folk Archive

Finn Magill: World Music, World Traveler

In his native Swannanoa, N.C., Finn Magill may be thought of as a vastly accomplished musician in the idiom of traditional Irish music. But his interests and musical explorations have long taken him far beyond that style. He recorded an album of Malawian flavored music, Mau a Malawi, and he leads a traditional Brazilian quartet

Shook Twins: Forgoing Folk Formulae

Folk music gets welcome jolts of energy, modern pop culture and technology in the music of Shook Twins. The music of identical twin sisters Laurie and Katelyn Shook is built on a foundation of acoustic folk, but they deftly combine the traditional music form with samples, looping, beatboxing, and a rhythm section that gives the

Nothing But David Bromberg

David Bromberg has been making records since 1972. He’s never become a household name; that fact has more to do with his unassuming approach to music. He’s no showboating spotlight-stealer; rather than reach for fame and fortune, he’s maintained a relatively low-key profile on the music scene for decades. But those in-the-know have long sought

Wes Tirey: In Print and On Record

Last fall, Bob Dylan won the 2016 Nobel Prize for Literature. That news is a reminder that, at their best, music and the printed word can be two sides of the same creative coin. Black Mountain-based singer-songwriter Wes Tirey subscribes to that idea. Tirey recently celebrated the release of a book of his lyrics as

Hundred-word Reviews for Nov./Dec. 2016, Part 2 of 10

Rolf Trostel – Inselmusik When we think back to synthesizer-based innovators circa 1980, names like Gary Numan pop right up. But German musicians had been exploring the possibilities of synths – and more specifically, synth-based (as opposed to synth-accented) music – for quite awhile by then. Rolf Trossel’s instrumental explorations – using the then-revolutionary PPG

River Whyless: Out from Behind the Tiny Desk

When beginning work on what would be their second full-length album, the four musicians of Asheville-based River Whyless decided to change their approach to songwriting. The result of that change is showcased on We All the Light. Bassist Daniel Shearing describes the new method as “more building fresh from the beginning, and not so much

Hundred-word Reviews for September 2016, Part 5

My week-long barrage of brief reviews wraps up with these last five. Look for more soon. Professor Longhair – Live in Chicago In 1976, New Orleans legend Professor Longhair played at the University of Chicago Folk Festival. This high-quality recording documents that show, and the acoustic piano is captured wonderfully. The nuances of Longhair’s work

Album Mini-review: Allen Ginsberg — The Last Word on First Blues

File next to: William Burroughs, The Fugs, Lenny Bruce Beat poet Allen Ginsberg is a towering figure in America’s cultural history. Most of his recorded material is spoken word, but in 1983 he cut an album of music called First Blues. With a ramshackle folk backing from pals including Bob Dylan, First Blues is a

Loudon Wainwright III: “All right … I hope.”

With more than two dozen studio albums to his credit, Loudon Wainwright III is carrying on a proud (and sometimes revered) tradition as a folk troubadour. “They used to call them ‘protest songs,’” he quips. “When I was a teenager, I used to go to the Newport Folk Festival; folk was a big deal. Phil

Colvin & Earle: Embracing Spontaneity

Though they both have thriving and creatively satisfying musical careers of their own, singer/songwriter/musicians Steve Earle and Shawn Colvin recently decided to work together on an album; Colvin & Earle will be released June 10. The longtime friends have also scheduled a tour in support of the album: kicking off June 4 in Pueblo, the