The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #89989   Message #1721174
Posted By: katlaughing
18-Apr-06 - 11:59 AM
Thread Name: Art Thieme-new CD out on Folk Legacy!!!
Subject: RE: Art Thieme-new CD out on Folk Legacy!!!
LOL, Abby!

Art just sent a link to an article in today's Chicago Tribune. Great review!

Charles M. Madigan
Listening to Art Thieme

Published April 18, 2006

Do you remember the folk music era?

I have musician friends who believe they know roughly when it no longer served as a viable way to line up enough gigs to make enough bucks to make folk music your only thing. It shifted from being about music to being about entertainment and then along came the Beatles, the British invasion, changing tastes, and not many gigs.

Sure, we still have a local gem, Old Town School of Folk Music. You can go up on Lincoln Avenue right now and come out knowing OK guitar and songwriting technique in pretty short order, along with lots of other folk stuff.

But that's genre to me.

I'm talking about a time.

I got in on a little piece of the back end of it.

Where I came from, playing guitar was a hall pass to young man's paradise, even if you were not very lovely. I played some rock and some country, but mostly folk, dark and difficult songs about devils and seducers and lovely young women who made wrong choices, dying coal miners and, of course, train wrecks.

The era spawned an immense number of people who thought they were going to be folk musicians. They let their hair grow. They bought pretty good guitars. They plucked at mountain dulcimers. They invested in cotton shirts and jean jackets and smoked unfiltered cigarettes and tried to make their eyes as squinty and as big-city troubled as Bob Dylan's.

Tortured songs of love and loss were the sine qua non of the late 1960s, early 1970s folk performance.

"That's What You Get for Lovin' Me." Great song. Always wowed them.

Imagine that, we who had, as yet, neither loved nor lost, singing songs of love and loss.

There were some voices that were so honest and authentic that the minute you heard them, you knew they believed it. The Beers Family albums were always like that. The Golden Ring albums, too, were folk treasures.

That's how Art Thieme was.

He was a Chicago voice when folk music was an era.

I came to work one day awhile back and what did I find but an e-mail from Art Thieme, who now lives down in Peru, Ill. He wanted to know who could review a folk album at the Tribune because a collection of his live stuff was being issued by Folk Legacy Inc. and some press would help.

My sad thought is that no one could review a folk album anymore because it's just not the kind of thing big media pay much attention to. There are still lots of great folk musicians all over Chicago, but you have to seek them out. Many people have moved on to other things.

At this point, this must become a sad story with a golden nugget in the center of it.

You will not hear Art Thieme live again. You haven't been able to catch him live for years. He has multiple sclerosis, and even his treasured (unique too) nine-string Martin guitar cannot help him.

But I am looking just now at "Chicago Town & Points West," a collection of his best live stuff from Folk Legacy.

It is a lovingly assembled piece of work, full of singing, storytelling and some delightful banjo riffs on some great old songs, Hoagy Carmichael's "Lazy Bones" (from 1933) being one of them and Bob Wills' "San Antonio Rose" (1944) another.

I am suggesting, of course, that you find some way to get one of these for yourself, because what it represents is the best work of a man whose fate left him with no way to do any more best work.

That is very sad, but there is a legacy in this collection that remains as bright and as lively as those grand nights on stage back when folk music was an era, not a genre, and Art Thieme was one of its strong Chicago voices.

Folk Legacy is at 800-836-0901 (or /default.asp), and they will be happy to hear from you and Art will be happy that you called too.

Copyright © 2006, Chicago Tribune

Congratulations, Artdarlin'...and, thanks.