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Keep the Folk Music Alive

April 29, 2005

Folk Alley was launched on September 8, 2003 to provide folk music over the Internet on a 24/7 basis. Most of you are probably painfully aware that the small amount of folk music programming that was available on radio continues to evaporate like the rain on Bourbon Street in July. WKSU has taken a leap of faith in the folk music community by investing the capital required to make Folk Alley a reality. Our plans are ambitions and we have much more on the planning table yet to come. With your help, Folk Alley will keep on going and folk music will be at your disposal when you want it and not relegated to some late night weekend program that is often not a part of your daily routine.

As we say here at Folk Alley, “It’s all about the music,” but it’s also about building an international community of folk music listeners who enjoy and support our efforts. Folk music is by definition a music of the people, music that is played in the home, on the streets, coffee houses, clubs and the concert stage. The folk music heart is rooted firmly in people and the traditions that we leave for each generation.

The desire of Folk Alley is to keep the music in the hands of listeners. So, please, make a pledge from your heart for the music we all love. Folk music is one tradition worth keeping alive and, with your support, we can do just that for you and for those who rely on this wonderful service.

Posted by Al Bartholet at 4:20 PM | Comments (4)

So, what about Dylan?

April 28, 2005

I pulled this comment out of another post because I think it warrants discussion. As a reminder, Willie Nelson and The Greencards are also on the bill (check Pollstar for the latest official ticket information on the ballpark tour):

"I'm looking for an opinion from someone who has seen Dylan lately. He was a hero of mine in my formative years, and I've seen him a number of times - in '74 in Toronto with the Band (great), in '76 in Pensacola with Rolling Thunder (very good), in '78 or so in Baltimore with the Street Legal tour (pretty good), then again two consecutive years in the early '80's in Pittsburgh - the first year he was terrible, sounding like a parody of himself, the second year he was much better, but not real memorable.

He and Willie (saw him in DC in about '77 - good show but the Capitol Center was a terrible place for a concert) will be playing an outdoor gig at Metropolitan Park here in Jacksonville, so I'm wondering whether I - with my skeptical outlook - should attend. I'm spoiled by seeing great folk and bluegrass acts at small venues, festivals, and in the house concerts that I host. These are two legends, but will I be disappointed again.

If it weren't for Dylan, I might not even be into folk music today, I might not play the guitar, my whole life may have turned out differently. I may have become a republican...well, I won't go that far. I acknowledge that he'll never release another Blonde on Blonde or a Highway 61 again, but each of his recent releases have had their moments.

What do you think? Will it be worth my $40?

-Ken in Jax"

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 8:56 AM | Comments (42)

The Jammys Hand Out Awards - And Fun!

April 27, 2005

Last night (4/26), the 5th Annual Jammys passed out prizes recognizing the finest in long-form improvisational "jam" music. Hosted by Dead legend Phil Lesh, performances at the event (which took place at Madison Square Garden in NYC) highlighted an interesting collection of artists that included Medeski, Martin & Wood, Nellie McKay, Huey Lewis, the Yonder Mountain String Band, Bruce Hornsby, the Disco Biscuits, Mavis Staples, Travis Tritt, Sinead O'Conner, Umphrey's McGee, Keller Williams and ?uestlove. Lifetime Acheivement Award-winner Buddy Guy was joined onstage by John Mayer for a rousing rendition of Hoochie Coochie Man. The list of winners includes Umphrey's McGee for Song of the Year for In the Kitchen, the late-lamented Phish for last summer's tour and DVD, Gov't Mule for Studio Album of the Year for Deja Voodoo and Keller Williams for Live Album of the Year for Stage.

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 5:29 PM

More on Mary Travers' Leukemia Battle

April 26, 2005

After going into remission only to see the illness return, Mary Travers is scheduled to undergo a bone marrow transplant sometime this week. Travers, one third of the legendary folk trio Peter, Paul & Mary, was diagnosed with leukemia this fall. Singer/songwriter Christine Lavin is collecting get-well messages and jokes for Travers through the E-mail address (she also has a letter from Travers up on her site). The Peter, Paul & Mary web site also lists an address to send cards to Travers and information on how to become part of the national bone marrow donor database.

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 2:44 PM | Comments (5)

See Allison Moorer and Steve Earle Live on the Radio

April 22, 2005

Cutting edge artists Steve Earle and Allison Moorer will be the guest of Air America's Katherine Lanpher this Sunday (4/24) at 8:30 p.m. at Housing Works Used Book Cafe in New York City. The event is free, but the organizers are asking attendees to bring books for donation. Katherine Lanpher is co-host of The Al Franken Show - her current project is Liberal Arts (which is still in pilot stage), an arts and cultural program for the left-leaning Air America. The Earle/Moorer interview/performance is Lanpher's first live taping of the show. Steve Earle won the Grammy this year for Best Contemporary Folk Album for The Revolution Starts Now but, although the Country-fied Moorer is scheduled to sing, Earle will discuss his work as playwright and fiction writer. For information, call (212) 334-3324.

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 3:51 PM

Like Daughter Like Father

April 20, 2005

Last week, singer/songwriter Martha Wainwright released her second disk (called Martha Wainwright, go figure), which is already gathering critical acclaim and has been added to Jim Blum's playlist. This week, her father, Loudon Wainwright III, is out with Here Come the Choppers, another collection of wry songs that take a pointed look at modern life. Martha is Loudon's daughter by Kate McGarrigle and the brother of Rufus, with whom she sometimes tours and who was nominated for a Juno for last year's Want Two.

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 6:43 PM | Comments (1)

Willie Nelson and Bob Dylan "Play Two"

April 18, 2005

Willie Nelson and Bob Dylan had so much fun on their co-headlining tour to minor league ballparks last year that they're hitting the road again this summer. The duo will play 27 parks, beginning on May 25 at William H. Hammond Stadium (home of the Miracle) in Ft. Myers, FL and continuing through July 10 at Alexian Field (home of the Flyers) in Schaumburg, IL. Young bluegrass band (and Jim Blum favorites) The Greencards will open. Tickets for the first half of the tour go on sale this Saturday (4/23). The tour will roll into our neck of the woods on June 26 with a performance at Classic Park in Eastlake, OH, home to the class A Lake County Captains.

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 2:31 PM | Comments (6)

Riders Celebrate Number 5000

Riders In the Sky, "America's Favorite Cowboys," marked their 5000th career performance with a concert in Cincinnati on Saturday. The Grammy Award-winning group, which has released 34 albums during their 27 1/2 years together, has traveled through all 50 states and 9 countries. They became members of the Grand Ole Opry in 1982. Riders in the Sky's first appearance in November of 1977 was at Herr Harry's Phranks 'n' Steins in Nashville, TN. For more Riders trivia click here for a PDF (which in this case stands for Pretty Darn Fun) of milestones from Too Slim.

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 11:13 AM

The Wisdom of Old Trucks

April 15, 2005

I recently reached out to many Folk Alley friends to encourage their support of the Folk Alley fund drive to raise necessary funds for bandwidth. I drew a comparison between old trucks and folk music and the knowledge old things and stories pass through the generations. I mentioned that the accumulated wisdom of a vintage truck might bode me well on my small family farm.

Well friends, my dream to own an old pick-up truck has now been fueled, and this girl is going shopping. The subject of old trucks obviously resonated with many of you too and here’s what you said…

Karen from Ohio sent in a picture of exactly what I am dreaming of, a 61 Ford (shucks! its not for sale), and Folk Alley friend Jim thinks an International Harvester would be good for me. Cheryl from Ohio suggested a reliable Ford F-150, Burr from Pennsylvania sent in a cool album cover from his 1979 band with an old truck, and John shared a picture of his sky blue 1968 Chevy. Gregor from Germany thought a modified Mercedes would suit me well and I tried to inquire about Jim Blum’s old Dodge pick-up that he uses to transport firewood, but he only (graciously) offered to let me borrow it for the weekend. If anyone else has any more suggestions, I welcome them.

I was trying to close this note with a song about a truck but can only think about motorcycle songs- Richard Thompson’s (and more recently The Mammals’ cover) 1952 Vincent Black Lightning and David Wilcox’s Eye of the Hurricane. Anyone help me out?

Folk Alley is built on a community of listeners who value tradition and who share the dream of making folk music available on the web, free for everyone to discover. I hope you’ll share this dream with us and become an active listener by pledging your support to Folk Alley today.

Posted by at 10:23 AM | Comments (6)

More from Al about the trip to AZ

April 12, 2005

IMG_1024.jpgJim and I took to the road to meet up in Queen Creek, AZ for the New Christy Minstrels Reunion Concert. I had the opportunity to meet our friends Jim Pipkin, Bob Zucker and family from Acoustic Music Arizona. Meeting Randy Sparks and the founding members of the group was so much fun for us and, as Jim indicated in an earlier Blog, you’ll be hearing from Jim’s interview with Randy as he told us of the history of this musical institution.

I want to thank Jim Pipkin for taking Jim and me on a desert hike. Jim is a fascinating character and he has an incredible depth of knowledge about desert life in his adopted state of Arizona. Jim was a walking encyclopedia of desert plants, wildlife and Arizona history. It was an honor to have his company and guidance on this trip.

IMG_1038.jpgThe highlight of our trip was on Saturday when we spent the second half our day with the Minstrels old and new. Clarence Treat, Art Podell, Jackie Miller and Gayle Caldwell made us feel like we were a part of the group. The bottom line was that they were having a great time and their enthusiasm was contagious to the audience and us.

IMG_1045.jpgAn amazing moment for Folk Alley was when Bob and Debbie Zucker presented us with a challenge. They will donate $10,000 to Folk Alley if enough listeners respond to meet our goal of $57,000 by the end of April. The fund drive begins today and you can do your part right now to take on the Zucker Challange with your contribution of any amount to They issued the challenge to you to keep Folk Alley vibrant and growing with the understanding that if everybody does their part we will keep the music alive for all of us. Our hope and the hope of the Bob and Debbie is to have you join in the cause through your pledge.

We were humbled by their generosity and inspired by their passion for folk music and their belief in Folk Alley in fulfilling the mission of making folk music available to the world through the Internet.
We made many new friends in Arizona and I’m sure we’ll return soon.

View the rest of the images from our trip here

Posted by Al Bartholet at 5:00 PM | Comments (2)

Alison Krauss - on CMT, at Cracker Barrel and jamming with the Count

Today must be Alison Krauss Day somewhere. Last night, Krauss' video with Brad Paisley for Whiskey Lullaby (off of his latest album - Mud on Tires) picked up prizes for Collaborative Video of the Year and Video Director of the Year at the CMT Music Awards. If it wasn't clear that country music is all about the drinkin', other awards went to Kenny Chesney for Keg in the Closet and Toby Keith for Whiskey Girl. Jeff Foxworthy hosted the event, which also honored Loretta Lynn with the Johnny Cash Visionary Award.

In other Alison Krauss news, she and her band, Union Station, are releasing a new compilation disc - Home on the Highways - that will be available exclusively at Cracker Barrel restaurants (sponsors of the band's latest tour). And, Krauss and Union Station were recently joined by Sesame Street's Count von Count to record an update of the song Sesame Jamboree.

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 10:47 AM

Neil Young - Not Dying

April 7, 2005

Neil Young missed out playing at last week's Juno Awards in Winnipeg because he was recovering from surgery to repair a brain aneurysm. Young noticed blurred vision after inducting Akron, OH native Chrissie Hynde and the Pretenders into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame during ceremonies, which are held for no good reason in New York City. Doctors were able to operate and clip off the aneurysm, a weak place in a blood vessel or artery that is bad news if it bursts, and Young is expected to have a full recovery. In 1995, R.E.M. drummer Bill Berry suffered a brain aneurysm while on tour in Europe. After surgery, he recovered completely and later retired to his farm outside of Athens, GA.

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 4:38 PM | Comments (9)

Links for Jim's Picks for April

April 5, 2005

Here is a list of the artists and albums mentioned in the Jim's Picks - No Foolin' section of the April Folk Alley Chat (distributed 4/5):

Karan Casey - Chasing the Sun
Jackie Frost - Calliope
Scott Miller and The Commonwealth - Upside Downside
Liz Meyer - The Storm
The Chieftains - Live in Dublin
The Polyjesters - KA-CHUNK!
Michael Johnston - Curious Heart
Jimmy LaFave - Blue Nightfall
The Bills - Let 'Em Run
Le Vent du Nord - Les amants du Saint-Laurent
Caji - Da Bahia

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 6:10 PM | Comments (3)

Abbe and Me in Montreal

folkalliance2005.jpgSomeday, I promise to post the pictures I took at the Folk Alliance Conference in Montreal last month (maybe when Jim's come back). Meanwhile, here is a picture of us in our Folk Alley T-shirts at the Folk Alley booth (Abbe - Left, Ann - Right). You can't see it, but we had a laptop set up so that we could give demonstrations of the web site to anyone who slowed down long enough for me to grab them. We had a great time and talked to lots of people about folk music.

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 5:58 PM | Comments (7)

JUNO Awards handed out in Winnipeg

April 4, 2005

The Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS) handed out 31 JUNO Awards during a gala dinner and awards ceremony on Saturday in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Folk music winners presented (as seems to be the standard practice) with their awards off-air included A Poodle in Paris by Connie Kaldor for Children's Album of the Year, Hopetown by Jenny Whiteley for Roots & Traditional Album of the Year - Solo (beating out David Francey and Harry Manx), and 40 Days by the Wailin' Jennys (who were up against The Bills, Leahy, Nathan and La Volee d'Castors). Sarah Harmer, who picked up a prize for Adult Alternative Album of the Year for All of our Names, performed a tribute on last night's telecast hosted by Brent Butt to Canadian Music Hall of Fame inductees, The Tragically Hip.

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 6:56 PM

Jim and Al's adventures in Arizona

April 1, 2005

For the first time in decades members of the original New Christy Minstrels are reuniting for a concert. There has been so much interest that a second concert has been added. Fans are here from over 30 states, including two of the Folk Alley gang. (Jim Blum and Al Bartholet)

We just interviewed Randy Sparks who first assembled the group in 1961. He liked the sound of a large group of singers, but no one had used that model for folk music before. The idea took off, and future legends would pass through the group (Kenny Rogers, Kim Carnes, and 3 members of the Byrds).

Shortly you'll be able to hear what Randy told us (on demand). He was outspoken, excited, and extremely likeable. He told us about the first recording, and how he never envisioned touring until Columbia Records insisted. Wait till you hear about the two seedy managers who eventually bought him out. Randy shares his opinions about the nastiness of the music business including a recent run in with PBS! He told us about Burl Ives, Tennessee Ernie Ford, and about being in the film "Thunder Road" with Robert Mitchum. Above all, he has few regrets; he puts songwriting first among his goals - he still writes daily. Other than music, he has been happily married for over 40 years and has an asparagus ranch in Northern California.

Randy and the gang were on TV first thing this morning. Al and I will attend the band rehearsal this afternoon, in which EVERYONE must audition. (I think I'll sit way in the back). The concert is tomorrow and the second concert is Sunday afternoon.

Saturday morning we're all headed to the mountains to see the wildflower explosion. The desert has received more rain than ever, and flowers are blooming that haven't bloomed in 200 years. Songwriter and all around good guy Jim Pipkin is organizing the expedition. The only bad part is that upon Jim's insistance we all have to get up at dawn. I didn't know musicians did that.

Hundreds of people are having a great time this week-end and there's one man who remains behind the scenes who is largely responsible. Bob Zucker from Acoustic Music Arizona decided to make this weekend happen and his energy is making a lot of people smile.

Say... do you have a question for Randy Sparks, Clarence Treat, or any of the Minstrels? If you do, e-mail Al at Al and I will take the questions to the group - they'll love it.

Amongst the cactus, and the mountains, and the sunshine life isn't so bad today.

Jim and Al

Posted by Jim Blum at 2:58 PM | Comments (9)

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