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Bob Dylan - Everywhere

August 30, 2005

Bob Dylan's latest compilation of more than 2-dozen bootleg tracks was released today on the Legacy label. The Bootleg Series, Vol. 7: No Direction Home - The Soundtrack arrives a few weeks before the new documentary by Martin Scorsese that chronicles Dylan's early days (the movie focuses on 1961-66) and his transformation from Woody Guthrie acolyte to pop god. The film version of No Direction Home airs on PBS stations across the U.S. as a two-part special installment on American Masters on Sept. 26 and 27 (check local listings for times). For those of you in the U.K., it will also air on BBC2's Arena series on Sept. 26. It's a reunion of sorts for Dylan and Scorsese, who directed The Last Waltz, a documentary of the final concert of The Band (who, of course, started out backing up Dylan).

On Sept. 20 (a week before it airs on tv - go figure), No Direction Home - The Documentary arrives in stores. And, on Sept. 13, Simon & Schuster publishes The Bob Dylan Scrapbook - 1956-1966, offering pictures, lyrics, interviews, memorabilia and a CD that will tie into the film as well.

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 2:18 PM | Comments (8)

The Secret Society of Banjo

August 26, 2005

Last week on Gilmore Girls (aka - my favorite tv show), Lane (who a Korean-American girl rock drummer) discovered her boyfriend (who is also her bandmate) sneaking around with a bluegrass band. He was afraid she would lose respect for him if she found out about his love of the banjo. She told him she thought his banjo was sexy. How about you? Have you ever lied to a girl (or a boy) about your bluegrass lifestyle?

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 5:10 PM | Comments (26)

Road trip! Car tunes?

August 24, 2005

It's been almost 20 years since my buddy Jonathan told me that we should move from Colorado, where we'd been living, to Europe. His idea was that we'd take country and American folk music to the culturally-starved Europeans. We'd reach iconic status, develop our language skills, eat and drink well, meet interesting people and return to a warm welcome in the USA after a year or so. And it all happened (except for the iconic status and the return to our homeland). Jonathan lives in Paris; I live in Switzerland (I got first choice).

He visits now and then and when we cruise along the Alpine highways and back roads, our always-nostalgic conversations are supported by a carefully-selected, folk-driven soundtrack on the car's CD player.

With cassettes, choosing music for the car was an enormous challenge: we didn't want to have to fast forward through an unloved song or turn the volume down for three minutes and sixteen seconds.

I'm still influenced by the tape days. I try to find CDs which I can enjoy in their entirety at relatively high volume. Currently, in my five-disc changer are the two Girlyman CDs, Herb Pedersen's Southwest, a Tim and Mollie O'Brien album, and a Peter, Paul and Mary compilation (Japanese import). Lots of vocals these days.

I'd be curious to know what the FolkAlley.com gang listen to in their cars. Studio-released tapes or CDs? Compilations (legal, of course)? Do you go through phases? What's the all-time best folk-ish CD for the car? Start your engines!

Posted by Stephen Ferron at 6:53 AM | Comments (60)

Farm Aid's 20th Anniversay

August 22, 2005

This September 18th, Farm Aid's 20th Anniversay concert takes place in Tinley Park, IL - about 25 miles or so outside of Chicago. Artists scheduled to perform at this benefit include: Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp, Neil Young, Dave Matthews, Arlo Guthrie, Buddy Guy, Emmylou Harris, John Mayer, and many more. Farm Aid is a US non-profit organization that works to keep family farms operational and to restore family farm-centered agriculture. In addition, they offer disaster relief to family farmers in times of drought. Of the artists performing at Farm Aid, Willie Nelson in particular has put his shoulder to the wheel by starting his company - Willie Nelson's BioDiesel - that sells high quality biodiesel grown by family farmers. Are there any Folk Alley listeners planning to attend the concert next month? Or who have attended in the past?

Posted by Linda Fahey at 11:36 PM | Comments (5)

Does it have to be acoustic?

August 17, 2005

Does folk music have to be acoustic? Is there such a thing as "electric-folk?" How do you feel about a crunching guitar in the middle of a traditional song? When Bob Dylan plugged in--he freaked a lot of people out. When bands like Clannad in Ireland started using electric guitars, people there were freaked out too. A recent search in Google for the definition of folk music brougt up seven different descriptions--not one mentioned the music being acoustic. So, how do you feel about an electric dulcimer?

Posted by Chris Boros at 3:41 PM | Comments (77)

Dollywood, anyone?

I recently received this E-mail that I thought might be a fun summer question. All I know is that Dolly actually took the Dollywood houseband out on tour with her, because she felt their quality was so high.

"Hi, Has anyone been to Dollywood? I would like to go to hear some good bluegrass. Are there any critics out there?

Linda In Savannah"

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 2:02 PM | Comments (11)

Any full-timers here?

August 12, 2005

Since last I posted to Folk Alley, I got tossed out on my ear from a longstanding office job, applied to everyone on Earth, got one taker, and just started in with a pretty jolly crew. Pretty much Lone Gunmen-type (talking X-Files here, not assassins) programmers and designers. Okay, there's a spectrum here between Lone Gunmen and GQ/Cosmopolitan, but definitely trending toward the former.

In the midst of all the drama came a couple of extremely welcome playing jobs. Couldn't help but wonder what it would be like to take a leap of faith to full-time gigging. It always seemed that a change like that would need to happen incrementally, certainly not as the result of fall-back failure. But is that necessarily true? Has anyone here done it full time, or tried it for awhile, or followed the progress of a friend who took the plunge? Do you have any experiences or general advice to share?

Posted by Joan Kennedy at 6:46 PM | Comments (14)

PBS Features Hank Williams on American Experience

August 10, 2005

The PBS documentary series American Experience presents Hank Williams: Honky Tonk Blues tonight (8/10) at 9 p.m. EST in many markets (it's fund drive season again, so you should check your local listings). Williams was a masterful singer/songwriter and star of the Grand Ole Opry who rose fast and fell from a great height equally as quickly. By 29 - with failed relationships, a problem with alcohol and a break with the Opry taking over his life - he was dead. Even today, Hank Williams remains a musical legend on the level of Elvis and the Beatles.

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 5:24 PM | Comments (6)

Marc Cohn Shot in Head

August 9, 2005

Singer/songwriter Marc Cohn (perhaps best known for the song Walking in Memphis, which won him a best new artist Grammy) was shot in the head as part of an apparent car-jacking attempt in Denver on Monday. Surprisingly, he was treated and released (the bullet hit him squared in the center of his temple but did not go through his skull). Cohn is originally from Cleveland and is married to ABC TV's Elizabeth Vargas. He is supposed to release a long-awaited follow-up to 1998's Burning the Daze this year. Cohn has cancelled the final five stops on his tour.

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 4:07 PM | Comments (7)

Vassar Clements Very Ill

Fiddler Vassar Clements' web site reports that his cancer has spread to his brain and he has stopped medical intervention and is now in hospice. His family asks that you keep him in your prayers. You can also send well wishes via the web site's guestbook.

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 3:57 PM | Comments (4)

Newport Moves to Fort Adams

August 6, 2005

The Newport Folk Festival moves to the mainstage at Fort Adams State Park today and tomorrow with a stellar line up of artists (including an acoustic set by a reunited Pixies, Elvis Costello, Emmylou Harris, Richard Thompson, Bright Eyes and lots more). Sunday, up-and-comer Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 8:37 PM | Comments (3)

More Fun with Magnets!

August 4, 2005

We have recently gotten a shipment of business card-sized Folk Alley magnets in house, which I am happy to send to anyone. However, to keep Folk Alley's postage costs down, I am asking that you send us a self-addressed stamped envelope (aka a S.A.S.E.). Some listeners from outside the U.S. have asked about sending the SASE, since most obviously don't have access to U.S. postage. If anyone wants to send us foreign currency that is around $.80 U.S. (only paper money - coins can't be converted), we will accept it ($.60 U.S. for those in Canada).

If you do send money, drop a picture in envelope, too and we'll post them all up somewhere. Click here for a currency converter: http://www.xe.com/ucc/.

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 11:49 AM | Comments (21)

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