Signup for a folk alley account
Join us on Facebook
Request a song
Request a theme
Folk Alley
Support Folk Alley


folk alley's open mic The Mosleys Open Mic is the place for unsigned, undiscovered or otherwise under-exposed artists to post their music and take Folk Alley's online corner stage.

This month's featured Open Mic artist is The Mosleys  from Chatt Hills GA.
Folk Alley Mobile Apps
Iphone App
Folk Alley now includes both an Android application as well as the Folk Alley iPhone app. Our high-quality iPhone stream offers amazing audio quality, with a lower-quality option available for older phones or slower networks.

Folk Alley Sessions: Dori Freeman, "Fine Fine Fine"

Folk Alley Blog

Hear It First: Chaim Tannenbaum's debut self-titled album

May 23, 2016

by Cindy Howes,

chaimtannenbaum_cover 400.jpgA debut album at the age of 68 is quite unusual for a lifelong musician, but for the Montreal-born, Chaim Tannenbaum, it never felt right until recently.

"I suppose you need a very good reason to do something, but no very good reason not to do something... There's no reason really, for which I didn't make a record. You wake up Monday morning and you think "Should I make a record today?" and the answer is "No!" and you wake up Tuesday and you have the same answer."

Tannenbaum has become somewhat of an underground folk legend, particularly to the tight-knit scene in Montreal and for followers of The McGarrigle Sisters (Kate and Anna) and Loudon Wainwright III. He met Kate and Anna when he was sixteen and began playing music socially with them. Tannenbaum went on to pursue a career in teaching philosophy while Kate and Anna started playing and recording professionally. After teaching in London (where he became friends with Loundon Wainwright III), he ended up a professor at Dawson College in Montreal for over three decades. The McGarrigles and Wainwright always included him on tours and recording projects when his teaching schedule allowed. Aside from a scrapped Hannibal Records project from the 1990's, Tannenbaum never had the desire to record even though friends and fans pleaded with him to do so.

Knowing his history is not important when hearing this record. The music has the same uplifting effect for a folk music fan. Tannenbaum's love for Pete Seeger, Woody Guthrie and Sonny Terry shines through in an album filled with mostly traditional folk songs. This feels and sounds like an all-important historical recording from someone who has lived and breathed folk music for decades. The difference in knowing the history when hearing the music is that you cannot detect any sense of fatigue or cynicism from Tannenbaum. This is an extremely gifted musician who saved all his youthful love and musical splendor for this album.

Tannenbaum's purity rings through alongside beautiful sparse instrumentation that could score a Wes Anderson film. The whimsical, but not overwhelming, horn and woodwinds in the epic "London Longing For Home" (one of three original Tannenbaum compositions), bring alive the emotions that come with being homesick in gray London. Looking through the credits is an impressive list of gathered friends from Loundon Wainwright III to newcomer Margaret Glaspy. One name not among the performers is, of course, his friend, the late Kate McGarrigle, who died six years ago. He does, however, pay tribute to his dear friend by recording one of her songs, "(Talk to Me of) Mendocino". The song is an interesting and appropriate choice in that it is from the point of view of someone saying goodbye to an old life and welcoming in a new one. If this album does not mark a new chapter of recording for Chaim Tannenbaum, it certainly is an important piece of work from one of the finest folk singers that you almost never heard of.


Chaim Tannenbaum's debut self-titled album is out May 27th via StorySound Records and is available now for pre-order at iTunes and

Posted by Linda Fahey at 11:10 PM

Song Premiere: Jonah Tolchin, "Unless You Got Faith"

by Kelly McCartney (@theKELword) for Folk Alley

Tolchin 400x400.jpgMatters of faith are seamlessly entwined with roots music, from old spirituals to classic soul to new blues. Singer/songwriter Jonah Tolchin's work always falls somewhere along that spectrum, occasionally leaning more this way or that. On "Unless You Got Faith," the lead track from his upcoming album, 'Thousand Mile Night' (due out on August 5,) Tolchin leans into all of the traditional wisdom and modern influences he can summon.

As a hammond organ leads the way, Tolchin outlines all the different kinds of faith we need to have in our lives in order to fully live: "Faith that he won't leave, faith that she won't lie, faith in the water, faith in the sky, faith in the choices that you learn to embrace... you can't love in this world unless you got faith." It's advice that pretty much everyone needs to hear and heed, at one point or another - including Tolchin.

"When I was working as the producer on Julie Rhodes debut album, 'Bound to Meet the Devil,' I wrote this song for her to sing. It was a message that I felt she needed to be singing to herself at the time," Tolchin says. "I found out afterward that it was a message I needed to be singing to myself, too. This song is not necessarily about the kind of faith that is talked about in religion, although it does apply."

Tolchin recorded 'Thousand Mile Night' at FAME studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, with producer/multi-instrumentalist Marvin Etzioni. Players on the set include guitarist Lucas Hamren, drummer Michael Joel Bosco, and bassist Jamie McFarlane (son of Muscle Shoals musician Will McFarlane).


'Thousand Mile Night' is due out on August 5 via Yep Roc Records and is available now for pre-order at iTunes.

Upcoming tour dates

Posted by Linda Fahey at 10:36 PM

Singer-Songwriter Anais Mitchell Guest DJ on Folk Alley

May 20, 2016

by Ann VerWiebe, Folk Alley

anais-mitchell-sq.jpgSinger-songwriter Anais Mitchell recently geeked-out host Cindy Howes by sitting in for her shift and "spinning" a few choice songs. Mitchell's new folk opera, Hadestown, opens officially Off-Broadway on May 23 after a decade of development, which also involved Anais touring behind her concept album of the project with a rotating group of guest artists.

Listen to the segment in hour 1 of Cindy's Folk Alley shift from Wednesday, May 18 and hear all about Anais' adventures with Hadestown, along with songs from the show and cuts by her friends, like touring buddies Patty Griffin and Sara Watkins!

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 5:43 PM

Song Premiere: Wonky Tonk, "Suitors"

May 18, 2016

by Kelly McCartney (@theKELword) for

Suitors Wonky Tonk.jpgA lot of chatter has filled the country music void for quite a while now, folks arguing about what's real and what's not. But as artists like Brandy Clark, Chris Stapleton, Ashley Monroe, Margo Price, Kacey Musgraves, and others break through various ceilings and kick down random doors, the argument about a lack of "real" country music is left, well, lacking. Add indie upstarts like Dori Freeman, Andrew Combs, Sam Outlaw, Tami Neilson, and Sam Morrow to that list, and the contrary position is all but erased.

And then comes along Wonky Tonk (aka Jasmine Poole) to further broaden the field with what she calls a "punk cowgirl aesthetic" on her debut album, 'The Stuff We Leave Behind,' which dropped last year. The set was a long time coming from the Kentucky singer/songwriter who is already back on track with more music and taking her cues from the greatest of the greats on her new single, "Suitors."

As Poole tells it, "Inspired by Dolly and Loretta's no-nonsense flavor of country songwriting, 'Suitors' was written in response to the influx of people talking jive following the release of my debut LP, 'The Stuff We Leave Behind.' After the release, I had friends, strangers, and the people in between projecting their needs and wants on me, with the elusive understanding that I was supposed to carry it since I put myself out as a performer.'

"Basically, 'Suitors' is a tune describing the toll that performing, especially as a woman, takes on one's psyche and social life -- where you have to balance being your character, as well as keeping yourself whole, while also remaining open for listeners to give and take what they need without leaving yourself bereft."


"Suitors" is available now via iTunes.

Upcoming tour dates

Posted by Linda Fahey at 9:03 PM

A Q & A with Teddy Thompson and Kelly Jones

May 13, 2016

by Kelly McCartney (@theKELword) for

Teddy Thompson and Kelly Jones 400.jpgSometimes, two artists come together out of nowhere and, as great as the parts might be, the whole is even greater. That's just what happened with Teddy Thompson and Kelly Jones. The singer/songwriters discovered a shared love of a classic sound and set about crafting a collection of their own. Through 'Little Windows,' Thompson and Jones give us a glimpse into a simpler musical time, when affairs of the heart needed not more than three minutes to work themselves out.

Kelly McCartney: What's the key to writing classic-sounding, highly versatile tunes? Simple, timeless themes, certainly. But what are the musical secrets involved?

Teddy Thompson: You need to be concise! All of our songs are two-and-a-half minutes long, so you can't waste a word or a bar. It helped to have three writers. We were able to bounce everything off each other and be sure it was good enough and spoke to all of us.

Kelly Jones: I agree, and also think you need to maintain a harmonic simplicity in the chords you choose and deviate to something more clever only in select moments or sections. More musical interest can be created through how you use those chords rhythmically, or in the instrumental hooks throughout, but ultimately the music should support a very singable and memorable melody.

How is it that all the great love songs have yet to be written? Is that ever a concern?

Teddy Thompson: I don't think that all the great love songs have yet to be written. I feel like most of them have already been written. It's all been done before. It's hard to come up with something new!

Kelly Jones: One of the ongoing challenges as a songwriter is to get away from what now are well-worn clich├ęs in love songs. There are countless beautiful love songs out there, but I think the best new love songs access something true and specific about our human experience in a unique way. The heartbreaking love song "Whiskey and You" by Chris Stapleton is a great example of this for me.

Within the era, style, and craft that you guys looked to, who would you say are the masters... and why?

Teddy Thompson: Felice and Boudleaux Bryant, Chuck Berry, Buddy Holly. We tried to work the way they did. Quickly, to the point, heartbreaking and hopefully a touch witty to boot.

Kelly Jones: Yes, and Dolly Parton, too. She sings about profoundly moving truths, in deceptively simple ways.

Forget the three-minute pop song, you guys got down to two minutes on some of these. Obviously, every song has different needs, but if there were a magic number for the perfect song length, what would it be?

Teddy Thompson: I'd say three minutes. I like the idea that we shaved 30 seconds off the best time, though!

Kelly Jones: Yes, I've been raised in the three minute school of songwriting, too. Just short enough to hopefully inspire an instant repeat!

How rare is it to find two voices that blend so readily and so beautifully -- particularly when they come from such different musical backgrounds? And what is it about your voices that works so well?

Teddy Thompson: We are actually very different singers with very different voices. We got lucky that we were able to find a good blend. It's an intangible thing. A magical thing at times.

Kelly Jones: It's quite rare (in my experience) no matter what the singers' backgrounds are. It helps that Teddy and I admire the same kinds of vocal performances. I think it inspires us sing from a similar emotional place.


'Little Windows' is out now via Cooking Vinyl and available at iTunes and

Upcoming tour dates

Posted by Linda Fahey at 11:35 AM

A Q & A with Penny & Sparrow

April 28, 2016

by Kelly McCartney (@theKELword) for Folk Alley

Penny and Sparrow.jpgThe two gents who comprise Penny and Sparrow -- Kyle Jahnke and Andy Baxter -- didn't set out to be musicians. They were living together with a bunch of other guys in a house during college and, basically, stumbled into an artistic collaboration that worked... really, really well. With Jahnke focusing on guitar and Baxter leaning into vocals, the alt-folk duo has emerged to much critical acclaim with their lovely new Let a Lover Drown You release.

Kelly McCartney: Being late-comers to playing guitar and writing songs -- having sort of fallen into music as a career -- do you think that takes some of the pressure off? Or are the stakes just as high now that you're in it?

Kyle Jahnke: I would say that the pressure is off. We just love writing songs. I just didn't know I loved it until post-college! We are supremely grateful that music is our living, and I think it's hard to feel pressure because of that.

Kyle, as you deepen your guitar skills, what approach are you taking -- experimentation or tradition?

Kyle Jahnke: It ebbs and flows. I think both are important. Right now, I'm handling it in the most millennial of ways: watching YouTube lessons and videos of Paul Simon.

Andy, when you hear a lyric or read a passage that rocks you back on your heels, what's the take-away for you?

Andy Baxter: I keep multiple word banks written down at any given time in my journals and in text messages to myself. Any sentence or idea -- or even just one word -- that inspires me gets written down immediately. It happens (fairly often) that I'll take One Word and write a song around that. Anything that moves me immediately gets translated into fuel for writing songs or short stories.

What kind of freedoms -- and limitations -- are there in an acoustic duo?

Kyle Jahnke: I think that we are offered total freedom as an acoustic duo. It's really just giving us a chance to put two brains together to write the best songs we can write. Playing live, right now we are touring as a duo, but in six months we could be out with a full band or a string quartet. We just want to keep changing and pushing. I think the only limitation that we are experiencing is Andy's reluctance to dive deep in to the world of math-rock and free jazz.

You guys have cited Glenn Hansard and Justin Vernon (or their former projects) as influences. How do you feel as they both move in different artistic directions? Is that a bummer or an inspiration?

Kyle Jahnke: A total inspiration. We never want to make the same album twice. And it seems that is the case with both Glenn Hansard and Justin Vernon. They are part of the reason we know that it's possible to evolve and grow creatively. I'll always check out whatever they are working on. Also pretty sure their voices are actual butter.


'Let a Lover Drown You' is out now via Single Lock Records and available at iTunes and

Upcoming tour dates

Posted by Linda Fahey at 8:00 AM

Video Premiere: Mark Erelli, "Look Up"

April 21, 2016

by Elena See, Folk Alley

ErelliSQ.jpgLife should be more than a series of grueling tasks and unrewarding, staid routines. Life should take your breath away with its wonders and joys and beauties. And, life certainly can do that - and how. But there's the catch: YOU have to be aware of what life is choosing to offer and share.

Mark Erelli's "Look Up," which you'll find on his new recording For a Song, is a reminder not to sleepwalk through our daily existence. It's also a song that suggests that maybe there's no difference between what is sacred and what is secular - maybe, deep down, we all dream the same dreams.

Watching Erelli sing this gorgeously crafted song, staring straight ahead, hardly blinking, and playing his guitar with the kind of quiet confidence that only comes from years and years of practice and performance, you're struck with the fact that he's telling a story he knows really, really well.

It's like one of those truths we all have - the thing we know so well, that's such an intrinsic part of us, that we'll never forget. This song, with its three-person point of view, with its comments about being aware of what's around us, and yet with its willingness to admit that maybe we don't really know what life is all about, is Mark Erelli's truth.

The album version of "Look Up" features some beautiful harmony vocals from Paula Cole on the chorus and a touch of subtle percussion as well. This version, presented with a very nicely mic-ed guitar, puts Erelli's well-traveled voice and his clever lyrics front and center and is just as affecting, if not more so, because of its stark simplicity.


Mark Erelli's album 'For a Song' is out now and available at iTunes and direct from Mark at his Bandcamp page.

Upcoming tour dates

Video produced by Beehive Productions in Saranac Lake, NY

Posted by Linda Fahey at 11:33 AM

No Depression's Kim Ruehl Guest DJ on Folk Alley

April 15, 2016

by Linda Fahey, Folk Alley

No Depression Spring 2016 front-cover copy.jpgNo Depression Editor, Kim Ruehl recently sat in with Folk Alley host, Cindy Howes for a guest DJ segment. She and Cindy played some tunes highlighting a few artists that are featured in the upcoming 'Roots and Branches' Spring Edition of No Depression's print quarterly journal, due out May 2nd.

Listen to the segment in hour 1 of Cindy's Folk Alley shift from Wednesday, April 13th, and hear all about No Depression's triumphant return to print on a regular basis. We're very excited about this!

*During Folk Alley's Spring Fund Drive, happening now, you have a chance to win a copy of the Spring Edition of No Depression. They have generously donated 25 copies of the journal to our fundraiser, and everyone who makes a donation in support Folk Alley will be automatically entered for a chance to win. But it pays to enter early! Next week, starting on Monday (4/18) through the week until Friday (4/22), we'll pick five lucky winners each day who will win a copy of the journal.

Support Folk Alley HERE.

Posted by Linda Fahey at 11:54 AM

PLAYLIST: Folk Alley's weekly nationally syndicated radio show #1600407

April 13, 2016

Thumbnail image for Folk-Alley-Logo_medium.jpgPLAYLIST: Folk Alley nationally syndicated radio show #1600407. Aired between April 8 - April 15, 2016. Hosted by Elena See

Artist - Title - Album - Label

Hour 1 (featuring our in-studio session with Hayes Carll recorded at the 2016 30A Songwriters Festival)

Alison Krauss - I've Got That Old Feeling - I've Got That Old Feeling - Rounder

Solas - Unnamed Shetland Reel / Da New Rigged Ship - All These Years - THL

Tedeschi Trucks Band - Anyhow - Let Me Get By - Fantasy/Concord

Lonesome River Band - Boats Up the River - Bridging the Tradition - Mountain Home

Doc Watson - Deep River Blues - The Vanguard Years - Vanguard

Hayes Carll - Chances Are (in-studio) - Folk Alley Exclusive - Live from the 30A Songwriters Festival - Folk Alley Exclusive

Hayes Carll - The Magic Kid (in-studio) - Folk Alley Exclusive - Live from the 30A Songwriters Festival - Folk Alley Exclusive

Hayes Carll (feat. Allison Moorer) - Love Don't Let Me Down (in-studio) - Folk Alley Exclusive - Live from the 30A Songwriters Festival - Folk Alley Exclusive

Larry Keel - Miles and Miles - Experienced - Larry Keel

Keller & The Keels - Bath of Fire - thief - SCI Fidelity

Fortunate Ones - Solitary Sparks - The Bliss - Old Farm Pony

Tony Furtado - Iowa - The Bell - Yousayfurtado

Gillian Welch - Winter's Come and Gone - Hell Among the Yearlings - ALM Sounds

Hour Two

Laurie Lewis & The Right Hands - Train On the Island - The Hazel and Alice Sessions - Spruce and Maple

Elixir - Babe of the Night - Rampant - Elixir

Sam Bush - The Wizard of Oz - King of My World - Sugar Hill

Mary McPartlan - Hangman - From Mountain To Mountain - Claddagh

Steve Dawson - Hangman's Blues - Black Hen Music - Blackhen

Teddy Thompson & Kelly Jones - Never Knew You Loved Me Too - Little Windows - Cooking Vinyl

Teddy Thompson & Kelly Jones - Only Fooling - Little Windows - Cooking Vinyl

Carrie Rodriguez - I Dreamed I Was Lola Beltran - Lola - Luz

Lyle Lovett - They Don't Like Me - I Love Everybody - MCA

Terri Hendrix - The Texas Star - Love You Strong, Project 5.1 - Wilory

Malcolm Holcombe - Sweet Georgia - Another Black Hole - Green Eyes

Mr. Sun - The Fiddler's Boot - The People Need Light - Compass

Indigo Girls - Spread The Pain Around - One Lost Day - Vanguard

The Alt - Going For A Soldier Jenny / The Chandelier - The Alt - Under the Arch

Anuna - Dulaman - Omnis - Universal

Folk Alley's weekly, syndicated radio show, hosted by Elena See, is produced by WKSU (NPR-affiliate in Kent, OH). The show is available for free to stations via or via FTP for non-PRX members. Stations may air the show as either a one-, or two-hour program. The Folk Alley Radio Show is presently carried by over 40 stations nationally. Folk Alley also presents a 24/7 hosted Internet channel available at, TuneIn, iTunes and more. :: for more information contact Linda Fahey at 518-354-8077:

Posted by Linda Fahey at 1:24 PM

PLAYLIST: Folk Alley nationally syndicated radio show #160331

April 7, 2016

Thumbnail image for Folk-Alley-Logo_medium.jpgPLAYLIST: Folk Alley nationally syndicated radio show #160331. Aired between April 1 - April 7, 2016. Hosted by Elena See

Artist - Title - Album - Label

Hour 1

David Francey - Red-Winged Blackbird - Torn Screen Door - Laker Music

John Starling & Carolina Star - Irish Spring - Slidin' Home - Rebel

The Early Mays - Red Bud - The Early Mays - The Early Mays

Elephant Revival - Raindrops - Petals - Itz Evolving

Grateful Dead - Box of Rain - American Beauty - Warner Bros

Fortunate Ones - The Bliss - The Bliss - Old Farm Pony

The Once - All the Hours - Departures - Nettwerk Music Group

Hayes Carll - Love Is So Easy - Lovers and Leavers - Hwy 87

David Ramirez - New Way Of Living - Fables - Sweetworld

Jimmy Lafave - Buffalo Return to the Plains - Favorites 1992-2001 - Music Road

Terri Hendrix - Fifty Shades of Hey - Love You Strong, Project 5.1 - Wilory

The Lumineers - Ho Hey - The Lumineers - Dualtone

Laurie Lewis & The Right Hands - Who's That Knocking? - The Hazel and Alice Sessions - Spruce and Maple

Eileen Ivers - Farewell My Love and Remember Me - Beyond the Bog Road - Entertainment One

Town Mountain - Comin' Back To You - Southern Crescent - LoHi

Hour 2

Asleep at the Wheel (feat. Devil Makes Three) - Bubbles In My Beer - Still the King: Celebrating the Music of Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys - Bismeaux

Chris Pandolfi - Close Encounters - Looking Glass - Sugar Hill

Buffy Sainte- Marie - Farm In the Middle of Nowhere - Power In the Blood - Gypsy Boy Music/True

Lonesome River Band - Thunder & Lightning - Bridging the Tradition - Mountain Home

Greg Brown - Cold & Dark & Wet - The Evening Call - Red House

Parker Millsap - Heaven Sent - The Very Last Day - Okrahoma

Sam Gleaves - Ain't We Brothers - Ain't We Brothers - Community

Ashleigh Caudill - Pork Pie Hat - Looney Bird - Ashleigh Caudill

Leftover Salmon - Liza - Aquatic Hitchhiker - LoS

Free the Honey - A Beautiful Life - Fine Bloom - Free the Honey

Frank Solivan - The Fishin' Song - Family, Friends & Heroes - Compass

Harvey Reid - The Fisherman - Harvey Reid - Woodpecker

Joel Rafael Band - Talking Fishing Blues - Woodeye - Inside

Sean Watkins - Last Time For Everything - What To Fear - Single Lock

James Lee Stanley w/ John Batdorf - Last Time - All Wood And Stones - Beachwood

Folk Alley's weekly, syndicated radio show, hosted by Elena See, is produced by WKSU (NPR-affiliate in Kent, OH). The show is available for free to stations via or via FTP for non-PRX members. Stations may air the show as either a one-, or two-hour program. The Folk Alley Radio Show is presently carried by over 40 stations nationally. Folk Alley also presents a 24/7 hosted Internet channel available at, TuneIn, iTunes and more. :: for more information contact Linda Fahey at 518-354-8077:

Posted by Linda Fahey at 12:36 PM

More Blog Entries