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Gene Shay Wins Folk DJ of the Year

February 23, 2007

WXPN & Folk Alley's new host, Gene Shay, took home top prize for Folk DJ at the 2007 Folk Alliance Awards show held on Wednesday, February 21st.

Congratulations to Gene!

Keep reading for a list of other award categories, nominees and winners!

FOLK DJ
Dick Pleasants, WUMB
*Gene Shay, WXPN*
Rich Warren, WFMT
Susan Forbes Hanson, WHUS
Suzanne MiIlsap, KRCL

SONG OF THE YEAR
"Bring Them Home", Burns Sisters
"People Look Around", Catie Curtis and Mark Erelli
*"Seems So Real", Chris Smither*
"Pony", Diana Jones
"Folk Is the New Black", Janis Ian

TRADITIONAL RELEASE OF THE YEAR
*Bruce Springsteen - We Shall Overcome-The Seeger Sessions*
Crooked Still - Shaken By a Low Sound
Les Tireux d'Roches - Papier y Ciseaux
Madrigaia - Pleiades
Pine Leaf Boys - Pine Leaf Boys Two Steps

CONTEMPORARY RELEASE OF THE YEAR
Dave Carter and Tracy Grammer - Seven Is the Number
Greg Greenway - Weightless
Jeffrey Foucault - Ghost Repeater
John Gorka - Writing in the Margins
*Wailin' Jennys - Firecracker*

TRADITIONAL ARTIST OF THE YEAR
Guy Davis
James Keelaghan
Natalie MacMaster
*Odetta*
Old Crow Medicine Show

CONTEMPORARY ARTIST OF THE YEAR
*Chris Smither*
Darrell Scott
Greg Brown
Janis Ian
Wailin' Jennys

EMERGING ARTIST OF THE YEAR
Amy Speace
Anais Mitchell
*Crooked Still*
Diana Jones
Pat Wictor

WORLD MUSIC ARTIST OF THE YEAR
Kiran Ahluwana
Lache Cercel and His Roma Swing Ensemble
Lila Downs
*Mamadou Diabate*
Marisa Monte

FOLK BOOKING AGENCY
*Fleming Artists*
Folklore Productions
Mary Granata
Mongrel MusicRoots Agency

SMALL FOLK VENUE (under 250 capacity)
Cactus Cafe - Austin, Texas
Cafe Carpe - Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin
Cafe Lena - Sarasota Springs, New York
*Club Passim - Cambridge, Massachusetts*
Hugh's Room - Toronto, Ontario

LARGE FOLK VENUE (over 250 capacity)
The Ark - Ann Arbor, Michigan
The Birchmere - Arlington, Virginia
Cedar Cultural Center - Minneapolis, Minnesota
Iron Horse - Northampton, Massachusetts
*Old Town School of Folk Music, Chicago*

FOLK FESTIVAL
Falcon Ridge Festival
Kate Wolf Memorial Music Festival
*Kerrville Folk Festival*
Philadelphia Folk Festival
Winnipeg Folk Music Festival

Posted by Linda Fahey at 11:40 AM | Comments (4)

Folk Alliance Starts Today and I Feel Like I'm Going to Cry

February 21, 2007

Not that I'm not a big crybaby in general, but missing the International Folk Alliance Conference this year has the whole group of us singing the blues. For everyone going down to Memphis, have a good time, do your best and try to work Folk Alley into a sentence every now and then. Please feel free to post conference updates below for those of us not blessed with attendance. For the rest of us, lets spend the next few days thinking folky thoughts to bond with our musical brethren at this time of fellowship and celebration in the name of folk music.

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 9:36 AM | Comments (8)

Blum Braves Blizzard; Beachland Brings 5 Bands, 2 Songwriters, 1 Big Wet Kiss

February 19, 2007

GregAllen05.jpg My mission was to interview Peter Case. He was scheduled to perform at Cleveland's Beachland Ballroom & Tavern. It had been snowing for days; snowplow piles exceeded 6 feet; I was exhausted from telemark skiing.

Case's story, however, was too fascinating to miss. Here's a guy who as a teenager left Buffalo to sing on the streets in San Francisco. He slept in an abandoned truck in a junkyard and carried a fork in his pocket in case someone offered food. He went from punk to folk. Today he has almost 20 albums, and last year a 3 CD compilation was released in tribute to him with John Prine, Maura O'Connell and Dave Alvin singing his songs. He also has a new book called "As Far As You Can Get Without a Passport." Listen for the interview as a Folk Alley Extra shortly.

The journey through the whiteout was worth it. Not only was Peter's story worth capturing, I was rewarded afterward in 8 ways: 5 bands, two songwriters and 1 big wet kiss. Read on.

The Beachland has two rooms. The Ballroom seats around 300 and has a formal stage. The tavern is a small rectangle with a bar lining one side and it seats about 90. Jon Dee Graham opened in the Tavern. He was just awarded Songwriter of the Year by the Austin Area Music awards. Peter Case followed and the crowd silenced immediately as he sang and played with authority. Most notable was a new song about an older homeless woman. Case made it clear that this woman made no mistakes with drugs or the law. The song reveals that many homeless people are victims, not losers. It is reassuring to know that there are artists like Case who take notice, and that there are audiences who gravitate towards songs they haven't heard before.

I migrated from the Tavern through the kitchen into the Ballroom. "Abbey Rodeo" just finished their version of "Bus Stop" from the Hollies. Then "The Secret" came out of hiding after 30 years and revived songs from Neil Young, Cream and Hendrix. The room was packed with the same audience from the '70s, except everyone brought their kids. Parents wanted to show off the music of their childhood to their eager teenagers. Suddenly everyone was hip.

I went back through the kitchen into the Tavern. "Cats on Holiday" were swinging and they were followed by a new Honky Tonk band which featured the dog house base and a woman who played a washboard. I think they were called "The Pride of Earl."

Feeling as if I was at South by Southwest or The Folk Alliance, I wandered back into the Ballroom. All the members of "Abbey Rodeo" and "The Secret" were gathering for an all acoustic set. There were 10 musicians seated with music stands. Bob Yocum had his violin and there was an orchestral kettle drum.
It took them a while to set up, but it was worth it.

They opened with a medley of the Beatles "Because" and "Eleanor Rigby." They were note perfect and the sound was great. Next came "Helplessly Hoping," "Suite Judy Blue Eyes, and "Hey Jude." Parents everywhere were beaming that their kids were digging it. The whole room was singing along.
I remembered that none of us distinguished the difference between folk and rock and pop back then. We just took in the best of whatever was there.

Now I was really pleased that I came to the Beachland (kind of a nerd, I tend to stay home a lot working on the next Folk Alley program). I was not alone in my happiness as a complete stranger walked up to me and planted a big wet kiss. "Thank You," she said, and disappeared. (...like I had anything to do with the evening...) I was momentarily stunned. I didn't know whether to call security or get a phone number. It was already too late. Another old friend was tapping on my shoulder. I like this place.

I just saw 2 songwriters, 5 bands, and was blindsided by a kiss. Granted, not everyone has permission to graviate through the kitchen between Ballroom and Tavern. Everyone can, however, receive the gift of live music and today in Ohio, all bars are smoke free. Snowstorms won't stop me anymore.

Jim Blum

Posted by Jim Blum at 1:07 PM | Comments (6)

BBC Folk

February 13, 2007

For a very short time, the BBC runs a 'listen again' service for net users. The service is free and some of the material is truly gorgeous. Stuff is often up for only a week after broadcast (the weekly folk programme is broadcast on Wednesdays (I think) so the British Folk Awards listen again, may be taken off today! It’s two hours long and features performances from the Pentangle and Carthy and Swarbrick, among others. It’ll play on Media Player and Realplayer (I think).

Additionally, there’s a welter of Ewan McColl‘s Radio ballads of the 1950s up at the moment, they can be a bit hard going, but yield surprising gems which are often thought of as traditional standards nowadays, but were written for the BEEB back in the 50s.

Far be it from me to tout one radio service on the blog of another, but the BBC’s output is so small compared to FA’s I don’t think they’ll mind all that much.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio/ should get you to the main page, then follow the prompts to Radio 2. It can be a bit clunky, but we’re British – nothing works properly – we like it that way.

Posted by Huw Pryce at 7:19 PM | Comments (16)

Dixie Chicks Win Big on Grammy Night

February 12, 2007

In a startling turn of events, the Grammy for Album of the Year went to something on the Folk Alley playlist as the Dixie Chicks were honored for Taking the Long Way. The Chicks picked up a total of 5 Grammys, including beating out the Duhks for Country Duo or Group with Vocal. Rhonda Vincent and Bobby Osborne lost Best Country Collaboration with Vocals to Bon Jovi and that girl from Sugarland (ouch). Bruce Springsteen scooped up the prize for Traditional Folk Album for We Shall Overcome, his tribute to Pete Seeger. Bob Dylan, who also won for Solo Rock Vocal Performance, took home the Grammy for Contemporary Folk Album for Modern Times. BTW, Neil Young was shut-out and Joan Baez looked beautiful (plus, why did I feel sad that Weird Al Yankovich has a wedding ring - really? was I planning on dating him?).

Other wins of interest:
Bryan Sutton (with some help from Doc Watson) for Country Instrumental for "Whiskey Before Breakfast."
Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder for Bluegrass Album for Instrumentals.
Dan Zanes and Friends for Children's Musical Album for Catch that Train.
Mary Youngblood for Native American Album for Dance with the Wind.
Various artists for Hawaiian Album for Legends of Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar-Live From Maui.
Bela Fleck & the Flecktones for Contemporary Jazz Instrumental Album for The Hidden Land.
Jimmy Sturr for Polka Album for Polka in Paradise (beating out LynnMarie).
The Soweto Gospel Choir for Traditional World Music Album for Blessed.
The Klezmatics for Contemporary World Music Album for Wonder Wheel (a collection of songs with "lost" lyrics by the late Woody Guthrie).

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 2:59 PM | Comments (39)

Download February's Alleycast

February 9, 2007

February's Alleycast features Folk Alley's exclusive concert recording with Abigail Washburn and The Sparrow Quartet from the 40th Kent State Folk Festival. Also featured is Folk Alley's interview with Arlo Guthrie, conducted at the 2006 Folk Alliance Conference in Austin, TX. Three Canadian Open Mic artists are also on February's Alleycast including Andrea Curry, Blu Hopkins, and David Whitaker. Plus, we'll listen to the often forgotten sounds of Judee Sill.

Posted by Chris Boros at 11:28 AM | Comments (0)

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