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The Last Generation?

topical tom 29 Oct 09 - 03:11 PM
Big Mick 29 Oct 09 - 03:15 PM
Amos 29 Oct 09 - 03:30 PM
GUEST,TJ in San Diego 29 Oct 09 - 04:17 PM
dick greenhaus 29 Oct 09 - 04:50 PM
Little Hawk 29 Oct 09 - 04:53 PM
GUEST,The Folk Entertainer 29 Oct 09 - 04:54 PM
Bill D 29 Oct 09 - 07:32 PM
Young Buchan 29 Oct 09 - 07:53 PM
Little Hawk 29 Oct 09 - 08:08 PM
Dan Schatz 29 Oct 09 - 08:13 PM
Uncle_DaveO 30 Oct 09 - 10:27 AM
McGrath of Harlow 30 Oct 09 - 11:02 AM
Mavis Enderby 30 Oct 09 - 02:19 PM
GUEST,The Folk Entertainer 30 Oct 09 - 03:14 PM
GUEST,The Folk Entertainer 30 Oct 09 - 03:31 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 30 Oct 09 - 03:43 PM
GUEST,The Folk E 30 Oct 09 - 04:14 PM
M.Ted 30 Oct 09 - 04:34 PM
GUEST,The Folk E 30 Oct 09 - 04:43 PM
Betsy 30 Oct 09 - 04:51 PM
M.Ted 30 Oct 09 - 04:57 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 30 Oct 09 - 05:02 PM
GUEST,The folk E 30 Oct 09 - 05:50 PM
Waddon Pete 30 Oct 09 - 06:01 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 30 Oct 09 - 06:13 PM
GUEST,The Folk E 31 Oct 09 - 06:16 PM
Stringsinger 31 Oct 09 - 06:17 PM
Little Robyn 31 Oct 09 - 07:25 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 31 Oct 09 - 07:32 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 31 Oct 09 - 07:34 PM
Desert Dancer 31 Oct 09 - 07:40 PM
Art Thieme 31 Oct 09 - 08:48 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 31 Oct 09 - 10:33 PM
Big Mick 31 Oct 09 - 11:57 PM
Art Thieme 31 Oct 09 - 11:59 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 01 Nov 09 - 09:33 AM
Waddon Pete 01 Nov 09 - 10:33 AM
Charley Noble 01 Nov 09 - 10:38 AM
Aeola 01 Nov 09 - 10:50 AM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 01 Nov 09 - 11:11 AM
VirginiaTam 01 Nov 09 - 11:41 AM
GUEST,The Folk E 01 Nov 09 - 11:43 AM
Waddon Pete 01 Nov 09 - 12:00 PM
GUEST,s-j in newcastle 01 Nov 09 - 12:01 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 01 Nov 09 - 12:03 PM
GUEST,The Folk E 01 Nov 09 - 12:34 PM
Mavis Enderby 01 Nov 09 - 12:46 PM
Mavis Enderby 01 Nov 09 - 12:56 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 01 Nov 09 - 01:38 PM
Spleen Cringe 01 Nov 09 - 06:52 PM
Spleen Cringe 01 Nov 09 - 06:54 PM
Dave the Gnome 01 Nov 09 - 07:01 PM
Dave the Gnome 01 Nov 09 - 07:02 PM
Ebbie 01 Nov 09 - 09:54 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 01 Nov 09 - 10:01 PM
topical tom 01 Nov 09 - 10:32 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 01 Nov 09 - 10:46 PM
M.Ted 01 Nov 09 - 11:42 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 01 Nov 09 - 11:59 PM
M.Ted 04 Nov 09 - 11:17 PM
GUEST,a guest 05 Nov 09 - 01:26 AM
Desert Dancer 08 Nov 09 - 06:05 PM
Richard Hardaker 08 Nov 09 - 06:57 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 08 Nov 09 - 07:23 PM
GUEST,Russ 08 Nov 09 - 07:40 PM
Desert Dancer 08 Nov 09 - 07:55 PM
Desert Dancer 08 Nov 09 - 08:03 PM
Charley Noble 08 Nov 09 - 08:59 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 08 Nov 09 - 11:09 PM
matt milton 09 Nov 09 - 06:10 AM
JesseW 09 Nov 09 - 09:10 PM
dick greenhaus 10 Nov 09 - 12:01 PM
M.Ted 10 Nov 09 - 05:08 PM
GUEST,The Folk Entertainer 10 Nov 09 - 05:29 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 10 Nov 09 - 06:05 PM
GUEST,TJ in San Diego 10 Nov 09 - 06:42 PM
M.Ted 11 Nov 09 - 01:07 AM
MGM·Lion 11 Nov 09 - 02:31 AM
JesseW 11 Nov 09 - 02:49 AM
Mavis Enderby 11 Nov 09 - 03:26 AM
theleveller 11 Nov 09 - 03:47 AM
Spleen Cringe 11 Nov 09 - 04:22 AM
GUEST 11 Nov 09 - 05:30 AM
Mavis Enderby 11 Nov 09 - 06:30 AM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 11 Nov 09 - 09:09 AM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 11 Nov 09 - 09:11 AM
jennyr 11 Nov 09 - 09:26 AM
GUEST,jts 11 Nov 09 - 09:31 AM
Waddon Pete 11 Nov 09 - 10:00 AM
Spleen Cringe 12 Nov 09 - 03:04 AM
M.Ted 12 Nov 09 - 07:42 AM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 12 Nov 09 - 07:46 AM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 12 Nov 09 - 11:22 AM
M.Ted 12 Nov 09 - 10:01 PM
JesseW 13 Nov 09 - 01:24 AM
M.Ted 13 Nov 09 - 06:13 AM
GUEST,The Folk Entertainer 13 Nov 09 - 12:07 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 15 Nov 09 - 07:17 PM
matt milton 16 Nov 09 - 08:54 AM
matt milton 16 Nov 09 - 09:07 AM
GUEST,The Fole E 16 Nov 09 - 12:25 PM
Folkiedave 16 Nov 09 - 01:30 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 16 Nov 09 - 01:58 PM
M.Ted 16 Nov 09 - 01:58 PM
GUEST,The Folk Entertainer 16 Nov 09 - 03:05 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 16 Nov 09 - 03:11 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 16 Nov 09 - 03:15 PM
Spleen Cringe 16 Nov 09 - 03:40 PM
GUEST,The Folk E 16 Nov 09 - 03:50 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 16 Nov 09 - 03:59 PM
Mavis Enderby 16 Nov 09 - 04:27 PM
Stringsinger 16 Nov 09 - 04:31 PM
GUEST,The Folk E 16 Nov 09 - 04:35 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 16 Nov 09 - 04:49 PM
Spleen Cringe 16 Nov 09 - 04:49 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 16 Nov 09 - 04:54 PM
M.Ted 16 Nov 09 - 05:58 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 16 Nov 09 - 06:13 PM
Folkiedave 16 Nov 09 - 07:11 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 16 Nov 09 - 07:19 PM
M.Ted 16 Nov 09 - 10:58 PM
topical tom 18 Nov 09 - 06:39 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 18 Nov 09 - 07:04 PM
Folkiedave 18 Nov 09 - 07:31 PM
Don Firth 18 Nov 09 - 08:17 PM
Cuilionn 18 Nov 09 - 09:49 PM
Don Firth 19 Nov 09 - 12:41 AM
GUEST,Bo in OH 03 Jul 10 - 01:14 AM
Mavis Enderby 03 Jul 10 - 03:38 AM
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Subject: The Last Generation?
From: topical tom
Date: 29 Oct 09 - 03:11 PM

There is something that has been nagging at me now for some time.As a lover of folk, bluegrass and blues music, I try to attend as many concerts as I can.More and more I am coming to realize that even established folk legends, i.e. Tom Paxton and Arlo Guthrie to name a couple, are drawing far less than full houses. We attended those concerts in Montreal and the venues were a half to two-thirds full. The weather on those dates was good and no other factors should have kept people away.Is this the same scenario in other places around the world? If so, then I venture to say that this is the last generation of folk fans.


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: Big Mick
Date: 29 Oct 09 - 03:15 PM

I understand your feeling, Tom, but remember that this happens every so often. There were times when folks like Pete Seeger could barely pay bills. Folk, in all of its various forms, ebbs and flows. I hear many decry the singer-songwriter that calls him/herself a "folk" singer. The first time I heard this was in the early 60's. But what that interest in acoustic music spawned was a great interest in learning more and lead many of those decrying it today to folk music in the first place. I think what we are seeing is simply the folk process. It is pretty hard to kill something that has been around for so long.

All the best,

Mick


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: Amos
Date: 29 Oct 09 - 03:30 PM

In the Occasional Musical News thread I recently posted a link to survey of the next generation of folkie stars. It is an encouraging article. The article is here.


A


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: GUEST,TJ in San Diego
Date: 29 Oct 09 - 04:17 PM

From fields and back streets, to radio, back to obscurity, then to the 1950's coffee house, to the stage and television, then back to obscurity and into a new generation of coffee houses, eventually reaching a new audience. It won't end; it will be different, but it will go on.


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 29 Oct 09 - 04:50 PM

Folk music--or something vaguely resembling it--was a mass entertainment phenomenon for some twenty years. Not as lasting as R&R--or even jazz.

So what? It's alive and kicking in homes, pubs, bars, campsites and wherever folks get together and sing and play music.


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 29 Oct 09 - 04:53 PM

No, it isn't the Last Generation. There are plenty of fine young performers coming along. The scene and the audience will keep changing along with the changing times. Didn't Bob Dylan say somethign about that once? ;-)


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: GUEST,The Folk Entertainer
Date: 29 Oct 09 - 04:54 PM

I believe that it is dying. I recently attended a Folk Alliance weekend and there was only one person in their 20s. The rest were aging, and rapidly.

At a folk jam I regularly attend, a wave of publicity led to a big showing of younger people attending for one evening only. None of them new any of the standards and none of them new how to interact musically with other musicians, so they did not come back next time, leaving just the old regulars. We tried with them, but they did not........get it.

I'm sorry, but folk music has lost it's way and even worse, it's spirit. Singer/songwriters are perhaps in the folk tradition, but they are not folksingers. There are very few around any more who can be called folksingers.

Things do end, I am sad to say. The world has changed. sorry to be a downer, but I do believe this.


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: Bill D
Date: 29 Oct 09 - 07:32 PM

It can never be what it was when it WAS 'folk'...before recordings and radio/TV. But because many people DID record versions similar to what used to be heard in living rooms, and because collections like Child were done, much of the basics is available and will always be known....and I know several younger 'folk' who do the older stuff even as they write and add contemporary stuff also.


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: Young Buchan
Date: 29 Oct 09 - 07:53 PM

The Scottish poet Hugh McDiarmid wrote a poem called Island Funeral. In it he recalls attending the funeral on a Scottish island of an old crofter and realising that she was one of the last, and that soon her way of life, craftsmanship, music etc will die out. He then takes the view that because these things are worthwhile, and founded deep in reality and humanity, they will come back. Though there will be periods when they are absent, and these periods may be long, in the long term they are essentially immortal.
"The sound of the Gaelic cornet
Will sound through these islands for all eternity.
I have heard it.
And am content forever."


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 29 Oct 09 - 08:08 PM

If you insist on calling it "folk music" and you expect it to continue to have the same repertoire and general approach that you favoured when you were young, then, yes....it's dying out.

If you don't insist on having it exactly meet those expectations, on the other hand, it's thriving. As for the trad stuff from the last few hundred years of folk music, I predict that it will have a resurgence at various times in the future when least expected. Meanwhile, there will be a lot of other interesting and unique music being done by young up and coming musicians who do not go the common commercial route, but find their own true expression.

I also predict that the mainstream media will ignore most of them, but I don't particulary give a damn about that.


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: Dan Schatz
Date: 29 Oct 09 - 08:13 PM

I don't know. Tomorrow night we're doing a tribute to Utah Phillips concert. Yes, there are some veteran performer (fantastic ones). But there are also folks in their 20s, like Elizabeth LaPrelle and Brendan Phillips, and folks in their 30s like - well, me. It's a nice mix.

The legacy remains with us, even as the cast of characters begin to change.

Dan


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 30 Oct 09 - 10:27 AM

If you insist on measuring an "entertainment" audience by the volume of paid admissions, you need to adjust for the current economic times. Folk types, like most of the rest of the population, are often pulling their heads back into their shells, hunkering down, avoiding the stormy economic winds.

It probably doesn't explain the whole phenomenon, but it's certainly part of what you're seeing.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 30 Oct 09 - 11:02 AM

Folk types, like most of the rest of the population, are often pulling their heads back into their shells, hunkering down, avoiding the stormy economic winds.

And back in the Thirties when that happened it produced come pretty good music.


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: Mavis Enderby
Date: 30 Oct 09 - 02:19 PM

Spot on Little Hawk. I think it's thriving too, but changing. Isn't this how it's supposed to be?

I'd just add to The Folk Entertainer's comments that being expected to know the "standards" is VERY intimidating to someone new to folk. Did any of the old regulars learn anything from the young musicians?

Pete.


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: GUEST,The Folk Entertainer
Date: 30 Oct 09 - 03:14 PM

"I'd just add to The Folk Entertainer's comments that being expected to know the "standards" is VERY intimidating to someone new to folk. Did any of the old regulars learn anything from the young musicians?"

Yes, we all learned that most of their singer/songwriter stuff was very self-centered, was all about trying to change the world, showed that they had no respect for what came before them, showed that they could not interact well musically with other musicians, and saddened most of the old timers, that things were not changing for the better.

Other than that, no we did not learn anything except that folk music as we knew it was a dying thing. Pretty sad, huh?


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: GUEST,The Folk Entertainer
Date: 30 Oct 09 - 03:31 PM

One more thing. True, the economy would have something to do with some not coming to a folk concert, but one as the originator of this thread mentioned for the likes of a Tom Paxton is especially telling. Yes, he is old school, but many of his songs did become folk music standards, known by even the most casual of fans. That phenomenon by the likes of him and a Gordon Lightfoot and a few others will probably never be replicated on anything even remotely similar to a mass scale as their kind did.

Which is why folk Style music today and where it is headed will exist with many songs that will be known by very, very few outside of a very small circle.


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 30 Oct 09 - 03:43 PM

"I recently attended a Folk Alliance weekend and there was only one person in their 20s. The rest were aging, and rapidly."

I'm not sure what Folk Alliance event you attended, but I attend NERFA every year and I've been to the international conference a few times - I can safely say that the "20-something" generation is very well represented. Many of them are also doing traditional music as well as the singer-songwriter contingent. Watching the Blue Moose and the Unbuttoned Zippers was a perfect example. All in the early 20's, the group includes Bronwyn Byrd who built her own nyckelharpa.

In addition to some of the names already mentioned, songwriters like Anthony DaCosta, Zachary Stevenson, Emily Elbert and so many others and so many others are carrying on various traditions - songwriting and traditional.

I think Dick has it right. We might not be matching the numbers of the commercial days, but folk music is alive and well and being passed on to new generations who will add their own imprint.


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: GUEST,The Folk E
Date: 30 Oct 09 - 04:14 PM

The trouble is no one knows the songs of these singer/songwriters you mention, Ron exzcept for a very limited few and their songs stand a very small chance if any chance of being passed down or even learned by others.

I don't believe either that it will ever die completely, but the "commercial" days produced songs for the masses and it was not so much "me" centered as what is passing for folk music today is.

Today's folk music is a mere shadow of what folk music was to the every day person and the mere fact that the rise of house concerts as it's leading venue speaks volumes of how the general public has cast it aside. The bulk of it's audience relies on other like minded musicians, not even many non-musicians make up the ratio of it's audience I believe. The days of "commercial" folk music as you like to call it influenced many. I only see what is called folk music today influencing a very small number.


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: M.Ted
Date: 30 Oct 09 - 04:34 PM

The truth is that only some of the songs played when "Folk" music was popular were really "traditional" songs, and very little of either the singing or the instrumental music had much to do with "traditional" styles.

The revival of traditional singing and instrumental styles, and repertoire really developed after that, not because it was popular or marketable, but because people cared about it and were interested in it for it's own sake--there are way more people who have studied, can play, and teach traditional styles and repertoire than there were back then, and the level of skills among revivalists are much closer to the those of the source performers than ever--so it's not disappearing at all-quite the contrary--


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: GUEST,The Folk E
Date: 30 Oct 09 - 04:43 PM

Study, play, and teach.

What about just pure listeners and ones who just enjoy? Where is that audience?? In a small living room is about it.


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: Betsy
Date: 30 Oct 09 - 04:51 PM

The last (and the lost) generation began when a stream of young talent ( here in the UK ) promoted to the concert scenario without barely touching the folk clubs - therefore young people never attended 'cos they had no one to identify with as the clubs were full of older people.
We seem to be getting like an old band of soldiers who are getting older and older...........you could be right Tom.


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: M.Ted
Date: 30 Oct 09 - 04:57 PM

And, sorry to say this, TFS, but you are a couple generations removed from the young people of today, and you're sounding a lot like those folks who used to say, "Bob Dylan can't sing. Al Jolson, now there was a singer."


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 30 Oct 09 - 05:02 PM

"The trouble is no one knows the songs of these singer/songwriters you mention, Ron exzcept for a very limited few and their songs stand a very small chance if any chance of being passed down or even learned by others"

The songs that we consider "folk" were not popular songs - they were found by collectors, published in books or later performed on recordings and became popular songs.   Most of those songs stood very little chance of being passed down or learned by others as the years passed.

Folk music is not about commercial airplay or audiences. It is about making music and the role the music fills in a community.

"Today's folk music is a mere shadow of what folk music was to the every day person "
Sorry, but that is nonsense. You are confusing commercial music with folk music.

"the mere fact that the rise of house concerts as it's leading venue speaks volumes of how the general public has cast it aside."
The fact is, the music is returning to the very venues were it was first performed - and the complications of audiences are not part of the factor.


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: GUEST,The folk E
Date: 30 Oct 09 - 05:50 PM

"The songs that we consider "folk" were not popular songs - they were found by collectors, published in books or later performed on recordings and became popular songs."

Early Morning Rain
My Ramblin' boy
Last thing On My Mind
Blowin' in the Wind
Where Have all The Flowers Gone
Puff The Magic Dragon

Written as commercial music or became folk music known by many because it could be related to by many?


"Folk music is not about commercial airplay or audiences. It is about making music and the role the music fills in a community."

So it has nothing at all to do with an audience or having any entertainment value? Perhaps that is why it is no longer popular.



"The fact is, the music is returning to the very venues were it was first performed - and the complications of audiences are not part of the factor."

A cop out because it is no longer viable to a general audience in standard venues as clubs, concert halls, etc. The house concerts are run because there is not much else except the private sector who has to move their furniture around to put on a show.


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: Waddon Pete
Date: 30 Oct 09 - 06:01 PM

Just a thought....I heard this quote that I thought was quite appropriate for this thread:

"Antiques are things one generation buys, the next generation gets rid of, and the following generation buys again!"

For antiques substitute folk songs!

Best wishes,

Peter


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 30 Oct 09 - 06:13 PM

"Early Morning Rain
My Ramblin' boy
Last thing On My Mind
Blowin' in the Wind
Where Have all The Flowers Gone
Puff The Magic Dragon

Written as commercial music or became folk music known by many because it could be related to by many? "

Technically, they are NOT folk songs - but I do happen to agree with you that "folk" is a term that has morphed with the times.

There are plenty of songs of that caliber being written today.   I am 52, but I happen to think some of the finest "folk" songs are being written today. Are they as POPULAR as they once were? No, but that has NOTHING to do with the music. Blame it on Clear Channel and the commercial entities that have sunk their claws into the "business".

"A cop out because it is no longer viable to a general audience in standard venues as clubs, concert halls, etc."
Not a cop out at all. It is a reality and it keeps the music viable, but not commercial.

There is a line drawn in the sand between traditional and contemporary, and if you throw in commercial, you have a weird triangle with everyone stareing at each other.

The fact remains, FOLK music - both traditional and contemporary singer-songwriter variety, are alive and well and perhaps stronger than ever. The music does not need to rely on a cash cow or filling arenas to survive - quite the opposite.   The folk revival nearly killed the beauty of the music and came close to reducing us to drippy songs that tried to emulate something that never was.

Don't write the obit for folk music, as Woody Guthrie said - there will always be folk music because theres lots of folk.


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: GUEST,The Folk E
Date: 31 Oct 09 - 06:16 PM

"Technically, they are NOT folk songs - but I do happen to agree with you that "folk" is a term that has morphed with the times."

They are folk songs, Ron. People know them as folk music and they are being handed down and sung for decades at this point. In fact, they are much more folk music than much of the self-centered drivel that is performed and passed off as folk music today.   

You have a right to say what you think is a folk song, but not the exclusive right. Simply saying the times have morphed is again, I find a bit of a cop out.


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: Stringsinger
Date: 31 Oct 09 - 06:17 PM

The economy is making it more difficult for musicians to find work. Money is not available to promote good music that much. Tours are being cancelled, the recording industry is on the skids, T.V. is about American Idol, restaurants and bars can't afford live music that much. It's not a generational thing. Money isn't there.


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: Little Robyn
Date: 31 Oct 09 - 07:25 PM

What country are you talking about?
Down here in little old New Zealand we have just attended the Wellington Folk Festival (we've missed 2 in 45 years, both times when we were in the UK), and the place was full of younger people.
There are pictures here
OK, there was a large number of us grey-haired wrinklies but there was some terrific music coming from kids in their teens and early twenties. Mostly it was trad with kids playing fiddles, flutes, squeeze boxes and a brilliant banjo picker known as BB. As well as sticking to known tunes, they're also experimenting, so the bluegrass girl was trying out the celtic stuff and various combinations were backing different traditions.
The oldies who are still doing the songs they sang 30, 40 years ago haven't progressed much and are there, but we've heard all that before. I looked in on one of their concerts but decided I had better things to do......
And there are still singer/songwriters around but they're more likely to be sitting in their tents singing to themselves. Sometimes they appear on the blackboard concerts and sometimes they're not too bad but usually it's not my cup of tea.
However, if Paxton or Lightfoot were to come down under, I'm sure we could get bigger audiences than just house concerts. There was standing room only when Waterson Carthy came through a few years back.   
I agree with M.Ted that "the level of skills among revivalists are much closer to those of the source performers than ever--so it's not disappearing at all-quite the contrary--"
Robyn


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 31 Oct 09 - 07:32 PM

"They are folk songs, Ron. People know them as folk music and they are being handed down and sung for decades at this point. "

I'm not disagreeing with you! You are graping what I am trying to say.

I too believe they are folk songs, but TECHNICLY, they are not. If you go by the definition that has been accepted by academia, they do not fit the description. Folk songs are passed on in an oral tradition and the lyrics evolve.

Again, I am on your side with this. I think the definition of "folk music" has morphed over the years - and I'm not complaining! Those songs are part of a community that has kept them alive and used them in the same fashion that our traditional music had been utilized in their original communities. Folk music is not a museum piece, they are songs that serve a purpose - and you eloquently said - they are being handed down and sung for decades at this point.

As you also said, you certainly have a right to say what is a folk song, but not the exclusive right.   Because you have stereotyped contemporary songwriters by saying "much of the self-centered drivel", you are failing to recognize the songs that are of the same caliber of those you originally mentioned.   

There are some powerful songwriters in our midsts whose songs are self-centered testimonials to the fact that they did not get laid last night that are righting important songs that serve a vibrant community.   Check out Falcon Ridge, Kerrville, or the hundreds of festivals around the country. It might not be your grandparents view of folk music, but it is meeting the same criteria.


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 31 Oct 09 - 07:34 PM

'You are graping what I am trying to say."

Damn keyboard - that was supposed to say "You aren't grasping what I am trying to say."


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 31 Oct 09 - 07:40 PM

The Northwest Folklife Festival in Seattle last Memorial Day was crawling with young people, playing, singing, dancing...

I'm not worried that they're not necessarily fans of the same people that people were fans of 30-40 years ago (who are now 30-40 years older than when they were "popular", meaning 30-40, even 50, years older than these young people).

~ Becky in Tucson


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: Art Thieme
Date: 31 Oct 09 - 08:48 PM

Nobody has offered me a gig in about 12 years. ;-)

Folks, I can read the handwriting on the wall --- and I know how to take a hint!

Yeah, I agree.

It's over.

(Ron is wrong.)

Art


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 31 Oct 09 - 10:33 PM

You folks need to get out more.

The folk revival may be long gone, but folk music is not finished by a long shot.

You can't cling to the same names and worry because Tom Paxton and Arlo Guthrie aren't drawing full houses anymore. Just because some names age or pass on, that does not mean it is over. The music is safe and sound and in good hands of a younger generation who are doing things THEIR way - exactly the same attitude you all had when you were young.


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: Big Mick
Date: 31 Oct 09 - 11:57 PM

You right on, Ron. This time is similar to other times in history when technology caused the music and the industry to morph. I can tellyoubthat on the Irish folk music scene the new performers are exciting and plentiful. The economic and distribution models are changing and one cannot help but wonder where that settles, but the music is safe and will not only survive but will continue on it's merry way ..... IMO.

All the best,

Mick


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: Art Thieme
Date: 31 Oct 09 - 11:59 PM

Ron,

I'm kidding!! It was a joke---and nothing more. There was a smiley face there for all to see.

The punchline is the fact that I haven't been called for a gig for twelve years 'cause of health issues. These days that's ironic and very funny. For me, it's over--except for posting jokes & shit here at the Cat.

I'm agreeing with you. Damn.

Art


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 01 Nov 09 - 09:33 AM

Hi Art, it wasn't just YOUR post that I was taking exception to - it is the tone of several of the posts that has me shaking my head. I have to admit, I did take you seriously - I think if you placed the smiley face at the end of the post it would have changed the tone!   Still, if your health issues did not sideline you, I would book you in an instant! There is still an appreciative audience for folk music in all the various shades.

I was watching the Monty Python documentary last week and one of them mentioned something that George Harrison said. Harrison was saying that they were always being approached to reunite the Beatles and he felt it wasn't that people wanted to see the Fab 4 again, they wanted to be young again.

I think it happens with most artists - audiences want them to freeze in time and continue to deliver the same awe inspiring moments that they remember. Some artists turn themselves into nostalgia shows, doing the same performance for the remainder of their lives. Others try to find their muse and offer new material, which does not have the same impact.

With "folk" music, the same thing happens. We all want to sit in a coffeehouse that is packed full of appreciative audiences and hear someone sing "Blowin' In the Wind" for the first time. Often, our memories are far greater than the original moment and we will never be pleased.

Folk music is alive and well. Traditional music is being kept alive, thanks to the hard work of previous generations. The music HAS been passed on. At the same time, the "commercial" folk revival has matured into a singer-songwriter scene that has an appreciable audience. It may not be your cup of tea, but it reaches the heart and soul of an audience that is looking for the same things that we once were.


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: Waddon Pete
Date: 01 Nov 09 - 10:33 AM

I think you've hit the nail on the head there, Ron!

Best wishes,

Peter


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: Charley Noble
Date: 01 Nov 09 - 10:38 AM

There are no sure things in promoting a folk music concert these days. I would agree with that, having attending several recently which featured competent folk artists and were not at all well-attended. And I think it's more than "lack of publicity" although a good picture printed in the local papers can boost attendance and "no publicity" is a self-fulfilling prophecy.

If you care about this music, do make an extra effort to attend the concerts, the festivals, and house concerts in your area, and invite friends to do the same. Maybe it's the economy but I think that's only one factor.

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: Aeola
Date: 01 Nov 09 - 10:50 AM

I'm fed up of hearing that ther are no young people attending folk meetings/gatherings and that the age of those who do attend is 40/50 upwards. Let's just say that when some of the young people become 40/50 they discover Folk. It will live forever in one form or another!!


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 01 Nov 09 - 11:11 AM

"I'm fed up of hearing that ther are no young people attending folk meetings/gatherings and that the age of those who do attend is 40/50 upwards."

"There are no sure things in promoting a folk music concert these days. I would agree with that, having attending several recently which featured competent folk artists and were not at all well-attended. And I think it's more than "lack of publicity" although a good picture printed in the local papers can boost attendance and "no publicity" is a self-fulfilling prophecy."

I think there is a connection between Charley and Aeloa's statments. Think back to when you were 20 - would you seek out events where the average age was 50+ or would you prefer to be among your peers? If you go to see Bruce Springsteen or a Rolling Stones concert (whenever the meds kick in to allow them to tour), the majority of the audience will not be made up of young people either.

You can publicize all you wish, but if your performer is geared to an older audience, you will draw an older audience - and that audience pool is thinning out due to mortality, economy and lifestyle changes.


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 01 Nov 09 - 11:41 AM

Last spring I was in a sing around session in Kent UK, where a very young man (early 20's at most) was extremely excited about the American folk songs in my little binder of words.

He saw Erie Canal and said Bruce Springsteen does that one. Asked me if the John Henry in my book was the same as the Bob Dylan version. Bless.. I told him it was more like the Odetta version. He knew who Odetta too.

If you search song titles on you tube, even quite rare trad songs you can sometimes find young and youngish people performing them.

I am encouraged by this.


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: GUEST,The Folk E
Date: 01 Nov 09 - 11:43 AM

Coffee houses are one thing, Ron but what about concert halls? Who today can fill a concert hall like a Peter, Paul, and Mary, Kingston Trio, Chad Mitchell Trio, Brothers Four, Paxton and Lightfoot in their prime, Baez, Dylan, Collins, Odette, Theodore Bikel, and Pete Seeger did and in some cases still do? These are all people who are identified with folk music. For a particular generation, they were folk music.

Who today can get people to sing along with a song they might know? Who today has come up with a song that stays in the collective consciousness of today's generation and will be sung and remembered by that generation 40 years from now?

OK, the point has been made that there are young people today who can perform and play folk music. The name of this thread is "The Last Generation." I think the point is that the baby boomers are the last generation who as a generation, embraced folk music.

It's not saying that a future generation can't or won't. But the world is such a different place now.


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: Waddon Pete
Date: 01 Nov 09 - 12:00 PM

Who can get people to sing along with a song they might know? Where do we start?

Yes, the majority of songs written will fall by the wayside and be forgotten....t'was ever thus. Have a look at some of the child ballads and the broadside collections and you'll see many completely forgotten works...

However, in every year there are songs that appeal to a wide range of audience and they enter that world where they are easily identifiable whenever they are played, whether on your ipod or by the local band. Some of these will become the folk repertoire of the future! (It's alright, it won't necessarily be in our lifetime!)

Every so often a new music fad comes along and people embrace it. Savoy operas, traditional jazz, modern jazz, skiffle, folk, rap.... just because we've had our time in the sun doesn't mean its now all washed up because other people have latched onto the latest fad. As Ron says, there are some great singers, writers and musicians out there of all ages. They can be found, but don't look for them in a concert hall or stadium!

Best wishes,

Peter


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: GUEST,s-j in newcastle
Date: 01 Nov 09 - 12:01 PM

I think it's thriving and growing, evolving and changing...It seems that it always has...in varying forms.
I know alot of younger well 18 - 65 year old folkies, and if anything its stronger than I have known it, Im 33 (sometimes feel old sometimes not!)
Im always meeting newcomers to the scene all the time too...:)


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 01 Nov 09 - 12:03 PM

Folk E - you are dead right about your last sentence - the world is a different place now. You are focusing on "folk" as a genre, but the same can be said about other styles of music. Where are the young jazz singers, blues singers, even rock artists coming from? They aren't filling Carnegie Hall like generations previous.

You can also say, where were the folk singers BEFORE the artists you recognized? Until the Weavers came along, "folk" was not a big venue item. Aside from a handful of "events" and "recitals" from someone of the Paul Robeson caliber, folk music was relegated to Union Halls, nightclubs, and kitchens and porches. Same as it is today.

The folk revival was a certain era, and you cannot draw a conclusion that because we aren't filling Carnegie Hall that the music is dieing. The folk revival was an abnormal "blip" that gave increased attention to the artists you mentioned - they are just as good as the artists of todays generations, but the world is a different place.

What you appear to be saying is that baby boomers are the last generation to embrace what YOU consider FOLK MUSIC.   Folk music, even in the traditional form, was about capturing a moment in time and the culture of a people. The folk revival artists you mentioned were singer-songwriters who did the same thing for their generation. When I interviewed Eric Andersen, he told me that people like him started writing "folk" songs because the traditional music was no longer speaking to his generation.   You previously mentioned "Leaving on A Jet Plane" - that certainly was not a sea chantey, cowboy ballad, or any song that a previous generation would have considered "folk music". "Puff the Magic Dragon" was not a Child Ballad.

The point is, the songs you mentioned are indeed considered FOLK MUSIC by your (and perhaps my) generation - and I say rightfully so. Those songs were what we sang to face the day-to-day, the same way as a cowboy on trail ride 100 years ago might have sung "Get a Long Little Doggie". In the same fashion, there are songwriters of a young generation who are creating the same kinds of songs for their generation - and, they are once again finding the joys in TRADITIONAL music that we did - only they are being realistic and making music in their own style.   Folk music is not a museum piece, it is a living artform that needs to be manipulated to fit the singer and circumstance.


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: GUEST,The Folk E
Date: 01 Nov 09 - 12:34 PM

Ron, all good points but folk is a genre of music. But you still did not answermy question. Or as the old George Jones song asked, "Who's gonna fill their shoes?"

Again, as a generation, who out there in folk music is recognized as one who is making today's generation as a whole embrace folk music?   Who in today's generation    Is influencing a whole generation like any of the older artists I mentioned?


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: Mavis Enderby
Date: 01 Nov 09 - 12:46 PM

Before my time, but did they really influence a whole generation?


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: Mavis Enderby
Date: 01 Nov 09 - 12:56 PM

...sorry - I should elaborate more on that - did they really influence a whole generation any more than artists who have come after them?


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 01 Nov 09 - 01:38 PM

"ut folk is a genre of music. But you still did not answermy question."

Folk music is actually GENRES of music. Blues is a type of folksong. Sea chanteys are a style of folksong. Southern mountain ballads are a type of folk song. Labor songs are a type of folksong. From your previous posts, you have identified U.S. folk revival as a type of folk song.

I DID answer your question - there are many young artists who will fill their shoes. To repeat - Anthony DaCosta, Emily Elbert,Zachary Stevenson - plus Phil Minisale, Chuck Costa, Elizabeth LaPrelle, Bronwyn Bird, and so many others.

Actually, they aren't filling anyones shoes but their own - this isn't a hand-me-down. Bob Dylan did not "fill" Woody Guthrie's shoes and Peter, Paul & Mary did not fill the Weavers. They wore their own.

Would Bob Dylan be as big if he were just starting out today? In commercial terms, it is extremely doubtful.   Peter, Paul & Mary would be doing house concerts and Tom Paxton would fill in dates with school assembly programs. That does not diminish their talent one bit - it just means that the commercial demons that nearly ruined the music in the 1960's would keep them out of the mainstream, but the quality of music would not suffer - and their audience would continue to find them.   It isn't about numbers, it is about quality and community.


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 01 Nov 09 - 06:52 PM

Hmmm... taking a broad brush approach, there really isn't a problem. I go to see plenty of gigs by young people with no formal connection to any kind of folk scene who are doing excellent acoustic (or in some cases electric) music with at least one foot firmly planted in folk roots of one sort or another. It's just that they aren't playing at folk clubs, their audiences aren't attending folk clubs and the "scene" as many here understand it is irrelevant to them - and why not? Their own scene is thriving. Tonight I went to a small but packed venue to see American trio, Bowerbirds (country folk influenced); a couple of weeks ago I saw the excellent Starless and Bible Black (Pentangle influenced folkish-rock) supported by Erland and The Carnival (strangely psych-punk-folk hybrid who did a fantastic "Derby Ram"). Other recent gigs have included Nancy Elizabeth (introspective yet powerful singer-songwriting), Pamela Wyn Shannon (great folky songwriter influenced by the first wave of psychedelic folksters)... I could go on. Great records purchased by amongst others, Trembling Bells, Nancy Wallace, Ellen Mary McGee, Cate Le Bon, Stephanie Hladowski, Arborea, Silver Summit, Baird Sisters... I could go on. Some, if not all, will cause alarm to those who worry what the pups are playing at when the use the word "folk", but as far as I can see it's all evidence of a multiplicity of healthy, vibrant "folk" scenes, where people are just getting on with it rather than worrying about whether their grandpa's favourite acts are filling venues...

All the names cited are there to listen to on Myspace, and they really are the tip of a huge iceberg. So, the message to you is: don't fret... safe hands are everywhere.


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 01 Nov 09 - 06:54 PM

Could I just apologise for the overuse of the phrase "I could go on" in my last post? I could, though...


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 01 Nov 09 - 07:01 PM

I have just been watching some old 'Doctor Who' episodes on BBC iPlayer and, like the fantasy/sci fi/comic book nerd I am, I cannot help but see a similie. Folk music (whatever it is!) does not die - It regenerates! Hopefully it will not be limited to a certain number of incarnations like the doctor but it has even more companions:-) There you go, nerdy philosophy over.

DeG


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 01 Nov 09 - 07:02 PM

Oh - and I thought the thread title may have been the final Star Trek series... :-P


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: Ebbie
Date: 01 Nov 09 - 09:54 PM

"Get a Long Little Doggie". Ron Olesko

A quick aside here - that phrase, as opposed to 'Get Along, Little Dogie', Ron, is mind boggling.

(Incidentally, I agree that the youngsters are out there in the wings. In some cases, they can hardly wait until it is their turn. :)

Folk music will never die- there will be newer versions, endlessly, but the old songs will still be there. Looking at it that way makes me recognize that the whole genre will only get richer in its variety and scope.


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 01 Nov 09 - 10:01 PM

Good catch Ebbie!! :)


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: topical tom
Date: 01 Nov 09 - 10:32 PM

In my thread message I neglected to mention that the vast majority of the audiences were aged 50+.I believe that there are youthful followers of bluegrass and country, but as for folk and blues, the fans appear to be disappearing with the passing of the older generation.


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 01 Nov 09 - 10:46 PM

I still disagree with you Topical Tom


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: M.Ted
Date: 01 Nov 09 - 11:42 PM

I was going to make a joke after the song list got posted, to the effect of, "Where did you get one of my old set lists?"--but the point is that this is not only about performers, but about the songs that collective canon of songs that we all learned from them.

Say what you want about promising young performers, bottom line is, back then, there was a list of songs that we all knew, could play and could sing, and there is nothing like that now.


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 01 Nov 09 - 11:59 PM

" bottom line is, back then, there was a list of songs that we all knew, could play and could sing, and there is nothing like that now."

Sorry, but I have to disagree with that too. Those songs still exist and they are being still sung, and new ones are being added to the canon. Check out Falcon Ridge or Kerrville, it's not just about solitary songwriters performing their own songs


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: M.Ted
Date: 04 Nov 09 - 11:17 PM

Sorry I missed your response, Ron, but I am going to disagree with you, to a degree, anyway.
All that stuff is around, in some form, with some people, but there is no overarching canon anymore. The folk world has become diversified and specialized. The people who are around and know that stuff have moved on to other things, and the younger people move right into the other things.   There are a lot of people out there who play, but the common repertoire is long, long, gone--


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: GUEST,a guest
Date: 05 Nov 09 - 01:26 AM

As a folk musician in my 20s, I don't find either of those musicians appealing. The songs I've heard from them sound more like pop than folk. I only play traditional, but traditional music will always be appealling to certain people. It is my belief that more pop oriented music easily becomes outdated and dies out. People will still be singing Child ballads in 100 years but probably not either of the musicians mentioned. I liken it to architecture, if you see a thatched-roofed cottage or log cabin built a few hundred years ago, then look at a suburban style housing development from the 70s, modern commercialism can not compete with a traditional artform.


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 08 Nov 09 - 06:05 PM

As evidenced by "a guest", posting up above, it seems that since the songwriting-with-acoustic-guitar revolution of the 60s and 70s, the scene grew so much as to become fragmented -- so we don't have a few key players that might be named by all. And, an interesting development is that an increasing number of younger folks are rediscovering traditional music.

I came back to this thread because in watching a PBS show I'd recorded, and in the interval after the show was a short video about a duo calling themselves "Among the Oak and Ash" who have recorded an album mostly of traditional Appalachian songs, which they self-consciously don't perform in a traditional way. They're quite proud of not being "academic" about their approach or treating the songs as "museum pieces". -- I put those terms in quotes because I find a little in their tone that disparages those who might come at the songs a different way...

But, I guess young folks always have to feel they've thought of something new, even if it is a rediscovery,and have to differentiate themselves from previous generations. ...and the original poster seems to be an older generation longing for the past without much awareness of what might be an equivalent phenomenon or a new approach for a different generation.

As always, individual mileage varies...

~ Becky in Tucson


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: Richard Hardaker
Date: 08 Nov 09 - 06:57 PM

I see that most of the postings on this thread concern the decline (or otherwise) of the U.S. folk scene; regarding the informal folk scene on this side of the pond, I can at least report the following.
Our monthly session in Penrith, mostly inhabited by relics from the 1960's like myself has been "discovered" by students from the local college, and the average age of those attending has fallen, and we have another unaccompanied singer to join us.

I have long thought that it has been our duty as carriers of the tradition to hang on and keep the music going to pass on to those discerning members next generation who will appreciate what we have enjoyed this past 40 years or more.

It struck me that the pleasure and encouragement I've had from realising that we are not the "last generation" of traditional musicians is not dissimilar to how I felt when I heard I was become a grandparent next year. And I will be singing to my grandchild!


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 08 Nov 09 - 07:23 PM

"there is no overarching canon anymore. The folk world has become diversified and specialized"
"it seems that since the songwriting-with-acoustic-guitar revolution of the 60s and 70s, the scene grew so much as to become fragmented -- so we don't have a few key players that might be named by all."

Perhaps I am just too much of an optimist, seeing the glass as half full and the water very tasty, but I think the fact that it is diversified and there are no longer a handful of recognizable names IS the reason why the genre is still going strong.

I don't think you cand find an "overarching canon" in any contemporary genre of music these days. Instead of relying on a handful of songs that radio played constantly, we have a diverse bunch that are writing some of the most powerful songs I've ever heard.   While everyone glorifies the 60's and the folk revival, it always seems to come down the same handful of names and the songs that we've heard constantly for the past 40 years.

I have to disagree with you all - you are confusing quality with commercial success. More people are MAKING music than ever before, which to my eyes has always been at the core of what folk music is all about.

I'm not saying you have to enjoy the music that is being created today, or the way younger generations are embracing traditional music. We aren't going to see another folk revival like the kind that occured in the 1960's, and we should all be thankful for that. It was great for what it was, but you do not want to repeat the past because you will also repeat the same mistakes.


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: GUEST,Russ
Date: 08 Nov 09 - 07:40 PM

Can't say anything about "folk" in general.

My obsession is the subspecies of folk called "old time music" in the states.

For better or worse the kids are taking over.

Check out Clifftop 2009 (Appalachian String Band Festival)

Clifftop (Appalachian String Band Festival)

The open fiddle contest was won by the same person who won the youth (15 years and under) fiddle contest.

The open banjo contest was won by a 20-something.

The lead fiddler for the band that won the traditional band contest is another 20 something.

Ditto the lead singer of the band that won the neo-traditional band contest.

They love and respect the music and the old musicians but they are making it their own.

They are HOT.

Russ (Permanent GUEST, aging folkie, and traditional musician)


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 08 Nov 09 - 07:55 PM

Ron, I need obviously to clarify. When I said

"there is no overarching canon anymore. The folk world has become diversified and specialized"
"it seems that since the songwriting-with-acoustic-guitar revolution of the 60s and 70s, the scene grew so much as to become fragmented -- so we don't have a few key players that might be named by all."

that was not with any negative judgment, just to contrast what the original poster seemed to be looking for to where we've come to. As I said earlier, I'm not worried about the state of affairs at all.

I'm happy that Among the Oak and Ash are doing what they're doing (if a little miffed -- and only a little -- at their apparent dismissal of the revivals that have come before).

~ Becky


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 08 Nov 09 - 08:03 PM

Shoot, I didn't realize the first quote was not mine! M. Ted was disagreeing with you by saying it, and I guess my comment in saying something similar was in order to say: it's different, but I don't think that's a problem!

I think what happens is that each generation tends to have more respect for its (figurative) grandparents than for its parents -- until greater maturity is gained. And the parents have a hard time dealing with those middle years. :-)

~ Becky in Tucson


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: Charley Noble
Date: 08 Nov 09 - 08:59 PM

If only we had a star to lead us on!

Oh, we done that, forty years ago or so...

Maybe it's better to take up bird-watching.

Charley Noble, who will be singing till the cows come home!


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 08 Nov 09 - 11:09 PM

Hi Becky - I was agreeing with you too, and I used your quote because I felt it tied into what M.Ted was saying. I am extremely happy with the current state of affairs.

It does seem strange that there seems to be a "want" for a more "commercial" acceptance for folk music and a need for "stars".   I guess we all grew up with figures like Woody Guthrie or Pete Seeger or Bob Dylan as sort of figureheads of the music we love.   The fact that so many people are making music and playing music is a testament to their work.

Pete would tell you straight out that his "mission" is to encourage people to sing.   If people would rather listen to Pete Seeger recordings rather than make music, then his work has been a failure. Personally, I think he has been very successful.

Just one more story. A few years ago I was at a music conference and John Flynn was sharing some songs. If you have not heard John Flynn, you need to drop whatever you are doing and find his music.   John was singing one of his songs called "Big Boat Coming". No one had heard it before, but suddenly the entire room was singing along with the chorus. THAT moment was every bit as powerful to the people in the room as singing some of the old chestnuts were to older generations.    There IS a modern canon of music still being created, and I can see it coming from younger generations who are more open to new (and old) ideas.


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: matt milton
Date: 09 Nov 09 - 06:10 AM

Arlo Guthrie packed out the 100 Club on Oxford St in London last year.

There were a bunch of kids in their early 20s who were totally rapt - actually rather embarassingly so, in the way that fans of 'legends' often wildly applaud their every note and laugh a little too much at every so-so joke.

It was an enjoyable gig, but frankly not nearly marvellous as the standing ovations and two encores would have suggested.

So while I can't speak for Paxton, I'd say there's still a big, enthusiastic and respectful audience for Guthrie's gigs in Europe at least.

London also played host to popular gigs by both Spider John Koerner and Rambling Jack Elliott.


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: JesseW
Date: 09 Nov 09 - 09:10 PM

As a person in my mid 20s, and a folkie (and *filker* (filk is Science Fiction folk song)) for sure, I felt I should speak up here.

In my experience, which has mostly been in southern California over the last decade or so -- there are a lot more people older than me than people my age in the community -- but there are some of us younger folks, too. There is a supply of younger trad. musicians, and various younger filkers, although many are not as regular attenders at events as the older people.

As for a shared canon... it's hard to say; there's still a strong feeling that "people our age don't like that old people's music" (i.e. the Beatles ;-), or Dylan ) -- but at the same time, there certainly is an awareness of a shared history of songs.

I can't speak with great knowledge about this, as I'm typically more comfortable with people older or younger than me, so I have a somewhat limited experience of folks my own age, in or out of the folk scene. But hopefully this will provide an additional perspective.


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 10 Nov 09 - 12:01 PM

A question---
Personally, I'm not really concerned with the life or death of commercial folkmusic. What bothers me is that I encounter fewer families who sing on car trips, and fewer kids who raise their eyes from the computer games and sing today's equivalent of Great Green Gobs of Greasy Grimy Gopher Guts.
    Mebbe I just don't encounter as many kids as I used to, but I do suspect that the tradition of making one's own music is weaker than it once was.


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: M.Ted
Date: 10 Nov 09 - 05:08 PM

Give me a list of the songs you think are in the "contemporary" folk canon, and we'll see how many of our estimable Mudcat friends know them. This is an issue that is not really connected to how healthy the audience for events is, of how many people are buying and listening to CDs--To be clear, I am not complaining, or such things, I am just pointing out that there is not the shared experience that there used to be--


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: GUEST,The Folk Entertainer
Date: 10 Nov 09 - 05:29 PM

"   The fact that so many people are making music and playing music is a testament to their work."

Right, but no one really is just listening. The audience today is basically very limited. The old too many chiefs and not enough Indians concept. It's very lopsided now in the wrong direction. Way too many singer/songwriters doing their "what about me?" tunes and no one much going to see them.

The audience is overwhelmingly gone. There are all of these players now and no one lining up to see them at a concert hall.   The comparison is no comparison. Millions of the old audience knew a style of music they refered to as folk music. Of those millions still around, only a meager handful in comparison cling to what it has evolved to. That's the reality of it. Call it confusing it with commercial success if you want, but the songs of those commercially successful left a big imprint of work and influence.

The names mentioned might very well be talented, but outside of a very small circle, their impact is been very miniscule.

You will never convince me that lining up a bunch of odds and end chairs in a living room is nothing more than just trying to keep a style of music called folk music is nothing more than a desperate last gasp as viable entertainment. Yes, entertainment. Art doesn't die, true. But as a viable entertainment for a lot of people to relate to, folk music is in it's last generation.


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 10 Nov 09 - 06:05 PM

"Give me a list of the songs you think are in the "contemporary" folk canon, and we'll see how many of our estimable Mudcat friends know them.

You are missing the point. You are using your world, and Mudcat, as the sampling of what should be "communal".

Folk music is about community, but do not confuse that with universal community. Go to a Steve Earle concert, or spend some time around the campfires and Kerrville or Falcon Ridge. You will find that there are communities, ones that you might not be connected to, that are experiencing the same thing you did, decades ago.

I understand it is a difficult concept to grasp, and folks like "the Folk Entertainer" is looking at an old model and wondering why it no longer works.   The spirit is there, the form is different, and you need to step back and see that is alive and vibrant. It has nothing to do about the size of the audience in a room, or the collective thinking of a nation weaned on commercial music.

You can call it a "meager handful", but you are looking in the wrong places and missing the boat.


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: GUEST,TJ in San Diego
Date: 10 Nov 09 - 06:42 PM

My late adopted Mom was a Mennonite by birth and early upbringing. One of the more "fundamentalist" offshoots of that religious group is the Amish. A productive and peaceloving group which, for the most part, has siezed a place in time and decided to occupy it in perpetuity. A darker illustration would be of those Islamic fundamentalists who still reside, emotionally and practically, somewhere between the 7th and 9th centuries. Their choice.

But time does march on. New things are created. Many of us choose to celebrate and revere certain vestiges of our collective past, among which is "traditional" folk music. But nothing really exists as a snapshot in time. We constantly evolve, as does our music. Even the revered Child Ballads were not cut in stone but were, themselves - many of them, products of an evolutionary process. They were captured and written down at some point in that process.

If the problem some have is that few adhere to this music as originally performed, it is likely because audiences for such esoteric material are relatively few and mostly intellectual in leaning. Nothing wrong with that, just fact. If you fear that your music is going the way of the dodo, fear not. There will always be an audience somewhere. To you, Gordon Lightfoot isn't really a folk singer. He's just a composer/performer singing much in the "folk style." Dylan isn't really a folk singer, though he has written material that might qualify. Why quibble. Find, listen to and perform what you like. It's a big house with many rooms, at least one room for everybody.


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: M.Ted
Date: 11 Nov 09 - 01:07 AM

I mentioned our fellow Mudcatters for a simple reason--if there is indeed a contemporary folk canon, our cohorts here at the number one folk discussion forum would pretty much have to be familiar with it. I don't see it though. TJ has pretty much got it pegged--a small audience interested in rather esoteric material, to which I'd add "from a highly specialized group of performers"--


The point being, this may be nice, good, even, on occasion, great, but it doesn't have much to do with "the common, ordinary "folk" that folk music is supposed to belong to. They listen to something else entirely.


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 11 Nov 09 - 02:31 AM

"'But folk is a genre of music' ==
Folk music is actually GENRES of music. *Blues is a type of folksong. Sea chanteys are a style of folksong. Southern mountain ballads are a type of folk song. Labor songs are a type of folksong. From your previous posts, you have identified U.S. folk revival as a type of folk song*." Ron Olesko 1 Nov

No — these are *sub-categories*, all subsumed under the OVERALL GENRE of folk.


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation? -- attempt at separation
From: JesseW
Date: 11 Nov 09 - 02:49 AM

I think there are various things mixed up together in this discussion, each of which may be dying out or not. Let me see if I can tease them apart...

* A shared canon of music referred to as "folk music"

* A large-hall-filling scale of audiences for performances of "folk music"

* New lyrics, melodies, arrangements and renditions, described by their makers as "folk music", being created presently and in the future

* The majority of humans on the planet (i.e. the "folk") producing music, of any form, in any style, to audiences of any or no size

I think I may have missed some -- please help me bring them forth.

My thoughts on the above, depend exactly what is meant by the term "folk music". If the academic use (oral tradition, evolutionary song change) is meant, I tend to agree there are none or few left, and those are dying out along with oral traditions in general. And if you take it to refer specifically to the music popular during the Anglo-American Folk Revival, I also suspect this is receding into just one of many historical bodies of song, a far cry from it's previous prominence, although certainly it's not vanishing. If you take it to refer to music created with acoustic instruments, that is declining, but in large part due to replacement by audibly indistinguishable electronic replacements, rather than new sounds, so the difference is, um, complicated. If you take "folk music" to be the music appreciated and created by a distinct group of people, there are, and have been, thousands of such, and they (as a group) show no sign of decline.

(It's funny, after my care dividing the issue, I see that I combined it right back together in my thoughts... ah, so, I contradict myself...)

Does this match the experiences of the various posters on this thread? What have I left out, or misstated?


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: Mavis Enderby
Date: 11 Nov 09 - 03:26 AM

Interesting points Jesse. I'd take issue with the acoustic instruments one though - although there are more electronic instruments available now, I'm not too sure that music created with acoustic instruments is actually declining. I think there has been something of a reaction to electric/electronic instruments and that a lot of people are returning to un-amplified/un-synthesised instruments. I'd also add also that in my opinion the choice of acoustic/electric instrument doesn't necessarily dictate whether something is folk song or not.

Purely oral traditions might be dying out but different arrangements of songs/tunes are being made all the time. Does this count as part of the folk process?, and more importantly, as part of the transfer from one generation to the next?

Pete.


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: theleveller
Date: 11 Nov 09 - 03:47 AM

Not dying, just changing - and for the better, in my opinion - at the hands of a wide range of great new performers, both professional and amateur, who are adapting the traditional stuff and writing great new folk songs, often melding and combining with other forms of music. The folk scene is even more exciting that it was when I first got into it 45 years ago and light years ahead of the dull, dreary 70s and 80s.

All you have to do is open you ears - and you mind.


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 11 Nov 09 - 04:22 AM

Nicely put, Leveller.


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Nov 09 - 05:30 AM

"Purely oral traditions might be dying out but different arrangements of songs/tunes are being made all the time. Does this count as part of the folk process?, and more importantly, as part of the transfer from one generation to the next?"

I actually think the Internet is, albeit at one remove, helping to maintain the oral tradition.

I have access, via youtube, myspace, spotify, emusic and lastfm, to hundreds of versions of any particular song. I can hear how different people treat a song; I can google the lyrics and compare different versions, and see how songs change, and make my own composite version of the words and/or tune.


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: Mavis Enderby
Date: 11 Nov 09 - 06:30 AM

Absolutely. That's why I made the distinction of purely oral traditions.

The internet is I think a massive advance in this respect - provided you don't forget to go out into the real world too!

Pete.


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 11 Nov 09 - 09:09 AM

"No — these are *sub-categories*, all subsumed under the OVERALL GENRE of folk. "

That is what I was saying. Thanks for the clarification.

"if there is indeed a contemporary folk canon, our cohorts here at the number one folk discussion forum would pretty much have to be familiar with it."
First of all, saying Mudcat isthe number one folk discussion forum is setting a standard that the handful of people who post here are THE community that defines and understands folk.   If that is the accepted standard, then obviously I am in the wrong place and my statements are completely wrong.

The fact is, the folk community exists far beyond the confines of Mudcat. This forum is basically devoted to the "sub-categorie" of the traditional Anglo folk style - the overwhelming majority of posts deal with traditional English folk song.

If you go to the festivals, venues, read Sing Out! or Dirty Linen, or listen to the dozens of folk radio shows around the country that are actively supporting the current folk scene.   Yes, it is easy to dismss it a "nothing more than a desperate last gasp as viable entertainment", but you would be missing the REAL folk community and only trying to justify your own opinion.

The artists who are creating, and the audience that is listening ARE " 'the common, ordinary "folk' that folk music is supposed to belong to. "

Listen to the songs of the late Dave Carter, who died tragically a few years ago. His songs are being sung by others and I daresay that "Gentle Arms of Eden" or "Tanglewood Tree" belongs on the same shelf as the songs of Bob Dylan at his best. Eliza Gilkyson's songs are in the same catagory - "Man of God" or her re-working of Woody Guthrie's "Peace Call".   Steve Earle "Christmas in Washington" or just about anything else that he writes. Listen to "One Voice" by the Wailin' Jennys.

I'm not trying to say that these songs are on the tips of everyones tongue.   The music machine that create the folk revival no longer exists and you will not have commercial radio playing these songs.   At the core, folk music has ALWAYS been an esoteric listening choice. The folk error, era, was a blip on the radar that diverted attention to the styles and created its own "sub catagory".   What grew out of that time was an influence into other styles of music and collective conscious.

Folk music is NOT a dieing topic. We are not the "last generation", but hopefully the last generation that looks at music wearing blinders.


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 11 Nov 09 - 09:11 AM

P.S. - and traditional music is alive and well too, supported by the same esoteric fans that it always had and always will.

The sky is not falling.


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: jennyr
Date: 11 Nov 09 - 09:26 AM

I'm not sure where the original poster is based, so maybe things are different where I am, but I see no evidence at all that folk (according to any of the above definitions) is dying out.

A couple of years ago, I went to see Tom Paxton play to a sold out concert hall.

The night before last, I went to a singaround in a local pub. I'm in my 30s, and I was about the middle of the age range. The songs included traditional and written songs, including one written by someone my age and performed by a younger singer who admired it. No, it's not a classic that's known by everybody - part of my personal definition of folk is 'songs that have stood the test of time', and time hasn't yet tested the songs of my generation.

Not sure what you're looking for that this doesn't cover.


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: GUEST,jts
Date: 11 Nov 09 - 09:31 AM

I am no doubt touching on points already covered but here's my take.

Paxton and Guthrie are established, but they established themselves with strings of big commercial hits (and a movie). That always passes. But they seemed to have made the most of that start over the years. Good for them. I've seen Guthrie perform. I'm look forward to someday seeing Paxton, and John Prine.

But folk music, real folk music, is no where near its last generation. There is a group of 20 somethings in this state called "The Carolina Chocolate Drops" which is as good as any folk act ever recorded. No doubt someone will follow in their shoes.


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: Waddon Pete
Date: 11 Nov 09 - 10:00 AM

Hello,

We have had a number of these, "are we dead yet?" threads over the years and I think the general evidence is that it depends on your point of view!

Isn't it wonderful to be involved in a style of music that causes such deep debate, enjoyment and heart-searching?

As many thoughtful posters have noted, 'music' and 'public awareness' are difficult to grasp hold of. Certainly around me the schools are bursting with musicians and singers of excellent quality. Oh that I had had their opportunities when I was their age!

The music commonly known as Folk has to take its place in the constant bombardment of musak that flows ever outwards. And you know what? A good folk track will stop most people in their tracks! I know of a hardened pop addict who was bowled over by Garnet Rogers and now takes a lively interest in "our" style of music. Then there was the Rita McNeil song, "Working Man". Maybe not everyone's idea of folk, but it took people by storm. I saw people stop by a parked car with the radio playing that song and listening until it had finished. They then walked on again. Powerful stuff!


Many years ago, the older men in the community used to gather in the pubs every now and then to sing and dance. The songs they sang could be defined as folk although there was a levening of music hall and variety in there as well. Tonight, this 'almost old man' will be sitting in a simlar pub doing the same thing!

I don't know that it proves anything except to say that those old men thought they were the last of their generatin too!

Best wishes,

Peter


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 12 Nov 09 - 03:04 AM

Four. One to change it and three to stand around singing about the good old days when we still had the old lightbulb...


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: M.Ted
Date: 12 Nov 09 - 07:42 AM

"First of all, saying Mudcat is the number one folk discussion forum is setting a standard that the handful of people who post here are THE community that defines and understands folk."

As far as Mudcat being the #1 folk site, it's not a matter of opinion, and it's not a "handful" of people who visit--according to rankins.com, it ranks 19,516 of all sites on the web in popularity. None of the other folk music sites even fall in the top million. I think you'd be hard pressed to argue that the community that understands and defines folk is better represented anywhere else.

Furthermore, it is way ahead of both HannahMontana.com and HannahMontanazone.com, which is the official fan club website.

I don't even know what to think now. There *is* a canon of "Hannah Montana" songs, though--


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 12 Nov 09 - 07:46 AM

"Four. One to change it and three to stand around singing about the good old days when we still had the old lightbulb..."

I've looked at that twice, and both times it's made me laff something silly!

Off to take another look..


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 12 Nov 09 - 11:22 AM

"according to rankins.com, it ranks 19,516 of all sites on the web in popularity. "

You are forgetting that some of us log onto this site 5 to 10 times a day. No wonder the numbes are skewed! You would be hard pressed to find 19,516 individuals posting on these threads - it is always the usual suspects.

Hey, I'm not knocking Mudcat by any stretch of the imagination. It is an extremely important site, and I do agree that it is the #1 site for serious (and nonsensical) discussion of TRADITIONAL music.   However, when it comes to what many people consider "contemporary folk music", this is NOT the place. You do not see people debating Ellis Paul's new CD or debates on whether Falcon Ridge should go back to a 4 day festival or who were the hot new songwriters to emerge from Kerrville. This ain't the place!

Sure, you can dismiss that by saying "if Mudcat says it isn't folk, then it isn't folk", but try telling the thousands of people who are attending the events and supporting THIS tradition.

Sure, you can also dismiss "contemporary folk music" as a bastardized entertainment fueled genre that lacks connection with folk roots, and I realize that I will not convince the altercockers that this style of music is "folk".   Yet if you are truely objective and look at the factors that the early pioneers of collecting used to gather their songs, you will see similarities and reasons why this music fits the criteria - filtered through the technological and social changes of our times, the same factors that musicilogists used.

One of the defintions that I found of canon is "A group of literary works that are generally accepted as representing a field". The songs I mentioned, and many others, are considered to be part of the canon of contemporary folk music. You just need to stand in the right field to realize it.

The bottom line is this - when all of us are taking our dirt naps, this music will remain and thrive. Traditional music is still alive and thriving, regardless of the lack of interest by commercial entities.   Songwriters are writing in both old and new traditions and serving a community. Folk music ain't dead - the living tradition moves on.


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: M.Ted
Date: 12 Nov 09 - 10:01 PM

Again, I offer the idea that, whatever it is, it isn't exactly folk music at this point in time, because it neither speaks to, nor speaks for any group with a collective identity--meaning a group that is conscious that it is insulated and differentiated from the general society by some common criteria, that those criteria have priority over things that that would include them in the general society, and that, because of that differentiation, they have a shared destiny .

This definition comes from the work of sociologists Verta Taylor and Nancy Whittier, and I use it, rather than the idea of "community", because in it allows for the inclusion of social political groups, like the anti-war movement, the civil rights movement, the labor movement,   and various social idealist movements, as well as various segments of the youth culture, who have their own bodies of music. This in addition to groups like cowboys , miners, sailors, etc who we typically regard as having their own folk music.

Maybe another way of saying it is that the music would have to be connected to a group that identify with each other for reasons other than the music.

I throw this stuff out, because it gives some insight into how folk music might have come to be extremely popular at a particular period of time, and how that popularity might then have passed by, leaving a much diminished and fragmented audience.


Again, I am not disparaging in any way--there are good, even great musicians, songwriters, and performers out there, and they each have their own, often overlapping audiences, there is just no cohesive community to support them anymore.


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: JesseW
Date: 13 Nov 09 - 01:24 AM

Well, if you want a coherent group with a body of song, science fiction fandom, and filk, it's body of song, presents a quite clear and lively example. It satisfies all the criteria you mentions, and, while it too is suffering decline, we ain't dead yet!


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: M.Ted
Date: 13 Nov 09 - 06:13 AM

You are insulated and differentiated from the general society because you read science fiction? And you're declining in numbers? It's the Morlocks again!


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: GUEST,The Folk Entertainer
Date: 13 Nov 09 - 12:07 PM

What MTed has said is the deal breaker for me.

"I throw this stuff out, because it gives some insight into how folk music might have come to be extremely popular at a particular period of time, and how that popularity might then have passed by, leaving a much diminished and fragmented audience."

Sorry, Ron. This is what really rings true. That audience is there, but much diminished and fragmented. That's not being dead, dying perhaps, but way too diluted to speak to the masses as the music once did.


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 15 Nov 09 - 07:17 PM

Sorry guys, but you are dead wrong on this one - or perhaps a better way of saying it is that your definition is out of tune with the reality of what is happening today. You also fail to see the connection with the definitions that YOU are putting forward.

M.Ted says that "I offer the idea that, whatever it is, it isn't exactly folk music at this point in time, because it neither speaks to, nor speaks for any group with a collective identity--meaning a group that is conscious that it is insulated and differentiated from the general society by some common criteria, that those criteria have priority over things that that would include them in the general society, and that, because of that differentiation, they have a shared destiny ."

Again, you aren't hanging out in the right places. The definition YOU quoted is EXACTLY the group that I have been referring to. I just spent a weekend with over 700 artists who are perpetuating this music and the community that it appeals to.

It is real, it exists, it will be around. You can deny it all you want - but if you open your eyes and take a step back, it is clear as day.


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: matt milton
Date: 16 Nov 09 - 08:54 AM

"it isn't exactly folk music at this point in time, because it neither speaks to, nor speaks for any group with a collective identity--meaning a group that is conscious that it is insulated and differentiated from the general society by some common criteria, that those criteria have priority over things that that would include them in the general society, and that, because of that differentiation, they have a shared destiny"

9 times out of 10, when you have to explain something fundamentally simple in such a convoluted and over-qualified fashion, you're labouring a point.

Granted, there is a truism in this: "it isn't exactly folk music at this point in time, because it neither speaks to, nor speaks for any group with a collective identity".

But only in the (bloody obvious and utterly banal) sense that sea shanties are no longer sung and listened to by sailors.

As long as people work, people will relate to songs about work. As long as people fall in love, people will relate to songs about love. And as long as people like strange, ambiguous stories, as long as people appreciate the intangible potency of an arcane turn of phrase, folk songs will continue to resonate.


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: matt milton
Date: 16 Nov 09 - 09:07 AM

I often think that whoever first started calling the music 'folk' did a real service to pedants everywhere. I mean, when you take the term out, and call it 'traditional', then suddenly this argument evaporates.

It's so easy, and IMO pointless, to point to the term folk and say, 'hey, we don't exactly have a folk anymore'. But I really don't think when Cyril Poacher or Harry Cox sang songs at a local pub, either thought of them as "folk songs". They just thought of them as "songs". Songs that they knew, and which the majority of their local audience either knew, or could quickly pick up and sing along to. A scenario which, funnily enough, ain't that different to the average folk club today.

The way some people talk about 'folk', it's as if people had some kind of telepathic link hardwired in their DNA which they somehow mysteriously lost in the mid-20th century.

It's possible that 'folk' did used to enjoy, and be moved by, folk music more in the historical past than at present. But we'll never know until someone invents an Enjoyometer and a time machine.


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: GUEST,The Fole E
Date: 16 Nov 09 - 12:25 PM

"I just spent a weekend with over 700 artists who are perpetuating this music and the community that it appeals to."

These 700 artists are probably not folk singers. People who play acoustio music, perhaps They are probably all singer songwriters I would think. This does not make them folk singers nor what they sing folk music. You would be hard pressed to find any one of them who can command a performace for an audience of 700 interested people at one time I am sure. Or one song that the average person on the street knows.

This is what folk music has evolved to. I can understand your special interest and also your denial. It's not a question of not hanging around the right places. It's really a question of what you vs. I want to label this music as.

The folk music that was once enjoyed by a generation has for the most part lost it's way for the next. It does not "belong" to a generation today like it once did.


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: Folkiedave
Date: 16 Nov 09 - 01:30 PM

The last (and the lost) generation began when a stream of young talent ( here in the UK ) promoted to the concert scenario without barely touching the folk clubs - therefore young people never attended 'cos they had no one to identify with as the clubs were full of older people.
We seem to be getting like an old band of soldiers who are getting older and older...........you could be right Tom.


Last Friday I went to a gig (already mentioned on here). Well-attended by both young and old people. (And at £14.00 for a full ticket not cheap).

25 year old Bella Hardy, Chris Sherburn (Mid 30's) and Corinna Hewat (late 20's?)

Tomorrow Tuesday I am off to see Spiers and Boden - early 30's I think. Been going about eight years.

Kerfuffle are on tour at the moment - oldest one about 24. Started as a band when the eldest was about 16. Hannah spent two years at Newcastle and Sam 5 weeks or so. Both were well established performers at the time.

Ruth Notman started at 14. Left the degree course after a short while. So not much of an influence there.

Jamie Roberts from Kerfuffle also sings with Katriona Gilmore - combined age about 46. Sam and Hannah also sing together. Combined age 41 or thereabouts.

Here's a band - spot the Newcastle degree student.

Another one here.

Crucible are around 30 years of age, none went on the Newcastle course. They started in 2003.

Wednesday night a new band called the "Black Hares" launch in Sheffield. Young and vibrant - no idea of they will make it onto the festival scene - I do hope so. None from the degree course.

And let's not miss out the older generation.

Martin Simpson (55) Roy Bailey (72) and Donald Grant (29)with the Red Skies Ensemble have ALREADY sold out their concert at the Sheffield Crucible on December 19th.


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 16 Nov 09 - 01:58 PM

"These 700 artists are probably not folk singers. People who play acoustio music, perhaps They are probably all singer songwriters I would think."

You can't have your cake and eat it to. You cannot submit a list of songs that were written by singer-songwriters in the 1960's and call it "folk" music, and then declare that singer-songwriters in the 21st century are not folk.

Face it, you are talking about YOUR generation. I'm not the one in denial here. I'm not the one creating a label of "folk" music, the current generation and community that is built around makes that determination - no matter how much you wish to deny it.

Folk music is alive and well and being passed on to capable hands. Sorry to disappoint you, and you are certainly entitled to an opinion - but it does not mean you are correct.


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: M.Ted
Date: 16 Nov 09 - 01:58 PM

If you want to know what music speaks young people (which now is anyone under 40) forget about Simpson and company and check the numbers for Motley Crue --Read 'em and weep


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: GUEST,The Folk Entertainer
Date: 16 Nov 09 - 03:05 PM

"You can't have your cake and eat it to. You cannot submit a list of songs that were written by singer-songwriters in the 1960's and call it "folk" music, and then declare that singer-songwriters in the 21st century are not folk."

Yes I can and I will. Because it is and I am sorry that you have to try to substantiate something that has mutated into something for convenience, or perhaps a radio format. You totally miss the point.

Personally, I believe the popular opinion is the same as what I have labeled folk music. The truth is that American (OK I said it) folk music is so diluted and so much what it wasn't that it is hardly recognizeable as such. Yes, I am talking about MY generation, which is what the topic of this thread is.

My answer is the same, Ron and I am afraid you can just deal with it, just like I said before: The folk music that was once enjoyed by a generation has for the most part lost it's way for the next. It does not "belong" to a generation today like it once did. Simply spouting that it's alive and well because there are tons more singer/songwriters than there once was sadly neglects the dynamic change in the performer/audience ratio. As in, the audience is miniscule compared to what it once was.


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 16 Nov 09 - 03:11 PM

Folk "Entertainer" - it appears we are talking over each others head. I'm not going to lose sleep over it because as I've stated before, and by the examples I've shared, this music is alive and well. If you take comfort in taking an opposing view, knock your socks off. If the definition of "folk" is based on "performer/audience" ratio, then you are referring to folk as entertainment and not as a study of music - so we are talking to different animals.

Your generation did a great job. Enjoy what you've done. The old lightbulb no longer shines, but there is a new lightbulb in it's place. Perhaps you will someday find the lightswitch.


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 16 Nov 09 - 03:15 PM

Just a P.S. - You said "Yes, I am talking about MY generation, which is what the topic of this thread is."

Well, the title is actually the "last generation" and I suggest you go back and re-read the first post.


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 16 Nov 09 - 03:40 PM

By the way, when did folk music "touch a whole generation"? Nearly all the people I know in their 60s and 70s (the age range I assume is being referred to as the "last" generation) have absolutely no interest in folk music and as far as I know (especially as I'm nosy about people's record collections) never have. They may half-remember a few old songs they learned at school and know some of the pop-folk-light entertainment crossover hits, but essentially, folk wasn't their music. I suspect that when we talk about "a whole generation" grooving on folk way back when, what we really mean is that some long-standing folk singers who once had some crossover success had considerably bigger audiences in the past than they do now. You can substitute a plethora of sixties rock and pop acts and find exactly the same effect. All this means is that the young people who make up the biggest group of gig goers aren't digging the heritage circuit, daddy-o!

I also wonder if there's a little bit of longing for the return of one's own youth and rueing it's passing in all this ... and whether it's significant that this thread has appeared as autumn gives way to winter...

Far be it from me to indulge somewhat crassly in low rent psychology, tho'...


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: GUEST,The Folk E
Date: 16 Nov 09 - 03:50 PM

Ron, I do not lose any sleep over it either. Neither do I worry about a diminishing radio audience.

"Your generation did a great job. Enjoy what you've done. The old lightbulb no longer shines, but there is a new lightbulb in it's place. Perhaps you will someday find the lightswitch."

Yes, that is true. Unfortunately the new lightbulb is one of those new style ones that cost 10 times as much and burn dimmer. Oh, yes. They also have an agenda.


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 16 Nov 09 - 03:59 PM

" I do not lose any sleep over it either. Neither do I worry about a diminishing radio audience."

I certainly don't worry about that either, radio audiences are doing well - and thanks for asking.   With radio audiences, steady attendance at festivals, an outpouring of new songwriters as well as people re-discovering traditional music all add up to the reasons why I am confident that folk music is doing well.

You also need to shop around. You can buy new style lightbulbs that burn bright and do not cost 10x the price. They will also last a lot longer and help the environment - something the older bulbs just could not do.


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: Mavis Enderby
Date: 16 Nov 09 - 04:27 PM

Lightbulbs have an agenda now?


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: Stringsinger
Date: 16 Nov 09 - 04:31 PM

There will always be an audience for folk music. One reason is because of technology and the availability of material (more than there used to be) the folk songs will find people
who are interested in them.

The days of the Mighty Wind are thankfully over. (Except that I thought the movie was hilarious.)

Ron, I think that you are right to encourage young people to foster their talents.
I also think that it's a good idea to have them invest time in learning to sing and about folk music from earlier times.

I have no problem with people changing the old songs textually to make them more accessible. Alan and John Lomax both rewrote and collated many verses for their publications. John Jacob Niles created songs that he had heard as folk songs. Richard Dyer-Benett, Pete Seeger, Burl Ives and Carl Sandburg edited and changed stuff around, textually and musically. It didn't hurt the song and made another variant from it. In folk music there is no one definitive version. It's made to be messed with as long as it gets a due respect and sensitivity to its presentation.

I see no reason why there should be any waning interest in folk music. It's too vital.

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: GUEST,The Folk E
Date: 16 Nov 09 - 04:35 PM

The older bulbs generated a warmth, the newer ones just seem to lack.

The newer ones seem to be mostly about themselves and are cold and condescending. They also poison the environment with their content as virtually no one disposes of them properly. Of course I'm speaking of light bulbs. You can buy them the cheapest at Wal-Mart of course.

Folk music is doing well I suppose. But don't ask anyone on the street to come up with a song today that will outlive it's composer or performer like the ones will from this list:

Pete Seeger
Tom Paxton
Bob Dylan
Peter, Paul, and Mary
The Chad Mitchel Trio
The Limeliters
The Tarriers
Bud & Travis
Joan Baez
Judy Collins
Janis Ian
The Highwaymen
Many others I would think

I am sure and know there is much talent out there and I have really heard many. I am not living in a cave nor lamenting times past. However, it just doesn't compare. The music, the longevity of the music, the spirit, or the acceptance.


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 16 Nov 09 - 04:49 PM

"I also think that it's a good idea to have them invest time in learning to sing and about folk music from earlier times."

Frank, I'm with you 100% on that one - 200% if mathmatics would allow!

I think that IS an element that many people were missing, although I think it has improved in recent years. I once heard David Massengill respond to someone's question about how to write a song. This person recently bought a guitar and was anxious to try out the process. David's response was that an individual needs to take that guitar and learn to play hundreds of OTHER songs. He encouraged them to go back to the tradition and learn, as well as learn songs from others. Once you could sing and understand the way various songs are composed, you can then begin the process for yourself.

I consider myself a student. I do not have the gift to sing for anyone other than my own entertainment. My fiddle playing belongs in the closet, but I enjoy it for my own. I could not write a song worth repeating. I try to spread this "gospel" on my radio show. I certainly believe in the importance of reminding audiences of where the music came from as well as introducing them to what might be the future.

Naturally we cannot see into the future. No one really knows if the music of Bob Dylan or anyone will be remembered in the future. The fact has been that people will always sing what is familiar and meaningful to them. That is how folk music will survive.

I like to remind myself of the lyrics of Pete Morton's FOLKSONG - "Another Train".   There's always another train coming down the tracks.


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 16 Nov 09 - 04:49 PM

Folk Ent, your list merely reflects your generation, I suspect. I haven't heard of half the people on your list still less know their songs.

Love rock singer Bob Dylan though.


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 16 Nov 09 - 04:54 PM

I usually buy my lightbulbs from a local hardware store, and the price is actually cheaper when you consider the lifespan of the bulb and how you will need less. I do my part and recycle the bulbs and my community does the same. I'm not looking for a lightbulb to throw off heat and I also find it a real stretch to say a bulb is "condescending".


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: M.Ted
Date: 16 Nov 09 - 05:58 PM

It's a song, Ron, and one of my favorites--but don't make it into something it isn't.


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 16 Nov 09 - 06:13 PM

Alright M.Ted, whatever you wish to believe.


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: Folkiedave
Date: 16 Nov 09 - 07:11 PM

I also wonder if there's a little bit of longing for the return of one's own youth and rueing it's passing in all this

Actually there are bits of my own youth I wouldn't mind having back..... And I certainly rue its passing!

But to be serious....when I look at that list, I hadn't realised folk music was only American. Fantastic. Where was it before that?


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 16 Nov 09 - 07:19 PM

"I hadn't realised folk music was only American. Fantastic. Where was it before that? "

Judging from 99% of the posts, it was in the UK. I was assuming that those of us in the U.S. were allowed to have a discussion about our music once in awhile?

Geesh. Chill out!


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: M.Ted
Date: 16 Nov 09 - 10:58 PM

It seems to me that back in the days that most those people were popular, Folkiedavie, British folk music as it now exists had not yet been invented, and such of it that there was had not made much of an intrusion over here.


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: topical tom
Date: 18 Nov 09 - 06:39 PM

I notice that there is yet another sign of the passing folk music
scene;Sing Out magazine is experiencing financial problems. This is a shame but it merely reinforces the fact that, with the passing of the older folk generation, the end of folk music as we knew it is in sight.


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 18 Nov 09 - 07:04 PM

Which will leave the folk music that you don't know!


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: Folkiedave
Date: 18 Nov 09 - 07:31 PM

Sorry Ron - of course you Yanks are allowed an opinion. Just don't get too uppity. :-)

with the passing of the older folk generation, the end of folk music as we knew it is in sight.

We had folk clubs in the UK, there are not as many as there were and sometimes the ones we have don't do so well. (Others do)

But there really are young people coming in. They may not do what you and I did (and in truth there is a slight lack of singers) but they do do music.


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: Don Firth
Date: 18 Nov 09 - 08:17 PM

I think just about every folk song and ballad collector who drew breath, going back to Bishop Percy and beyond, was convinced that they were witnessing the death throes of folk music and needed to get it written down in order to preserve it, i.e. "Reliques of Ancient English Poetry" and other such titles for some of the earlier collections. Sharp also. And the Lomaxes. "Get it down now, because it's just about all over!"

Wasn't it Mark Twain who commented that the reports of his death were somewhat exaggerated?

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: Cuilionn
Date: 18 Nov 09 - 09:49 PM

Reminds me of the debate over the survival of the Gaelic language. For at least three hundred years, Hie-Heid-Yins and BigWigs and Muckety-Mucks have been holding forth with their Expert Opinions that the poor wee language of those quaint island barbarians is surely hanging on by its fingernails, about to fall into the Yawning Chasm of linguistic and cultural extinction. When I started studying the language myself, about 14 years ago, there were ten thousand LESS "native" speakers than there are today, and the number of people with some degree of facility with the language has practically doubled as social and political changes have made Gaelic "ethnically hip" again.

The Music of The Folk is like that-- push it to the brink, and push The People to the brink, and several things are likely to happen:

Some Folk will declare the End and jump over. Some Folk will sit down at the edge and start sobbin' until a few of them hit a harmony, and they'll rediscover The Blues. Some Folk will stand up and shout that they don't wanna jump, until a bunch of them are shouting together, and they'll rediscover Protest Songs. Some Folk will start listening to all the amazing edge-of-the-cliff stories around them, get seized with a tune or two, start passing the stories around, and that'll be a session, a concert, a hootenanny, a ceilidh... and Folk Music will keep on keepin' on, because there's this crazy human impulse that seems to keep Folks singing--and singing together--no matter what.


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: Don Firth
Date: 19 Nov 09 - 12:41 AM

Amen!!

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: GUEST,Bo in OH
Date: 03 Jul 10 - 01:14 AM

I found this a fascinating thread. Ironic that the "folk revival heroes" that are being lifted up and had commercial dominance in the early sixties saw the beginning of the end of their popularity with...the Beatles? I firmly believe the music of the Beatles will still be listened to and appreciated 100 years from now.

More to the point ... what has not been mentioned is that the "lack of shared experience" and "self-centered" nature of contemporary folk has perhaps more to do with a shift in the way people listen to music today vs. 45 years ago. It is no longer about the CD, let alone the album or tape. Downloading songs to an ipod, listening to lastfm or pandora, watching performers on youtube, even browsing lyrics in the DT ... these things have fundamentally changed the way the current generation of youth experience music. This is true not just of folk music, but all genres. It is perhaps a double-edged sword - unprecedented access, but greater fragmentation. Better or worse? Depends on where it is all going, which is anybody's guess. An interesting discussion, the impact of new ways of listening to music upon folk music itself.

But I do think that calling contemporary folk singers "self-centered" and "lacking in influence" is quite unfair. Without a time machine it is impossible to know what the influence will be of the many artists here mentioned. To say that songs of the last 5 years or so "won't stand the test of time like the standards" is begging the question. We'll have to see in 2050 or so...


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Subject: RE: The Last Generation?
From: Mavis Enderby
Date: 03 Jul 10 - 03:38 AM

At the recent Beverley folk festival I actually felt quite old (in my 40's) given the number of young performers & audience in the beer and acoustic tents.

So I think that's good news for folk but bad news for me!

Pete.


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