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On My Kent State Folk Festival Experience ~

November 27, 2006

So, I missed my flight due to a major traffic hold up on my way to the airport. Now, many of my friends and family members would not be surprised that I missed a flight being the space cadet that I am, but this flight was not one to miss! A traffic accident near Shakopee, MN would put me at the airport only 15 minutes prior to my flight, just in time to see my plane pulling away on the tarmac. I grew increasingly discouraged as each flight I tried to get on stand-by was too full for a folksinger...as passengers clad in OSU and Browns jerseys piled on board. I moped around the airport calling Linda Fahey to give her updates now and then. She was supportive and reassured me that it would be okay to come later. At each flight (3 of them) I begged with all of the humility I could muster, but wasn't let onto a flight until 3:50pm Central Time, which would put me into Kent just as Bearfoot would begin playing followed by Abigail Washburn and the Sparrow Quartet. Discouraging, yes....but WAIT!

I made it to the concert hall and was greeted with smiling, energetic Folk Alley staff, each of them being genuinely supportive for my traveling woes. I could hear wonderful music coming from the hall and I couldn't wait to at least catch the rest of the show! Bearfoot and the Sparrow Quartet were fabulous and honestly, I was just so happy to be at rest, sitting and listening to good music with good folks!

The next day, I had the opportunity to take part in the workshops as well as help lead one. The Songwriting Workshop was like a mini-concert with a wall to wall audience, something I wasn't expecting. I'm used to going to workshops with a handful of people asking questions the entire time without ever really sharing songs. I enjoyed singing some new and old songs....and just sitting back and listening to my fellow songwriters' stories and techniques.

That night I was playing at a dinner for the Folk Alley staff and guests and eating a wonderful meal, when Jim Blum came in to tell me that he had worked it out so that I could open for the Folk Legends show that night! I was so excited! Tom Paxton, Loudon Wainwright III, and Odetta!!! I was immediately brought back to the concert hall, did the sound check...and 30-45 minutes later I was standing backstage with three of the greatest folksingers that ever lived! I kept saying to myself, "What did I ever do to deserve this experience?"

I played Bluebird Creek, the song that won me the chance to sing that night, and was received warmly. I caught the rest of the show up in the balcony. I smiled from ear to ear the rest of the night! The Folk Alley staff was amazing! Their passion and commitment for folk music was inspiring to be around and I felt grateful to meet them all. Their genuine interest in my songwriting life was flattering and I felt so appreciated. I want to say a special "thank you" to my new friend Linda Fahey, who lead me around for the weekend and treated me way more importantly than I ever deserve to be treated! Another thank you to Ann for selling my CD's. She was working very long, hard hours and still had a smile on her face! But I'm still waiting to hear that tune on the uke...we all are, Ann.

Thank you FolkAlley, and thank you FolkAlley listeners for giving me the experience and the opportunity to be around some of the best songwriters/performers in the folk world for the weekend. I will cherish it.

~ Chad Elliott

Posted by Chad Elliott at 12:44 PM | Comments (6)

Live From Folk Alley and the Wildflower Festival

November 20, 2006

Music from the 2006 Wildflower Arts and Music Festival in Richardson, Texas was originally scheduled to air in the music stream last weekend. Due to a technical error (me screwing up) it did not air. This Friday and Sunday, November 24 and 26--we will present music from the 2006 Wildflower Festival on Folk Alley featuring Sara Hickman, Ruthie Foster, Slaid Cleaves and Albert & Gage. You can listen at 4:00am; noon; 8:00pm; and 11:59pm (EST/-5GMT).

Posted by Chris Boros at 10:54 AM | Comments (5)

Watch the Kent State Folk Festival on Folk Alley this Friday!

November 13, 2006

(Note -- an archive of this webcast will be available in the next few days...)

This Friday, November 17, join Folk Alley for a very special event as we take you live to the 40th Kent State Folk Festival for a multi-camera, stereo webcast. That’s right; we’ll not only listen to the concert—but watch it live as well.

We will broadcast the Friday night concert featuring Abigail Washburn and The Sparrow Quartet with Béla Fleck, Ben Sollee and Casey Driessen. Alaska’s Bearfoot will open as well as our Open Mic contest winner Chad Elliot.

Bringing you streaming video is a brand new adventure for Folk Alley, so check it out—this Friday, November 17, at 8:30 PM Eastern US Time. There will be a special link on the home page for the concert. Click it, sit back, and watch as we celebrate 40 years of the Kent State Folk Festival with Abigail Washburn and The Sparrow Quartet.

Posted by Chris Boros at 1:51 PM | Comments (8)

The Song & the Story

November 8, 2006

Back in 1981, just before I left school and my friends and I were playing in local folk clubs, Isla St Clair a Scottish singer and minor TV personality teamed up with Steeleye Span to produce a BBC children’s program called The Song and the Story. The show sought to alert children to the existence of folk music and of the way many of the best and most resilient songs tell a tale of some sort. I found the actual show a bit bland (it was aimed at a market several years younger than I was at the time), I was particularly offended by the nursery rhyme treatment they gave to Rudyard Kipling’s The Smuggler’s Song, which is not a ‘nice’ poem, and needed investing with more menace and less sugar. Nevertheless, the theme tune they used was Sovay which we played in the clubs and which Kate Rusby is singing at the moment (we got it off a Martin Carthy album). St Claire dressed as a highwaywoman and galloped around singing, and Duran Duran and The Specials would be on Top of the Pops later on. The folk revival was over for the next ten years.

I’ve never forgotten the principle that a really great folksong should tell a story. I was delighted with Cold Missouri Waters and the story behind it because it’s a really modern example of the genre. There are whole cycles of related songs; Streets of Laredo exchanges gun fighting for syphilis as in St James's Infirmary but they carry so many of the same elements that it’s obvious that they’re telling the same story (choose your lovers wisely).

I’d like a list of suggestions for tale-telling songs. I’ll weed out the ones that don’t tell a tale – they may still be folksongs, worksongs or lullabies for instance, but it’s the story I want. Pop songs that tell a tale are welcome.

Posted by Huw Pryce at 2:21 PM | Comments (61)

Freaking the Mundanes

November 4, 2006

The term, "Freaking the Mundanes" was something used by the participants of a medieval history group with which I'd had an association in days of yore, used to describe the reaction of the townies when these costumed campers, in full "Viking" garb or Renaissance regalia, would make a trip into town for provisions at the grocery store,
or to the bank or wherever on their way to a weekend event. Most folks would just stare with a silly grin, but some might ask, "Uhh...are you in a play or something...?", which might give the young devotees a thrill because of the attention garnished. Their enthusiasm would swell, as they would tell the curious allll about their anachronistically historical adventures. (There's even a filk song or two circulating about it.)

I heard a story in an interview once about how Lyle Lovett and his college roommate at Texas A & M University would sleep in on Sunday mornings, then traipse out in their skivvies, guitars in hand, on to the front porch of their old rented house, to sing songs at the top of their lungs with not so much of a Sunday morning theme, if you catch my drift.
This might not be such an odd or unusual thing for young musicians, except for where and when they'd begin their mid day crooning...oh, about noon-ish, just in time for Sunday services to let out at the local Baptist Church in full view and directly across the street!

I hesitate to ask, but I simply must as my curiosity is peaked about some of you:
What mischievous tales of impish delight might the Folk Alley crowd relate regarding your past musical shenanigans?
How had you "freaked the mundanes" in your most inventive and oh, so creative ways!?

Posted by JoLynn Braswell at 2:09 PM | Comments (131)

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