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: 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.

  • Basic Folk Podcast: Kris Delmhorst

    • August 17, 2020
    • Cindy Howes

    by Cindy Howes - New England Folk Queen Kris Delmhorst has released her new record Long Day In The Milky Way into a very weird world. In our conversation, she mentioned performing songs from a new album night after night on tour really allows her to grow close to the album and get to know the songs really well. It will be interesting to see what effect that will have on her in the future since this album will not get the same treatment due to the pandemic.

  • Basic Folk Podcast: William Prince

    • August 12, 2020
    • Cindy Howes

    by Cindy Howes - Canadian singer/songwriter, William Prince grew up with the influence of his father's gospel music, Johnny Cash, Kris Kristofferson and a deep love of connecting with family. His parents kept music at the forefront of his young life with performing music around the house and through their DJ business. The house was filled with records and music, so William always felt a strong draw to include it in his life.

  • Basic Folk Podcast: Tami Neilson

    • August 03, 2020
    • Cindy Howes

    by Cindy Howes - Big hair. Big sound. Big personality. And big feelings is New Zealand-by-way-of-Canada’s Tami Neilson. As a part of her family’s Neilson Family band, Tami’s been performing and touring since she was a young kid. She and her two brothers spent their childhoods on the road with their parents: playing fairs, churches, dance halls, and morning television shows all while tucked tightly into the family caravan. Not only does she give a rundown of what the sleeping arrangements in the trailer were like, Tami’s bed doubled as the kitchen table by day. Through it all she paints a picture of how her parents gave her a front row seat to the music industry. Their band was opening for Kitty Wells and Johnny Cash and winning awards left and right.

  • Basic Folk Podcast: Ruth Merenda (The Mammals)

    • July 29, 2020
    • Cindy Howes

    by Cindy Howes - Ever since I saw her playing with The Mammals in the early 2000s, I have had a healthy obsession with Ruth Merenda. She is very easy to obsess over: her soaring musicianship onstage and tape as well as the amazing community she’s cultivated along with her husband (and bandmate) Mike Merenda through touring and through their bi-annual music festival, The Hoot.

  • Basic Folk Podcast: Letitia VanSant

    • May 09, 2020
    • Cindy Howes

    There is something I find very telling about the way Letitia VanSant approaches her name with people. The Baltimore musician offers the pronunciation upfront (“Leh-TISH-ah” – “tish” rhymes with “wish.”), not assuming that someone would know how to say it. There is kindness and patience in the offering, but also she takes control of the narrative of her unique and beautiful name. On her website it says: “Letitia is an old family name that she shares with a number of women in her family. As a child she was nicknamed “Sandy” from VanSant, her middle name. Her friends still call her Sandy, but she responds to both!”

  • Basic Folk Podcast: Leyla McCalla

    • February 21, 2020
    • Cindy Howes

    I had a lot to talk about with Leyla McCalla! The New Orleans resident has already had an impressive career with her solo work, Carolina Chocolate Drops and Our Native Daughters. However, it seems like she’s just getting started. I literally had 9 pages of questions for her as we sat in my Airbnb during Folk Alliance (you can hear about 4 trolleys rolling by the windows). Leyla is smart, well spoken and so easy to get along with.