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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
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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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