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Open Mic Winner for May

May 31, 2006

Congratulations to Barry McLoughlin of Northern Ontario, Canada for winning Folk Alley's May Open Mic contest! Barry's 5th Avenue - "a song contemplating forbidden love"- received 153 votes for our inaugural monthly contest. You'll hear his song in the stream next week, but you can also listen, on-demand, by going to Barry's Open Mic page.

Congratulations also go out to our two runners-up for the month. In second place, Liam's Wake with the song Passengerside, and third was Jim Pipkin for Tommyknockers! Barry, Liam and Jim will all be entered into another contest in August for a chance to appear at the 40th Kent State Folk Festival in November.

June's Open Mic contest begins Friday, June 2 with a fresh new batch of 10 songs!

Posted by Linda Fahey at 1:52 PM | Comments (6)

If You Programmed An Hour of Folk Alley?

May 16, 2006

We've recently started a feature on where, once a month, one lucky listener wins a chance to program their own hour of Folk Alley. In order to win, you'll first need to answer Ann VerWiebe's Monthly Trivia Question correctly. Everyone who answers the question correctly is entered into the monthly drawing.

Our friend and devote Folk Alley listener, Lynn Oatman, wrote to me and wanted to share a blog post on what tunes she would choose if she ever wins the contest.

We'd love to hear your ideas too!


From Lynn Oatman ~

Well, I keep answering the questions wrong, and I joined long before there were 50,000 members, so I'm never going to get to program my hour of But, this is what I'd play - today - if I suddenly found myself with that privilege. Yes, yes, I know, a bit heavy on the Keelaghan, but that's because I attended my first LIVE Keelaghan concert a couple weeks ago, and I'm still walking around with his music in my head.


I'd start with Sit Down Young Stranger by Gordon Lightfoot. His line, "war is not the answer, that young men should not die" still echoes in my head.

Eric Bogle’s And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda would go best after the previous song. Then I’d play the one he dedicated to Stan Rogers, Safe in the Harbor.

That’d be a perfect lead in to Stan Rogers Barrett’s Privateers.

A few more songs that have to do with ships – Stan Rogers Bluenose, David Francey’s Banks of the Seaway, Lightfoot’s Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald and then James Keelaghan’s Captain Torres.

Then, Mary Chapin Carpenter’s Grand Central Station;

Next, Kate Wolf’s Here In California;

Neil Young’s After the Goldrush by KD Lang on Hymns of the 49th Parallel;

Doc Watson’s More Pretty Girls than One and Deep River Blues, then
Hank Williams, My Bucket’s Got a Hole In It and his version of I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry.

James Taylor’s Copperline (oh, I can just HEAR a slow fade out of I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry into that opening guitar of Copperline.) Then, the James Taylor/Alison Krauss version of How’s the World Treating You and then Alison’s version of the Beatle’s I Will.

To Rhonda Vincent’s I’ve Forgotten You then…

Tim O’Brien’s version of Long Black Veil and then 49 Keep on Talkin’

Right to James Keelaghan’s Sinatra and I. To Gordon Lightfoot’s Bells of the Evening;

To James Keelaghan’s Mirabeau Bridge and then Hillcrest Mine;

I’d play the two versions of Canadian Railroad Trilogy here – probably Lightfoot’s first, then Keelaghan’s.

Next – my friend Dana Cooke and his Band Joe’s song, Shepherd’s Pie (except it hasn’t been recorded yet)

Do I have any time left? Aengus Finnan’s Moon on the Water followed by Kate Rusby’s Underneath the Stars.

And the perfect finish to all of that would be James Keelaghan’s Orion.

I'd better end this now...because I can already see where I could add more and expand it to two hours. Or..six...or all day...

lynn oatman

Posted by Linda Fahey at 1:18 PM | Comments (43)

Smooth Mouth & Other Conditions of Old Cows

May 11, 2006

There's an interesting condition in cattle of a certain age called, "smooth mouth". When cows get to be "past their prime", their teeth have chewed all that they can handle and become worn down and smooth, thus making it increasingly difficult to masticate grasses or grains properly, to chew their cud well, or to glean proper nutrition from their feed. At this point, they become redundant for the breeding and production program, retired, and if they're lucky, get "put out to pasture".

I was considering this, and how many human animals are deemed redundant in their dotage when it comes to usefulness in their particular areas of expertice in the eyes of current society. Many times these individuals' vast knowledge and experience is looked upon as outdated or old fashioned and unnessesary for the bold new way of things. It's not fair, and it's not right, and most times is unwarranted, but often the way of the world as we know it. I can think of more than several dozen professions, just off the top of my head, which, if allowed to maintain their wise old crows, would flourish in ways unimagined. Thoughtful societies revere their elders for their wisdom and vast experiencial knowledge, give them well deserved Mentor status, and are richer for it.

When I consider the careers of musicians and song writers, however, no matter the condition of their pearly chompers, time and long history only seems to sweeten their gift, in that their perception of life and what it all means becomes more acute. Or, could it be that they simply have lived long enough, if they're observant, to have the mind to ask all of the right questions? As Poets, they are the heart and conscience of the people. Although their hands and voices may be a little stiff as casualty to aging, their creative expression and delivery grow richer and more finely tuned as the years go by. There is no danger of being 'put out to pasture' for these gifted wonders, however, how are we to hear of these jewels? Where can we go to learn from them? Certainly not from the commercial mass media - that venue is paved like a grotesque Luge track, a well worn groove tuned to the monster of commerce.

Too often, when a song writer has passed on, we suddenly "discover" his/her work. That's the way it's been done since time immemorial, and I don't like it. At that point we are left to clamber to find everything, ANYthing we can which may have been recorded or put to paper. Sometimes, because of the artist's limited pocketbookablilties, there just isn't much available. One can only hope that they had made enough friends along the way for their work to be remembered acurately.

I recall viewing a program on television some years ago, about individuals who were adept in certain arts and who were tops at their craft. These jewels were recognized as "National Treasures". We were given a peek into the daily practices and expression of these Masters. This recognition is similar to our "Lifetime Achievement Award" at the Acadamy Awards, given to actors who have had a lifetime of doing their craft, and doing it well. About the only thing like this that we have in place for our artists is word-of-mouth popularity on the grass roots level, it seems. For this, I am grateful to Folk Alley for listing news of happenings with little known, as well as well known artists in the "Folk News" listings on the web page. Plus, if an artist is amenable to share, "Open Mic" is the place to hear much talent.

Often enough though, when a song writer dies, we are left to hear personal memories by those who were closest to him, or those who wish they had been; bijou, discovered too late. Is there no other way for these gifted artists to be heard while they are living, and to be appreciated by society at large? They have so much to give. I don't want to miss any of it!

Posted by JoLynn Braswell at 4:48 AM | Comments (22)

CDs For a Springtime Road Trip

May 3, 2006

Not to offend any of my more independently-minded friends, but I want to hug the new Bruce Springsteen until I crack the case. And that got me to thinking about albums that make me jump up and down like a two-year-old hopped up on fruit roll-ups. This is sort of an extension about my post about necessary songs: If you were trapped in a car driving from Washington, DC to Seattle, WA, what would be in your CD case?

I'm going to leave the slow stuff off of my list (since crashing into a road barrier is a bummer on a car trip) and I'm trying to be upbeat since the warmer weather seems to be threatening to stay. And it's all got to be music that I sing along with, loudly and only semi-in tune. I'm going through my collection, so some of these are older and maybe a little weird. Consider the source. Click through for my list and to post your own.

In no particular order (how many hours do I need to fill?):

Tracey Ullman - The Best of Tracey Ullman
Blackie & the Rodeo Kings - Bark
Tim O'Brien - Traveler
Patty Griffin - 1000 Kisses
Tom Jones - The Millennium Collection: The Best of Tom Jones
Gandalf Murphy and the Slambovian Circus of Dreams - Flapjacks From the Sky
The Clancy Brothers - The Clancy Brothers: Greatest Hits
MacVitties - Love Letters
Barenaked Ladies - Disc One: All Their Greatest Hits 1991-2001
Cat Stevens - Tea for the Tillerman
The Beatles - 1967-1970 (the blue album)
John Denver - Greatest Hits
O Brother, Where Art Thou - Soundtrack
Austin Powers - Soundtrack
The Ditty Bops - The Ditty Bops
David Francey - The Waking Hour

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 5:47 PM | Comments (51)

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