folk music

Loudon Wainwright III, the son of esteemed Life magazine columnist Loudon Wainwright, Jr., is the patriarch of one of America’s great musical families. He is the former husband of Kate McGarrigle and Suzzy Roche, and father of Rufus Wainwright, Martha Wainwright, Lucy Wainwright Roche, and Lexie Kelly Wainwright. With a career spanning more than four decades, Wainwright has established himself as one of the most enduring singer-songwriters who emerged from the late 1960s. Not only does he perform regularly across America and in Europe, but he is a sought-after actor, having appeared in many movies and TV series.

There is probably no singer-songwriter who has so blatantly inserted himself into his songs. The songs can be laugh-out-loud funny, but they also can cut to the bone. In this memoir, Wainwright details the family history his lyrics have referenced and the fractured relationships among generations: the alcoholism, the infidelities, the competitiveness—as well as the closeness, the successes, and the joy. Wainwright reflects on the experiences that have influenced his work, including boarding school, the music business, swimming, macrobiotics, sex, incarceration, and something he calls Sir Walter Raleigh Syndrome.

Loudon Wainwright III's new book is titled Liner Notes: On Parents & Children, Exes & Excess, Death & Decay, & A Few Of My Other Favorite Things.

Brandi Carlile
Pete Souza

Brandi Carlile and her band are playing The FreshGrass Festival at MASS MoCA this Saturday.

For more than a decade, the big-voiced roots-rocker has shared the road with twin brothers Phil and Tim Hanseroth. Renowned for their high-energy live-show, their 2015 album, The Firewatcher’s Daughter is a collection of building and boiling songs full of nothing more or less than a whole lot of heart.

 

Brandi's most recent release I mentioned is Cover Stories: Brandi Carlile Celebrates 10 Years of The Story – An Album to Benefit War Child. The Story is Carlile’s 2007 album - produced by T-Bone Burnett and featuring a resonant group of songs that earned the record Gold Status early this year -- 10  years after it’s release. Cover Stories features all new recordings of those songs by artists like Adele, Indigo Girls, Jim James, Kris Kristoffersen, Dolly Parton and Pearl Jam. The album features a forward by President Barack Obama and all proceeds from its sales go to benefit War Child UK.


  The folk and son mexicano band David Wax Museum is currently on a tour that marks their 1000th show and their 10th anniversary. To mark the occasion, they’ve  released Electric Artifacts, an album of outtakes and rarities.

The duo of David Wax and Suz Slezak will be joined by their full band with a horn section for a show this Sunday at 7 p.m. at Caff​è Lena in Saratoga Springs, NY.

David Wax joins us.

The Whiskey Treaty Roadshow are a collaborative of five Massachusetts-based singer-songwriters. As individuals they have released a total of 18 albums; their live record The Heart of the Run is their first as a band. This coming Friday they will release a new EP and perform at MASS MoCA’s FreshGrass Festival.

Billy Keane joins us.

FreshGrass At MASS MoCA

Sep 11, 2017

It’s safe to say it’s been a big summer for our friends at MASS MoCA in North Adams, MA. They opened a new building of gallery space in May, hosted the Solid Sound festival in June and numerous other live events throughout the summer, broke attendance records, and presented groundbreaking and globally recognized contemporary art.

Never one to rest on their laurels, MASS MoCA will present the 7th Annual FreshGrass Festival this Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, Sept 15-17.

FreshGrass is a family-friendly festival, brimming with bright talent on four stages, and also in MASS MoCA’s galleries, brick-lined courtyards, and grassy field. The festival is produced in partnership by MASS MoCA, the FreshGrass Foundation, and No Depression.

This year’s festival features Brandi Carlile, Railroad Earth, The Del McCoury Band, The Wood Brothers, Del and Dog, The Suitecase Junket, Crooked Still, and many more artists – along with awards, workshops, tributes, FreshScores, and more!

Here to tell us all about it are Joe Thompson, Director of MASS MoCA and Jodi Joseph, the museum’s Director of Communications.

The Suitcase Junket
Jo Chattman

Clearwater's Great Hudson River Revival is taking place this coming weekend at Croton Point Park in Croton-on-Hudson, New York. This year’s festival will include performances by Nick Lowe, Arlo Guthrie, Los Lobos, Toshi Reagon & Big Lovely, Josh Ritter, Joan Osborne and many other great acts -- including our guest, The Suitcase Junket.

Western-Massachusetts based one-man-band Matt Lorenz creates music on restored, salvaged, and fully invented instruments created from old instruments and found objects. His latest album, Pile Driver, came out in April on Signature Sounds. 

Bobby Sweet at The Linda
Sarah LaDuke

Bobby Sweet is a sixth-generation musician. He began performing at age 7 in his father’s band and has shared the bill with many top country and folk artists, including Martin Sexton, Arlo Guthrie, and Pete Seeger.

Bobby’s new album, All These Changes, will be released on June 11th.  The Colonial Theater in Pittsfield, MA will host the CD Release concert that night at 7 p.m.  And Bobby will be appearing with the BSweet Band.

Bobby Sweet joins us at The Linda to share some new songs and talk a little. 

Mary Gauthier
Jack Spencer

It’s always a treat to catch up with musician Mary Gauthier, beloved by fans of country, folk and Americana music alike for her honest and poignant music and lyrics. Gauthier did a lot of hard living before embarking on a music career relatively late in life. She will be back in our region for a string of dates this spring.

Roger McGuinn
John Chiasson

(Airs 3/30/17) WAMC’s Alan Chartock In A 2012 Conversation with Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, folk musician and former member of The Byrds, Roger McGuinn.

  In W. B. Belcher's debut novel, Lay Down You’re Weary Tune, a ghostwriter of the memoirs of a reclusive folk music icon attempts to glean fact from fiction, only to discover the deeper he digs into the musician’s past, the more his own past rises to the surface

Despite his fame, Eli Page is a riddle wrapped in a myth, inside decades of mask-making. His past is so shrouded in gossip and half-truths that no one knows who he is behind the act. Jack Wyeth, a budding writer, joins Eli in Galesville, a small town on the border of New York and Vermont, only to learn that the musician’s mind is failing.

As he scrambles to uncover the truth, Jack is forced to confront his own past, his own hang-ups, and his own fears. At the same time, he falls for a local artist who has secrets of her own, he becomes linked to a town controversy, and he struggles to let go of his childhood idols and bridge the divide between myth and reality.

  Blessed with what the New York Times described as a “beautiful countertenor,” Grammy winner and pop-folk icon Art Garfunkel has made an indelible mark on the music world as both a solo artist and half of the unrivaled Simon & Garfunkel. He has also enjoyed a successful film career, published a book of poetry and released 12 original solo albums.

Art Garfunkel will perform at The Mahaiwe in Great Barrington, MA on November 14th*.

*This concert is sold out. 

  Bright As You Can, the rocking new album from The Mike + Ruthy Band, celebrates the grit and glory of kinship with 14 road-tested tunes of radio-ready acoustic pop, broody rock, country soul, and boot-stomping porch folk. As with previous Mike + Ruthy endeavors, the rootsy material covers much ground, but the through-line remains family.

In May, 2014, Mike + Ruthy decided to make a high octane record, comprised of songs they could tour with a band. Guests on the record include Ruthy’s father, Jay Ungar, Amy Helm (Levon Helm’s daughter), and ace keyboardist Marco Benevento, all adding texture, intensity, and family love.

This Saturday, The Mike + Ruthy Band will play an album release party at The Bearsville Theatre in Woodstock, NY.

  Berkshire based folk duo, Oakes and Smith, will play a concert this Saturday, May 30th at 4 p.m. at Ashintully Gardens in Tyringham, MA as a benefit for the Trustees of Reservations. Pianist, Zack Cross will join the duo.

Robert Oakes and Katherine Smith’s debut album, First Flight was mixed by Grammy-winning engineer Oz Fritz and released in November 2013.

  Brandi Carlile is playing the Palace Theatre in Albany on May 23rd. Her indie debut with longtime collaborators, The Hanseroth twins, The Firewatcher’s Daughter was released March 3rd on ATO Records.

It debuted in the Top 10 on the Billboard 200, NPR Fresh Air deemed it “her best yet," and it garnered raves from the NY Times, LA Times, Billboard, and more.

Here we share portions of a number of songs from the album and speak with Brandi about songwriting, touring, the Looking Out Foundation, and meeting the President.

  Signature Sounds' first CD came out in 1995 and the lable has seen over 150 releases since then, moving into show promoting, opening a venue in Northampton, MA, overseeing frequent collaborations between its artists, and taking over the long-running music and hot air ballooning gathering of the Green River Festival.

Earlier this Spring they released “Signature Sounds 20th Anniversary Collection: Rarities from The Second Decade” - an album of previously unreleased songs from Signature Sounds artists - a mix-tape lovingly prepared for you by the label. Jim Olsen is the President of Signature Sounds and he joins us to talk about the label's history and future.

  This Friday at 8pm, Michael Eck will be at The Linda – WAMC’s Performing Arts Studio – performing a personal Woody Guthrie tribute to celebrate the 75th Anniverary of Guthrie’s iconic song – “This Land is Your Land.”

Roots scholar and multi-instrumentalist Michael Eck (host and curator of The Linda's American Roots Series) will play "This Land is Your Land" and other Woody Guthrie favorites, with an emphasis on material from his New York period.

Michael joins us with a preview.

  The 3rd Annual Winter Hoot at The Ashokan Center in Olive Bridge, NY is this weekend!

With music, dancing, food, film, and nature activities for all ages - the Winter Hoot welcomes the community for a spirit-raising good time in these cold and blustery days.

Musicians performing this year include Elizabeth Mitchell and You are My Flower, David Wax Museum, Josh Ritter, Downhill Strugglers with John Cohen, Uncle Rock, Jay Ungar and Molly Mason - and others!

Here to tell us more are folk roots duo - and friends of the show - Mike and Ruthy!

  We are very happy to continue our regular feature – Ideas Matter: Checking in with the Public Humanities. It is our chance to check in with the Humanities Councils throughout our 7-State area to discuss important ideas and why they do indeed matter.

Today we check in with the Pennsylvania Humanities Council and their Commonwealth Speaker series where they present experts from a variety of backgrounds—arts and museum educators, folk artists, dancers, musicians, scholars—who offer presentations on a wide range of popular topics.

Kelly Armor brings 20 years experience as a professional folk musician and storyteller to her Commonwealth Speaker presentation entitled: All Stories Are True and Some Have Actually Happened – an interactive presentation on storytelling and traditional music.

    This Saturday, December 13, renowned singer-songwriter Dar Williams will celebrate the 20th Anniversary of her debut album, The Honesty Room at The Calvin Theatre in Northampton, MA. She will play present-day takes on the 13 singular songs featured on The Honesty Room, performed in its entirety for the first time ever. Jill Sobule will open the show.

Dar joins us to talk about the tour, the songs, and her upcoming "Christians, Pagans & Other Hipsters" holiday concert at The Bell House in Brooklyn on 12/26.

    Arlo Guthrie's customary November tour will bring him to several venues in our region. Alan Chartock welcomes him back to WAMC and they reminisce.

  Located in Saratoga Springs, New York, Caffè Lena is the oldest continually running coffee house in the United States.

Tomorrow my band, The Berkshire Ramblers, will play a Halloween Hootenanny at Caffé Lena with all proceeds donated TO the café. Championing folk songs of the "old style," The Berkshire Ramblers always donate their performances to help causes and places dear to our hearts.

Here to talk a little bit more about tomorrow’s performance and everything else going on at Caffé Lena, we welcome Director of Caffé Lena, Sarah Craig – and Lena board member and Berkshire Rambler multi-instrumentalist, Michael Eck.

One of the defining voices of American popular music was silenced in recent years. Art Garfunkel’s world-famous counter tenor faded, forcing him off the stage and into vocal rehab.

the artist's Facebook page

  Vermont-native Sam Amidon has won critical acclaim and an energetic following in the indie world for his ability to re-invent songs on guitar, banjo, and fiddle.

Sam will perform this Sunday at MASS MoCA’s weekend-long FreshGrass Festival and Lily-O, a new album of re-imagined folk songs will be released on Nonesuch on September 30th.

    

  Sunday marks the UN International Day of Peace and the fifth annual Saratoga Peace Fair will be staged from noon to 4PM Sunday at the Presbyterian - New England Congregational Church in Saratoga.

Part of the activities will be a special event featuring singer Tom Chapin. Chapin will create a video for peace with local vocalists and sing his song, “Sing for Peace.”

More than fifty exhibitors will also be on hand, promoting peace through environmental stewardship, fair trade, civil action and non-violent conflict resolution.

  FreshGrass is a three day festival rich in both traditional and cutting-edge bluegrass, presented in a wide array of venues tucked into MASS MoCA’s 19th-century factory turned 21st-century museum.

More than 40 bands will play on MASS MoCA’s four stages this coming weekend, Friday through Sunday. Elsewhere on campus, instrument-specific workshops and industry seminars will be offered in conjunction with Berklee College of Music and its American Roots Program, often featuring guest musicians from the festival.

Bob Dylan turned 73 this year, and his music has spawned more than a half-century of enjoyment, argument, scholarship, social change and bewilderment. Often, fan interest has crossed the line over to obsession unique to Dylan fans, many of whom think the meaning of life might be buried somewhere on Self Portrait.

  Sarah Lee Guthrie and Johnny Irion have been busy and away from home for most of the last year, touring in support of their album, Wassaic Way - which was produced by Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy and Patrick Sansone. Nearly a decade after the folk-rock duo put out their first album together, the husband-and-wife pair feel like they’ve finally hit their stride.

Sarah Lee and Johnny will play at The Guthrie Center in Great Barrington, MA this Friday night at 8 o’clock.

    Seeger Fest is a one-time festival created by Pete and Toshi Seeger’s grandson, Kitama Cahill-Jackson, as a way for those who knew and admired Pete and Toshi to remember them, and for those who hadn't heard of them, to get inspired by their compassion for the human race.

The fest will take place July 17th through July 21st and will include performances from includes performances by Judy Collins, Peter Yarrow, Amanda Palmer, Tom Chapin, The Chapin Sisters, Steve Earle, Dar Williams, Guy Davis, Kim and Reggie Harris, and many others.

Kitama Cahill-Jackson joins us now to tell us more.

Spero To Play Nyro At Guthrie Center

Jun 13, 2014
Christine Spero

What do all the following songs have in common: "Any When I Die" by Blood, Sweat and Tears, "Eli's Coming" by Three Dog Night, "Stoney's End" by Barbara Streisand and "Stone Soul Picnic" by The Fifth Dimension? They were all hit records and they were all composed by Laura Nyro. The music of Laura Nyro, who died at 49 in 1997, will come alive again this weekend at the Guthrie Center in Great Barrington. The Christine Spero Group will present Spero Plays Nero. Bandleader Christine Spero described what first attracted her to the music of Laura Nyro.

When the Coen Brothers first started working on their latest film, Inside Llewyn Davis, about the folk scene in mid-20th Century Greenwich Village, they started with a singular image: Songwriter Dave Van Ronk being punched out in the street.

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