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Why folk won't be popular now

MaJoC the Filk 22 Jun 22 - 06:06 AM
MaJoC the Filk 22 Jun 22 - 06:01 AM
GUEST,Stort Brian 21 Jun 22 - 07:55 PM
Donuel 21 Jun 22 - 04:42 PM
Vic Smith 17 Jun 22 - 08:39 AM
GUEST 17 Jun 22 - 06:29 AM
GUEST,matt milton 16 Jun 22 - 09:22 AM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 16 Jun 22 - 09:15 AM
GUEST,The Sandman 16 Jun 22 - 12:11 AM
GUEST 15 Jun 22 - 08:27 PM
Dave the Gnome 15 Jun 22 - 09:09 AM
PHJim 15 Jun 22 - 06:25 AM
The Sandman 15 Jun 22 - 02:50 AM
GUEST,jim bainbridge 14 Jun 22 - 04:30 PM
Manitas_at_home 14 Jun 22 - 06:10 AM
GUEST 14 Jun 22 - 05:21 AM
GUEST 13 Jun 22 - 05:08 PM
GUEST 13 Jun 22 - 06:20 AM
The Sandman 13 Jun 22 - 02:43 AM
The Sandman 13 Jun 22 - 02:31 AM
Mr Red 13 Jun 22 - 01:34 AM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 12 Jun 22 - 11:37 PM
Tony Rees 12 Jun 22 - 06:45 PM
Stringsinger 12 Jun 22 - 05:57 PM
Stringsinger 12 Jun 22 - 05:42 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 12 Jun 22 - 05:05 PM
Tony Rees 12 Jun 22 - 04:28 PM
Tony Rees 12 Jun 22 - 04:21 PM
Tony Rees 12 Jun 22 - 02:56 PM
Stringsinger 12 Jun 22 - 01:49 PM
GUEST,jim bainbridge 12 Jun 22 - 12:00 PM
Tony Rees 11 Jun 22 - 03:17 PM
Stringsinger 10 Jun 22 - 04:08 PM
GUEST,jim bainbridge 10 Jun 22 - 05:42 AM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 10 Jun 22 - 04:35 AM
MaJoC the Filk 09 Jun 22 - 06:17 PM
Stringsinger 09 Jun 22 - 01:43 PM
Big Al Whittle 09 Jun 22 - 06:43 AM
Big Al Whittle 09 Jun 22 - 06:41 AM
Vic Smith 09 Jun 22 - 05:42 AM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 08 Jun 22 - 10:04 PM
Stringsinger 08 Jun 22 - 07:00 PM
Amergin 08 Jun 22 - 05:24 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 08 Jun 22 - 05:09 PM
GUEST 08 Jun 22 - 04:35 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 08 Jun 22 - 04:01 PM
The Sandman 08 Jun 22 - 03:05 PM
Vic Smith 08 Jun 22 - 11:54 AM
Stringsinger 08 Jun 22 - 11:09 AM
Tony Rees 07 Jun 22 - 03:12 PM
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Subject: RE: Why folk won't be popular now
From: MaJoC the Filk
Date: 22 Jun 22 - 06:06 AM

.... I can remember in the late sixties, when one's standing amongst one's companions was proportional to the obscurity of one's pop/rock group of choice.


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Subject: RE: Why folk won't be popular now
From: MaJoC the Filk
Date: 22 Jun 22 - 06:01 AM

> And some folk song “dirges” are best forgotten.

Depends on the dirge, and on the listener, and often on one's drinking companions. Personally I find most of "On Ilkley Moor Bar t'At" (after the first couple of verses) to be a dirge to a sprightly tune; but a sprightly tune can rescue lyrics usually sung as a dirge ....

As my last act of musical mischief in this life, I have made it Very Clear that I want "Oh God our Help in Ages Past" to be sung at my funeral, but only if it's to the tune usually reserved for Ilkley Moor. (Try it sometime, and see if you can do it without smiling.) After all, I perpetrate filk, so I wish my life to be *celebrated* in an appropriately inappropriate manner.

Meanwhile, back at the subject line ....


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Subject: RE: Why folk won't be popular now
From: GUEST,Stort Brian
Date: 21 Jun 22 - 07:55 PM

it is true that the local folk club in my local English town has closed. Pure trad music and song is not what every acoustic player wants to play. Reflecting that, we have a thriving Acoustic Club which encourages anybody and anything that is acoustic. Some of it is folk, and if anyone is tempted to try a folk song, that’s good news.

The guy who used to run the folk club said that the Acoustic Club is the new “folk” club. Folk song evolves and acoustic versions of popular songs are acceptable to me if they are from real life. And some folk song “dirges” are best forgotten. A lot of young people also write their own song, from life experience, that’s even better news - the folk music of tomorrow. Political or not, it doesn’t matter, as long as it gets you in the heart.

Brian, Hertfordshire, UK


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Subject: Why folk will be rediscovered
From: Donuel
Date: 21 Jun 22 - 04:42 PM

I would love to watch Stringsinger on CBS 60 minutes in a 20 minute interview produced by Leslie Stahl. Cameos with Phil and big Al or Filk and others could lend friendly controversy a helping hand. We need some new leading global historic voices since the voices of Joan and Pete have faded and are gone.

That Stringsinger can do AND teach is a rare talent. If Folk is going to have respected spokespeople, We're going to have to do it ourselves.
What is unique is the history compared to all other music forms.
As an aside all music forms face a similar fate of having more new music and performances that people will NEVER hear even though its out there.

As for revenue, the secret sauce has always been a truthful personality imbued with an obvious wisdom, pointing at finds the rest of us can pick up. Even the name Stringsinger is a genius truth.


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Subject: RE: Why folk won't be popular now
From: Vic Smith
Date: 17 Jun 22 - 08:39 AM

or even


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Subject: RE: Why folk won't be popular now
From: GUEST
Date: 17 Jun 22 - 06:29 AM

Thumbs up, Matt.


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Subject: RE: Why folk won't be popular now
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 16 Jun 22 - 09:22 AM

The "now" in this thread's title strikes me as a bit bizarre. Folk music has not been popular in terms of mainstream pop chart success for almost 50 years now. Half a century.

These kind of conversations have been done to death. Folk had a moment a long time ago. A very, very long time ago.

That's nothing to cry about. It doesn't stop me enjoying playing folk music, and hearing others playing it, at folk clubs every week.


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Subject: RE: Why folk won't be popular now
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 16 Jun 22 - 09:15 AM

Tony: Gatekeepers... is that your not-nice word for all the owners, editors, producers, artists, accountants, lawyers, censors &c &c being themselves and not you? Even McDonald's competes with Burger King, KFC and Subway. I don't care. Not my style.

Who required, and benefited more from, exclusive access to venture capital and media insiders: Seeger & Hamilton at Folkways in the 50-60s or your average 21st century music blogger? Who is/was easier for the so-called gatekeepers to keep gated, or whatevs?

Searched: “Folk” + “Banjo” and got 15 pages of returns on Google, who knows how many on ytube. Same top two for DuckDuckGo and nothing for Adele, Bieber or Beyoncé. Your results may vary:

Folk Banjo: Quick Tips from Ed Hicks: English Folk Dance and Song Society
Best Banjo for Folk Music, by Dave Fox: YouTubeMusicSucks.com

Nobody could keep up with it all long before the internet made it just that much harder to do. That inability comes with its own peril for heavy social media consumers... Fear Of Missing Out (FO-MO.)


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Subject: RE: Why folk won't be popular now
From: GUEST,The Sandman
Date: 16 Jun 22 - 12:11 AM

it is hard to predict the future of anything correctly


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Subject: RE: Why folk won't be popular now
From: GUEST
Date: 15 Jun 22 - 08:27 PM

Phil,

You’re right. It’s hard to keep track of all the music on the net.
The 99% is hard to gauge but it’s not just about my taste. To say
that there are not gatekeepers in what gets heard denies the role
money plays in the process. Access is money and vice versa.
Sometimes there is a breakthrough because of a public recognition
that is not predictable. After that it usually becomes MacDonald’s hamburgers.

Tony,

It’s not about simplicity versus complexity but musical maturity. That takes time and seasoning.


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Subject: RE: Why folk won't be popular now
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 15 Jun 22 - 09:09 AM

Catfish Willie? Isn't that a...

Oh, never mind :-)


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Subject: RE: Why folk won't be popular now
From: PHJim
Date: 15 Jun 22 - 06:25 AM

"FOLK" - A four letter word beginning with "F" and ending with "K" and if you use it, they won't play your songs on the radio. -Catfish Willie


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Subject: RE: Why folk won't be popular now
From: The Sandman
Date: 15 Jun 22 - 02:50 AM

yes you are right Jim. i enjoyed your sessions but there are always people out there who are begrudgers


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Subject: RE: Why folk won't be popular now
From: GUEST,jim bainbridge
Date: 14 Jun 22 - 04:30 PM

I certainly did not regard free beer as a measure of inclusivity!

I said that it was always (not just in west Cork) my aim! Who gets this 'perk' is surely down to the management?

No, by inclusivity I meant that visiting singers & musicians were always welcome to contribute as part of the event, that's all, and my being paid made no diffence to that.....


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Subject: RE: Why folk won't be popular now
From: Manitas_at_home
Date: 14 Jun 22 - 06:10 AM

Why not find out and just ask them?


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Subject: RE: Why folk won't be popular now
From: GUEST
Date: 14 Jun 22 - 05:21 AM

That does not inspire confidence. You don't think the EFDSS would even know how many claims have been made on their own insurance scheme ? I find that literally incredible.


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Subject: RE: Why folk won't be popular now
From: GUEST
Date: 13 Jun 22 - 05:08 PM

The actual handling would be by the insurance company not by EFDSS themselves. I doubt that they would even have the figuresi


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Subject: RE: Why folk won't be popular now
From: GUEST
Date: 13 Jun 22 - 06:20 AM

I can't help but wonder how many insurance claims the EFDSS have had to deal with and settle in the last, say, 10 years. Anyone know of any ?


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Subject: RE: Why folk won't be popular now
From: The Sandman
Date: 13 Jun 22 - 02:43 AM

I live in west cork and run a session which i am not paid for, it is inclusive in that every musician gets a pint.
i attended Big Jim sessions in west cork many years ago whilst jim got his free beer i remember several occasions whenothers did not, it did not bother me, as i had to drive a car, and i enjoyed his music, but i did not feel it demonstrated inclusivity , other people may have felt differently, which might be why as he states they did not return.
personally, i preferred to listen to his music and join in than worry about free beer, but i do remember other people being aggrieved no names no pack drill


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Subject: RE: Why folk won't be popular now
From: The Sandman
Date: 13 Jun 22 - 02:31 AM

Folk in the uk could be more popular if EFDSS promoted their insurance scheme to run events better, if more young people were aware of this financial help, there might be an increase in young people organising song and dance events, even singaround festivals have to have insurance, and cost of insurance is a factor putting off anyone holding events. incidentally how manY people who LIVE IN EUROPE AND THE UK have posted to this thread are members of EFDSS,


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Subject: RE: Why folk won't be popular now
From: Mr Red
Date: 13 Jun 22 - 01:34 AM

My Experience is that in guest booking clubs in the uk floorsingers up their standard when guests like Martin Carthy are booked

May hap. But I would bet there is a better selection of floor singers when there is a "name" headlining. And if I was trying to sing on a "name" night - I would not sing anything that was:
"just learned this"...........


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Subject: RE: Why folk won't be popular now
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 12 Jun 22 - 11:37 PM

Frank: ...And soon AI will take over the music business. It’s happening right now. Computers are making music.

Bulletin: They's been a 'droid on drums since back in '72. He ain't no Jack Costanzo... but who is.

A Silicon Valley/ytube bot 'uploaded' your Folkways Nonesuch LP to the "Pete Seeger" account and linked it all to the Smithsonian. Just another Tuesday at the office. Half of internet traffic is machine-to-machine, aka: 'bots.' And even AI can't keep up with just the copyrights & publishing on tens of thousands of uploads daily. Flesh and bone couldn't keep up back in the shellac, 78rpm days. You have never been aware of most music, not even close.

Likewise, platinum records, 80-20 (Pareto) &c are hardly trade secrets. If all else fails, just count the legs and divide by two.

Being unaware of, indifferent to or disliking +99.9% of other people's choices would be normal and that is indeed what you report. You want more of what you want. All systems nominal.


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Subject: RE: Why folk won't be popular now
From: Tony Rees
Date: 12 Jun 22 - 06:45 PM

Hi Stringsinger, my point is not so much regarding virtuosity versus simplicity/effectiveness (there is, and always has been, room for both in my view) but that here is clear evidence of a cohort of fine musicians, most not even born until the 1990s, who (presumably with their less visible peers) are making a fine job of playing and singing acoustic-based music that has essentially nothing to do with the "music business model" as would be defined by the major labels as set out in the initial premise for this thread. Hence my case that good music will continue to thrive and does not require business investment by the major labels to do so...

I also not in passing that these bluegrass-based types of highly talented young musicians are nurtured by other means, including their families/family bands, local bluegrass associations and competitions, etc. etc., which all clearly have a role to play in progressing the grass roots level of participation, again completely separate from what passes for "popular" music today. Probably some (but perhaps not so well developed) equivalents in other genres as well in the Celtic countries and UK.

Cheers - Tony


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Subject: RE: Why folk won't be popular now
From: Stringsinger
Date: 12 Jun 22 - 05:57 PM

Tony, these musicians are flashy and full of virtuosity. They've really got the BG licks down.
When she gets older and seasoned she may have the heart of a Bill Monroe. Now, it's like: how fast and complicated can we play on five or six chords.

Don't give up your mandolin just yet. Study the great ones and find your own voice. You don't have to play 100 miles an hour with every trick you know in the book to make good music.

Sierra has chops, no question about that. She is young yet and may make some music that
will touch someone's heart, some day.


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Subject: RE: Why folk won't be popular now
From: Stringsinger
Date: 12 Jun 22 - 05:42 PM

The music merchants may be smart and decent as people, nonetheless, music quality is of a low priority unless you consider high production value as being important over the quality.

I will of course challenge your odds. The business is tanking. And soon AI will take over the music business. It’s happening right now. Computers are making music. Live musicians who make quality music are pushed to the side.

I don’t define the different genres that you mention. This is done by the music merchants.

I challenge that Silicon Valley is making all kinds of music available to the public. Their goal is to sell what they think will be more profitable. It’s the nature of the beast. This is increasingly become more restrictive in that unless there are established acts and musicians, they are not given the promotion they need to exist on say YouTube.
I say they are being winnowed out by business interests.

There are many forms of music out there today but not in the public consciousness.

I don’t agree that “venture capitalism’s business plans won’t intersect much at all”. That’s been the pattern of music business industry historically. The difference is that the people you cite as being smarter than “me or the other half” might be making more money, but if that is the qualification for entry into the music biz, then what’s the point?
That’s the problem, mIoney makes the music, rather than the other way around.

In my experience, I know many of the people you refer to. To survive in the business whether with the Big Three or Silicon Valley, the bottom line is always more important than the quality.

I am hoping for an extended family and friends of enlightened audiences that will require a better product then they are getting. If they are bulletproof against the rampant commercialism
that grinds out meaningless pap, then that’s all to the good.


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Subject: RE: Why folk won't be popular now
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 12 Jun 22 - 05:05 PM

A juke box or record company made 80% of their sales off 20% of the product. The remaining one fifth of the sales was spread out over the other four fifths of the catalog. The bottom 20-50% were done at a loss covered by the cash cows and bargain bins or... out go the lights.

I doubt we know all that many present day major label execs well enough to qualify them as artists, musicians or people. I know I do not. Unless you are some class of perfect, odds are at least half the folks you complain about are smarter and more decent than you and the other half ain't.

When you write things down for yourself, with the hard numerals and engineering units in the columns, you define “folk” & “popular” & “now” – measured precisely how and compared to exactly what. No two people, plans or product will be the same.

I'm thinking your plans and big money venture capitalism's business plans won't intersect much at all. Where they do, the gains are mostly in your favour. Silicon Valley has made it easier than ever to make and distribute all genre of music on an international scale.

Ergo, there is more product (plans) than ever before; competing for a more diverse consumer base than ever before; at lower margins than ever before. That is the business competion you are facing down at your share/niche. It's not the Big Three.

If your "plan" is to have fun making music with and for friends and family... you are bulletproof where the majors are concerned.


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Subject: RE: Why folk won't be popular now
From: Tony Rees
Date: 12 Jun 22 - 04:28 PM

Some Sierra Hull + band here if you have not seen them play before!

https://youtu.be/bHEhzmQvI1k?t=435 (cued up for the second tune, an original/instrumental).

I think I will give up playing the mandolin now.

- Tony


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Subject: RE: Why folk won't be popular now
From: Tony Rees
Date: 12 Jun 22 - 04:21 PM

OK, just checked, Sierra Hull is now 30, Molly Tuttle 29, A.J. Lee is 24, Billy Strings is 29, mostly with players of their own generation in their bands... these players in particular have been playing since they were children, often from musical families (e.g. Molly Tuttle's dad, Billy Strings' stepfather were/are all players). Makes me think that the future of [this brand of] acoustic music is in safe hands...


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Subject: RE: Why folk won't be popular now
From: Tony Rees
Date: 12 Jun 22 - 02:56 PM

I hear what Stringsinger is saying but it seems to me unnecessarily pessimistic. OK, I do not go out and search for new music much these days, also my rate of musician discovery is perhaps 10 years late since I enjoy my musical tastes which were mostly formed in the 1970s and 1980s (that probably makes me old, but possibly typical of this list membership!!). Anyway over the past 5-10 years or so, I have definitely been exposed to "younger" musicians coming up, often via youtube performances - in the US country/bluegrass area (have not followed the celtic side so much) I think Molly Tuttle, Sierra Hull, A.J. Lee, Billy Strings... taking the music of their predecessors in part anyway, and presenting it to a whole new generation of their peers I am guessing. Now these folks may be in their 20s and perhaps early 30s by now (still seem young to me) but they are a definite sign that all is not buried in a commercial morass...

- Tony


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Subject: RE: Why folk won't be popular now
From: Stringsinger
Date: 12 Jun 22 - 01:49 PM

I’ve been a pro and amateur folk singing enthusiast. I think the roles should be blurred.
There are many who are good at this but we don’t know their names. They are shut out by the star system.

Nothing wrong with making a buck playing music.
It helps pay for the time it takes to develop a career. But the music biz works for the stars,
the cash cows.

OK so what else is new? The general public is degenerating in their tastes for good music.
It’s harder for anything of quality to surface now.

Garage bands were healthy. Do it yourself. Then came the advent of the rich and famous rock star. Flash, virtuosity, mediocrity and glamor.

OK so what else is new? The avenues for good music generally have narrowed over the years.

Even Al Capone appreciated good jazz. He made it available though he made more with illegal hootch.

Concert venues are less. Covid is partly to blame.

What to do? Pick up a song, an instrument, and make music yourself. Mudcat is good about letting people know who’s out there worth listening to.

Fight the commercialization of the music merchants. They are not musicians for the most part and selling the public crap.


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Subject: RE: Why folk won't be popular now
From: GUEST,jim bainbridge
Date: 12 Jun 22 - 12:00 PM

Did you hear about the touring folk singer who won a million on the lottery?

    When asked if it would change his life, he said 'Oh no, I'll just keep on doing gigs until it's all gone'


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Subject: RE: Why folk won't be popular now
From: Tony Rees
Date: 11 Jun 22 - 03:17 PM

It is called the music business for a reason - it is what happens when businessmen get involved with the music. For 99% of visible product, the balance is probably tipped massively towards the business end of the spectrum. We should be grateful that there is room for the other 1% there somehow, when then the music somehow retains its integrity through the business process, or bypasses it altogether (i.e. the non-professional scene...) - however even musicians have to live.

I always saw it as a bit of an enigma that in my direct experience, the UK and Australian folk club circuit was run by amateurs in the main, but supported a quite solid set of professional singers - go figure. On the other hand I did not see many of the latter driving Porsches, or in some cases even own a house (although most seemed to figure out a way to do so eventually, at least when houses were cheaper!).

- Tony


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Subject: RE: Why folk won't be popular now
From: Stringsinger
Date: 10 Jun 22 - 04:08 PM

Hi Phil,

I don’t know that I believe that one person is in control of the chaos but I do believe that the execs at recording companies today are not highly musically trained. If they are, they are cynically putting out product they know to be inferior music although glossed with high production values sonically. When the accountants, lawyers and statisticians are in control and the botto m line is howmuch product they can make money with, the musical standards become irrelevant.

Actually, I am a poor demographic for music since my tastes are wildly diversified. I am a jazz enthusiast, a classical music lover, an early music lover and some of the 99% of music I like.
I like some rock and roll, show music, sound tracks, country and rhythm and blues. In short I am a musician therefore the business of music is secondary to my main interest of music.

We live in a time of commercialized musical depreciation due to the fact that the gatekeepers of the industry are uncaring about the product they sell. This goes right along with the fact that in
America, we produce very little compared to other countries. The financialization of our economy is reflected in the music that we produce en masse. I have no real feelings one way or another about video games but I know that this isn’t music.

I get the Van Halen reference.

I don’t object to math or a business plan per se. But when that becomes the important aspect of musical acceptance, then we have to evaluate whether this is in service of decent music and what this means for the denigration of our national artistic heritage. We also have to consider what education the public is getting in the acceptance of art and culture.

There is good and bad in everything including music. The arbiters should not be Silicon Valley,
hawking merchants, accountants and lawyers but those who are practitioners of music, musicians.

To say that things will never change underestimates the desire the public has for something valuable. To determine this, they have to be exposed to a variety of music, some of it
not for sale but with intrinsic value.


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Subject: RE: Why folk won't be popular now
From: GUEST,jim bainbridge
Date: 10 Jun 22 - 05:42 AM

Vic, by your description of the music in your area it all sounds pretty healthy- mind you it always was. I'm all in favour of more local events & of musicians having other income & most of the ones I've respected over the years had just that.
   I think my own musical activities in West Cork all those years ago were an example of that- a supplement to Francie's goat cheese venture.

   I've always thought inclusivity was essential to the music & I absolutely detest the closed circle which negates that. I was paid in pints and free Beamish, but always tried to include other singers & musicians- no 'quality control' or 'is it folk' rules were applied
   Two observations about those nights- firstly, the local singers & musicians turned up the first time, under the impression it was a 'session'. I had no PA, and it WAS that, but on my terms. On discovering I was paid, most did not return, as in their minds it had become a 'gig'!!
Secondly, there were, and are still many English musiciamns in the Schull/Ballydehob area, so maybe they were just being polite!
I know many of the musicians & singers in the Mizen area in the late 80s & 90s & had been part of the English folk scene- the locals often marvelled that these people could the 'Galway Shawl' or were quite happy to play the 'Maid behind the bar' on a tin whistle.
I think my preference for local sessions like in Brighton area may be granted now, with diesel at £1.85 a litre- it's an ill wind and maybe folk will become 'popular 'again?


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Subject: RE: Why folk won't be popular now
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 10 Jun 22 - 04:35 AM

Frank: Charlie Stinson was a Columbia sales exec. Teenage John Hammond was a regular at the Stinson bargain bins. Columbia is with Sony now; WMG and Universal make up the current Big Three. Always been major labels; always been complaints about music made and not made. Columbia also put out I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus and dogs barking Christmas carols, in season of course. Million sellers both.

There were never enough hours in the consumer's day, not ever. The shortfall just keeps getting bigger and that's not going to change. They're checking their smart phones during the live show. A platinum record is about 1:400 consumers or: 399 don't know/don't care/don't like + 1 buy in. That is a raving success!

You believe somebody is in control of the chaos or there's one thing to say about all of it. I know better. Except that +99.9% of it does not concern you, according to you. That's about average for a North American consumer. You have current favorites in your own repertoire; even more stuff you do less often nowadays and at least a few that are better left unplayed altogether. Time & tide.

And… a formal, written business plan, with maths, is absolutely mandatory. Sustainable karaoke in Kemah or a Sony Music national tour – different 'vision.' Google “No Brown M&Ms” just for giggles.


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Subject: RE: Why folk won't be popular now
From: MaJoC the Filk
Date: 09 Jun 22 - 06:17 PM

> poisoned [] by money

Verily. I've been saying "Man shall not live by bread alone" since the late 1960s.


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Subject: RE: Why folk won't be popular now
From: Stringsinger
Date: 09 Jun 22 - 01:43 PM

Hi Phil,
Ideally, yes I’d like to see the Warner Group do more than they do then just win Grammys.

I’d like to see the whole approach in attitude toward music in general and not a cash cow for lawyers and accountants in the music industry.

In any industry, the quality of the product ideally is the best it can be.
Under the present system of fast returns on investment, the short-circuiting of research and development, the financialization of our economy, this is reflected in the music that is produced today.

The cottage industry today is the folk singer (trad or otherwise) who is not being coopted by the so-called music industry. They maybe pro or non-paid but they are the antidote to a poisoned
musical culture by money.

It’s OK to support folk musicians by paying them to do what they do best and like to do but it becomes absurd to
hear undeveloped and obviously specious talent buried under layers of
so-called “production” and making exhorbitant amounts of money for their
“product”. It’s true, that is less today since the music industry is tanking.

In corporate America, the contemporary singer, songwriter, musician or creator is a commodity that is at the whim of planned obsolescence, since what is popular today vanishes tomorrow regardless of musical value.

When exposed to quality music, an audience is generally built for it. Today’s audiences are “narrow-casted”
rather then “broad-casted”. The problem is one of the monopoly on exposure.

WMG would be well advised to look for
decent talent and promote them as was more so done earlier by such A and R men such as John Hammond senior at Columbia Records.

Silicon Valley financial hotshots have their hooks into musical entertainment today.


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Subject: RE: Why folk won't be popular now
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 09 Jun 22 - 06:43 AM

Furthermore - surely what attracted many of back in the 1950's and 1960's was the dynamism behind that vision


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Subject: RE: Why folk won't be popular now
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 09 Jun 22 - 06:41 AM

Perhaps we should stop trying to analyse 'what is', and concentrate on our vision of what we'd like it to be.

After all when Seeger and MacColl were getting things going in our respective countries - they had to be visionaries.


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Subject: RE: Why folk won't be popular now
From: Vic Smith
Date: 09 Jun 22 - 05:42 AM

Dick wrote: -
Vic , my experience is this is fine for tune sessions,and the standard is good but in the uk i have experienced song singarounds where the standard is very low.
One of the song & tune sessions that I am talking about had 35 people there - more than a number of paying folk clubs that I have been to this year. I put photos from it on my facebook page. Have a look at it, Dick, you will see three people who make their living playing and singing in folk clubs.
The people who inspired me and attracted me to folk song and music in the late 1950s did not make their living by singing. Perhaps we are gradually reverting to this. It could be just what the scene needs.


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Subject: RE: Why folk won't be popular now
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 08 Jun 22 - 10:04 PM

Frank: Pete eschewed the label for himself as a “folk singer”. Many of us “folkies” referred to ourselves as singers of folk songs.

Doing that on Folkways Records qualifies for both absurd and semantics methinks. Certainly too long for the inventory tag. In North American retail, the product was found in the Folk aisle/shelf/bin. Just plain ol' Folk.

Belafonte came up through ballroom and saw himself as an actor. Sing-a-longs were his stock-in-trade. The Colgate Hour TV spots made the Calypso album a million seller before it shipped. He won the first dedicated Folk Grammy for Swing dat Hammer. I wouldn't call any of it "authentic" or "traditional" but that's just me. He's Male or Pop Vocal, moving towards Oldies these days.

Rhiannon Giddens identifies as country, blues and old-time. The 2022 Grammy is under American Roots Music. The artist's ytube pages have links to her Homepage, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram & Patreon accts. They'll take you to her next show/schedule and a Ticketmaster link. That's how the kids roll these days.

One doesn't win a Grammy without a maximum team effort. Warner Music Group spends a bundle getting the music & the word out. It's what they do. Do you want them to do more or less of that?

You're more likely to see the Almanac Singers, Paul Campbell and Harry Thomas together at your local club than Rhiannon Giddens. If your local gig isn't working out for you, it ain't WMG's doing.


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Subject: RE: Why folk won't be popular now
From: Stringsinger
Date: 08 Jun 22 - 07:00 PM

The folk scene in Brighton and other places across the pond seems live and healthy.

Paul Campbell was the pseudonym used for
the publishing wing of the Weavers. When they performed live they interacted physically with the audience who invariably clapped on the off beat during gospel type numbers.

Pete eschewed the label for himself as a “folk singer”. Many of us “folkies” referred to ourselves as singers of folk songs.

Through our School, there is plenty of physical interaction between students and teachers, jams and singarounds.

YouTube is the best source for hearing what young folk type singers are doing such as Rising Appalachia, Rhianon Gidens, and others but you have to know about them first. Many who would enjoy their performance don’t know about them.
It’s increasingly difficult to hear new artists live.
Even, because of Covid, seasoned performers are relegated to a small screen. Some of these performances are done with professional production but some aren’t.

There’s no substitute for a live performer. But
they have to be recognized first.


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Subject: RE: Why folk won't be popular now
From: Amergin
Date: 08 Jun 22 - 05:24 PM

Well, by folk you mean boring college folk groups that all sound the same...then yeah.

But if not, it's still there, kids are playing it and loving it. It's also evolved into other interesting sounds, like the Bridge City Sinners, taking a bluegrass sound and punking it up. They're far from the only ones.

And yes, there are many kids today playing more traditional music. You're just not paying attention, as the culture evolves.


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Subject: RE: Why folk won't be popular now
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 08 Jun 22 - 05:09 PM

Guest: Folk music, in as long as I've been involved in it, has always been about physical interaction between people. Is that no longer the case?

Nobody on planet Earth ever physically interacted with Paul Campbell. He never was. So either you don't see Pete Seeger as a folk musician and Moe Asch as a folk producer or... you simply have different a genre label for the product. The former is absurd and the latter marketing semantics. Which is it?

Scopitone came way before MTV and the internet. I have 'folk' music on piano roll. It's all good.


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Subject: RE: Why folk won't be popular now
From: GUEST
Date: 08 Jun 22 - 04:35 PM

The interenet is the same as watching the telly. Folk music, in as long as I've been involved in it, has always been about physical interaction between people. Is that no longer the case ?


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Subject: RE: Why folk won't be popular now
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 08 Jun 22 - 04:01 PM

Popular music is only unpopular when it's too popular for its own good. Burn out. “...never again as long as I effing live, please” gets voted the most popular cover of Wind Beneath My Wings and so it goes. Otherwise, +99.9% of consumers do not care what any one artist thinks, says or does.

1930s Stinson Trading Co. & future Weavers producer Milt Gabler both ran on the business model of not popular but still profitable music…eg: the bargain bin concept and the United Hot Club jazz reissues. What's not to like?

All three parts of the 1940-1970 'pop algorithm' (media sales, juke box plays and AM radio requests) have gone away with the media. Not coming back.

Folk, as a pop genre, was all but gone before the physical media died. It only exists today in music industry awards and the e-commerce world of infinite shelf and floor space. If mainstream “brick & mortar” retail somehow managed a miracle comeback, Folk would continue to be parsed out into Oldies, Country, Pop Vocal, World &c &c.

Otoh… It's never been easier to listen to free folk music on the internet… Weavers, Belafonte, Fred Neil & the 2022 Grammy winner… all courtesy of ytube; Warner Music Group et al, right at your fingertips. Free, save for your utility bills and their commercials of course.


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Subject: RE: Why folk won't be popular now
From: The Sandman
Date: 08 Jun 22 - 03:05 PM

Vic , my experience is this is fine for tune sessions,and the standard is good but in the uk i have experienced song singarounds where the standard is very low.
My Experience is that in guest booking clubs in the uk floorsingers up their standard when guests like Martin Carthy are booked


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Subject: RE: Why folk won't be popular now
From: Vic Smith
Date: 08 Jun 22 - 11:54 AM

From: Stringsinger - PM
Date: 06 Jun 22 - 03:41 PM

The best way for musicians, folk singers, and performers is to by-pass the music industry rather than take them on


With the gradual opening up of pubs / venues in the Hastings - Lewes - Brighton area, the trend is towards more free tune sessions in some welcoming screen-free pubs. I have been to several in various past month and I have been able to take part in some wonderful tune and song & tune sessions. Mostly not a penny changes hands but in some Brighton weekly sessions the pub will pay a retainer to the central lead musicians to be there each week.
From a musical point this feels healthy.
From a health point of view there, it remains problematic because this mild form of Covid is rife in this area and I could name many musicians (including my wife) who have tested positive and then felt very rough for a couple of days after being infected at folk clubs and sessions.


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Subject: RE: Why folk won't be popular now
From: Stringsinger
Date: 08 Jun 22 - 11:09 AM

I think that the notion of “folk music” has always been commercialized by recording companies, radio stations, TV and other media. The difference today is that at least here in the States, the musical culture is being monopolized more than it has ever been before. At the same time, a renewed interest in folk music here is being undertaken by young people but is denied access to the public who is unaware of the enormous talent that exists away from the media. I believe that now more than ever it is a concerted effort to repress music that is not commericial by business interests away even from the traditional music industry which is coopted by Silicon Valley and areas of private enterprise. I think of it as the Walmartization of music. You really have to spend time and energy on ferreting out good music now.
The general public is deprived of it.

When this occurred during the late Fifties, college concerts were prevalent and people like Pete Seeger were opening up new pathways for good music to reach the public. There were coffee houses and small venues available. Today, Covid shut many of these venues down. The situation might be different in Britain, Scotland, Ireland or Wales or Australia but in the US, you see this diminishing availability of new important talent reflected in movie companies such as Netflix, and outlets for classical music and jazz. There is a kind of cancel culture being spread that overlaps into the artistic communities fostered by private business interests. My point it that it is more extreme now than it has ever been.

Solution: encourage people to participate more in music by learning to play it. As this is done, a taste for music is developed and not minimized.
The analogy would be a grass roots participation in local political and social activity rather than going along mindlessly with the popular culture. This is why Mudcat is so valuable.


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Subject: RE: Why folk won't be popular now
From: Tony Rees
Date: 07 Jun 22 - 03:12 PM

Stringsinger wrote:

(quote) The role of music in society is an analogue for what we are experiencing now. Artistic pursuits are denegrated to money making or treated as “entertainment” for diversion. Our culture is one of escapism and trivializing rather than reaching for meaning in our lives. Folk music is in danger of being considered a cute pastime rather than an important index into our history (end quote)

Was it not always thus, to varying degrees? Even in the days of the "folk scare" (thinking Greenwich Village early 60s), and through following decades, performers had to make their act "entertaining" enough that promoters/club owners etc; would book them - no audience, no repeat work. In most cases the "entertainment" aspect would then be a "front" for deeper engagement with the music through the set. Presentation of folk music as a serious, academic-only, special interest pursuit has never had much popular appeal even though on some occasions it may be warranted (such as performances by important singers/musicians from the past, received with some reverence hopefully).

Of course there are other areas (such classical music) where the music is expected to speak for itself (appeal directly to the senses) without requiring a veneer of "entertainment", and some folk music does that as well - again part of the mix. But rarely "popular" except perhaps at the peak of the "folk boom" when (e.g.) Pentangle could sell out the Royal Albert Hall, mostly an underground/niche area that relies on local level support for its ongoing existence (I am discounting the folk-pop singers here e.g. the John Denver types who successfully made the transition to the world of popular entertainment - although arguably some have done this as well without losing their integrity, think maybe Alison Krauss, Emmylou Harris etc. on the U.S. scene, not sure who their equivalents would be in the U.K.).

Cheers - Tony


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