folk Archive

Album Review: Abraham Jam — White Moon

Customarily, when multiple artists each having his or her own successful career come together, it’s for one of two reasons. They might collaborate simply because it’s fun, because it gives them a chance to step outside whatever stylistic box they may be in, because they’re up for what used to be known colloquially as a

Ben Phan Follows His Creative Path

Singer, songwriter and guitarist Ben Phan has been making music for most of his life. Through formal and informal study, he has immersed himself in classical, jazz, funk, African dance music, folk and bluegrass. His debut EP featured songs he wrote on a five-month hike along the Pacific Coast Trail. Phan recently released his second

Album Review: Zoe & Cloyd — I Am Your Neighbor

The student and feminism movements that came to prominence in the late 20th century both made use of the slogan, “the personal is political.” And whatever side of an issue one might come down upon, there’s little disagreement regarding the truth in the phrase. In today’s interconnected world, our actions take on a political dimension.

Blu-ray Review: Echo in the Canyon

The creatively fertile and incalculably influential Laurel Canyon scene if the middle 1960s is explored in Echo In the Canyon. It’s not quite a documentary in the sense that it concerns itself nearly as much with current artists in the studio and onstage as it does with the moves and shakers of five decades ago.

Joan Baez: Consistently on the Right Side of History

Joan Baez is American folk royalty. Her name would be an important one within the folk idiom even if she had never sung a note; as an early and prominent supporter of Bob Dylan, she helped expand the influence and popularity of acoustic American music in the early 1960s. That fact – and her personal

Hope Griffin: A Shining Light of a Singer-songwriter

Hope Griffin is a Western North Carolina-based singer-songwriter. She sings and plays acoustic guitar in a soulful, rootsy style. But she arrived at that singular style via a somewhat unconventional route; her background isn’t at all typical of Appalachian songsmiths. Griffin was born in Alaska, and that state’s “nomadic quality of life” influenced her eventual

Hundred-word Reviews for September 2019, Part 1

Once again, it’s time for a passel of quick reviews. Twenty in all – ten today, as many tomorrow. All deserve a listen. Titles on vinyl are noted as such (LP). Waiting for Henry – The Gospel of Moby Grape As a serious fan of the star-crossed band name-checked in the title, I had to

Alexa Rose: No Contest

Though she can attribute at least some of her success to doing well in songwriting contests, Asheville-based singer-songwriter Alexa Rose has mixed feelings about competition. But as she put the finishing touches on Medicine for Living, her album due in this month, Rose teamed up with a recent fellow competitor for a songwriter-focused show at

Béla Fleck in the Blue Ridge

One from the archives. Ahead of his 2018 residency at the Brevard Music Center, I interviewed Béla Fleck. Here’s the conversation. A 16-time Grammy Award winner, Béla Fleck is the best-known banjo player living today. Though he often works in bluegrass, Fleck’s muse has taken him into jazz, folk, classical and world music styles. In

Album Review: Moonlight Street Folk — Collective Will

There’s no shortage of acoustic-based, folky bands in Western North Carolina. Standing out from the crowd is thus more of a challenge than it would be for musicians operating in another musical idiom. But Moonlight Street Folk have developed a distinctive sound that sets them apart. The Asheville quintet’s debut album, Collective Will, features seven