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: William Prince

    • August 12, 2020
    • 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.

  • 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.