Basic Folk

Basic Folk is a podcast with honest conversations between authentic musicians and Cindy Howes, who is basically a professional folk music fan. To better know her subjects, Cindy approaches interviews with warmth, humor and insightful questions. This podcast fosters the community of musicians discovered through her connection to Boston's wicked special folk scene and beyond.


  • Basic Folk Podcast: Patty Larkin

    • February 24, 2021
    • Cindy Howes

    Cindy Howes talks with New England folk icon, Patty Larkin about her new album, 'Bird In A Cage', that sets poems by Billy Collins, Natalie Diaz, Nick Flynn, Marie Howe, and others to her original music, and about her practice of reading poetry out loud in the morning in order to inspire herself into her day.

  • Basic Folk Podcast: Wesley Schultz of The Lumineers

    • February 16, 2021
    • Cindy Howes

    Wesley Schultz has one of the most recognizable modern voices in folk music. His band, The Lumineers, are arguably the most popular group of the genre embarking on stadium tours worldwide to support their chart-topping records. From afar, he also seems like one of the most humble and good-natured people to have lived. After doing a deep dive into his history and being able to talk to him in this capacity, I can confirm that the rumors are true: Wesley Schultz is very kind, thoughtful and generous. Well, at least I can confirm, he is the nicest person I’ve talked to that also has a signature Frye boot.

  • Basic Folk Podcast: Sadie Gustafson-Zook

    • February 09, 2021
    • Cindy Howes

    There is a lot going on with Sadie Gustafson-Zook. Raised in a supportive Mennonite community near Goshen, Indiana, Sadie was playing in her parents’ folk band from the age of 6. Homeschooled until grade 5, she learned to channel her feelings through writing. After graduating from Goshen College, she moved to Boston in order to experience life outside of her community and to further her education. She recently completed a master’s degree in jazz voice at Longy School of Music in Boston. The way she incorporates jazz brings a refreshing burst of energy into her original music.

  • Basic Folk Podcast: Anjimile

    • February 02, 2021
    • Cindy Howes

    Anjimile Chithambo, who uses his first name on stage, is a genderqueer, black singer/songwriter making his way onto a larger radar with the debut album, Giver Taker. The artist appeared on some high-profile 'Best of 2020' lists and picked up two recent Boston Music Awards. Originally from outside of Dallas, Jimi was raised by Malawian parents - father a doctor and mother a computer programmer. His sisters encouraged him to join the choir and taught him harmonies at a young age. The guitar came along around 10 or 12 and soon an infinity with the instrument began, particularly with fingerpicking.

  • Basic Folk Podcast: Rose Cousins

    • January 14, 2021
    • Cindy Howes

    Rose has been a dear friend for a long time, so this was particularly meaningful to talk to her through this medium AND I’m so pleased that this is our 100th episode with such a special artist!

  • Basic Folk Podcast: Chris Smither

    • December 23, 2020
    • Cindy Howes

    The one and only Chris Smither! Influenced by Mississippi John Hurt and Lightnin’ Hopkins, Smither’s guitar playing is centered around the beat and around the groove. He mics his feet during concerts and loves being able to sound like several different instruments as his heroes did. Smither says, “Groove is the essence of engagement.” He’s lived an extraordinary life that started off moving around due to his linguistic parents’ careers. He ended up in New Orleans for the bulk of his childhood, with a short stint in Paris, that allowed him to become fluent in French (among other languages). Something notable about Smither: as a songwriter, he has the hardest time with the lyrics, which is strange as the son of language professors. He talks about the impact of their work in his own songs.

  • Basic Folk Podcast: Shirley Collins

    • November 25, 2020
    • Cindy Howes

    Shirley Collins, the legendary British folk singer, who helped bring about the 60’s folk revival in Great Britain, is on Basic Folk talking about her new album Heart’s Ease and her entire extraordinary career. Shirley also talks about her childhood, which occurred during World War II and started her love and connection with traditional folk songs.

  • Basic Folk Podcast: Lori McKenna

    • November 05, 2020
    • Cindy Howes

    Lori McKenna is on Basic Folk talking about her new album The Balladeer. Lori’s been a huge part of the New England folk circuit for over two decades and for the last ten years has been a much in-demand songwriting in Nashville thanks to Faith Hill, Tim McGraw and Mary Gauthier. Lori grew up (and still lives) in Stoughton, Mass (where the Ikea is!) She talks about her complicated relationship with her hometown and discovering how her home life is the secret ingredient to her incredible writing. Lori’s a great storyteller and we get a lot of stories about her brothers and sister, her dad, her husband, her kids and of course, Mandy Moore.

  • Basic Folk Podcast: Jamie Fox

    • September 17, 2020
    • Cindy Howes

    A special episode of Basic Folk features First Nation person Jamie Fox, who is one of the only people in America playing a style of fiddle called "Métis" of the Aaniih and Nakoda tribes in Montana. Métis means "mix race" and essentially it means that Jamie has native and European heritage. She grew up on a reservation in Montana being able to celebrate both sides of her heritage. Jamie explains how the Métis developed their own culture and how that fit into music specifically the fiddle. She and her brother learned at the feet of a local legend, Fatty Morin, who would make them practice tapes that explained the importance of the music.

  • Basic Folk Podcast: Laura Cortese

    • September 06, 2020
    • Cindy Howes

    Laura Cortese is on her way to legendary status in the fiddle community. Born in San Francisco, she has worked for years honing her sound: bringing together traditions learned at fiddle camp, a love of songwriting and experimental lush indie soundscapes. She has performed under Laura Cortese and the Dance Cards for the past two albums and with her new release Biter Better, the imagined LC + The DCs sound has been achieved.