FARM Folk Gathering October 8-11

Article written by on Thursday, Sep 24, 2009 in Festivals

The Folk Alliance Region Midwest will hold its annual gathering October 8-11 in Bolingbrook, Illinois, near Chicago. Juried “showcase” performances are open to the public. A few of the artists are Curtis & Loretta,  Gloria Attoun and maritime musician Tom Kastle.

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Bascom Lamar Lunsford Festival October 3

Article written by on Thursday, Sep 24, 2009 in Festivals

The 42nd annual Bascom Lamar Lunsford “Minstrel of Appalachia” Festival will be held Saturday, October 3, at Mars Hill College in Mars Hill, North Carolina. If you are not familiar with the work of this song collector, musician and founder of numerous folk festivals, you might wish to take a look at the compilation put on YouTube a few years ago as part of the college’s 150th anniversary celebration.

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Joan Baez Documentary Premieres at Toronto Film Festival

Article written by on Monday, Sep 21, 2009 in People,Releases

Joan Baez: How Sweet the Sound, a documentary scheduled to air on the PBS American Masters series October 14, was shown at the Toronto Film Festival on September 18. The first U.S. showing will be October 9, at the Paley Center’s DocFest 2009 in New York. The film will be released on CD and DVD October 13 and can be pre-ordered from Amazon. Candid interviews with fellow musicians, including Bob Dylan, help round out the story of Baez’s life as a sociopolitical activist and folk musician. See her web site for a preview.

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Greenpeace to Release 1970 Concert Album

Article written by on Saturday, Sep 19, 2009 in People,Releases

Folk music has frequently been associated with political action, whether in the interests of worker rights, world peace or environmental stewardship. Nearly four decades ago, a group of anti-nuclear activists held a concert in Vancouver to raise funds for a trip to Amchitka, Alaska in an attempt to prevent nuclear testing planned for that island. On stage were Joni Mitchell and James Taylor, whose careers were just beginning to take off, and Phil Ochs, a promising young performer who did not live out the next decade.

After all these years, Greenpeace has decided that it’s time to release the recordings of the concert. The organization announced earlier this week that a double-CD set will be available on November 10. The album will be exclusive to Greenpeace and the proceeds will support the work of the organization.

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Pete Seeger’s San Francisco Interview

Article written by on Saturday, Sep 19, 2009 in On The Web,People

In case you missed it, last Sunday’s San Francisco Chronicle carried an article by Joel Selvin on his recent interview with Pete Seeger, giving some personal insight into the everyday life of the man behind the legend. Seeger was in town for an appearance with the Guthrie Family Tour.

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Minor Health Incident Interrupts Leonard Cohen’s Concert in Spain

Article written by on Saturday, Sep 19, 2009 in Opinion,People

A few years ago I was watching one of those depressing police or hospital shows when my attention was seized by a mournful song as the credits rolled. I was not alone, for many people called or went online to find out more about the artist and the song. Although I have followed some folk artists for years, there are others with whom I have not previously been acquainted. This episode was my first introduction to Jeff Buckley and my second hearing of Leonard Cohen’s music. As you may have guessed, the song was “Hallelujah.”

I already loved the song “Suzanne,” which I have on a Joan Baez album, but had not checked into Leonard’s writings further. At this point I decided it was high time I knew more, so I made an effort to find more of his music. To be honest some songs I have found so far, I love, and some I can easily go the rest of my life without hearing again. But I recently saw clips of Leonard performing his music live, and there is something mesmerizing about the way he sings. So I was concerned to see this morning’s story in the New Zealand magazine Stuff, about Leonard collapsing on stage.

As it turns out, this was a minor episode, but it reminds us of the health issues involved when a singer takes up touring again after thinking they could retire safely. You may already know the story, but if not you can read more in the article mentioned above.

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Bob Dylan’s Christmas Album Preview Creating a Stir

Article written by on Friday, Sep 18, 2009 in On The Web,Releases

Well, I have to tell you, the latest web buzz (as far as folk music goes) is all about Bob Dylan’s Christmas album. First Rolling Stone reported late yesterday afternoon that sound clips were available on Then last night, people realized that the clips weren’t there any more. (I was looking for them myself with no luck while I was waiting for the AMA awards to be announced.) Then New York Magazine reported this afternoon that someone had uploaded all the clips to YouTube in the meantime. NYM has the clips embedded in their site also.

I’m seeing mixed reviews and I’m not going to attempt to judge this album based on these samples. So if you want an idea of what Christmas in the Heart is going to sound like I’d suggest you move quickly to one of the sources mentioned above. Feel free to comment here. I’ll be interested to see what you think! Or you may want to reserve judgment for the CD’s release on October 13. Proceeds benefit Feeding America in the U.S. and other charities internationally.

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Laurie McClain CD Release Party Friday Night in Nashville

Article written by on Friday, Sep 18, 2009 in Releases

Laurie McClain‘s new album Ascend will be celebrated Friday night at the Fiddle & Pick in Nashville. The event starts at 8:00 pm. Admission is $5.00 and directions are on Laurie’s web site. If you have not had a chance to hear Laurie’s work, you can make a good start by listening to clips from past albums. Her music is simple, sweet and meaningful, and she does an excellent job of covering other people’s music as well.

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