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: 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.

  • Basic Folk Podcast: Elisapie

    • February 13, 2020
    • Cindy Howes

    Montreal’s Elisapie was born in Salluit, Quebec into the Inuit community. She grew up in the a little arctic village in The North surrounded by the sad truth of what happened to the generations before her when settlers forced the semi-nomadic Inuit people to settle into one area. In our conversation, she talks about being inspired by her musician uncle and the opportunity to perform with his band at a young age. Her latest album is called, 'Runaway Girl.'

  • Basic Folk Podcast: Rebecca Loebe

    • December 12, 2019
    • Cindy Howes

    Rebecca Loebe is a Georgia native that was raised in the Atlanta music community via Eddie’s Attic. Loebe attended Berklee College of Music and spent time in the Boston music world before settling in Austin, TX. She also had the unique experience of being a part of the very first season of “The Voice” as part of Adam Levine’s team. She appeared on the show for a couple of episodes and exited in a way that she is very comfortable with. We talk about how she is a musician who really values community and feedback from her community as well as her never-ending quest to spread kindness in an authentic and meaningful way.

  • Basic Folk Podcast: Jenny Owen Youngs

    • November 18, 2019
    • Cindy Howes

    Jenny Owen Youngs is an indie pop songwriter, queer icon, and podcast host. Her new EP Night Shift is out now, and we talk about that and her whole life in our conversation. From her young life in rural New Jersey, to space camp (where she wished for more space and less camp,) to coming out in a very public way in 2012. Jenny is a sweet, funny and caring person and we really get into what makes her tick in this episode.

  • 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!