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: Betsy Siggins

    • November 07, 2019
    • Cindy Howes

    Betsy Siggins has been an integral part of the folk music world since the late 1950’s when she and her roommate, Joan Baez, starting hanging around the Cambridge scene at Club 47. She worked at the famous folk club until it closed in the 1960’s. After that, she worked with The Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. and also paved the way for homeless shelters catering to AIDs patients in New York City. In the podcast, we hear some of these fascinating stories from Siggins. We also get a glimpse into Betsy's early roots with her family life that included some classical music influences as well as a love for early country radio. I honestly could have talked to her for days.

  • Basic Folk Podcast: Wallis Bird

    • October 02, 2019
    • Cindy Howes

    Wallis Bird is a joyful musician who is an incredibly, emotionally exciting live performer and songwriter. Originally from Ireland, Wallis suffered a major hand injury as a child that left her fingers permanently marred on one hand. She was able to work around that and become a stellar guitarist. One of seven children, she grew up around her parents’ pub and witnessed a number of interesting characters in an experience that helped inform who she is. On Basic Folk we talk about her upbringing, her views on faith and spirituality, her immediate attraction to the guitar (starting with her first guitar at 6 months,) and much more!

  • Basic Folk Podcast: Molly Sarlé

    • September 25, 2019
    • Cindy Howes

    Molly Sarlé of Mountain Man has been working on her solo record for a little while and it’s finally out! The beautiful Karaoke Angel is the Santa Cruz, CA’s native debut album. During our conversation on Basic Folk, Molly talks about her family and where music was in her life growing up. We learn that she L O V E S musical theater and was in several productions in high school. We dig into a few very interesting topics like religion! sex! and cats!

  • Basic Folk Podcast: Joe Troop of Che Apalache

    • September 19, 2019
    • Cindy Howes

    Joe Troop, is the frontman for the Buenos Aires “Latin-Grass” group, Che Apalache. As a North Carolina native, Troop is a proud out gay man in a world that doesn’t always accept him: the rural south. Through his travels throughout Spain, Japan and Argentina, he’s become and advocate for gay and for immigrant rights. Joe talks about all this and more in his conversation with Cindy Howes.

  • Basic Folk Podcast: Amanda Shires

    • September 03, 2019
    • Cindy Howes

    Amanda Shires is a Texas-born, Nashville-based sideplayer turned songwriter, turned force of nature in Americana, folk and alt-country world. We hear some great stories during this interview, like when she asked Brandi Carlile to start The Highwomen with her moments before she​ had to perform on-stage, and the anger she feels at her husband when he tries to use her Leonard Cohen guitar. Also, in the Lightning Round, we learned that Amanda loves rap & hip-hop, and when she was learning Texas fiddle, she really wanted to be a hip-hop fiddlist.

  • Basic Folk Podcast: David Huckfelt

    • August 23, 2019
    • Cindy Howes

    David Huckfelt, founding member of the Minneapolis folk band, The Pines, emanates poetry in everything he does. From his solo work to his outlook on life, Huckfelt is living artwork. It was a real pleasure to speak with him about his Iowa upbringing, his connection to indigenous people, and his two-week solitary writing retreat on the most remote and least visited national park in mighty Lake Superior.

  • Basic Folk Podcast: Johnathan Rice

    • August 19, 2019
    • Cindy Howes

    In this episode of Basic Folk, Johnathan Rice discusses his early connections to the Saddle Creek music scene, which revolved around Conor Oberst (Bright Eyes), who he claims very much influenced his writing early on. He also talks about his 12 year relationship with Jenny Lewis and how his latest album The Long Game was inspired by times during their relationship, during the breakup, and the aftermath. Recently, Johnathan has become known for his Instagram haikus, of which he has a published book and filled up most of his feed.

  • Basic Folk Podcast: Alisa Amador

    • August 10, 2019
    • Cindy Howes

    Basic Folk is Live at Club Passim! Alisa Amador grew up in Cambridge, MA surrounded by the influence of her parents’ Latin group Sol y Canto. She has managed to cultivate a warm sound that walks the line of folk, jazz, blues, soul and Latin. One thing so apparent about these laid back, warm songs is their similarities to the human that’s writing and performing them.

  • Basic Folk Podcast: Melissa Ferrick

    • August 05, 2019
    • Cindy Howes

    Basic Folk, live at Club Passim in Cambridge, MA with Melissa Ferrick! The indie folk songwriter genius lesbian icon joined us for our very first live recording of the podcast. We get honest conversation and live music from Melissa, who recently moved to Cambridge, graduated grad school at Harvard University, and got a new teaching job at Northeastern University. She played songs from her latest self-titled album, as well as a new song, while talking about details of the song lyrics and her life.

  • Basic Folk Podcast: Ben Arthur

    • July 26, 2019
    • Cindy Howes

    Songwriter, author and podcaster Ben Arthur had an interesting and varied career, but has always had an incredible drive that led him to pursuing several outside of the box projects. Aside from writing music, Ben’s very interested in shedding light on the creative process and allowing music fans to go behind the curtain of how music is made. He joins Cindy Howes for the latest Basic Folk Podcast.