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An important announcement…

January 29, 2007

Ladies and gentleman, I would just like everyone to know – we have sold our FIRST Folk Alley thong!!

(....and they told me nobody would buy one....)

In case you’re still looking for the perfect Valentine’s Day gift for that special, folk-loving, someone - visit the Folk Alley store today. Plus, there’s free shipping for Valentine’s Day orders totaling $50 or more...use promotion code VDAYSHIP at checkout!

Posted by Linda Fahey at 12:42 PM | Comments (72)

Folk Music, Bluegrass... What's the Difference?

January 25, 2007

From a letter to Folk Alley:

"Good morning,

We Soldiers would like to know what the difference is between Folk Music and Bluegrass Music?

As you may know we all have varying ideas.

No one wants to answer the question because we all have differing views.

I think Bluegrass is singing which involves more solo instrumental. It is geared to foot stomping / dancing.

Folk music is telling a story and with a song. It does not involve the use of instrumental solos like bluegrass.

We love the music and it brings some comfort during/after a stressful day.

In your service,

LTC Joey Boyles"

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 10:37 AM | Comments (15)


A few months back, in a moment of weakness, I decided to enrol for a distance-learning course one component of which is a module in information design. One of our assignments was to contribute to Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia which anyone can edit. The challenge, of course, is to come up with a new subject; after all, there are already one and a half million articles in the English-language version alone.

To my delight, nobody had written about Pat Donohue and I figured with the connections to A Prairie Home Companion, Chet Atkins, the Grammy awards, etc., he was a legitimate subject for biography. It was great fun: some four minutes after I had posted the biography the first edit by a total stranger was made.

In the meantime, I've discovered that there's no entry for. . . Folk Alley! So your homework, class, is to get our favorite broadcaster of all things folkie into the system. Who wants to take the initial plunge? It's easy. Just go to and follow the easy instructions.

I have to say that I've become a fan of this medium. The fact that all of us can make our own revisions is both intriguing and a little scary. There's no question that Wikipedia (and others of its ilk) can be victimized by hoaxes and intentional misinformation but generally, the worst of this seems to be contained. I can't wait to see what y'all come up with!

Posted by Stephen Ferron at 7:32 AM | Comments (18)

Happy Valentine's Day... or not

January 23, 2007

February 14th will soon be upon us (do they celebrate Valentine's Day in other countries, or is it only for the commerce-obsessed U.S.?) and Chris wants to put together some special music for the holiday. So, please, post your favorite love songs below. In a twist that I find quite delightful, we would also like to produce a stream for people not in love. If you have favorite break-up songs or anti-love songs, this is the time to "shout" them out.

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 4:57 PM | Comments (62)

Folk or Not

January 21, 2007

Is is Folk or not? Is it Folk or perhaps just something hot? A continuing discussion at Folk Alley, and I'm sure within the folk community, is how to define Folk music. In 2006, two recordings started a lot of conversations about folk - one from Bruce Springsteen and the other, Bob Dylan's latest. Bruce, a rock icon and Dylan a folk hero - both are nominated for Folk Grammys. If it wasn't for his role in the '60s Folk scene, would Dylan still be embraced by the folk community? Springsteen's genius as an arranger on the Seeger Sessions shines and his live performance is inspiring.

Last night I attended a performance by singer songwriters Lyle Lovett, John Hiatt, Joe Ely, and Guy Clark. I was with a group of people who might have a difficult time explaining what musical genre defined the evening. I'm sure a few of my mates might have defined it as country, but others I'm sure would not assess the performance in quite the same way.

What recent releases do you think fall outside of the Folk genre that are passed on as a folk recording? Is Modern Times a folk release or just a name that is accepted by the folk community - so as long as there are no screaming guitars then ok, it's Dylan who can argue with Bob.

Posted by Al Bartholet at 2:17 PM | Comments (11)

All That Matters is...

January 17, 2007

From another blog entry, Folk Alley listener, John Hobson, wrote this, which I believe may be of great interest to many of us:
"Elena See just commented on Willie Nelson's song "I Gotta Get Drunk." "Why must you get drunk? Because it's what's expected of you." Here is a much better answer (if Elena doesn't mind), from a prose poem by Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867):

"Get Drunk!" - by Charles Baudelaire

One should always be drunk. That's all that matters;
that's our one imperative need. So as not to feel Time's
horrible burden one which breaks your shoulders and bows

you down, you must get drunk without cease.

But with what?
With wine, poetry, or virtue
as you choose.
But get drunk.

And if, at some time, on steps of a palace,
in the green grass of a ditch,
in the bleak solitude of your room,
you are waking and the drunkenness has already abated,
ask the wind, the wave, the stars, the clock,
all that which flees,
all that which groans,
all that which rolls,
all that which sings,
all that which speaks,
ask them, what time it is;
and the wind, the wave, the stars, the birds, and the clock,
they will all reply:

"It is time to get drunk!"

So that you may not be the martyred slaves of Time,
get drunk, get drunk,
and never pause for rest!
With wine, poetry, or virtue,
as you choose!"'

(Originally posted by: John Hobson at January 11, 2007 11:35 AM to the blog, 'Free & Unnecessary Thought'.) Note: At this writing, there are two versions of "I Gotta Get Drunk" in the Folk Alley Play List.

On these cold and blistering wintery nights, I'm sure that some of us will gather comfort from these words, and may have thoughts of our own, on the matter, to share. Have at it - I'm tottering off to grab "THE SWEETEST & THE MEANEST" - Poems by Tom Kimmel, and to make another hot buttered something-or-other, as my nose is still frozen!

Posted by JoLynn Braswell at 4:42 AM | Comments (11)

January's Alleycast

January 11, 2007

January's Alleycast looks back on the year 2006 with a montage featuring the best Folk Music of last year as we stroll out the new "Best of 2006 Music Stream"--5 hours of the best Folk of 2006. We'll also listen to a sample of Folk Alley's special interview with Loreena McKennitt about her new album An Ancient Muse. Open Mic artists Andy Hurlbut, Tom Fairnie, and Ember are also featured on this episode of the Alleycast, along with a ten minute segment from our exclusive "Live From Folk Alley" concert with Vienna Teng. If that isn't enough, we also listen to the obscure sounds of Forest.

Posted by Chris Boros at 2:44 PM | Comments (1)

Songs to Go on the Pod

January 8, 2007

The longer I have my iPod, the more things I discover that it does well. I'm all crazy about the free podcasts from the iTunes store (including the Folk AlleyCast - put Folk Alley in the search box and it will pop up) and TV shows I might have missed (Project Runway - don't judge, I don't have cable). And of course, the music. My sis-in-law got me an iTunes giftcard for Christmas. What should I spend it on? A full album or single songs? Any suggestions (especially from people who hear music I don't, perhaps from a foreign country)? I'll let you know what I finally download.

Posted by Ann VerWiebe at 12:40 PM | Comments (11)

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