folk music

Roger McGuinn
John Chiasson

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. McGuinn recently turned 74 years old.

  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.

    In a career that spans five decades, some two-dozen albums and several Grammy awards, multi-talented singer/songwriter/guitarist Tom Chapin has covered an incredible amount of creative ground. In addition to his work as a recording artist and concert performer, Chapin has acted on Broadway, as well as working extensively in films, television and radio.

As a music-maker, Chapin has maintained two long and productive parallel careers, both as a highly respected contemporary folk artist and as a pioneer in the field of children's music. He will be performing a family concert at the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall on Sunday, February 9th at 3PM.

  WAMC's Ian Pickus speaks with Ingrid Croce, author of I Got A Name: The Jim Croce Story.

    Blending country, folk and pop styles, Lucy Kaplansky makes every song sound fresh, whether singing her own sweet originals, covering country classics by June Carter Cash and Gram Parsons, or singing pop favorites by Lennon/McCartney and Nick Lowe.

She is performing at Caffé Lena in Saratoga Springs, NY on Saturday, July 20th.

Sam Amidon

Jun 19, 2013

      Sam Amidon will perform this Saturday afternoon in Courtyard C at MASS MoCA in North Adams, MA as part of the Solid Sound Festival.

Enveloped in traditional music while growing up in Vermont, Sam’s most recent album, Bright Sunny South, is a continuation of his particular method of folk music delivery.

At first listen, his music seems to follow the singer-songwriter model. His background is wrapped in the Appalachian folk-music tradition, and his songs feature expressive vocals and fast, finger-plucked melodies. But a singer-songwriter he is not. Sam Amidon composes new tunes for traditional folk ballads and an array of cover songs that he's attentively made his own.

    Peter Seeger will perform with his sister, Peggy, this Sunday afternoon at The 8th Step at Proctors in Schenectady, NY.

Musician Richie Havens died at 72 on Monday. The soft-spoken singer and guitarist stayed on the road for 45 years until ill health finally forced him to give up touring in 2012.

The Music is You: A Tribute to John Denver is a new album, released today by ATO Records, featuring sixteen interpretations of the singer-songwriter and activists' songs.

The artists featured on the record are: My Morning Jacket, Dave Matthews, Kathleen Edwards, J. Mascis and Sharon Van Etten, Train, Old Crow Medicine Show, Lucinda Williams, Amos Lee, Allen Stone, Brett Dennen and Milow, Evan Dando, Emmylou Harris, Brandi Carlile, Blind Pilot, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Josh Ritter, Barnstar!, and Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros.

In this segment - we get the back-story on making the record from Brian L. Schwartz, he works for Red Light Management in Denver, CO and manages John Denver's estate on behalf of Denver's three kids.

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