draws on both American and British folk traditions.
She plays Black Swan Folk Club on Thursday, May 19. Tickets: £9.
More than prog, more than folk, Mostly Autumn have caught the ear of artists such as Steve Hackett, Jethro Tull and Jon Lord.
It’s 16 years since their first album, and they continue to develop apace, showing a range of influences from classic rock to more intimate acoustic moments.
They play Fibbers on Friday, May 20: Tickets: £15.
When the frontman of cult New Jersey Rockers, Tyketto, gets together with the founder of the influential Dan Reed Network, you’d be forgiven for expecting something of a noise-fest.
Far from it… Dan Reed & Danny Vaughn offer an evening of music and chat at the Duchess on Sunday, May 22.
Each takes turns to sing their own songs, share stories, and adjust the setlist according to the flow of their conversation. Tickets: £15.
The blurb for Ben Caplan & The Casual Smokers promises “A charismatic charmer and smasher of pianos. A madman and earnest poet. A strummer of delicate chords and lover of bent and broken melodies. Ben Caplan is not any one thing.”
As he releases his second album, with a following already in more than a dozen countries, it’s no surprise Caplan is simply unforgettable.
Caplan plays Fibbers on Monday, May 23: Tickets: £7. We are intrigued.
Little wonder that Noel Gallagher fell for Paul Newsome’s Proud Mary .
He liked the Manchester band so much that he produced their first album, Same Old Blues, garnering rave reviews in the process.
No surprise either that they earned themselves support slots with Neil Young, Stereophonics and Oasis when they sounded this good…
Catch them at Fibbers on Thursday, May 26, tickets: £7.
On the same day as Proud Mary at Fibbers, but hardly likely to be competing for the same audience, Josienne Clarke & Ben Walker play the Black Swan on May 26.
Deserved winners of Radio 2 Folk Award for Best Duo (2015), Ben is to thank for the delicate arrangements, while the clarity of Josienne’s vocal can send shivers up the spine. Tickets: £11.
On Friday May 27 Maverick Sabre star in what Fibbers promises will be an exceptionally intimate night.
They have deliberately restricted ticket sales to less than capacity for a performer used to selling out significantly larger venues.
Born plain Michael Stafford, the 25-year burst on to the scene just over two years ago with songs that occupied the middle ground between gospel-tinged soul and mellow, introspective material that hinted at his upbringing in rural Ireland.
But it was his delivery style, half rapper /half singer-songwriter that really won us over. This show catches a different side of the man, as he plays unplugged a mix of songs from his breakthrough albums Lonely Are the Brave and Innerstanding. Tickets: £16.
Let’s not forget Adam Ant, at the Barbican on the last day of the month (Tuesday, May 31), performing his entire Kings Of The Wild Frontier album and all his hits too.
And early Eighties chart party band Bad Manners hit the Duchess on Friday, May 6, playing hits like Lip Up Fatty.