AN AMERICAN singer-songwriter who has been hailed as one of the finest of his generation will perform in Otley this summer.

Dean Friedman, who plays a range of instruments including the piano, guitar, keyboard and harmonica, will take the stage at Otley Courthouse on Wednesday, July 31.

Friedman first marked his entry into pop consciousness with the chart success of his hit single Ariel, a quirky pop song about a ‘free spirited, pot-smoking, vegetarian Jewish girl’. The song was a hit in the US, where it stayed in the Billboard Hot 100 chart for five months.

In the UK Friedman enjoyed his first success with Lucky Stars, a duet with Denise Marsa that was taken from his second album and reached number three in the British charts in late 1978.

He now has a string of albums to his name and his songs have been covered by a variety of bands including The Barenaked Ladies, Ben Folds Five, Ariel Pink, The Tone Rangers, and The Blenders.

Reflecting on his influence, he said: “It’s nice to see my music has made an impact on a new generation of artists.”

Friedman also produces and composes soundtracks for TV and film.

He created all the music - bar the title song, which was performed by Jim Diamond - for the British crime drama series Boon and also wrote, performed and produced the soundtrack to cult horror movie I Bought a Vampire Motorcycle.

He also produced and presented BBC Radio Scotland’s acclaimed radio series, Real American Folk.

His Otley show starts at 7.30pm and tickets cost £25.

They can be booked by visiting, calling (01943) 467466 or popping into the Courthouse, on Courthouse Street.

A series of new creative classes, meanwhile, have started up at the Courthouse’s Maker Space venue.

Next up, on Saturday, June 29 will be the first of a two-part class on Bucket Hat Making.

The workshop, showing how to make a customised reversible hat from scratch, starts at 2pm and is open to anyone aged over 18. Tickets cost £15.

Other forthcoming events at the Maker Space include a Repair Cafe, from 10am to 2pm on Sunday, June 30 which will see volunteer ‘fixers attempting to repair all kinds of household items.

A three-part Sewing Skills and Sewing Bag course, meanwhile, will begin on Tuesday, July 2.

Further summer workshops will cover subjects including lino cut printing, stained glass ornaments’, and introductions to digital photography and to 3D printing.