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folk alley's open mic Indigos 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 Indigos  from Barcelona, SP.
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Merle Haggard - Working Man Blues (R.I.P April 6, 1937 April 6, 2016)







Folk Alley Blog

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.

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

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.

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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 PRX.org 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 FolkAlley.com, TuneIn, iTunes and more. :: for more information contact Linda Fahey at 518-354-8077: Linda@folkalley.com

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 PRX.org 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 FolkAlley.com, TuneIn, iTunes and more. :: for more information contact Linda Fahey at 518-354-8077: Linda@folkalley.com

Posted by Linda Fahey at 12:36 PM

Hear It First: Mark Erelli, 'For A Song'

April 4, 2016

by Cindy Howes, FolkAlley.com

For A Song Erellicolor1hires 500sq.jpgMark Erelli hasn't produced a solo album of originals like For A Song - his new self-released record - since 2010, but that doesn't mean the Massachusetts-based songwriter hasn't been extremely busy. He dialed down his solo work a bit in order to raise his family, which includes two young boys, but the last six years have been a time of music growth for this extremely versatile musician. Erelli has been producer, sideman and bandmate to several different musical outfits, like Lori McKenna, Paula Cole and the bluegrass band Barnstar!.

What is striking about For A Song is that you not only hear Erelli's own distinct New England folkie style - a style he's been perfecting since the late 90's - you can the hear others in his music as well. You hear the playfulness of Barnstar! on songs like "Wayside," and you literally hear Paula Cole on "Look Up." Cole adds her distinct guest vocals to that track, as well as "French King."

The most touching influence for any folk fan is the late Bill Morrissey, to whom Mark paid tribute with his last studio release, Milltowns. Here, you can't help but feel like Mark is channeling Bill's whimsical vocal delivery on the song "Analog Hero."

I have it on good authority that Mark Erelli can, on command, sing Roy Orbison songs at pitch. He has a four octave vocal range, including the "Mariah Carey note." There are very few voices that can sing any type of song and contain as much emotion and power as his voice can so easily do. The songs on For A Song are worthy of this man's voice; they are the best of his career, so far. It's inspiring to hear the culmination of all his hard work in songwriting, raising a family and different musical collaborations of these past several years come to life on this album.

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For A Song is out on April 8th and is available now for pre-order at iTunes and directly via Mark's website.

Upcoming tour dates


Posted by Linda Fahey at 9:53 AM

Album Review: Hayes Carll, 'Lovers and Leavers'

March 30, 2016

by Kelly McCartney (@theKELword) for FolkAlley.com

Hayes Carll Lovers and Leavers 400 sq.jpgThere comes a time of reckoning in nearly every artist's life, a reckoning of youthful wants and maturing needs. Some go kicking and screaming into their next phase, while others go quietly, thoughtfully. Singer/songwriter Hayes Carll chose the latter route on his new 'Lovers and Leavers' LP, a collection of 10 tender tunes that documents a tumultuous time in his life, including the dissolution of his marriage and the discovery of new love.

In the past, Carll has always folded his more vulnerable revelations in with his more raucous visions of life. But Hayes Carll, the drunken poet, has always been there -- sidled right up alongside Hayes Carll, the stomp-and-holler cowboy. It's just that, this time around, the poet's not drunk and the cowboy's not hollering.

And, while he's still telling tales, a lot more of them are his own. In songs like "Drive," "Good While It Lasted," and "Love Don't Let Me Down," Carll lays it all on the line and producer Joe Henry gives him next to nothing, sonically speaking, to hide behind. The result is a captivating cycle of songs that feels rather much like a Shawn Colvin album. ("The Love That We Need," with its Hornsby-esque piano runs, is a particularly poignant foray into more adult alternative-feeling terrain. And it's lovely.)

Fans of Carll classics like "Beaumont" and "Chances Are" will easily embrace this set, while lovers of "KMAG YOYO" and "Hey Baby Where You Been" might have to be convinced. But they should give it a chance, nonetheless.

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'Lovers and Leavers' is out on April 8th via Hwy 87 Records and is available now at iTunes and Amazon.com

Upcoming tour dates











Posted by Linda Fahey at 4:26 PM

PLAYLIST: Folk Alley nationally syndicated radio show #160324

March 28, 2016

Thumbnail image for Folk-Alley-Logo_medium.jpgPLAYLIST: Folk Alley nationally syndicated radio show #160324. Aired between March 25 - March 31, 2016. Hosted by Elena See

Artist - Title - Album - Label

Hour 1

Frank Solivan - Pretty Woman - Family, Friends & Heroes - Compass

Ronnie McCoury - Dawggone - Heartbreak Town - Rounder

Buddy Miller & Friends (feat. Nikki Lane) - Just Someone I Used To Know - Cayamo Sessions at Sea - New West

The Small Glories - Waterbound - Songs by Cara Luft & JD Edwards (EP) - The Small Glories

Cara Luft - The Ploughboy and the Cockney - Darlingford - Blue Case Tunes

Parker Millsap - Hades Pleads - The Very Last Day - Okrahoma

Parker Millsap - Morning Blues - The Very Last Day - Okrahoma

Quiles & Cloud - Worried Man Blues (live) - Beyond the Rain - Compass

Chatham County Line - I Got Worry - IV - YepRoc

Guy Clark - Worry B Gone - Workbench Songs - Dualtone

Sean Watkins - What To Fear - What To Fear - Single Lock

Eileen Ivers - Canbrack Girls - Beyond the Bog Road - Entertainment One Music

Solas (feat. Maired Phelan) - Little Bird of Heaven - All These Years - THL

The Honey Dewdrops - Fly Away Free - If the Sun Will Shine - The Honey Dewdrops

Laurie Lewis & The Right Hands (feat. Linda Ronstadt) - Pretty Bird - The Hazel and Alice Sessions - Spruce and Maple


Hour 2

Mavis Staples - Action - Livin' On A High Note - Anti

Stephane Wrembel - Train D'enfer - Origins - Gitane

Lance Canales - Deportee - The Blessing and the Curse - Music Road

Dori Freeman - Ain't Nobody - Dori Freeman - Free Dirt

Eli West - You Asked Me To - The Both - Eli West

The Infamous Stringdusters (feat. Celia Woodsmith) - Old Whiskey Bottle - Ladies & Gentlemen - Compass

Mandolin Orange - Waltz About Whiskey - Exclusive Folk Alley in-studio recording - Folk Alley exclusive

Town Mountain - Whiskey With Tears - Southern Crescent - LoHi

Hayes Carll - Sake of the Song - Lovers and Leavers - Hwy 87

Hayes Carll - The Love That We Need - Lovers and Leavers - Hwy 87

Elephant Revival - Furthest Shore - Petals - Itz Evolving

The Chieftains featuring Ry Cooder - Sailing to Mexico (Carlos Nunez) - San Patricio - Hear Music

The Suitcase Junket - The Rain - Dying Star (EP) - Signature Sounds

Catherine Maclellan - Winter Spring - The Raven's Sun - Catherine Maclellan

Tom Waits - You Can Never Hold Back Spring - Orphans (Bawlers) - ANTI



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 PRX.org 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 FolkAlley.com, TuneIn, iTunes and more. :: for more information contact Linda Fahey at 518-354-8077: Linda@folkalley.com

Posted by Linda Fahey at 9:35 PM

A Q & A with Dori Freeman

March 27, 2016

by Kelly McCartney (@theKELword) for FolkAlley.com

Dori Freeman 400 sq.jpgWhen you come from a musical tradition that includes legendary artists like Hazel and Alice, Loretta Lynn and Ola Belle Reed, you have some mighty big boots to fill. But that formidable legacy hasn't dissuaded Virginia's Dori Freeman from stepping into the spotlight with her eponymous debut. Produced by Teddy Thompson, the set balances a classic sound with contemporary substance -- just like Freeman's foremothers did.

Kelly McCartney: The posture you take as a songwriter seems to be one that is incredibly self-assured and self-sufficient. Is that an accurate reflection of you as a person, as well? And, if so, what got you to such a wise place at such a young age?

Dori Freeman: I'm sure glad it seems that way. Having my daughter at a relatively young age (22) made me a lot more self-assured and self-reliant. My confidence has grown a lot in the last couple years. I started thinking about how, if I want my daughter to be independent and strong, then I need to set that example.

From Hazel Dickens to Loretta Lynn to Kacey Musgraves, roots music women have often made some bold, feminist-minded declarations. How and where do you see yourself fitting into that lineage?

I have a lot of admiration and respect for those three women. I'm lucky to have really encouraging parents who've always supported my choice to pursue music. That's given me a lot of confidence to write about things, no matter how personal. I'm certainly not afraid to write about relationships and men. Men are rarely questioned when they divulge about the same things, so I'm happy to be among a strong group women who aren't afraid to do that.

What is it about songwriting that allows you to share such internal, even intimate pieces of yourself that you might not ever otherwise express?

Weirdly, for me, it's much easier to express things I'm going through by writing and singing about them. Even though it's a really vulnerable place to be in, it's still the most comfortable way for me to open up. I think it's important to write about things that are personal and honest -- even when it's a difficult subject -- because that's the only way to strike a true chord with people and make them feel that same vulnerability in relating to you.

Did you have an idea, going in, of how you wanted the record to sound? Or did you follow Teddy's lead?

I knew I wanted to keep the record pretty sparse and Teddy wanted the same thing. But I was also a little intimidated about coming to New York and recording with a group of really respected musicians that I'd never met. Teddy was great at stepping in and directing and putting me at ease. He also has a really good, imaginative ear and had the idea to add the '60s girl group vibe on tracks like "Tell Me" and "Fine Fine Fine."

The record has met with a warm critical response. How's all the attention feeling?

Bizarre! Overwhelming, but in a really good way. I tried not to have any expectations for the record, so I'm really thrilled about how it's been received so far.

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Dori Freeman's self-titled album is out now via Free Dirt Records and available at iTunes and Amazon.com

Upcoming tour dates






Posted by Linda Fahey at 4:26 PM

Album Review: Parker Millsap, 'The Very Last Day'

by Kelly McCartney (@theKELword) for FolkAlley.com

Parker Millsap Very Last Day 500sq.jpgOn Parker Millsap's new album, 'The Very Last Day,' the young singer/songwriter takes a major sonic leap forward thanks to Gary Paczosa's brawny production. And, while the aural landscape certainly warrants acknowledgement, the original compositions definitely deserve admiration. Millsap's dexterity in the writing department both belies his youthful age and betrays his old-soul wisdom.

Not wasting any time at all, the set's opener, "Hades Pleads," encapsulates everything that's great about this record: solid songwriting, vigorous vocals, and fierce fiddling all boxed in a classic form and wrapped in an innovative package. Millsap's performance feels primal, even urgent. Still, there's an inherent poise making it perfectly clear that he is in control of the elements at hand: Nothing about him or his music ever feels forced or feigned.

Even so, there's a certain swagger to Millsap's work that clearly comes from an understated confidence rather than any bombastic arrogance. That humility is how he's so easily able to narrate -- or inhabit -- the stories he tells. How many songwriters, for fear of backlash, would dare document the heart-rending story of a gay teen coming out to his preacher father as Millsap does on "Heaven Sent"? Not very many at all.

"Pining," "Morning Blues," "Wherever You Are," "You Gotta Move," "A Little Fire"... drop the needle anywhere on this album and be blown away.

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'The Very Last Day' is out now via Okrahoma Records and available at iTunes and Amazon.com

Upcoming tour dates







Posted by Linda Fahey at 10:47 AM

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