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THE FOLK MUSIC SCENE

There is a whole folk scene that is an important part of American music that is out there but is hard to follow. Most of the TV stations that play music videos do not play this music, and likewise with most radio stations. Occasionally if you look around the dial, a college station might play what is contemporary, now and then, but there is no guarantee you will hear anything on any given night. That is regrettable for folks like me, who would typically prefer folk based music, among other things, to pop music, most of the time.

So, I may be carrying the torch but there it is!

In this music/art blog, I will make entries and selections for folk artists that have either affected or influenced me, and who I think deserve attention. The triggering event may be some memory, or conversation, or something on the news, or some other song, I never can tell what may bring a particular song I haven’t heard in a while to mind.

If there are any artists you think deserve mention and listening to who are generally (and I emphasize generally) considered to be close to the folk genre, please chime in!

I thought I might start this blog off with a sensational singer/performer who sadly died before her music became widely known.  Her name is Eva Cassidy and she has to be one of the most magnificent performers of acoustic based music I have ever heard. Eva did not write songs; like Joan Baez, she performed them. In Joan Baez’s case she often performed songs of up and coming songwriters, famously Bob Dylan, but in Eva’s case, she generally chooses songs that are already known and in many cases, classics.

Remarkably I did not hear of Eva until 2003-2004. In those days I would drive every Sunday morning up to an assisted living home in Ossining New York, to spend a few hours with my Mom who was there. It was about a 45 minute drive, early Sunday mornings, and I would listen to a college radio station on that quiet, reflective ride.

That is when I first heard Eva sing this song by Gordon Lightfoot, Early Morning Rain. Of course for me this was a great classic. I first heard of it in the 1960s while I was wandering around Canada over the summer with a Canadian friend of mine. Gordon Lightfoot was already a national hero; he just captured something about Canada is his music.

Many artists have done renditions of this classic, and though they are good, they never came close to the original, at least not in my eyes.

That is until I heard Eva Cassidy that early Sunday morning, driving up to Ossining, in the Hudson Valley mist, up the Palisades Parkway, to visit with my Mom for a few hours of a busy life.

I have been enchanted ever since.