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: Eleanor Buckland of Lula Wiles

    • January 28, 2019
    • Cindy Howes

    This time on Basic Folk, Eleanor Buckland of Lula Wiles joins Cindy Howes for a conversation in the studio. Eleanor grew up in rural Maine playing fiddle in her family’s jams. She talks being a fourth generation musician, her rock guitar father, and the basements tapes she has from her grandma, legendary bluegrass player, Bettie Buckland. Also, about moving to Boston and ultimately starting her band, Lula Wiles. They just released their album What Will We Do Now on Smithsonian Folkways Recordings.

  • Basic Folk: Alex Stanton of townsppl

    • January 21, 2019
    • Cindy Howes

    This time on, Cindy Howes welcomes Alex Stanton to Basic Folk! Alex is a Pittsburgh born-and-bred singer/songwriter who heads up the band townsppl. Cindy talks with Stanton about hanging out on the set of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood while growing up and receiving his first *Martin* guitar from that magical set, cultivating his musicianship and songwriting skills in a rock band, and opening his own music school, Sunburst School of Music, in Pittsburgh.

  • Basic Folk: Anais Mitchell

    • January 14, 2019
    • Cindy Howes

    This time on Basic Folk, Anais Mitchell tells Cindy Howes about her childhood on a sheep farm in Vermont, growing up without a TV, and her parents brushing shoulders with Leonard Cohen on a Grecian island. Anais explains the importance of belonging to a musical community like Club Passim or the small cafe in Vermont in which Hadestown was born. Lastly, they talk about 3rd and 4th wave of feminism and where she fits as a feminist and boundary shattering musician.

  • Basic Folk: Dawn Landes

    • January 07, 2019
    • Cindy Howes

    In her conversation with Cindy Howes, Dawn Landers recalls being the only one in the studio on 9/11 and taking orders over the phone to save everything and power all the machines down. She discusses the impact that Fast Folk/The Jack Hardy Songwriters Exchange had on her career, the role Suzanne Vega played in her life as a mentor, and they also get into the musical she is working on called “Row” about the very inspiring and fellow Kentuckian and rower, Tori Murden McClure, who aspired to row across the Atlantic Ocean.

  • Basic Folk: Mark Erelli

    • December 17, 2018
    • Cindy Howes

    This time on Basic Folk, Mark Erelli remembers his early start on stage playing the Elvis-type for his high school musical, he discusses his vocal journey to balance healthy technique, but not lose his authentic delivery, and he explains how booking concerts for his college allowed him to get career advice from all his acoustic heroes.

  • Basic Folk: Kaia Kater

    • December 10, 2018
    • Cindy Howes

    Kaia Kater talks about her love of hip-hop, she discusses her hope for more cathartic spaces to play as a woman of color, and reveals how she opens the conversation of race during her shows. In addition to her folk kin, Kaia is a child of an immigrant from Grenada. She and host Cindy Howes explore her inspirations and research for her latest album, Grenades, which is a mediation on Grenada and her father’s immigrant experience.

  • Basic Folk: Nora Jane Struthers

    • December 03, 2018
    • Cindy Howes

    Originally a high school English teacher in Brooklyn, NY, Struthers (a New Jersey native), in her mid-twenties, decided to take a leap into a career in music. She packed her bags and headed to Nashville. It is in this town where she met and married Joe Overton, who happens to be the banjo player in her band. In our conversation, Nora opens up about the pressure and weird power that comes with being a woman in the music industry, her struggles with infertility, and her off the chain vocabulary.

  • Basic Folk: Anna Tivel

    • November 16, 2018
    • Cindy Howes

    Anna Tivel is known for her character songs that portray the beauty and pain in everyday individuals. Born in a small farming town in Skagit Valley, Washington, Anna came to songwriting as a recent college grad waiting tables in downtown Portland. Her first song, she reports, was about “whales having fun.” Since then she has quickly risen through the ranks of those who can turn a phrase being recognized as one of NPR’s “Songs We Love.”

  • Basic Folk: The Suitcase Junket

    • November 09, 2018
    • Cindy Howes

    Originally from a small town in rural Vermont, Matt Lorenz’s (aka The Suitcase Junket) first instrument was a free, second-hand piano the family had gotten from a posting on a bulletin board. As his musical career continued so did his love of recycled instruments. Now he creates most of his instruments by hand using objects he finds in the trash.

  • Basic Folk: Ana Egge

    • November 02, 2018
    • Cindy Howes

    In the inaugural episode of Basic Folk, Cindy talks with Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter Ana Egge. Dubbed the “Nina Simone of Folk Music,” Ana sits down with Cindy to discuss her early influences growing up on a commune in rural New Mexico, crafting her own guitar at the age of 15, and writing herself into understanding.