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: 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 20, 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.

  • Basic Folk Podcast: Bridget Kearney

    • July 22, 2019
    • Cindy Howes

    Originally from Iowa, Bridget Kearney joined up with Lake Street Dive in Boston at the New England Conservatory of Music as their upright bassist, songwriter, and harmony vocalist. In our conversation, we talk about how her experience playing in orchestras prepared her for collaborative life in a band like Lake Street Dive. In addition, Bridget talks about her solo career and how she is beginning to explore the full potential of her voice, and also about what it’s like to be a utility player and singer in the band. It’s a role she’s taken on for most of her musical career and to hear her explain this is very insightful.

  • Basic Folk Podcast: Matt Smith of Club Passim

    • July 13, 2019
    • Cindy Howes

    Matt Smith is a living legend with his unbelievable run at Club Passim, the historic folk venue nestled in a Harvard Square basement in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Currently Managing Director at Passim, Matt is the most passionate music lover I know. As Basic Folk’s producer Laura McCarthy said to him, it’s easier to name the episodes that don’t mention Matt’s name and unwavering support. This episode is a must listen to any musician or musical gatekeeper!

  • Basic Folk Podcast: Chris "Critter" Eldridge

    • June 28, 2019
    • Cindy Howes

    In this week's Basic Folk podcast, Cindy Howes talks to Chris "Critter" Eldridge, Grammy Award-winning guitarist for the Punch Brothers. In their conversation, Critter talks about how he initially (unsuccessfully) tried his hand at electric guitar, but could not get a grasp on it. His mom gave him a Tony Rice record, he picked up the acoustic, and then took it from there. He also reveals how Rice unintentionally revived his childhood nickname back into his adult and professional life.

  • Basic Folk: Jim Kweskin

    • June 21, 2019
    • Cindy Howes

    Jim Kweskin is maybe the most famous person you might not know. With the Jim Kweskin Jug Band, he mixed together folk and jazz which invigorated the straight-laced Cambridge folk scene in the 1960’s. That jug band went on to inspire other jug bands that later became the Grateful Dead and the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. A regular at Club 47 - now Club Passim - Kweskin talks about how he came to the jug band style and how his band’s relaxed stage presence changed the dynamic of the live folk show in profound ways.

  • Basic Folk: Livingston Taylor

    • May 16, 2019
    • Cindy Howes

    Livingston Taylor has managed to carve out an impressive and interesting career as a successful songwriter and extremely effective professor of stage performance at Berklee College of Music in Boston. Younger brother to the very famous James Taylor, this is an interesting and vast conversation with a fascinating man. To be honest, I have a hard time following where his brain goes sometimes, but I feel like Liv shares some stories on here that I haven’t heard him tell before. While we’re talking about stories, I got him to break down the speech pattern he uses when telling a story.