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Oscar Honors Irony

January 29, 2004

Michael McKean and his wife Annette O'Toole are nominated for an Academy Award in the Original Song category for A Kiss at the End of the Rainbow from the mockumentary A Mighty Wind. In the film, the song is performed by Mitch & Mickey, a tragic/comic singer/songwriter duo/couple from the '60s folk revival (portrayed by Catherine O'Hara and Eugene Levy). The film (from the people behind Waiting for Guffman and This is Spinal Tap) follows the planning of a folk music reunion concert.

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 5:29 PM | Comments (1)

Cold Mountain Scores Oscar Noms

January 28, 2004

The civil war drama Cold Mountain has received Academy Award nominations for its score and two of its original songs. Although Alison Krauss sings both of the mountain music-inspired songs on the T Bone Burnett soundtrack, they were written by pop stars. Sting penned You Will Be My Ain True Love with Burnett and Elvis Costello contributing Scarlet Tide. Performers for the Oscar ceremony on Feb. 29 have yet to be announced.

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 6:30 PM

Simon & Garfunkel Discuss Tour Extension

January 26, 2004

Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel are in discussions to resume their highly successful "Old Friends" arena tour. The three-month tour reunited the twosome who had first joined musical forces as high schoolers. New tour dates would begin in June and focus on cities that did not host concerts the first time out. No word on how Garfunkel's recent arrest for marijuana possession would affect tour plans.

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 5:06 PM | Comments (3)

Where Will We be in 25 Years?

January 25, 2004

This morning, CBS Sunday Morning celebrated 25 years on the air. Through the retrospects and flashbacks, I started thinking about where I was in 1979 and where we all will be 25 years from now. is still counting its milestones by months. Surely, a quarter century from now, there will still be talented singers, musicians and songwriters who live to create music that truly has meaning. And I hope we will all be here, bringing the best of folk into your home, office, and maybe even car or hovercraft.

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 2:51 PM | Comments (1)

Dolly Parton's Imagination Library Brings Books to Illinois

January 22, 2004

The state of Illinois will be the first statewide government to sign on with Dolly Parton's Imagination Library Program. Created by Parton in 1995 through her Dollywood Foundation to provide books for pre-schoolers in her home county in Tennessee, the Imagination Library mails a new book each month to every child in an affiliate community from birth to 5 years old. The first book is presented to the family as they leave the hospital with the new baby. The foundation supplies a developed infrastructure system and works with "local champions" to fund the purchase and shipping of the books. There are now 260 communities from 34 states enrolled in the program.

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 6:05 PM

On Going to a Concert on a Tues. Night

January 21, 2004

Last night, instead of staying home and watching the State of the Union Address, I ventured into snowy cold Cleveland for a show featuring Bolo Deluxe and The Mammals. Both groups are ostensibly in a bluegrass tradition, but mix in many other influences. Bluegrass, after all, is not a pure musical form, but instead Bill Monroe's lovechild born out of the holy union of New Orleans and Appalachia. It's particularly fitting that two of the Mammals, Ruth Ungar and Tao Rodriguez-Seeger, are descended from musicians that made their own mark on traditional music (the third member of the trio - Mike Merenda - is equally talented in a variety of styles). It was a hot show for a cold night, with songs from Cuba and about Carolina mixing in with ski condos and a didgeridoo.

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 4:46 PM | Comments (2)

Ani DiFranco Releases 'Educated Guess'

January 20, 2004

Folk rocker Ani DiFranco has released Educated Guess on her own Righteous Babe label. The album is truly a solo work with DiFranco contributing all of the vocals and playing each of the backing instruments. She recorded the collection on a reel-to-reel 8 track recording system.

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 4:44 PM | Comments (1)

Glasgow Kicks Off 11th Annual Celtic Connections

January 16, 2004

The 11th Celtic Connections started Thursday with a torchlit procession through the streets of Glasgow accompanied by pipers and a heavy rain. One of the largest winter music festivals world-wide, Celtic Connections celebrates Scottish traditional music. Events continue through Feb. 2 and include workshops, educational presentations, and concerts by Joan Baez, the Dubliners, Capercaille, Cherish the Ladies, Lunasa, Dougie MacLean, Jerry Douglas, Flook, Danu, Kate Rusby, Insingizi, and many others.

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 4:30 PM | Comments (2)

Grammy Hall of Fame Includes Folk Greats in Latest Inductees

January 15, 2004

The Recording Academy's Grammy Hall of Fame welcome Simon & Garfunkel and Joni Mitchell recordings into their latest batch of inductees. Among the 33 singles and albums to be added to the Hall of Fame's roster this year include are Mitchell's 1974 effort Court and Spark and the classic Simon & Garfunkel hit The Sounds of Silence. The Grammy Hall of Fame was established 31 years ago to recognize recordings over 25 years-old that are of outstanding quality and possess historical resonance.

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 4:48 PM | Comments (1)

Lucy Kaplansky Looks Foward to February Release

January 14, 2004

Singer/Songwriter/Psychologist Lucy Kaplansky will release The Red Thread on the Red House label on Feb. 10. Kaplansky is joined on the CD by some of the finest in the contemporary folk movement including Jonatha Brooke, John Gorka, Eliza Gilkyson, and her former Cry Cry Cry bandmate, Richard Shindell. Along with her discography, Kaplansky is also expanding her family. She and her husband recently adopted a daughter from China.

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 4:25 PM

Norah Jones Releases Sophomore Effort

January 13, 2004

Norah Jones will release Feels Like Home, the follow-up to her multi-Grammy Award-winning Come Away With Me, on Feb. 10. The album, which will also be released on the Blue Note label, features many songs written by Jones and guest artists that include Dolly Parton, The Band's Levon Helm, and Rob Burger. Jones will launch a European tour in April. She is nominated for a Grammy this year for her duet with Willie Nelson, Wurlitzer Prize (I Don't Want to Get Over You).

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 4:51 PM

Ella Jenkins to Receive Life Time Achievement Award

January 12, 2004

Ella Jenkins will be honored with a 2004 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Recording Academy during the Grammy Awards telecast on Feb. 8. Jenkins began singing professionally in the '50s, recording her first album for the Smithsonian Folkways label in 1957. She has spent her long career focusing on folk music for children, combining traditional folk songs from a variety of cultures with contemporary music. Children are encouraged throughout Jenkins' albums to interact and participate with the songs and those around them.

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 4:15 PM

Nashville Lauds Scruggs' 80th

January 9, 2004

Banjo virtuoso Earl Scruggs was the toast of Nashville when many of the greatest pickers in the world came together at a party for his 80th birthday on Tuesday at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. Scruggs got his start with Bill Monroe and his Blue Grass Boys in the '40s where he met his future partner, the late Lester Flatt. Among the bluegrass "standards" connected to Scruggs are his own piece, the classic Foggy Mountain Breakdown, and the theme for The Beverly Hillbillies, which Flatt and Scruggs recorded in 1962. Scruggs latest recording is the Grammy-nominated The Three Pickers with Ricky Skaggs and Doc Watson.

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 3:50 PM

Bela Fleck Heads to Suwannee Springfest

January 8, 2004

Bela Fleck & the Flecktones will be among the headliners when the Suwannee Springfest comes to Live Oak, Florida from March 25 - 28. A wide-range of folk, bluegrass, blues and more will be featured, including the Del McCoury Band, Donna the Buffalo, the Darrell Scott Band, Roy Book Binder, Guy Clark, the Laura Love Band, Jim Lauderdale, and the Waybacks.

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 4:53 PM

Cygnet Folk Festival Begins Friday

January 7, 2004

Music, food, and family activities will fill the streets of Cygnet, Tasmania, Australia as the Cygnet Folk Festival 2004 celebrates summer with three days of concerts, workshops and more throughout the city. Artists include Trouble in the Kitchen, Bernard Carney, and Ruby's Grace.

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 2:42 PM

Folk Alley Mails January Newsletter

January 6, 2004

On Mon., Jan. 5, Folk Alley mailed the second issue of the site's e-mail newsletter. The as yet unnamed publication offers info on, surveys, contests, letters from listeners, and much more. The newsletter is free for everyone who is registered at Folk Alley. If you did not receive your newsletter in yesterday's inbox, please check any spam filter you may have operating and add to your favorites list.

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 3:17 PM | Comments (1)

Damien Rice Rereleases "O"

January 5, 2004

Irish singer/songwriter Damien Rice will celebrate the New Year with a re-release of his award-winning CD O. The original collection of songs will be joined by a DVD of music recorded live for "Sessions @ AOL." Rice's CD was released in the U.S. as the debut offering of Vector Recordings, a new label focusing on independent artists. Rice was honored with the XPN Award for an emerging artist at the public radio station's Singer Songwriter Weekend in July.

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 4:39 PM

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