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Folk Music & Football & Fathers & Sons

November 28, 2005

As I sat watching the Pittsburg Steelers get pounded by the Baltimore Colts, I was thinking about what brings fathers and sons together. Iíve always thought that baseball stories are the only topic that fathers and sons could discuss when politics and any personal matters just made all of us uncomfortable. In the sixties you never talked politics period. In my house, I have a 21 year old son who, like me, is a huge Cleveland Browns fan and also a fan of folk music. Tonight, he was playing some samples from a local band, Good M. Over the Rhine is playing in Akron Thursday night and we may find ourselves at that event, albeit going with our respected set of friends, but going nevertheless.

Folk music has the advantage over football in that it usually doesn't spoil an afternoon like the Cleveland Browns often do and it's nice to be able to compare tunes and artists. We may not always agree on how we define folk music, but it beats talking about feelings that guys do not dare touch. The music has always provided us with an opportunity to express ourselves with shared experiences and my boys are finally beginning to appreciate all of the concerts I have dragged them to over the years. Martin Sexton, CSN singing on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of May 4th, and countless folk festivals. It all adds up to some great shared experiences that will last a lifetime. Folk music has this effect, so share a game and a song, and count your blessings.

Posted by Al Bartholet at 11:41 PM | Comments (3)

New holiday music from your favorite "folks"

November 24, 2005

Thanksgiving is the traditional launch of the winter holiday season (and the day I am officially allowed to listen to seasonal CDs in public). This year, there are several new CDs worth looking into. Along with the New Christy Mintrels' Merry Christmas - Volume II (which you can preview this weekend), a couple of my new favorites are Christmas Morning from Harvey Reid & Joyce Andersen and the rerelease - with bonus track - of NewGrange's (a "supergroup" that includes Tim O'Brien, Alison Brown, Darol Anger and Mike Marshall) A Christmas Heritage. What else are we listening to? Neal & Leandra's Angels and Fools and a few CDs that may not be down Folk Alley's, well, alley, but I like them - Diana Krall's jazzy Christmas Songs, the Barenaked Ladies' Barenaked for Hanukkah EP and Hanukkah Rocks by the LeeVees (who are out on tour with BNL). So, what's new with you?

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 1:15 PM | Comments (11)

Groovy Baby!

November 23, 2005

The pictures are finally here from one of the highlights of the 39th Kent State Folk Festival. Donovan was our headliner and performed to a sold out Kent State University Ballroom. Donovan inadvertently invited all of the "Girls" in the audience to dance with him for "Mellow Yellow." It was a rush of students and AARP gone wild who joined Donovan on stage. It had its scary moments, but it was a magic moment for most including Donovan who requested copies of our photographers photos. It was a scene from Austin Powers, you had to just smile and hope that Donovan had an exit plan. Enjoy the photos they might just fire up some brain cells you haven't used since the sixities.

Al Bartholet

Posted by Al Bartholet at 9:49 AM | Comments (1)

Can you ever be folked out?

November 21, 2005

Most of our staff should be wearing T-shirts today proclaiming "I survived another Folk Festival." The annual Kent State Folk Festival is becoming a grand event with performances over two weeks that gives every fan a little of something they crave. The Folk Alley ĎRound Town event was the buzz of the community with 22 performances happening in our small town of Kent, Ohio. I hope you take some time and listen to the John Gorka & David Francey performance on our Folk Alley web site.

As I take a moment to reflect on the last two weeks of music, I am struck by a number of events that were defining moments for me. The first impression is that the audience for the festival is getting older and younger at the same time. I was pleased to see many old friends and thrilled to see the current youth movement in Folk Music. Musicians like the Dust Poets and Over the Rhine were just inspiring and attracted a number of students. At the same time, students rushed the stage to dance to Donovanís Mellow Yellow, and I hope we can share a picture of that moment with our Folk Alley fans. That moment in time had to be one of the highlights for us to see the reaction from the crowd for Donovan, especially the students who all were born 20 years after most of Donovan's "hits" were created wanted to dance a celebrate the music. My favorite moment though was at the Kent Stage for the after party when the folk community just got together to play some of our favorite songs, to me that's what music creates, a community that represents the essence of humanity. As Dr. Phil Cartwright said, "Performance is the essence of humanness." In those moments everything seems right with the world and we all walk away a bit more hopeful about the future. As Thanksgiving approaches here in the States, it is a time of reflection and many of us may just celebrate with a song or two among friends.

Posted by Al Bartholet at 10:40 AM | Comments (10)

Blended voices ó when folkies collaborate

One of the virtues of folk-oriented music is how comfortably it lends itself to artistic collaboration. I often buy recordings by artists whose work I don't know if I learn that they have recorded with someone I enjoy and respect. Joan Baez introduced a variety of artists to her audience with the Ring Them Bells album. I've learned about a number of musicians over the years by reading the liner notes on Emmylou Harris's CDs. My list of collaborations would be very long indeed (not only recordings but live concerts). What are some of your favorite folkie/acoustic/rootsie collaborations?

Posted by Stephen Ferron at 10:39 AM | Comments (11)

The First Snowfall

November 17, 2005

As the Folk Alley staff prepares for another weekend of the Kent State Folk Festival and the holidays that almost begin the moment Donovan leaves town, we have exciting programming on the way. Today, I'm moved by the first snowfall of the season and how wonderful it looks against the backdrop of the lake that I now live on and the music of Folk Alley flowing from my Roku radio. The first snowfall demonstrates how quickly the weather can change here in northeast, Ohio and how the politics of public broadcasting are sometime subject to quick changes.

This week the Office of the Inspector General reviewed alleged actions of for CPB board president Ken Tomlinson and found the former CPB board chairman violated provisions in CPB code of ethics. Most of these violations revolved around politics and the desire to impose one person's political views to what they perceived to be a bias in the work that we engage in everyday at public broadcast stations and at NPR and PBS. Earlier this year those funds that flow to CPB were threatened by those who wanted to control every aspect of the media and the message. All of this comes to us at a time when any government funding is looking like it is in question for the long haul.

Our strength comes from our listeners, and if services like Folk Alley are to remain available, we must take control of our future by investing in this service. Folk Alley is a grassroots effort and we will continue to make strides in our services with you as our partner. Many people questioned me when we started this service and invested heavily in its startup, and they still question me daily. But I've always have confidence in those who want to keep the tradition of folk music alive. Folk music is hard to find on the radio these days, an hour on this station or that station on the weekend if your lucky, but Folk Alley is available to more listeners than could ever listen to just one radio station. Folk Music on the radio is not commercially viable, and that's ok with me and I would rather pass the hat to those who listen and use this service. I want to thank the entire staff of Folk Alley, who work endless hours to make this service possible. It's a new territory for many of us, but our inspiration comes from your e-mails and your blog entries. So sit back, plug in and enjoy the music and remember it's you whose support keeps the music alive for all of us.

Al Bartholet
Executive Director WKSU/Folk Alley

Posted by Al Bartholet at 3:53 PM | Comments (4)

Being in two places at once

November 14, 2005

On Friday night, I had the great pleasure of being on-hand for the opening night concert of the 39th Kent State Folk Festival with John Gorka and David Francey. We had a near sell-out in person, and I know a lot of you were listening online as well.

It was kind of a crazy night. We had lots of set up and, with the theatre being so full, we had to hit the ground running once the doors were opened. I sold tons of CDs for both Gorka and Francey (along with Folk Fest T-shirts). It's always so much fun introducing new music to people - spreading the love.

The performances were fabulous, everyone loved the show. Ironically, I didn't make it into the theatre, but I listened online when I had to drive back for bags. I'm listening now, and it's just so much fun to hear the show now that I have time not to feel fretful. BTW, Gorka was joined onstage by Michael Manring and Francey brought along Shane Simpson. Gorka and Francey are both really nice people as well (Francey is very excited about Folk Alley and took buttons and magnets back to Canada). Well done, everyone!

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 3:52 PM | Comments (2)

Live from Folk Alley News

November 6, 2005

We hope you'll take the opportunity to listen to our special archived version of Eliza Gilkyson's concert that was recorded live at Cleveland's Beachland Ballroom in September. This was Folk Alley's first foray into our new online concert series we're calling "Live from Folk Alley," and frankly, I can't think of a better artist to kick it off with. Eliza is, hands down, one of my personal favorites of contemporary singer-songwriters. If you've never heard Eliza before or seen her perform live - I highly recommend you listen to her concert! We only have the on-demand stream available to you for a limited time, so listen while you can!

Our next "Live from Folk Alley" webcast will be this coming FRIDAY night, Nov. 11th, featuring John Gorka and David Francey -- two more outstanding singer/songwriters. Join us right here on the website at 8:00 pm Eastern Standard Time (GMT -5) for the live show.

We have more live concerts in the works for December and January. Once those shows are confirmed, we'll announce them ASAP!

~ Linda

Posted by Linda Fahey at 2:29 PM | Comments (13)

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