folk Archive

Just Plain Wonderful: Iain Matthews and Plainsong Reinvent Richard Fariña

Richard Fariña was a significant member of the American folk music movement of the early 1960s. A fixture of the Greenwich Village scene that brought forth Bob Dylan, Fariña made music with wife Mimi, who also happened to be the sister of another popular folk artist named Joan Baez. Fariña died in a 1966 motorcycle

Cold and Bitter Tears: The Songs of Ted Hawkins

I didn’t know a thing about Ted Hawkins and his music before arriving in Nashville. But among tastemakers, the long-dead folk/Americana (though the term Americana wasn’t in use during his lifetime) troubadour has clearly effected great influence. Though homeless and itinerant, Hawkins became a mainstay of Venice Beach music venues, and seemed on the verge

Hundred-word Reviews for September, Part 8 of 8

This current round of hundred-word reviews wraps up with four archival/reissue releases from the fine folks at Omnivore Recordings, and a self-released retrospective form an overlooked Nashville group. Raging Fire – Everything is Roses: Anthology 1985-1989 The nexus wherein country and punk styles meet has been explored by a number of noteworthy bands: X and

Rising Appalachia: Making Music with Intention (Part 3)

Continued from Part Three… Leah Song relates that Rising Appalachia have many friends around the country who are involved in art and creative projects. “Many of them,” she notes, “end up being codependent on grants. They call it the Nonprofit-Industrial Complex. We wanted to have that feeling of being independent; and if we’re indebted to

Rising Appalachia: Making Music with Intention (Part 2)

Continued from Part One… In those years, music as a professional pursuit was never a goal. Leah Song says that even when she and sister Chloe Smith did begin making music, “we were just trying to create a project that paid homage to all of our musical influences. It was only later – three or

Rising Appalachia: Making Music with Intention (Part 1)

Sisters Leah Song and Chloe Smith lead Rising Appalachia, a renowned folk/world music group whose music is as intriguing as it is hard to classify. Their eighth album, Wider Circles, has just been released, and the group (also featuring percussionist Biko Cassini and bassist/guitarist David Brown) appeared onstage in their current hometown at Asheville, North

Jeff Daniels’ Fallback Plan, Part 2

Continued from Part One… Bill Kopp: When most people think of well-known actors – or musicians for that matter – we more or less assume that they live in New York City or Los Angeles. You live in Chelsea, the small town in which you grew up, about an hour west of Detroit. This might

Jeff Daniels’ Fallback Plan, Part 1

Not only is Jeff Daniels a screen and stage actor and a playwright, but he’s an accomplished musician with six albums to his credit. He is currently touring in support of his latest, Days Like These. Just ahead of the Asheville NC date, we had a conversation about his music and how it fits into

Rick Wakeman, Cannonball Adderley, and Me

Today I’m going to indulge in a brief change of pace. I’d like to tell you about a pair of reissues with which I am involved. I won’t be reviewing either title – what would be the point? – but suffice to say that if I didn’t think they are superb albums, I wouldn’t have

Album Review: Lead Belly — Lost Radio Broadcasts: WNYC, 1948

In 1948, on a Sunday evening in August, a new radio series premiered. Featuring beloved and renowned folk singer Huddie Ledbetter (aka Lead Belly), The Story of Folklore presented the then-fiftyish Lead Belly doing what he did best: singing songs accompanied only by his acoustic guitar, and introducing the songs with brief spoken interludes. As