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Deadline for International Songwriting Competition discount

August 31, 2004

Today (8/31) is the deadline to postmark entries for the 2004 International Songwriting Competition and still qualify for the multiple entry discount. Among the many categories this year are AAA/Roots/Americana, Blues, Folk/Singer-Songwriter, Lyrics Only, Gospel/Christian, Country, World Music, Instrumental, and Children's Music. The dropdead deadline is Oct. 15. Entries may be submitted by mail or online.

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 5:28 PM | Comments (2)

New Dylan Memoir in October

August 27, 2004

The first installment of Bob Dylan's memoirs will be available Oct. 12, published by Simon & Schuster. "Chronicles: Volume One" will include "first-person narratives focusing on significant periods in Dylan's life and career" according to David Rosenthal, executive vice president of Simon & Schuster. Rosenthal further described the 304-page book as "extraordinary, revealing and surprising."

In other Dylan news, Sanctuary Records recently released Is It Rolling Bob? A Reggae Tribute to Bob Dylan. Record producer Gary Himmelfarb always wanted to unite Dylan classics with the pulse of reggae. NPR's All Things Considered profiled the release on today's show.

Posted by Bob Burford at 5:31 PM

I Love Richard Shindell

August 25, 2004

As reminded by Scott Powell below, Richard Shindell's latest also hit the shelves yesterday. Vuelta was recorded in Argentina, where Shindell is now living with his family. Jim has already added several songs to the playlist, including Cancion Sencilla, which was written as a "letter-song" in Spanish. I credit Jim completely for my discovery of Richard Shindell, who has several solo albums on his resume as well as Cry, Cry, Cry with Dar Williams and Lucy Kaplansky. IMHO, he is one of the finest singer/songwriters working today on the planet. He's on the road in the U.S. beginning in Sept. and my only question is to see him in Ann Arbor at the Ark, in Cleveland at the Beachland Ballroom, or both. Eliza Gilkyson will open for most of his tour.

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 5:35 PM | Comments (4)

New Albums from Donovan, Eric Bibb and the late Jeff Buckley

August 24, 2004

This Tuesday sees releases from a few old friends, including an artist who is no longer with us. Appleseed Records presents Beat Cafe, Donovan's first original album for adults since 1996's Sutras. The album is described as not so much folk music as a timeless state of mind.

Eric Bibb makes his debut on the Telarc label with Friends. The CD boasts a number of guest appearances, including Bibb's collaborations with Taj Mahal, Ruthie Foster (who we brought in to the Kent State Folk Festival and is fantastic in concert), Odetta, Guy Davis, Charlie Musselwhite, and Jerry Yester. Bibb, a talented musician in his own right, is the son of 60s folk singer Leon Bibb.

When singer/songwriter/guitarist Jeff Buckley was only 30, he went for a swim in the mighty Mississippi and never came back. Now, Columbia is re-releasing his breakout album Grace - remastered and paired with a new CD of rarities and a DVD of Buckley in concert. The release falls on the 10th anniversary of the original launch of Grace.

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 3:54 PM | Comments (4)

IBMA Announces Nominees for 15th Annual Awards

August 23, 2004

The International Bluegrass Music Association has announced nominees in 22 categories for their annual awards extravaganza. Del McCoury and his band led the nominations with Alison Krauss & Union Station close behind. Tim O'Brien earned two nominations that included Male Vocalist of the Year and Song of the Year for I've Endured. Nominations for Emerging Artist(s) of the Year went to the Cherryholmes Family Band, King Wilkie, Nothin' Fancy, Alecia Nugent, and Pine Mountain Railroad. The awards will be presented on Oct. 7 in Louisville, KY.

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 4:45 PM

top 4 fundraising ideas

August 20, 2004

Recently, FolkAlley/WKSU general manager Al Bartholet posted a message to this site about the funding challenges FolkAlley is facing. He's turned over the task of coordinating the fundraising to me. Thanks Al. Luckily you folks have come up with some great ideas, everything from doing a drawing for a pick-up truck, to selling stuff on e-bay.

Here's how the fund-raising ideas stack-up, in reverse order of the number of times suggested:

4. Look for corporate or foundation sponsors
3. Conduct on-line auctions, giveaways, or e-bay merchandising
2. Sell artist CDs or make downloads available at a price

And by far the most popular suggestion:

1. Ask listeners to pitch in to pay for the service.

I think one listener summed up the situation best of all:

"I think the key is to communicate with your contributors. If you need money NOW, let us know. In any case, keep [the] listening free, because that's the spirit of folk alley in my opinion." - Robert Adjemian

Our goal is to keep the music on FolkAlley free for everyone to discover. To make that happen we have another goal - raise $27,000 from listeners by the end of September. While we continue to explore other options, we're taking your advice and letting you know the financial needs of the station and what you can do to help. We've also contacted a couple of artists who have agreed to help - Mark O'Connor and Janis Ian are making their music available to those who donate $70 or more to FolkAlley. You can contribute any amount, every donation helps, just click here to make a pledge. Thank you to the listeners who have already pitched in. With your help I know we can meet this goal.

Thanks again,
Jeff St.Clair
FolkAlley fundraiser

Posted by Jeff St. Clair at 3:46 PM | Comments (4)

Charlie Waller feature on NPR

If you are interested in hearing a report on the passing of Charlie Waller, guitarist and founding member of The Country Gentlemen, check out National Public Radio's report from yesterdays's All Things Considered here.

Posted by Bob Burford at 8:21 AM

Charlie Waller passes - THE Country Gentleman

August 19, 2004

Oh boy.....

I just listened to his new CD 2 days ago. I will never forget a private conversation I had with him in the 70's, well before I got into the radio biz. I was at a festival in Shade Gap, Pa and Waller was in his prime. No one came close to his voice. He told me about a woman he had met in China during a tour who he wanted to marry. Who the heck was I that he opened up to me at a water fountain? I was so flattered. He was one of my heroes. Along with John Duffey, now 2/3 of the original Country Gentleman harmony is gone. Six years later at another festival in Geneva , Ohio, of all places, Eddie Adcock, now the lone original member, told me how the three of them would match inflections in intricate detail without ever talking about it in advance. Adcock looked me in the eye and swore that they were experiencing a psychic connection on stage, changing their trios on the spot at many performances. Call it what you like, the results were magic. Charlie Waller was a legend.

Posted by Jim Blum at 1:32 PM | Comments (1)

Hey, whatever happened with the Dylan contest?

August 18, 2004

For those of you who missed this item in the last Folk Alley Chat, here's the results of our recent Bob Dylan trivia contest: 463 listeners took a crack at the quiz with 23 people scoring a perfect 10. We (or rather the computer) randomly selected 10 winners who were mailed a copy of Dylan Country.

The winners were:
*Eliter Nibos - Santa Rosa, CA
*Bonnie Borucki - Berkeley, CA
*T Marston - Ashland, OR
*Norm Tedford - Dalton, MA
*Mike O'Mahony - Alta Loma, CA
*N.E. Keopp - Sebastopol, CA
*Keith Dudding - Edwardsville, IL
*Dennis Butler - Hastings, MN
*Rob Stuart - San Diego, CA
*Daniel Partner - Coos Bay, OR

BTW, the next Folk Alley Chat will be mailed on Tues., Sept. 7 so that the Folk Alley staff may enjoy the Labor Day holiday.

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 5:47 PM | Comments (1)

The Nashville Bluegrass Band Celebrates 20

August 17, 2004

The Nashville Bluegrass Band marks two decades in the music business with twenty year blues on the Sugar Hill label. The album is the group's first studio release in 6 years and welcomes back original mandolinist, Mike Compton. The CD also includes the work of Stuart Duncan on violin, Nashville session veteran Dennis Crouch on bass, Pat Enright on guitar, and Alan O'Bryant on banjo. The band has been kept busy lately traveling with high profile tours, including the Down From the Mountain tour.

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 3:25 PM | Comments (1)

National Folk Festival Bids Farewell to Bangor

August 16, 2004

The National Folk Festival ends its 3-year residency in Bangor, ME with concerts, workshops, dances and more Aug. 27-29. Performers include Harmonia, Solas, Jerry Douglas, The Campbell Brothers, Cape Breton Kitchen Party, Vishten, Pinetop Perkins, and Ricardo Lemvo & Makina Loca. The National Folk Festival, which is a program of the National Council for the Traditional Arts, premiered in 1934 and has been held in 27 communities across the country. Each city hosts the festival for three years in the hopes of building a tradition of presenting folk music, dance and arts in an effort to preserve the cultural heritage of America. The National Folk Festival was the first such music festival to bring together a variety of ethnic traditions and is credited with creating the idea of folklore workshops.

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 4:20 PM | Comments (3)

I'm going to a show at the Ark

August 14, 2004

I don't take many vacations, but I thought it might be fun to drive to Ann Arbor, MI tonight and see Mustard's Retreat at the Ark. Hopefully I won't get too lost. I'll have a bag of Folk Alley stuff, so if you see me (I'll be wearing my Folk Alley shirt) stop by and say "howdy!" Ann

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 1:03 PM | Comments (2)

The Asylum Street Spankers Present One Big Show

August 13, 2004

Tomorrow night (8/14), the Asylum Street Spankers mark a decade of craziness and acoustic brilliance with a giant reunion spectacular at the Texas Union Theater in Austin, TX. The band's current line-up (including Christina Marrs, Wammo and newcomer Charles Rose) will be joined by a myriad of old friends: Stanley Smith, Korey Simeone, Mysterious John, Guy Forsyth, Django Porter, Pops Bayless and many others. Expect many reunion groupings and much fun!

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 4:42 PM

Bruce Hornsby Releases "Halcyon Days"

August 12, 2004

Singer/Songwriter/Piano Player Bruce Hornsby's first album on Columbia, Halcyon Days, officially hits the shelves Aug. 17, although you may preorder it through the Sony store. Guests on the CD include Elton John, Eric Clapton, and Sting. Hornsby is on the road now, touring in support of the album.

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 4:26 PM | Comments (2)

A Folk Alley Discount for Mutual Admiration Society

August 10, 2004

Tonight (8/10) the Mutual Admiration Society (Nickel Creek and Glen Phillips from Toad the Wet Sprocket) is making one of their limited tour stops at the Beachland Ballroom in Cleveland. Mention Folk Alley when purchasing your ticket and receive a $3 discount. Plus, I'll be there with stuff and a few T-shirts for those that ask nicely. See you there! Ann

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 5:32 PM

A special message from Al

August 9, 2004

When we launched, none of us imagined how quickly folk music fans would find Folk Alley and grow it into a community of more than 17,000 listeners - in less than a year!

I really love Folk Alley, and from the dozens of letters we receive each week, I know many of you do, too.

That said, Folk Alley now faces one of the biggest challenges of its young life.

Until now, Folk Alley has been financed with three pillars of support:

1. You, our listeners.
2. WKSU-FM, the nonprofit public radio station in Kent, Ohio, that employs us and produces
3. Grants from the Corporation of Public Broadcasting (CPB).

This combination of funding has kept Folk Alley free and available to everyone, which was the overwhelming opinion of a listener survey we conducted several months ago.

Unfortunately, CPB has decided to reject any internet-based proposals, including a grant request we made earlier this year. The loss leaves Folk Alley without one of its all-important pillars.

Folk Alley is and will always be a non-profit venture. It's a labor of love for everyone who works here. But it has real costs.

Along with asking my small but dedicated Folk Alley team to brainstorm a solution, I thought, let's ask our smart, folk-loving listeners!

So I'm asking.

What are your ideas and suggestions on how to raise the operating support that we were hoping to receive from CPB? Working together, I know we can come up with solutions.

Post all of your ideas to this blog. Don't worry if your idea sounds crazy. Given that we are working with very limited resources, we're looking for creative ideas.

If you are connected with an organization or company that might work with Folk Alley as a grantor or a sponsor, post a note to this blog or email me at

I know that, together, we can figure out how to keep Folk Alley going for all of us.

Al Bartholet, General Manager

Posted by Al Bartholet at 9:40 AM | Comments (27)

Happy Birthday Garrison!

August 6, 2004

On Saturday, sing Happy Birthday to Garrison Keillor, writer, sometimes singer and host of A Prairie Home Companion, a show that does plenty to promote folk musicians. Garrison, who features a repeat live show with Iris Dement on his big day, turns 62. Upcoming live broadcasts of A Prairie Home Companion include Ravinia outside of Chicago on Aug. 14 and the Minnesota State Fair on Sept. 4 (remember to bring your mittens).

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 5:08 PM | Comments (3)

Two New Albums for You to Love

August 5, 2004

Releases this week by Pierce Pettis and Riders in Sky had Folk Alley host Jim Blum all a flutter. Singer/songwriter Pierce Pettis has always been one of Jim's favorites and he has high praise for his new effort: Great Big World on the Compass label. Lots of fine artists stopped by to add their talents to the album, including Compass leader and banjo genius Alison Brown.

When I asked Jim about the new Riders in the Sky album, he said, "These guys are my heroes!" The new CD, out on Rounder, is called Riders in the Sky Present: Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier. It's a collection of songs from everyone's favorite cowboys celebrating one of America's most beloved statesmen and frontiersfolk.

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 5:53 PM | Comments (3)

Get Us to The Top of the Heap

August 4, 2004

Whenever anyone writes to me at Folk Alley, I always ask that person to spread the word by telling a friend or several, about our online service.

Here's another way to help Folk Alley. When you tell a friend, ask him/her to add a button to Folk Alley if he/she manages a Web site or a blog. If you have your own Web site or Weblog, add a button to your site that links to To add a button, go to

Why will this help Folk Alley? In the crazy world of Web searches, the more links inbound to a site, the more likely it will land at the top of the heap in a search on Google. We want at the top anytime someone searches for anything remotely related to folk music.

We're trying to count and keep track of these "inbound links," so if you add one, write to me at with your URL. I'll reciprocate by adding a link on Folk Alley to your Web site.

We have a goal of getting 50 inbound links by our first anniversary in September. We're well on our way, but with a little help from the Folk Alley community, we can certainly reach our goal.

Posted by at 2:08 PM | Comments (3)

Check it out!

August 3, 2004

Folk Alley has added a boatload of new features, all tied to our new expanded playlist. Take some time and poke around. Highlights include:
Auto-updating "Now Playing" box on front page with album graphic.

Playlist view options with pop-up of last 10 songs played and extended full-day and calendar search options.

Song details complete with album info and direct Amazon shopping when you click on each entry.

"Rate this Song" feature.

Comment on the Song or Artist through the community bulletin board at the bottom of each song entry.

Post a comment below or send us an E-mail at
and let us know what you think!

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 12:30 PM | Comments (11)

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