The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #46624   Message #943530
Posted By: Fortunato
30-Apr-03 - 10:37 AM
Thread Name: Review: PHILLY FOLKSONG SOCIETY Reviews
Subject: Year 2002: Folk CDs by Musicmic
Year 2002: Folk CDs    
    Another year has come and gone. Another number to forget on my deposit slips. Just when I was getting used to the palindromic rarity of 2002, I am forced to deal with a figure the resists mnemonics. It's not as if we got all we could out of good old '02 and we were all panting for a new set of digits to precede the A.D. on ca lenders and almanacs. Lest we forget the old, in our quixotic quest for the new, I, for one, would pay homage to a year that was sadly maligned and avoided by those of us who wanted to get away from the ghosts of 2001 as quickly as we could. Admittedly, '02 was not a banner year for folk music CDs, but it did have its moments.
    It was during the fear laden 2002 that we found the Borealis label from Canada and their impressive stable of performers that includes the astonishing Michael Browne and the fearless Bill Hilly Band. 2002 was, also, when I rediscovered Paddy Keenan, who I knew some thirty years ago in Dublin, long before he developed into a great, great piper. (I eagerly await Timothy Britons' next CD just to compare the two of them). This was the year that unaccompanied harmony found its way back home to folk.
    Bluegrass rediscovered its roots in a movie and Ralph Stanley got some recognition for a lifetime of devotion to his musical heritage. (In a parallel universe, Nickle Creek moved Bluegrass into the area of introspective chamber music.) Nostalgic tours were the order of the day. No concert series was complete without at least one visit from a long forgotten 60's group, gray and paunchy, belting out their anachronisms to an audience who looked just like them. (We knew it was Mary. She was the only one with hair)
    Real traditionalists were as hard to find as PETA members at a rodeo. Joe Stead produced a fine collection of sea chanteys, then went right back to flogging his originals. Bron Yale recorded a stellar group of six traditional English and Welsh tunes but felt the need to dilute her CD with as many of her own. (Perhaps, she only knows six trads or, maybe, she only likes six.) I know I should be grateful for any traditional inclusions but I am unreasonably insatiable.
    Local talent flourished in '02. Steve Schoenwald and his daughter, Jen, released a lovely CD. (Jen is one quarter of the dynamic ensemble, Full Frontal Folk. Their CD was another highlight of the year that was).

Michael Miller for PFS
Reprinted from PFS "Tune Up," by permission