folk Archive

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

Album Review: Sid Griffin — The Trick is to Breathe

In the immediate wake of the excesses brought forth by psychedelia, popular (rock) music took a decided turn toward the simpler, more pastoral. Mere months after Cream were hitting the charts with “Sunshine of Your Love” and Jimi Hendrix was endeavoring to stand next to our fire, groups like The Band were finding success with

Book Review: Wounds to Bind

The 1960s music scene was populated with people who – if they survived – have tales to tell. First-hand witnesses to (or participants in) the social and cultural upheavals that changed the way we looked at the world; movers and shakers in the development of new and groundbreaking musical forms: those are the stories we

Concert Review: J Mascis, Asheville NC, Septermber 28 2014

A Guest Feature by Annelise Kopp J Mascis is the loudest acoustic show I’ve ever seen. During his September 28, 2014 show at Asheville NC’s Grey Eagle, J was seated onstage with two guitars nearby, and surrounded by three large guitar amplifiers. By his side were two large bottles of coconut water. For nearly the

Album Review: Bombadil — Tarpits and Canyonlands

With a slightly more arty take on the approach favored by bands like Fleet Foxes, on Tarpits and Canyonlands, Durham NC-based Bombadil crafts a music that feels like equal parts Americana, baroque art-pop, and quirky Van Dyke Parks-styled worldAmericana. Metallic-sounding tack piano forms the centerpiece of many of the disc’s arrangements, but out-front vocal harmonies

Festival Review: Transfigurations II, Part 1

It’s not easy putting together the lineup for a music festival. All sorts of competing forces work against each other in the planning process. You want a lineup that’s cutting-edge, but you need to keep it accessible enough to sell tickets. You want an eclectic lineup, but you also might want to make selections based

Hundred Word Reviews for August 2014, Part 1

Some familiar names and some true obscurities are highlighted in this, the first of five sets of five capsule reviews. This week I’ll review 25 albums, arbitrarily limiting myself to exactly one hundred words each. Gene Rains – Far Away Lands: The Exotic Music of Gene Rains Exotica – that early 60s genre featuring wide-panned

Album Review: Dave Van Ronk — Inside Dave Van Ronk

I’m not a folkie. When it comes to acoustic based music of the folk sort, my tastes are fairly limited: I own a decent-sized stack of Bob Dylan albums, that cat-chewed first Peter, Paul and Mary LP I got from my parents’ collection, and a few Phil Ochs albums. And that’s about it. I prefer

Album Review: Los Lobos — Sí Se Puede

It was eight long years ago that I first reviewed a Los Lobos album, a then-new best-of compilation called Wolf Tracks. And I had added some of their music to my collection many years earlier, with a purchase of the La Pistola y el Corazon vinyl LP in 1988. So while I’ve not followed their

Jamie Laval’s “Christmas in Scotland”

A deep love and understanding of Celtic cultural and musical traditions; a foundation of classical training; and a fresh look at celebrating the Holiday season: that was the recipe for “Christmas in Scotland: Seasonal Music and Stories from Celtic Lands,” a holiday show at Asheville’s Isis Theatre on December 27, 2013. Hosted by award-winning fiddler