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Where Have All The Americans gone?

Jerry Rasmussen 11 Oct 06 - 09:41 AM
Geoff the Duck 11 Oct 06 - 09:49 AM
Betsy 11 Oct 06 - 09:50 AM
Jerry Rasmussen 11 Oct 06 - 09:53 AM
McGrath of Harlow 11 Oct 06 - 09:59 AM
GUEST,Bee 11 Oct 06 - 10:03 AM
GUEST 11 Oct 06 - 10:04 AM
GUEST,Bee 11 Oct 06 - 10:10 AM
Scoville 11 Oct 06 - 10:13 AM
DebC 11 Oct 06 - 10:15 AM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 11 Oct 06 - 10:29 AM
Betsy 11 Oct 06 - 10:32 AM
McGrath of Harlow 11 Oct 06 - 10:41 AM
M.Ted 11 Oct 06 - 11:12 AM
Scoville 11 Oct 06 - 11:29 AM
Ebbie 11 Oct 06 - 11:36 AM
Scrump 11 Oct 06 - 11:52 AM
Midchuck 11 Oct 06 - 12:03 PM
Big Al Whittle 11 Oct 06 - 12:04 PM
Scoville 11 Oct 06 - 12:12 PM
Bert 11 Oct 06 - 12:23 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 11 Oct 06 - 12:30 PM
282RA 11 Oct 06 - 12:52 PM
Elmer Fudd 11 Oct 06 - 01:02 PM
Dan Schatz 11 Oct 06 - 01:27 PM
Don(Wyziwyg)T 11 Oct 06 - 01:32 PM
Don(Wyziwyg)T 11 Oct 06 - 01:34 PM
Steve-o 11 Oct 06 - 02:30 PM
McGrath of Harlow 11 Oct 06 - 02:49 PM
Ebbie 11 Oct 06 - 03:04 PM
Ferrara 11 Oct 06 - 03:33 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 11 Oct 06 - 03:40 PM
GUEST,Bee 11 Oct 06 - 03:41 PM
Richard Bridge 11 Oct 06 - 03:57 PM
dick greenhaus 11 Oct 06 - 03:59 PM
McGrath of Harlow 11 Oct 06 - 04:01 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 11 Oct 06 - 04:08 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 11 Oct 06 - 04:09 PM
McGrath of Harlow 11 Oct 06 - 04:35 PM
terrier 11 Oct 06 - 06:44 PM
gnu 11 Oct 06 - 06:54 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 11 Oct 06 - 07:23 PM
Rapparee 11 Oct 06 - 07:24 PM
Maryrrf 11 Oct 06 - 07:32 PM
McGrath of Harlow 11 Oct 06 - 07:52 PM
terrier 11 Oct 06 - 08:11 PM
GUEST,Janie 11 Oct 06 - 08:23 PM
jimmyt 11 Oct 06 - 09:09 PM
Azizi 11 Oct 06 - 09:10 PM
Rapparee 11 Oct 06 - 09:41 PM
Big Mick 11 Oct 06 - 09:56 PM
Janie 11 Oct 06 - 11:14 PM
Ron Davies 11 Oct 06 - 11:32 PM
GUEST,Boab 11 Oct 06 - 11:48 PM
GUEST,Art Thieme 12 Oct 06 - 01:21 AM
The Shambles 12 Oct 06 - 02:22 AM
Scrump 12 Oct 06 - 04:09 AM
GUEST 12 Oct 06 - 04:12 AM
Big Mick 12 Oct 06 - 07:13 AM
McGrath of Harlow 12 Oct 06 - 07:43 AM
GUEST 12 Oct 06 - 07:57 AM
McGrath of Harlow 12 Oct 06 - 08:37 AM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 12 Oct 06 - 09:28 AM
GUEST,Bee 12 Oct 06 - 10:26 AM
Scrump 12 Oct 06 - 10:30 AM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 12 Oct 06 - 10:36 AM
GUEST 12 Oct 06 - 10:36 AM
McGrath of Harlow 12 Oct 06 - 10:41 AM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 12 Oct 06 - 10:47 AM
GUEST,wherriebob 12 Oct 06 - 10:49 AM
GUEST 12 Oct 06 - 10:50 AM
Uncle_DaveO 12 Oct 06 - 11:01 AM
Richard Bridge 12 Oct 06 - 12:17 PM
Rapparee 12 Oct 06 - 12:39 PM
Geoff Wallis 12 Oct 06 - 12:58 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 12 Oct 06 - 01:11 PM
Janice in NJ 12 Oct 06 - 02:33 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 12 Oct 06 - 02:43 PM
Rapparee 12 Oct 06 - 03:13 PM
McGrath of Harlow 12 Oct 06 - 03:14 PM
Richard Bridge 12 Oct 06 - 03:17 PM
Scrump 12 Oct 06 - 03:49 PM
Rapparee 12 Oct 06 - 03:52 PM
Amos 12 Oct 06 - 04:31 PM
Dave'sWife 12 Oct 06 - 04:55 PM
Richard Bridge 12 Oct 06 - 04:59 PM
Rapparee 12 Oct 06 - 05:45 PM
Bill D 12 Oct 06 - 05:49 PM
Richard Bridge 12 Oct 06 - 05:53 PM
Gurney 12 Oct 06 - 05:57 PM
Rapparee 12 Oct 06 - 06:07 PM
Richard Bridge 12 Oct 06 - 06:22 PM
Gurney 12 Oct 06 - 11:02 PM
GUEST,Bee 12 Oct 06 - 11:34 PM
Rapparee 12 Oct 06 - 11:50 PM
GUEST,Bee 13 Oct 06 - 12:01 AM
Barry Finn 13 Oct 06 - 02:10 AM
Geoff the Duck 13 Oct 06 - 06:12 AM
Leadfingers 13 Oct 06 - 07:46 AM
Leadfingers 13 Oct 06 - 07:47 AM
kendall 13 Oct 06 - 08:40 AM
Rapparee 13 Oct 06 - 09:09 AM
GUEST 13 Oct 06 - 10:00 AM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 13 Oct 06 - 10:08 AM
Pete_Standing 13 Oct 06 - 12:58 PM
Steve-o 13 Oct 06 - 06:04 PM
wilco 13 Oct 06 - 06:29 PM
Big Mick 13 Oct 06 - 06:34 PM
Tootler 13 Oct 06 - 07:34 PM
McGrath of Harlow 13 Oct 06 - 07:38 PM
Barry Finn 13 Oct 06 - 08:07 PM
GUEST,Jim 13 Oct 06 - 08:43 PM
Rapparee 13 Oct 06 - 10:52 PM
Bert 13 Oct 06 - 11:11 PM
Geoff the Duck 14 Oct 06 - 08:07 AM
GUEST,Patrick Costello 14 Oct 06 - 08:53 AM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 14 Oct 06 - 09:58 AM
Janie 14 Oct 06 - 12:15 PM
Richard Bridge 14 Oct 06 - 12:35 PM
Betsy 14 Oct 06 - 08:23 PM
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Subject: Where Have All The Americans gone?
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 11 Oct 06 - 09:41 AM

A current check of the top 20 music threads show 14 of them about music in the UK. Another one is about the shawl being auctioned, which leaves 5 music threads that are not pertinent to any particular country. I note this, not as a complaint, or with any suggestion in mind. When I run through the music threads every time that I come onto the Cat, I have to search to find any that relate to a song I might have heard, or a performer from this country. There is currently a thread on Etta Baker, and one on Cindy Mangsen and Steve Gillette, but it seems like the American contingent of this community is either drifting away, or not starting threads in the music section. That speaks well of my friends across the sea, and there are music threads started by them that I truly enjoy. But, I can see where people might the impression that this is primarily a UK folk community.

Where have all the Americans gone?

Guess I better put up or shut up, so I'll start a thread about Folk music in Greenwich Village and Berkely in the 60's.

Missing my countrymen..

Jerry


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Subject: RE: Where Have All The Americans gone?
From: Geoff the Duck
Date: 11 Oct 06 - 09:49 AM

We keep finding them over here.
Quack!
Geoff the Duck.


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Subject: RE: Where Have All The Americans gone?
From: Betsy
Date: 11 Oct 06 - 09:50 AM

Peaks and troughs Jerry - don't worry about - we're still listening to ya over here in the U.K.

Cheers

Betsy.


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Subject: RE: Where Have All The Americans gone?
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 11 Oct 06 - 09:53 AM

Thank God for the UKers. This place would be a ghost world without you.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: Where Have All The Americans gone?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 11 Oct 06 - 09:59 AM

I've noticed that - I'm hoping it's as Betsy said, rather than a longterm trend. One of the things I most value about the Cat has been the interplay across the Atlantic. (And other oceans as well.)

I think a specific prefix for threads about local stuff - clubs and gigs and so forth - might be helpful for people in finding their way around to threads which might be more relevant for them.


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Subject: RE: Where Have All The Americans gone?
From: GUEST,Bee
Date: 11 Oct 06 - 10:03 AM

My pet theory, Jerry, is that geography and population size play a big part. From this site: http://www.mongabay.com/igapo/world_statistics_by_area.htm

Area (sq. km.) of US = 9,629,091 UK = 244,820

Populations are UK app. 60 million, US app. 300 million

Folkie people in the UK are a lot more likely to be close to events and to other folkies, and a lot more likely to know a larger portion of the folk scene because it is no where near as scattered over the landscape. Therefore they are more likely to find out about the same music websites.

Canada's area is lited as 9,976,140 sq. km., but our population is only 32 million. We are far apart, but more likely to know of each other.


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Subject: RE: Where Have All The Americans gone?
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Oct 06 - 10:04 AM

There seems to be a fair number of Canadians who seem to have no trouble relating to the music threads, UK or USA.


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Subject: RE: Where Have All The Americans gone?
From: GUEST,Bee
Date: 11 Oct 06 - 10:10 AM

We're famous for wantin' to know other people's stories. Some think we're just nosey parkers. ;-)


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Subject: RE: Where Have All The Americans gone?
From: Scoville
Date: 11 Oct 06 - 10:13 AM

I've always thought Mudcat was very Brit-centric in general. I don't mean that as a complaint since we don't see a lot of current British folk music in my area, I just figured that was the way it was.

I admit, though, that I often don't bring my American folk-related questions because I sometimes feel like a) either I get into yet another argument about whether or not it's folk/traditional/whatever, or 2) it gets passed over for whatever reason. If nobody knows or wants to talk about it, fine, but it does seem like the majority of music discussed is British or has British roots. Again, not a complaint--that's how it was when I got here so I figured I could take it as is.


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Subject: RE: Where Have All The Americans gone?
From: DebC
Date: 11 Oct 06 - 10:15 AM

I'm here! :-)

Deb Cowan, who straddles both worlds and likes it that way


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Subject: RE: Where Have All The Americans gone?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 11 Oct 06 - 10:29 AM

I think many Americans have grown weary of the constant bickering that seems to invade these threads. (And I apologize for adding to that mess in the past.)

I also think that American folk music has more diversity. With a wider range, it becomes harder to develop converstions.   A few weeks ago I put up a post (in response to a UK posting) that asked for people to mention some of their favorite festival performers. The response was minimal.

Our respect for the traditions seem to be growing thin as the audience ages. While I have seen young people taking up the style, they still perform to an audience that is drawing pension checks. The interest is fading.

Maybe I am growing sour as I grow older.   Last week we hosted Guy Davis at the Hurdy Gurdy.   For a venue in Bergen County, one of the most populated counties in the U.S., we were only able to draw 50 people. That is shameful for an artist of his caliber.

Americans are apathetic and would rather sit at home watching TV.

Those of you who know me realize I am usually a very optomistic person.   I'm beginning to think I've just been fooling myself.


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Subject: RE: Where Have All The Americans gone?
From: Betsy
Date: 11 Oct 06 - 10:32 AM

Bee is correct in her geographical "bit" - and from what I understand, distance is a completely different thing in the USA, in that, again( I understand ) that an American wouldn't think anything of driving say 50 miles to go to a folk club type of thing, whereas 50 miles to a Brit for a night out is a BIG BIG deal and it would need to be something extra special.
I think we also have strong dividing lines between the genres, Traditional mu& Singer songwriters in a traditional vein, and then, Country and Western ( we don't seem to differentiate between Country, and Country and Western ) which don't, for some reason make good bed fellows.
Just to keep you happy Jerry, and talk things American , I recently had the very great pleasure of meeting-up at my friends house and listening to a guy who was going to be playing in a small village in North Yorkshire over here.
A guy by the name of Pete Huttlinger - sensational guitarist , good good singer and a bloody nice guy.
O.K. now Jerry ? .

Cheers

Betsy .


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Subject: RE: Where Have All The Americans gone?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 11 Oct 06 - 10:41 AM

GUEST Bee's point about geography playing a major part in this is what I had in mind when I suggested that a special prefix for local club and gig stuff might help.

There are so many threads it's only too easy to miss the ones you'd really like to get into. One way of dealing with that kind of thing is splitting up into different forums, or adopting the solution which has worked well enough for BS, but I'd be agains that. Hiowever perhaps an extra prefix, properly used could be way of achieving the same end less divisively and more flexibly.

I'd be against geographical prefixes though - just one indicating that a thread was about some local activity would be enough. Maybe "Reg" for "regional" would do. Regions can mean whatever people choose them to mean. (There are organisations with individual regions that involve grouping together a number of countries.)


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Subject: RE: Where Have All The Americans gone?
From: M.Ted
Date: 11 Oct 06 - 11:12 AM

The more UK oriented the threads become, the less there is to bring and keep new American folkies here. The way to change that is to create new content that draws people in--

I have thought that it would be great to add a "Folk-wiki" to Mudcat, because it would render what happens here, which, on a good day, at least, is to pull together bits of information and experience into one place, and make it more useable---it would give folks a more structured and lasting way to contribute, too.


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Subject: RE: Where Have All The Americans gone?
From: Scoville
Date: 11 Oct 06 - 11:29 AM

Excuse me, but I take exception to the generalization that Americans are apathetic and would rather be watching television. I'm sure there are plenty of Brits who sit around watching television, too, just as there are lots of Americans who play folk music.

Since diversity was mentioned, I'm going to go ahead and blab that one of the reasons I hestitate to post American music questions on here is that I feel like non-Brit-based American music either gets ignored or starts a fight about not-being-folk. Blues fares pretty well. Some Canadian music does well (which may be French, indigenous, or Brit-based). Cajun draws very little. Bluegrass and a lot of folk-rock, alt country, etc. starts a shitstorm about whether or not it's valid. Well, that's the outlet for the folk "spirit" in (my part of) the U.S. these days--independent folk/rock/country musicians. Since I'm really sick of arguing about what is or is not folk, I just don't freaking post it.

As to respect for traditions growing thin: If respecting traditions means I have to sing it the way Child collected it or so-and-so played it or I'm out of line, screw that. Times change. Music changes. If it didn't, we'd probably still be beating on logs with sticks. Whenever I hear this, what I'm hearing is somebody complaining that the rest of the world isn't doing it their way. So what? Go out and do it your way and eventually you're going to find someone who DOES respect those traditions and wants to jump in the deep end. I know we all get sick of being "ambassadors" but a little bit of exposure is better than none at all and the quickest way to kill off the music is to be miserly and unapproachable with it.

And yes, I'm sick of the bickering. Go argue on PM. The America-bashing is getting a little old, too. Most of the Americans on here have issues with the current state of things, anyway, with the exception of the usual few who stink up the room to entertain themselves.


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Subject: RE: Where Have All The Americans gone?
From: Ebbie
Date: 11 Oct 06 - 11:36 AM

"Americans are apathetic and would rather sit at home watching TV." Ron O

It depends on where they are, no doubt. In Juneau Alaska the townspeople would attend, as they say, the opening of an envelope. We are a small city (30,000) and especially after the tourist season one has to choose from among 5 or 7 things to do every weekend. And it's not just weekends- last night (a Tuesday) over a hundred poured into a local church venue to hear Collette Costa and friends perform.

Collette is locally famous for her changes of clothes, often worn over each other and for her fantastic voice and wide repertoire. She's originally from New Jersey and settled in Juneau a few years back; we know how fortunate we are to have her here.

Last night she sang songs from Tin Pan Alley, songs from the old west, old standards, a couple of Townes Van Zandt songs, and several songs written by local people. She was backed variously by Robert Cohen on grand piano, a guy on a drum set, a guy on a guitar, a young woman singing harmony and two saxophones. It was a great three hours.

As for the music threads being populated mostly by non-USers, I know that this is not what is being said or meant but it reminds me of what a man said here on Election Day.

Juneau is a long narrow town and for some reason the downtown area (the governmental seat) is quite different from the Valley area less than 10 miles away. Downtown is more politically liberal and with fewer families; there is less room so there are fewer yards and less parking. The local twit is that Valley people are living as close to Seattle as they can get.

On Election Day an old guy from the VAlley groused, 'That measure will probably pass just because of downtown. It's not fair that we in the Valley don't have a chance - downtown turnout is 100%.'


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Subject: RE: Where Have All The Americans gone?
From: Scrump
Date: 11 Oct 06 - 11:52 AM

Excuse me, but I take exception to the generalization that Americans are apathetic and would rather be watching television. I'm sure there are plenty of Brits who sit around watching television, too, just as there are lots of Americans who play folk music.

That remark was made by an American - why bring the Brits into it? We never said nowt.

;-)


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Subject: RE: Where Have All The Americans gone?
From: Midchuck
Date: 11 Oct 06 - 12:03 PM

Anyone in England can drive to any festival in England, if he/she has a car and a driver's license and can get the weekend off from work (and the motorways aren't so crowded that everything comes to a stop). That would lead to all the folkies in England being more likely to know each other than in the US. Like, I've wanted to go to the Getaway for several years, but it just isn't doable without us taking a Friday and a Monday off, and Kris only gets four personal days a year.

Also, the point about styles being a lot more diverse, even within "folk music," is well taken.

Peter


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Subject: RE: Where Have All The Americans gone?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 11 Oct 06 - 12:04 PM

I have to go clubs to see my favourite artists. The festivals don't book them. and anyway they seem to work better in clubs.

I suppose Ralph McTell is my favourite person who gets asked to do festivals.


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Subject: RE: Where Have All The Americans gone?
From: Scoville
Date: 11 Oct 06 - 12:12 PM

I know it was made by an American and the point was made previously that the forum has become chiefly Brit, so my point was that Americans sitting on their butts in front of TV is an inadequate explanation.


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Subject: RE: Where Have All The Americans gone?
From: Bert
Date: 11 Oct 06 - 12:23 PM

...they still perform to an audience that is drawing pension checks. The interest is fading...


I don't know if it's the interest that's fading, more likely - it's the spare cash that's fading.

Which gives me an idea. Would it be possible for Mudcat to regularly post some music that we can listen to. Then we could perhaps get to hear some of these performers even if we can't afford to travel to their concerts. Sort of a song of the week thing, then we could have a thread to discuss it.


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Subject: RE: Where Have All The Americans gone?
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 11 Oct 06 - 12:30 PM

Size matters. America is a BIGGG country.

I just put my Handful of Songs album out on CD and when I look down the list of friends who played on the album when I recorded it in 1989 it makes me realize how long it is since I've seen most of them. Sally Rogers and Howie Bursen worked on the album, and I don't think I've seen Howie since then. I saw Sally once, and she came up and introduced herself, even though she's a long time friend. It's pretty sad when your friends have to wear name tags. Ed Trickett worked on the album, and I don't believe I've seen him since then. I go down the list, and that's the case with most of the other musicians: Gordon Bok, Skip Gorman, Pat Conte, Chris Shaw and Dave Para and Cathy Barton. I don't think that I've seen any of them more than twice in the last 17 years. When I was running a concert series, I booked all of these people several times and came to know them as friends. No one is going to drive several hundred miles just to sit around the kitchen table. We have to do that in cyber space now.

My perception (tell me that I'm wrong) is that UKers, Aussies, Canucks (is that a slanderous term? I hope not) Danes, and all the rest of you are much more narrowly focused on traditional music than us Americans. I start threads on groups like Los Lobos, knowing that it will peak at three or four responses. And I do it anyway, just for the few people who might know who Los Lobos is, or have an adventurous mind. Maybe it goes back to growing up in England and mostly just hearing whatever BBC chose to play. Over here, we grew up exposed to a crazy mix of music. It doesn't seem strange that Richie Valens had a hit with La Bamba, polkas were all the rage in the forties, rhythm and blues and soul music shared the airwaves with crooners and rockabilly and Dave Brubeck. In my collection of music, folk music makes up maybe 15% of the total. It's a beloved 15%, but if that was all I listened to, I'd go nuts.

This being a folk music site, it's reasonable that there isn't a lot of response to non-folk music (even if it can be argued that Los Lobos is as "folk" as Fairport Convetion.)

Maybe someday there'll be a community for people who plain just love music.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: Where Have All The Americans gone?
From: 282RA
Date: 11 Oct 06 - 12:52 PM

I posted about this once also. When I first started posting here around 2000 or so, it seemed to me to be overwhelmingly North American in nature. I posted about people like Scott Joplin, Kid Ory, Gene Vincent and like that and got good feedback and some very entertaining and interesting discussions.

I don't do this anymore because the forums is so Brit-centric that I don't see the point. All they talk about is stuff that I have no idea about. Occasionally, I recognize a name such as Ewan MacColl (even then I've only heard a few things by him) but most of the time, I have no idea what they're talking about so I stay off the threads since I don't know what they're talking about and I don't want to post about American folk/blues/country/ragtime personalities because it doesn't appear that these personalities resonate in the minds of non-Americans much and American posters don't seem much interested in posting much anymore.

When I look through the music threads, I find very few that are interesting enough to post in, so I end up posting in the bullshit section all the time. Before 2004 or so, I NEVER posted in the bullshit section because the music section was far more interesting. Now, it's done a complete turnaround.


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Subject: RE: Where Have All The Americans gone?
From: Elmer Fudd
Date: 11 Oct 06 - 01:02 PM

I started two or three threads about performers or groups I heard in concert and thought were terrific, or at least making interesting music worth discussion, and they sank to the bottom of the deep blue page with nary a comment.

Nasty personal attacks by people who disagree with other's opinions also discourage posting freely for those of us with epidermi thinner than rhinoceros hides.

Elmer


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Subject: RE: Where Have All The Americans gone?
From: Dan Schatz
Date: 11 Oct 06 - 01:27 PM

Well, I just started a thread about an American traditional music festival. We'll see if anyone notices.

I've noticed that there is a lot of UK specific content - perhaps more than there is US specific content. On the other hand, there are lots of threads that apply equally well in both places, in Canada, and everywhere else. Being conscious that our more general threads will be read on both sides of the Atlantic might help us surpass those kinds of divisions.

As far as nasty comments - I know it's just my way, but I try very hard not to say anything gratuitously negative about anyone on the 'net, Mudcat included. Even if I were inclined to be snarky ( or "Mudcatty?!"), the knowledge that whatever I say here will be preserved in perpetuity through Google and other search engines would be a pretty convincing corrective. Do I really want "snarky" to be the image I present to the world? I don't think so.

It does sadden me to realize that some people have been disuaded from participating in the Mudcat because of that kind of unpleasantness. For me the overarching goal is always the preservation of folk music as a living tradition. Being nice to people (even when they don't yet know much) is one way to do that.

Just my 2 cents.

Dan Schatz


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Subject: RE: Where Have All The Americans gone?
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 11 Oct 06 - 01:32 PM

One of the problems with relating to each other's music is that we, in the UK, tend to know only those American acts who cross the pond to perform. This leaves us able to respond only by saying "Who?" when first class local American acts are being discussed.

I suspect that the same is true in t'other direction.

It would be a great help to have a way of hearing these people through posting examples of their work for members to enjoy. The same would be true of hearing Mudcatter's songs.

More and more I find myself ashamed to be a countryman of those who refer to "American music" with a slight, but noticeable, sneer as "not folk".

It is long past time that they realised that EVERY country has its own traditions, all equally valid.

Brits, in particular, are prone to refer to "a thousand years of history", when in fact very little music can be traced back further than 200 years, and much of that belongs in genres other than folk.

Just my 2p worth of opinion, which will, no doubt, result in my being cut to ribbons by the purists. Still, thats how I see it.

Don T.


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Subject: RE: Where Have All The Americans gone?
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 11 Oct 06 - 01:34 PM

P.S. Please bring back the Americans to this forum. I, for one, really miss 'em.

DT


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Subject: RE: Where Have All The Americans gone?
From: Steve-o
Date: 11 Oct 06 - 02:30 PM

Yeah, I miss 'em too, and I'm one of 'em. I used to think the old stalwarts had just sort of gone by the way, over time, but it seems even those people still show up on the BS threads. Maybe it's a problem with subject matter, I don't know. I know that for myself, I'm pretty good at adding an opinion or some knowledge, but I'm not much good at "starting up" a subject. I agree with Ron that sometimes it kind of disheartening to find so little in discussion about American folk music, and I guess it's partly my own fault.


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Subject: RE: Where Have All The Americans gone?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 11 Oct 06 - 02:49 PM

If people don't start threads about American music because they think the Cat is too overloaded by stuff about music from across the Atlantic the effect is that the Cat gets even more overloaded by stuff about other types of music.

At present that tends to be music from the British Isles. I'd sooner it included more from other places, because it's a big world with lots of wonderful music. (And some of the best from inside North America.)

There's nothing much people over here can do about it really. I suppose they could stop starting threads, but I don't really think that is the right way. I suppose we could start threads about American music, but I'm pretty sure quite a lot of people over here do that in any case.

As for the arguments about whether something is folk or not, true that can get a bit boring, and it diverts attention from the interesting part, which is whether it's any good, and where it comes from and where it's going to and what people can learn from it... But if the discussion about those kinds of things is lively enough, the trainspotter stuff about exact classification should die away.

And unless I'm very much mistaken the "is-this-really-folk" people are as likely to be from over there as from back here.

As for threads not taking-off - I'm sure most people who have ever started threads have started a good few which didn't take off. About every topic under the sun. It's just the way the Mudcat works.

And I repeat my plea for an official prefix for local events and gigs, everywhere, because I think it actually woudl help.


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Subject: RE: Where Have All The Americans gone?
From: Ebbie
Date: 11 Oct 06 - 03:04 PM

When someone says to me "There don't seem to be any interesting threads just now", my inclnation is to respond "Start some." Some will have little or no response but no harm done. Start another on a different subject.


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Subject: RE: Where Have All The Americans gone?
From: Ferrara
Date: 11 Oct 06 - 03:33 PM

I'm not in favor of an official regional prefix for events & gigs, but I am in favor of stating the general location where possible. Guess we should start doing that for the FSGW Getaway too, huh? Would "MD:" be enough of a regional identifier on future Getaway threads? Or "MD,US:"?


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Subject: RE: Where Have All The Americans gone?
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 11 Oct 06 - 03:40 PM

You know, the inherent limitation in all of this is that we're typing these little black squiggly lines, trying to talk about music.
If we were truly sitting around a kitchen table, someone would pull a guitar or tin whistle out of a case and start to play a song. No amount of squiggly lines can emulate that. Or, if you were sitting at the table in our great room, I'd probably say "Have you heard.... and put a CD in the player." When Colin and Terry were here, it was the most natural thing, just to sing or play, or throw some music in the machine. Colin played a CD that he had with him, and the whole UK/US barrier disappeared. I've read endless threads by people that I've come to consider friends in here, with no idea what they or their music sounds like. Some of us have exchanged tapes or CDs (if we have any) and that helps a lot.

We are musicians sharing everything but music. (Other than talking about it.) I don't know any way around it, unless we all were adept at doing blue clickies and posting a song occasionally, in a thread.
That may or not be practical. The only blue clickies I have any familiarity with are when I'm freezing cold.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: Where Have All The Americans gone?
From: GUEST,Bee
Date: 11 Oct 06 - 03:41 PM

Perhaps if a music thread you've started is slow taking off, you could post something else in it to bring it back to the front page. Otherwise, most of us likely will never see it, regardless of its worth. The time span from posters west to posters east also affects who sees a thread before it moves 'back in time'. Those durn Brits are perky and posting while lots of North Americans are sleeping.


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Subject: RE: Where Have All The Americans gone?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 11 Oct 06 - 03:57 PM

And when we have gone to bed, some of the learned American night owls are just hitting their stride.

I think I'd say that some of the most informative postings here have come from non-Brits - some of whom seem to be gone.


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Subject: RE: Where Have All The Americans gone?
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 11 Oct 06 - 03:59 PM

Jerry-
Could it be that the reason you haven't seen or heard your old budies in lo! these many years is that you haven't made any effort to? They're performing, sometimes pretty close to where you are.

And Ron-
Could it be that Guy Davis only drew 50 people because there wasn't enough publicity? I for one might have attended, but I hadn't heard about it.


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Subject: RE: Where Have All The Americans gone?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 11 Oct 06 - 04:01 PM

I'd have thought the time aspect would balance out - after all, if someone in New England sits down and posts something at their 10pm, say, it'll be a longtime before anywhere in Old England is likely to see it.

I know Americans are more spread out - but on the other hand there are a lot more of them around. Something like 300 million now, I read today. So most of them aren't too interested in folk, however you define it, but that's every bit as true in England.


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Subject: RE: Where Have All The Americans gone?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 11 Oct 06 - 04:08 PM

I think that most Americans that consider themselves "folkies" in 2006 are more likely to be listening to contemporary singer-songwriters. There are very few people who discuss this kind of music on this kind of site.

The traditional audience is aging and not being replaced in equal numbers. I think in the UK there is more respect for the traditions and artists have no problem dipping into the well.   Here in the U.S., the trend seems to be the latest song that the artist has written.


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Subject: RE: Where Have All The Americans gone?
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 11 Oct 06 - 04:09 PM

Dick:

I am not aware of many of my friends performing around here in a long time. Dave Para and Cathy Barton live in Missouri and the economics of traveling this far don't make much sense. I've seen a notice of Skip Gorman playing once, and Gordon plays in Hartford once in awhile. My wife and I did go up to hear him and Carol a couple of years ago.

Part of the issue hearing friends perform is that if you're also a performer, you often find that you're performing the same night that they are. The other thing around here is that the number of performance venues has shrunk dramatically in the last fifteen years and many places book younger singer/songwriters. That's not a knock on younger singer/songwriters. I used to be one. But, many of my friends who traveled and performed almost constantly aren't on the road that often, anymore. Sally Rogers and Howie Bursen both have jobs that are a heavy commitment, Chris Shaw, who used to perform regularly down here has taken a full time job and cut way back on performing. And so it goes.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: Where Have All The Americans gone?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 11 Oct 06 - 04:35 PM

Theer does seem to be a lot of animus expressed about "singer-songwriters", and my impression is that this largely comes from Americans. What I mean is, rather than picking out the people who are writing good songs with roots in the American traditions and sharing the discovery, there's a tendency to talk as if such people didn't exist. That might tend to drive away people who are looking for such people.

There is an enormous amount of rubbish out there, wherever you live. But it seems to me the best way is to ignore the stuff that strikes you as rubbish, and concentrate on the stuff you think is worth listening to. I think that even goes for cases where someone else is praising something you think is rubbish. (Except, if it's someone whose taste you have learned to respect, which is true of a number of people on the Cat, give it another listen or two.)

I quite agree with what Jerry said about how it would help if we reached out for the music itself from time to time in our discussions, the way we would if we were in the same room. We can do that too, but it's a matter of getting into the way of doing it casually and easily. My head spins with the rate at which new technology comes along, and I'll never catch up with it, but even if we lag a few years behind the state of the art, there's a whole heap of slightly outdated magic tools ready to hand.

I wish we still had the Mudcat Radio. I wonder if maybe out there there is someone with the know how and dedication and resources to fill in that gap, uasing some of those magic tools.

Preferably someone in America, in the light of the perceived imbalance identified by Jerry in this thread.


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Subject: RE: Where Have All The Americans gone?
From: terrier
Date: 11 Oct 06 - 06:44 PM

I'm UK, I live in UK, if I want to know whats going on in the UK I don't need MUDCAT to tell me. So why do I subscribe to MUDCAT? Simple.
I don't want to be insular, the world's a big interesting place, music is music wherever you live. I know I will probably never meet most of the people who post post on this site from all over the world but I can still get a lot of pleasure from just taking part. Years ago we you'st to have Pen Pals, now we use the internet.

Just a thought, I seem to detect in this thread a feeling of 'where has the folk gone?' Well, I was fortunate enough to be at a session a few years ago at Northwich (pretty well in the middle of the UK.) the music and song was superb. It ranged from Irish trad music through to Cajun and all points in between. It seems that every one in the room had something to give to the evening. Why is this so unusual, well,I've been around the Folk scee for more years than I care to admit to and I've heard too many times the comment 'there's no young people comming into folk'. Well , this room was filled with people at least half my age and it made me realise that folk music hasn't gone anywhere. What is different is that I've grown out of the age group I expected to find it.

Is it possible that MUDCAT is just not attracting the whole gamut of people who are hooked on 'real music'. There are so many sites on the net for people to hook into. I would love to get to some of the song circles and clubs in the States I read about on MUDCAT, but I have to be content just reading the posts.

As a UK'er, I do realise that MUDCAT is esentially an American site but it is a window on the rest of world music that all of us should encourage.

Sorry to go on for so long, I'll get me coat.


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Subject: RE: Where Have All The Americans gone?
From: gnu
Date: 11 Oct 06 - 06:54 PM

terrier : ..."it is a window on the rest of world music that all of us should encourage."

Hear. Hear.


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Subject: RE: Where Have All The Americans gone?
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 11 Oct 06 - 07:23 PM

Hey, Kevin: (I know Kevin's music, by the way, because he was generous in sharing it with me early on in my days here on the Cat.)

I am as computer challenged as the next guy, but I wonder what people would think about a perma-thred that had blue clickies for any Mudcat member who wanted to post them that would link to an on-line site to hear their music. I know that there are a fair number of Catters who have a website where you can hear their music. (I'm not one of them.) But, I do have my Gospel Messengers CD on-line at cdBaby, and when I get my shipment of Handful Of Songs CDs, I'll be putting it on-line at cdBaby, too. I know that Bobert's CD is on there, too, and it's an easy way to hear his music.

And then, there are the five Mudcat blue plate special CDs, which are a wonderful sampler. Think I'll pull one out and put it on the turntable. Is that really a turntable inside my CD player?

Jerry


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Subject: RE: Where Have All The Americans gone?
From: Rapparee
Date: 11 Oct 06 - 07:24 PM

My first post, as a GUEST, was a request for lyrics. I was flamed; I persisted and ask again a year or so later when I didn't post as a guest. THEN I got the lyrics.

Simply being an American can and does lead to being insulted and verbally abused (from the Latin "verbum" meaning "word"). I get tired of it, and my fatigue is coming quicker and quicker.

I can't get to festivals and concerts easily -- last April I went to see Natalie McMaster down in Salt Lake City. It was a three hour drive each way, and my wife and I spent two nights so that we could catch both performances. Earlier, she'd performed in Rexburg, Idaho -- 75 miles away, but it was a one night stand and we couldn't get there.

A year ago April we saw the Chieftains -- in SLC.

There is a very active folk scene here, but they aren't big names and they play the Farmers' Market and other such venues. What might even be called "REAL" folk venues....

Sure, I'll stick around and contribute when I can. But frankly, most of the time MOAB is more fun.


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Subject: RE: Where Have All The Americans gone?
From: Maryrrf
Date: 11 Oct 06 - 07:32 PM

I'm American and I don't post very much, partly because when things got really bad on Mudcat I just lost the inclination to do so, and partly because I'm kind of quiet anyway. I guess Mudcat has become more "Britcentric" but that hasn't bothered me at all, in fact it has gotten me interested in a lot of performers that I wouldn't have known about otherwise, so I think it has really broadened my musical horizons. I do agree that the definition of "folk" in America seems to be broader in scope than what it is in Britain. Since I'm mainly interested in traditional folk, that may be one reason why I find a lot in common with the British part of the on-line community. There just seems to be more emphasis on that aspect of folk music in British circles.   I enjoy the opportunity that Mudcat provides to get a different perspective on the music, and since CD's and downloads are easily available over the internet, if I see a discussion of some British folk singer/instrumentalist who sounds interesting, I am usually able to find a way to listen to samples and purchase a CD if I'm inclined to do so.

So, I have no problem with the fact that Mudcat has lots of input from the Brits. But, I'll try to start contributing more from this side of the pond,just to even things out.


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Subject: RE: Where Have All The Americans gone?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 11 Oct 06 - 07:52 PM

Simply being a human being can and does lead to being insulted and verbally abused. In fact you wouldn't even need to be a human being.

Some people are like that. Most people aren't.   I'll bet that for every instance of verbal abuse any of us has had here there will have been ten, twenty... God knows how many, polite and respectful responses.

Best thing is to ignore the others when they come, as they do come to anyone who posts.
...............
Yes, Jerry, that's the kind of thing I was imagining. The fine details involve stuff I don't understand, but I'm sure there are people who could work it out. And more than that.

I dunno - I read about all this virtual reality and avatars and all that, and I come across amazing looking things every now and again around the net - except that though they look fine the content generally seeme - to me - rubbish. And I envisage someone putting together a "real" Mudcat Tavern where we meet up and listen to each other...

This is drifting the thread though. Right now what is needed is for a few more threads started up and nurtured the way little threads sometimes need nurturing. Threads about, for example, some of the American music that hardly ever seems to turn up here - Cajun, and TexMex and Italian-American... And about people in America who are writing good songs and singing them so they get sung, and who don't deserve to be written off as "just another of those singer-songwriters".


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Subject: RE: Where Have All The Americans gone?
From: terrier
Date: 11 Oct 06 - 08:11 PM

***Cajun, and TexMex and Italian-American... And about people in America who are writing good songs and singing them so they get sung, and who don't deserve to be written off as "just another of those singer-songwriters". ***

Not just in America. Music travels. Over here in the UK we enjoy Cajun, Tex mex etc.

It always amazes me that British trad music is so much used in other countries.It also seems odd to me that UK Bluegrass and Country bands can gain a good acceptance in the States.


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Subject: RE: Where Have All The Americans gone?
From: GUEST,Janie
Date: 11 Oct 06 - 08:23 PM

I vote for "We are a BIGGGG Country" and the apellation 'folk' covers a heck of a lot of musical territory here also. Both comments have already been made above. Also, in most places, we don't have "folk clubs" that seem to equate to the Brit equivalent. Our population is much more dispersed. Geographically small New England and the populated Eastern Seaboard do seem to have definite folk communities, shanty sings, song circles at local pubs, etc. I live in a musically rich area of North Carolina, but we are still spread out relative to New England or larger urban areas. Here folk might mean old-time string music, bluegrass, jugband, mountain ballads, assorted blues genres, old C&W, gospel, spirituals, singer/songwriters, contra dance music, early jazz or fusions of all of the above. It is fairly easy to organize a jam session with lots of fiddle, guitar, banjo and mandolin. Not so easy to get a song circle together.

In my particular neck of the woods, there are plenty of performances, but not so much in the way of participatory events or gatherings.

Janie


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Subject: RE: Where Have All The Americans gone?
From: jimmyt
Date: 11 Oct 06 - 09:09 PM

I have been remiss in not posting much lately but my life has just been going in other directions and I DO miss my friends here a LOT. I promise to get up to see Jerry soon, I am so sorry to have to miss Getaway as it was a hoot last year, and in 2 days I will be meeting my UK friends on a bridge in BANBURY!!! woo-hoo! I have learned almost everything I know about folk music in this forum and it will always be special to me. I hope within the next few months to be back annoying you all on a regular basis! jimmyt


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Subject: RE: Where Have All The Americans gone?
From: Azizi
Date: 11 Oct 06 - 09:10 PM

Everyone who reads and posts on Mudcat is not a musician or a singer or a composer of songs.

Though I have a great deal of admiration for performers and composers, I want to give a shout out for those of us who come to Mudcat because we like to learn about different cultures. And we like to collect folkloric examples. And we like to learn more about the origin & meaning of those examples. And we like to find variants of those examples, and consider how those examples, and their performances remain constant or change over time. And we like to consider how that music "speaks" to, provides information about, and impacts individuals and groups of people in countless number of ways.


Instead of a musician, or vocalist, or composer of songs, I consider myself an amateur folklorist, a collector of examples from various oral traditions. Other Mudcat Members and Guests may also consider themselves to be amateur or professional folklorists.

http://www.thefreedictionary.com/folklore gives this definition for "folklore":

"The comparative study of folk knowledge and culture".

-snip-

I know I'm not the only one who treasures Mudcat because it provides opportunities for information exchange about the music and the dance and the cultures that produce or produced them.

I don't consider myself a folkie. I'm not in to song circles.
I don't go to folk festivals-or at least the type of folk festivals I get the sense that most of you mean when you say folk festivals. And I don't go to folk camps. For the most part, I'm not a social joiner.

But I like to talk and I like to "listen" to others talk. I like to learn. And I like to share what I have learned. And thanks to some Mudcatters-to my surprise-I have also found out that I enjoy playing with words. Sometimes reading and posting to Mudcat makes even a serious person like me smile.

Maybe all of this-or none of this-has to do with Jerry's question "Where have all the Americans gone?".

But I am an American. And I've not gone.

Besides, it's my 2 cents and I felt like spending it here and now.


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Subject: RE: Where Have All The Americans gone?
From: Rapparee
Date: 11 Oct 06 - 09:41 PM

I'd love to get a song circle together, or even a house concert (Lord knows, I've got the room!). But it's a BIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIG country and this is a small city. If you're in the UK, consider how where you'd be if you left your home and traveled 2.5 hours at 80 miles per hour (128.75 kilometers per hour), where would you end up? That's a constants speed, by the way, taking into account other vehicles, etc. (It's also 5 mph over the speed limit, which is 75 mph here for cars.)

I'd end up in Salt Lake City, Yellowstone National Park, Grand Tetons National Park, Sun Valley...or about halfway across the state of Idaho (I wouldn't even reach the state capital of Boise -- I'd need another half-hour or so for that).

Our county covers 1,148 square miles (2,973.31 square kilometers). About 70,000 people live here, giving a population density of about 70 people per square mile; there are 640 acres per square mile and 2.59 square kilometers per square mile.

Briefly, there's an awful lot of empty (much of which is National Forest or BLM land).

My point is, lots of Americans live do not live in New York or LA, but in the middle somewhere. And there's an awful lot of middle.


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Subject: RE: Where Have All The Americans gone?
From: Big Mick
Date: 11 Oct 06 - 09:56 PM

At 65 mph, it would take me 28 hours to reach my daughter's house. That is presuming no stops for gas or anything else. And she only lives slightly more than halfway across the country.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Where Have All The Americans gone?
From: Janie
Date: 11 Oct 06 - 11:14 PM

The currently running thread, thread.cfm?threadid=95306&messages=125, proposing a Western USAA Mudcat gathering perfectly illustrates the effects of big geography. One can live in "the West" in the USA and still be huge distances away from others who also live in 'the West.

Janie


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Subject: RE: Where Have All The Americans gone?
From: Ron Davies
Date: 11 Oct 06 - 11:32 PM

Gone to BS every one (almost)
When will they ever learn? (mea culpa too)


Actually I love it that there's so much about the UK folk scene (and the UK itself, and Ireland and Canada and Australia and Germany and....)   I can learn a lot that way.

From time to time there's a music thread to which I can contribute something that might be worthwhile-- above the line, it's mostly just lurking and learning.   Below the line there's a lot to be learned too--the recent thread on post-Holocaust Germany is a shining example.

I really enjoy reading tales of bygone years by Art Thieme and Jerry--and other performers and writers--but there's not much I can add---except to say "Great Stuff!"--which I do.

I don't really see grounds for concern.


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Subject: RE: Where Have All The Americans gone?
From: GUEST,Boab
Date: 11 Oct 06 - 11:48 PM

My last solo gig , --Monday night.
I'm a Scot, and have been associated with folk clubs and the music heard there for FIFTY years.
A short resumeof Monday's repertoire---
The Mingulay Boat song.
Bogle's "No man's Land"
Cheatin' Heart-Jealous Heart-Candy Kisses medley [with vocals]
Banks of the Ohio
Come by the Hills
The Lass o' Fyvie
Only the Hangman
Red River Valley [request]
Dougald MacIntosh
The Parting Glass

    No rigid "tradition" there, I would suggest. Only much loved material gathered in my [admittedly cluttered ] mind over the aforementioned fifty years. Yes--I have over and over had to remind bigoted "traddies" that folk music and song is simply what folk sing.


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Subject: RE: Where Have All The Americans gone?
From: GUEST,Art Thieme
Date: 12 Oct 06 - 01:21 AM

Jerry, it's your fault---and I'm glad it is! Since you people sent me that software & stuff, I've been converting cassettes to CDs non-stop.

So there...

Also, I tend to add to a thread when I have personal experiences with the topic that might enlighten others. I suspect being called a folk nazi when I give my opinion has caused me to be here less. Right now I'm reading the Autobiography Of Lincoln Stephens which our local Peru, Illinois library discarded for .50 ! I found several first editions of famous authors too for the same price. Quite tragic.

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Where Have All The Americans gone?
From: The Shambles
Date: 12 Oct 06 - 02:22 AM

I recently started a thread on American Blues artist Freddie King only for an American member to take the time and trouble to post and inform our forum only that - he had never heard of him.

Though quite why he would have thought posting that infrmation to be of interest to any other poster is not clear.

But perhaps it is less a matter of nationalites but is a selfish attitude that has developed on our forum. Posts would possibly be better received when they are showing our forum something of potential general interest - rather than when we are expecting only to see something of particular interest to us?

There are after all - PMs supplied for that.


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Subject: RE: Where Have All The Americans gone?
From: Scrump
Date: 12 Oct 06 - 04:09 AM

At 65 mph, it would take me 28 hours to reach my daughter's house. That is presuming no stops for gas or anything else. And she only lives slightly more than halfway across the country.

Best to take a break, Mick. "Tiredness can kill" as the motorway signs say over here in the UK.


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Subject: RE: Where Have All The Americans gone?
From: GUEST
Date: 12 Oct 06 - 04:12 AM

I am an old Mudcatter who comes back from time to time so I am intrested in this thread and join in as a guest I for one dropped out of discussions when they became vehicles for people to push them selfs,their bands or their clubs this site used to be about discussing and loving music.
In the middle of a thread somebody posts and we then have someone replying with how are you,saw you last saturday you have suddenly gained lost weight got ugly etc.
Some people have decided that they know everything and even when told by more than one person the truth still push their believe down everyones throat because they know better. A long time ago discussion took place about splitting mudcat into two american and uk we made the descision then not to and we where the better for it until recently. You talk of missing americans there are other people from other countries missing also.
Before your fingers start hitting buttons let your brains think (if you have any) and discuss not ram your views down my throat and maybe people will start coming back


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Subject: RE: Where Have All The Americans gone?
From: Big Mick
Date: 12 Oct 06 - 07:13 AM

Scrump, the example was simply to demonstrate how big this country is for people who don't have a frame of reference.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Where Have All The Americans gone?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 12 Oct 06 - 07:43 AM

Point taken. But great music - the best music ? - has come out of times and places where the furthest you could get in 28 hours would be the distance you could walk in that time.

The green slogan "think globally, act locally" can apply to music as well.

But the very scale and spread out nature of America is one reason for using the Mudcat as a way of bridging those distances and building community across them. In some places that can be supplemented by people actually being able to meet each other directly, but that's just a bonus. And if anything it makes the Mudcat less important for them - more convenient maybe, as a way of sharing information and so forth, but convenient isn't the same as important.

Good to see some people here whom I hadn't seen posting form some time.

And I quite agree with Azizi about the importance of the Mudcat as a -lace to find out about cultures and folklore, our own and other peoples. For me what is special about the range of music and song that get labelled "folk" is that they all have their roots in that kind of thing, it isn't just about instant entertainment and what's in and what's out.


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Subject: RE: Where Have All The Americans gone?
From: GUEST
Date: 12 Oct 06 - 07:57 AM

As a Canadian who comes here often I see no cause for concern. I very much enjoy the UK and American and Canadian and Australian, etc etc, etc, aspects of this forum. However, I must say that the issue of "Where Are the Americans" concerns me a bit as it seems to imply an intolerance for those who are not American , or at the very least a resentment regarding the amount of UK info. I find that a bit sad and wish that people would start new posts on music from everywhere. This is a great forum but the only way it can express a broad view is for people from everywhere to participate, rather than grumble.


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Subject: RE: Where Have All The Americans gone?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 12 Oct 06 - 08:37 AM

"Where Are the Americans"... seems to imply an intolerance for those who are not American

Not from Jerry it doesn't. It was a very reasonable question that had crossed my mind here in England. Not a matter of two much from this part of the world but rather of wanting a bit more from elsewhere.

As that nameless one just now said - and I take it the namelessness in this case was just an oversight with a missing cookie rather than a rude gesture at members - I "wish that people would start new posts on music from everywhere".


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Subject: RE: Where Have All The Americans gone?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 12 Oct 06 - 09:28 AM

"I must say that the issue of "Where Are the Americans" concerns me a bit as it seems to imply an intolerance for those who are not American"

I must say that a statement like that reveals a bit of a bias by making an interpretation of this thread with a preconceived notion.   As McGrath pointed out, that is not the kind of person Jerry is.

What most of us are concerned about is what seems to be a lack of interest in folk music among Americans. As I previously stated, there are signs that worry me these days, and a lack of participation even on Mudcat makes us think.

I love reading about what is happening in the UK.   I think it is great that events are publicized on these boards. It may not appeal to everyone, but I think Mudcat works best when it is supplying information.   Just because I cannot attend a session at pub somewhere in England does not mean that I'm not interested. We are learning things from each other.   There is another wonderful thread about house concerts currently running. I understand that the concept is really unique to the U.S. (and I believe Canada), but I think it shows how new stages are being created to keep the music alive.   With a bit of creativity, we just might get more interest in this music. The more people that become interested, the benefits will grow. Funding for perserving archives will increase, opportunities to share the music will grow, and the sense of community will expand.

Let's all keep posting.


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Subject: RE: Where Have All The Americans gone?
From: GUEST,Bee
Date: 12 Oct 06 - 10:26 AM

Is a house concert what we in Canada would call a kitchen party or ceilidh? Which is to say, bunch of musicians and friends and stray buddies gather in someone's home to party and make music all night? Or are house concerts more formal?


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Subject: RE: Where Have All The Americans gone?
From: Scrump
Date: 12 Oct 06 - 10:30 AM

Point taken, but didn't you see the ";-)"?


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Subject: RE: Where Have All The Americans gone?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 12 Oct 06 - 10:36 AM

House concerts are more formal.   Basically it is a concert - given in someones home. Usually there is no amplification and the performer will play for an audience of 20 to 30 people. An admission is charged and the performer usually keeps all of it, minus expenses. Sometimes there is a pot luck associted with the event, or simple drinks and snacks (no alchol usually).

House concerts are growing in popularity here. The low key and intimate setting makes them fun to attend and a great experience for the performer.   It also helps to fill in gaps in schedules as well as opening up new opportunities to perform.


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Subject: RE: Where Have All The Americans gone?
From: GUEST
Date: 12 Oct 06 - 10:36 AM

No the namelessness was NOT an oversight, nor was it rude. I was simply making an observation, you disagree with me and that is fine, but please..not so rude.


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Subject: RE: Where Have All The Americans gone?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 12 Oct 06 - 10:41 AM

I rather take it that the "house concert" idea is a small concert in a private house with admission by invitation.   

It'd probably be illegal in freedom-loving England now, under the new Licensing regulations, unless a licence had been obtained in advance. Definitely would, if any kind of payment for attending was involved.

That doesn't mean they won't develop here. A bit of illegality never stops people enjoying themselves when they've a mind to. Musical shebeens...


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Subject: RE: Where Have All The Americans gone?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 12 Oct 06 - 10:47 AM

It is more of an open invitation, just like any other concert. Publicity is handled by a flyer, a website, mailing lists, etc.   Yes, people are opening up their home to strangers. There have been some states that have questioned the legality of it, but for the most part the events go on without incident.


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Subject: RE: Where Have All The Americans gone?
From: GUEST,wherriebob
Date: 12 Oct 06 - 10:49 AM

Well lots of them are over here in Scotland. This year alone Inverclyde Folk Club has had the great pleasure to have as guest perfomers, The Master Musicians From The Crooked Road, 12 of the best including the wonderful Laura Boosinger, Ginny Hawker & Tracy Schwartz and the cracking bluegrass outfit, No Speed Limit; The Crooked Jades from San Francisco were wonderful and last Friday, The Foghorn Stringband blew the audience away. Mark Erelli from Boston and Darden Smith were guests last year. Some comments that the Club is becoming too focussed on 'Americana' Sound familiar?


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Subject: RE: Where Have All The Americans gone?
From: GUEST
Date: 12 Oct 06 - 10:50 AM

Speaking of Kitchen parties etc, where I come from, Nova Scotia, they we often called times; as in Jack is having a wee"time" at his place. Has anyone else heard them called that ? And if so, where are you or where have you heard it ?


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Subject: RE: Where Have All The Americans gone?
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 12 Oct 06 - 11:01 AM

"Where have all the Americans gone?"

Long time passing.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: Where Have All The Americans gone?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 12 Oct 06 - 12:17 PM

Very good Dave - Gone to Eye-rak every one....


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Subject: RE: Where Have All The Americans gone?
From: Rapparee
Date: 12 Oct 06 - 12:39 PM

The house concerts I've been to, we passed a hat for the musician(s) and brought pot luck to eat. Beer was available, but you were limited to only one or two. Advertising was word of mouth, mostly.

Getting together in the kitchen, on the lawn, on the back porch or anywhere else was called "getting together in/on the __________." Beer, coffee, tea, whatever was available to eat, good talk, singing, playing with the kids, tellin' lies, etc. were the primary recreations. Advertising was limited to "Hey, come on over" or a knock on the door and maybe somebody would go out for a jug of beer.


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Subject: RE: Where Have All The Americans gone?
From: Geoff Wallis
Date: 12 Oct 06 - 12:58 PM

House sessions have also become increasingly popular in Ireland thanks to a combination of the legislation on smoking and drinking/driving + plus the ridiculous difference between supermarket and pub prices for alcohol. Those who want to smoke can do so in the garden. Those who want to drink can crash somewhere before driving home the next day.


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Subject: RE: Where Have All The Americans gone?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 12 Oct 06 - 01:11 PM

Here is an interesting site that explains a lot - houseconcerts.org

and here is one more - houseconcerts.com


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Subject: RE: Where Have All The Americans gone?
From: Janice in NJ
Date: 12 Oct 06 - 02:33 PM

We Americans are still here, but we're totally stressed out. Forget about getting ahead in life. We're working harder and longer just to keep from slipping. Decent housing, health care, and education are no longer affordable, except by the very rich. Our good paying jobs have gone overseas. Our pensions have evaporated. Our basic public insitutions have become decrepit because our tax money is being pissed away on military adventures that benefit no one but a handful of corporate insiders. Our political, business, cultural, and spiritual leaders are worse than morally bankrupt. They are venal, self-serving panderers and hypocrites whose only creed is "Gimme, gimme, gimme!" Amid all this, is it any surprise we Americans have less and less time to spend on chat rooms, bulletin boards, and discussion groups, and possibly less time to spend on music itself?


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Subject: RE: Where Have All The Americans gone?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 12 Oct 06 - 02:43 PM

Janice - remember the words of Emma Goldman:

"I did not believe that a Cause which stood for a beautiful ideal, for anarchism, for release and freedom from convention and prejudice, should demand the denial of life and joy. I insisted that our Cause could not expect me to become a nun and that the movement would not be turned into a cloister. If it meant that, I did not want it. "I want freedom, the right to self-expression, everybody's right to beautiful, radiant things." "

While we face stress and change, we need to keep life in perspective.


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Subject: RE: Where Have All The Americans gone?
From: Rapparee
Date: 12 Oct 06 - 03:13 PM

Bread and Roses

words by James Oppenheim
music by Caroline Kohlsaat

As we come marching in the beauty of the day,
A million darkened kitchens, a thousand mill lofts gray
Are touched with all the radiance that a sudden sun discloses,
For the people hear us singing, "Bread and roses, bread and roses."

As we come marching, marching, we battle too for men,
For they are women's children, and we mother them again,
Our lives shall not be sweated from birth until life closes;
Hearts starve as well as bodies; give us bread but give us roses!

As we come marching, marching, unnumbered women dead
Go crying through our singing their ancient cry for bread.
Small art and love and beauty their drudging spirits knew.
Yes, it is bread we fight for, but we fight for roses too!

As we come marching, marching, we bring the greater days.
The rising of the woman means the rising of the race.
No more the drudge and idler then that toil where one reposes,
But a sharing of life's glories: Bread and roses, bread and roses!


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Subject: RE: Where Have All The Americans gone?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 12 Oct 06 - 03:14 PM

Most of the best songs come from the worst times. Or at least from times which seemed pretty bad at the time. (That goes for both individuals and societies I think.)


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Subject: RE: Where Have All The Americans gone?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 12 Oct 06 - 03:17 PM

May I (as one who has been known to express a preference for my own tradition rather than the American tradition or the contemporary American cultural experience) say how much I liked the few posts before McGrath's?


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Subject: RE: Where Have All The Americans gone?
From: Scrump
Date: 12 Oct 06 - 03:49 PM

And what was wrong with McGrath's post, exactly? >:-(

:-)


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Subject: RE: Where Have All The Americans gone?
From: Rapparee
Date: 12 Oct 06 - 03:52 PM

And with fear and trembling he asked, "And WHAT exactly IS your tradition?"


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Subject: RE: Where Have All The Americans gone?
From: Amos
Date: 12 Oct 06 - 04:31 PM

Not to worry, you TOmmies -- we'll be around if you need us. A bit late.


A


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Subject: RE: Where Have All The Americans gone?
From: Dave'sWife
Date: 12 Oct 06 - 04:55 PM

I'm here in the US ...AND.. in Los Angeles no less. However, the nearest mudcatter to me would be Amos and that's about a 2 to 3 hours drive depending upon traffic.

e that as it may - any mudcatter passing through please PM me. Also, any mudcatter who knows of any musicians in my area that need a harmony singer, please PM me. A joint condition limits my ability to play any instruments well these days but my voice is decent when i get warmed up. It's not what it used to be, but whose voice is?


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Subject: RE: Where Have All The Americans gone?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 12 Oct 06 - 04:59 PM

My tradition is English - you remember, George the Third, Tea Party, and all that (even if he was really German).

And, Dave's wife, a good harmony singer is a very useful person. In harmony it's the notes and the train of them that counts. I can hit simple harmonies off the bat as it were, but my late wife used to be able to find the funny ones in between that made melody too.


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Subject: RE: Where Have All The Americans gone?
From: Rapparee
Date: 12 Oct 06 - 05:45 PM

English. A combination then of British, Scottish, Irish, Welsh, German, Norman, Provencal, French, Manx, Cornish, Breton, Viking, Saxon, Angle, Dutch, and Norse overlaid with Indian, Zulu, Arab, Maori, Inuit, Yupik and a few other nations and races....

Pretty close to being as bad as us folks in the US of A or Canada.


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Subject: RE: Where Have All The Americans gone?
From: Bill D
Date: 12 Oct 06 - 05:49 PM

well, I have been reading this and musing on it....and I find I'm mot so worried about relative numbers of any particular areas....the truth is, folkish music is not a major force in most of the areas we have heard from.
    I think we need the cross-fertilization that sites like Mudcat can help provide. We on the East Coast of the US have met a LOT of people, especially from the UK, but also from Canada and some other amazing places! in recent years due to the FSGW Getaway, and I know that some of us have gone to the UK...partially because of invitations and friendships started at Mudcat!
Lots of points have been made about the distances, the types of 'folk clubs', the variable sense of 'identity' in various countries and the 'history' factor of the music. I find that I have learned much from reading about music from those who have had certain aspects of for several hundred years...and I know that stuff that grew largely in the US has made its way abroad.

....so, even though it may well be that more Brits have joined and a few Americans have dropped out, it's not exactly a process we can control easily....(as Yogi Berra said, "If folks are gonna stay away in droves, you can't make 'em!")...but I think the WHOLE is better than it would be without Mudcat, the DT database, and the technology to interact quickly and cheaply with like minded people from all over the world.


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Subject: RE: Where Have All The Americans gone?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 12 Oct 06 - 05:53 PM

Oh no! Not "overlaid" (or even "overlain") - in most cases the English were on top old man!

And the last time the English were invaded by a foreign power (apart from the Dutch getting close to ashore in Gravesend and Chatham) was 1066 and most of English folk music is a lot newer than that so it can justifiably be called the English tradition.


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Subject: RE: Where Have All The Americans gone?
From: Gurney
Date: 12 Oct 06 - 05:57 PM

Things change, don't they. When I first found Mudcat, I thought it would be all blues, but it wasn't, and then some of it was a bit incomprehensible because I didn't know the artists, and some was incomprehensible because the thread was headed "Punch the Horse.....", but what I've really come to value is the cosmopolitan nature of the place. If I need technical help, it often comes from Kansas (thanks, John), if I need words, from Japan (how is that for incongruity! And scholarship) And fellowship from anywhere in the world.

It would be easier for Americans than Britons to become parochial, because of the difference in journey times. When I lived in the English midlands, there was seldom a evening without a folk-club available, and at weekends, perhaps 7 or 8 within 30 miles/1 hour's driving. But that was in the 60/70's.

There are Americans who include English Trad in their repertoire, and a very good fist they make of it too, with an unusual take on language. "He stood on the corner with a fag in his mouth,,,,"

Just random thoughts.   Chris.


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Subject: RE: Where Have All The Americans gone?
From: Rapparee
Date: 12 Oct 06 - 06:07 PM

So there weren't any Yanks in England in 1943? and the Irish stayed in Dublin in the 1840s? and none of those Spaniards made it ashore in 1588? and there were no Germans on the Channel Islands in the 1940s? And there are no curry shops in Lunnun now?

There are many kinds of invasions....


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Subject: RE: Where Have All The Americans gone?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 12 Oct 06 - 06:22 PM

Channel Islands not "England".

Americans 1943 - part of my history, not part of my tradition.

Irish, 1840s, servants, not masters.

Spaniards 1588, prisoners.

Bhangra, part of my tradition?

You asked what was my tradition.

"A fag in his mouth" - traditional? Etymology of "fag" in this context?!


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Subject: RE: Where Have All The Americans gone?
From: Gurney
Date: 12 Oct 06 - 11:02 PM

Geordie Song, 'Still I Love Him' I think it's called.

'Fag' is/was colloquial for cigarette, along with 'Gasper'.


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Subject: RE: Where Have All The Americans gone?
From: GUEST,Bee
Date: 12 Oct 06 - 11:34 PM

Perhaps the proper course of action is to declare Mudcat to be a Soveriegn Nation, inhabited by diverse and wondrous Folklanders. Everyone a Singing Citizen, immigrants of all description welcome, so long as they know all the lyrics to at least one mutually agreed upon traditional folk song. ;-D


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Subject: RE: Where Have All The Americans gone?
From: Rapparee
Date: 12 Oct 06 - 11:50 PM

Do we gotta be able to sing 'em? 'Cause that would leave out them that can't speak.


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Subject: RE: Where Have All The Americans gone?
From: GUEST,Bee
Date: 13 Oct 06 - 12:01 AM

I suppose just know the lyrics - otherwise we'll start seeing rules about having to be able to play melodeons or bouzoukis en' such.


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Subject: RE: Where Have All The Americans gone?
From: Barry Finn
Date: 13 Oct 06 - 02:10 AM

When I think of how many 'catters' I've met, I'm bowed over. And I'm a bit shy (go ahead laugh), though I do compensate well, especially when I start to feel comfortable & I do try hard, I'm not a big talker either. A big part would be because of the FSGW Getaways that I've attended, along with many other reasons. I met Pam Swan her 1st & only year there at the Getaway & when invited to perform at the San Francisco Maritime Music Festival by mudcatter Chanteyranger, I stayed at her & her husband's place & met more catters a few I had known from before there was a Mudcat & some whom I never knew. Did workshops with unknown catters Alaska Mike & Roger In Baltimore & Big Mick (after I knew him) & Liam's Brother (who I already knew) got to meet, even got to perform on stage with treaties & get my ass pinched by her while singing (can't beat that), had the Johnson Girls sing by my death bed (can't beat that one either), met a slew of Brits, some Canadians & an Icelander, some Irish, even got to leave a phone song message with Bob Bolton, an Aussie & PM back & forth with him. I've met some catters at my local session in Portsmouth, NH at the Press Room sessions & some at our other catters at the (RIP) Boston Traditional Singer's Club, from Texas to the UK & Ireland & some at other festivals & after all this I have got to say, TRUTHFULLY say, I have never met a "mudcatter in person that I didn't truly like", really, never. Why wouldn't I be interested in the music they like & play & sing & the type of music of where they come from? Yes, America is huge & Australia's far away, the UK"s closer but smaller & I'll probably never get to New Zealand or Guam but reading here about all your music on mudcat makes me want to visit all these places & hear all the music from all the places where we all come from & I can't (hopefully I can at least visit a few of the places before I go), so hearing about your music is the next best thing if I can't go hear what you do & like in the places where you come from. This has grown into an international collection of like mined folk music lovers & I believe we are all the better for it, at least I know I am. So what if it's lop-sided or flop-eared from time to time it has always paned out at least since I've been here & that's been since very early 97. Some of us here have died here having & leaving friends we'd sometimes would've never met & some we never did meet & some of us (myself included) have been cheered on past death & have met with those that have helped to cheer us on & have been happy to see us breathing when we do meet. When it's all said & done with, you just gotta love this place, like a family.

Blessed Barry


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Subject: RE: Where Have All The Americans gone?
From: Geoff the Duck
Date: 13 Oct 06 - 06:12 AM

Well Jerry -
It seems you Colonials ;@) are still here, you just don't start as many threads as them bods from 'Ull do.
Quack!
Geoff.


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Subject: RE: Where Have All The Americans gone?
From: Leadfingers
Date: 13 Oct 06 - 07:46 AM

Where have all the Americans gone ? Over the last couple of months it seems they have all been touring over this side of the pond - And they still are !!


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Subject: RE: Where Have All The Americans gone?
From: Leadfingers
Date: 13 Oct 06 - 07:47 AM

! 100 !! And long may they continue coming over


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Subject: RE: Where Have All The Americans gone?
From: kendall
Date: 13 Oct 06 - 08:40 AM

I've done enough traveling in the past 4 or 5 years so I hardly notice the nationality of the poster. I'm interested in most of the posts I see here.

The part about this being a big country is a good one. Last April I did a show with Utah Phillips in Grass Valley California, and Amos drove up from Southern California to see us. I don't know how far he drove, but it was a long old sonk.


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Subject: RE: Where Have All The Americans gone?
From: Rapparee
Date: 13 Oct 06 - 09:09 AM

And here's an even more immense thought:

Canada's even bigger than the US.


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Subject: RE: Where Have All The Americans gone?
From: GUEST
Date: 13 Oct 06 - 10:00 AM

"He stood on the corner with a fag in his mouth..."

Isn't language wonderful. If he smokes it down, by the same token he'd be left with a " butt" in his mouth.

Doesn't that conjure up a wonderful image?


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Subject: RE: Where Have All The Americans gone?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 13 Oct 06 - 10:08 AM

Dick, I did not notice your earlier post. You had mentioned publicity being a factor with our low turnout for Guy Davis. Yes, I am sure that was part of the problem. We have been doing publicty basically the same way for the past 25 years - sending out press releases to the local papers, running ads, sending out flyers, etc.   We have a website and an e-mail list (we do need to push that more) and frankly we do depend on word of mouth. I also posted a notice about the show here on Mudcat and on my own website - ronolesko.blogspot.com

Perhaps there are other methods of publicity that we have not been looking at, and perhaps that might be an issue with other groups as well. What worked well for us in the past may need some new ideas and fresh blood.   That might also be one of the reasons why U.S. postings on Mudcat have been sparse as well.


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Subject: RE: Where Have All The Americans gone?
From: Pete_Standing
Date: 13 Oct 06 - 12:58 PM

Something else to consider, maybe Brits (like me) feel more comfortable in Mudcat than any of the other forums hosted in the UK.

Although my musical focus is mainly on British trad and the scene in the UK, I hope my sights aren't so blinkered that I can't appreciate stuff from elsewhere.

I've been interested in the concept of house concerts as they happen in the US. They are beginning to happen in the UK too and I can see the value in them.

As an amateur musician, it is also interesting to discuss things, especially aspects of playing, technique and equipment on a wider basis than purely with folk from the UK.

Mudcat is unique in that it seems a natural place for people around the world to talk about roots based music. The more the merrier IMHO but I hope you guys from the US don't retreat or feel as though you are being pushed out.


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Subject: RE: Where Have All The Americans gone?
From: Steve-o
Date: 13 Oct 06 - 06:04 PM

Ron O: Please put me at the start of a list of "folkies" who ARE NOT likely to be listening to the current crop of singer-songwriters! The old stuff does not wear out, no matter how many times you play and sing it or listen to it. Navel-gazing, angst-ridden, open-tuned strummers get worn out really fast.


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Subject: RE: Where Have All The Americans gone?
From: wilco
Date: 13 Oct 06 - 06:29 PM

I'm in Chattanooga, Tennessee, in the south-eastern USA. I'm at "ground zero" for appalachian music, two hours from Nashville (Country Music), and five hours from Memphis (blues), etc.
    I run an acoustic music store, and I am pretty aware of music related events.
    There are at least fifty festivals this weekend, within an hour's drive.
    The mudcat is Brit-centric, and many of American traditionsl music genres don't quite fit.

Wilco48


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Subject: RE: Where Have All The Americans gone?
From: Big Mick
Date: 13 Oct 06 - 06:34 PM

It's only brit centric because they participate.


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Subject: RE: Where Have All The Americans gone?
From: Tootler
Date: 13 Oct 06 - 07:34 PM

A gut feeling and I have no hard statistics to bear it out, but the impression I get is;

Americans posting here are more likely to be professional or semi-professional performers.

A larger proportion of the Brits are amateur musicians. Many of the threads on venues in the UK are for sessions or folk clubs where people get together simply to play the music and sing the songs they love with friends and other like minded people.

This is not to say there aren't announcements for professionals performing from the UK, but we seem to see less of the announcements from the amateurs in the US for their events. I'm sure they are there.

Please! let's hear from you.

I'm in the UK, BTW and one thing I noticed when I visited the USA for the first time were the distances. You had to set aside whole days to go between places. You can see the difference in the way the we talk about distance. Ask "How far is it?"

USA response "About four hours drive"
UK response "About 200 miles"


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Subject: RE: Where Have All The Americans gone?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 13 Oct 06 - 07:38 PM

the current crop of singer-songwriters

Thwere are plenty of good songs being written and sung today. Plenty of bad ones too, sung by people who don't recognise when they've written one of them. But slapdash categories like "the current crop of singer-songwriters" which bundle the good and the bad together and throw them out - that's just lazy thinking.

All the good old songs were good new songs one time. (Or sometimes they weren't that good to start with, and got better along the way.)


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Subject: RE: Where Have All The Americans gone?
From: Barry Finn
Date: 13 Oct 06 - 08:07 PM

Hi Tooler

I'd say that most of the Americans that post here are not professional or full time performers, though there are a fair handful of them. Semi-professional performers & amateur musicians probaly make up the bulk with the amateurs maybe being a bit more represented than the semi-pros.

It depends on what you call amateurs & semi pros though. Semi pros, working most weekends or a lot of week nights but still holding down a full time job & having a good few CD's or are they only a once in a while performer doing maybe a few festivals a year along with a few concerts & maybe 1 or 2 CD's? Would you consider that latter an amateur or one who never performed for payment?


Barry


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Subject: RE: Where Have All The Americans gone?
From: GUEST,Jim
Date: 13 Oct 06 - 08:43 PM

Re: the size of the US: when I was in Korea, our "auntie" thought she'd visit us Americans when she visited her cousin in Chicago. We were from California, Arizona and Washington. Her plan was to just jump on a cross-country bus, as she would when travelling from Seoul to Pusan. We could not convince her of the distances involved; she clearly thought we were having fun with her when we explained how many days of travel by bus all of that would entail.

Anyway, as the saying goes, "A Brit thinks a hundred miles is a long way. A Yank thinks a hundred years is a long time."


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Subject: RE: Where Have All The Americans gone?
From: Rapparee
Date: 13 Oct 06 - 10:52 PM

I really can't even consider myself an amateur musician, unless you count playing alone as amateur. I play for myself (and my wife, who endures it). I play because I enjoy it, a reason sufficient in itself. I am a professional librarian, and I'm not going to give up my day job!

There are good songs being written. It's just that, like every other time in history, they have wait until the dross washes away.


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Subject: RE: Where Have All The Americans gone?
From: Bert
Date: 13 Oct 06 - 11:11 PM

I just looked at Ron Olesko's site. It's kinda scary how many of the same things I like. But Ron, I clicked on "Full Size" on your picture, and you know you must be a pretty small guy.

Big Mick has the answer though, it's 'cos they participate.

Steve-0 is just a little harsh in his condemnation of singer/songwriters. But I'll forgive him this time because I have been to some songwriter meetings that he must have been to.


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Subject: RE: Where Have All The Americans gone?
From: Geoff the Duck
Date: 14 Oct 06 - 08:07 AM

One thing which I never understand about Mudcat is that when there are questions on Old Time American or clawhammer banjo it is often as not Banjo Ray or myself trying to answer, and both of us are Brits.
There have been a number of threads started by Patrick Costello (U.S.) offering online resources, podcasts, Banjo and guitar classes (Online Video) which have scarcely been commented on.
I sometimes wonder why the Americans do not seem interested on stuff from your own side of the pond. I certainly am interested to find out about what makes you tick (Musically - I get bored with all the politics threads in BS).
Quack!
Geoff.


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Subject: RE: Where Have All The Americans gone?
From: GUEST,Patrick Costello
Date: 14 Oct 06 - 08:53 AM

> There have been a number of threads started by Patrick Costello

Yeah, but they were just posts pointing to a free workshop. If there ever had been a full-blown thread I probably would have ignored it because, to be totally honest, I'm not really into talking about what I'm doing. The material is there and you can use it or not. I don't care either way because we're having a hard time handling the traffic we already have.

Hell, I just had to take the new Daily Frail series offline this morning until I can add some more bandwidth to our account.

The one thing I am seeing across the board when it comes to web forums is that things are boiling own to a collection of private clubs. "Normal" people stop by, see that the forum in question is a private club and move on.

The Internet is a great place to gather and distribute information, but it sucks ass as a tool for bringing people together.

Turn off your computer, go outside and make some music. The real world is a lot more interesting than the Internet.

-Patrick


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Subject: RE: Where Have All The Americans gone?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 14 Oct 06 - 09:58 AM

Steve-O, you can put yourself on whatever list you like - it is all a matter of choice. It doesn't matter what list any of us are on.

I am not a "fan" of the navel-gazing songs either, but the problem is you create a stereotype when you say that and end up dismissing some great songs - songs that have the potential to stand up with all those great songs that you feel comfortable with. There are some amazing writers among us and we are only cheating ourselves. As we get older, we tend to stick with the music that we "grew up" with and becomes comfort food for the soul. Hearing an old ballad might bring us back to happier times.

It is really like anything in the arts. Every generation will wrap their arms around a style and it becomes hard to replace. As individuals I would also hope that we find something to hold onto. I have a friend who is a huge fan of ragtime. Another Jersey boy loves bluegrass music and you would think he grew up in the South instead of Bayonne. What about all those white college students that adopted the blues of African-Americans during the folk revival?   

It all comes down to an individual finding something that appeals and speaks to them.   Hopefully that does not require the person to methodically tear down other styles that are out there. One mans ceiling is another mans floor to quote a great song.


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Subject: RE: Where Have All The Americans gone?
From: Janie
Date: 14 Oct 06 - 12:15 PM

Barry, while it is true there are a lot of 'amateurs' who post here from the US, many of them, you included, are definitely performers with some expertise in either the lore of the genre you are involved in, and also with some musical 'technique.' I don't think there are as many opportunities for many of us in the USA who are strictly 'back porch' singers or instrumentalists to congregate in public domains like pubs or folk clubs. We don't have the tradition. And so there is not as much to post about. I tend to agree with Tootler's remarks on how this may effect the number of music threads posted by USA'ers.

Geoff, Your point is well taken. I notice there are not many of us who tend to respond to threads about banjo or 'stringband' or jugband music. My sister is a fiddler. She is a bit of a purist when it comes to the style of fiddling she does (old-time Appalachian, especially West Virginia style fiddling.) Although she likes lots of different music, she limits how much other kinds of fiddle she listens to, because she says it unconsciously influences her own fiddling. This really isn't a bluegrass site, and other stringband musicians tend to be pretty narrowly focused. Also, this is much more of a song site than a tune site, and a lot of fiddle and banjo music are 'tunes' with any lyrics or singing very secondary.

So, there is a large contingent of folk musicians in the USA who are not much drawn to this site.

Janie


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Subject: RE: Where Have All The Americans gone?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 14 Oct 06 - 12:35 PM

I'm definitely an amateur. Unless you count being paid to stop singing! An amateur is someone who never gets paid.

One thing I have noticed over here is that most of the Americans (and Canadians) I see turn up and do a song or tune or two (which is not a huge number, I admit) are technically better than most of the similar Brits. There are some Brit amateurs who are shit hot (Jeff, for one), but it isn't really all that many round here. Mind you there is one guy with a pair, yes, I said a pair of Zemaitus acoustics, and never mind what he does I just listen to the guitar! There are some semi-pros who are OK and some who are good.

But of the pure amateurs, the non-locals seem to be technically better. This may of course be because they who are truly hopeless do not travel to play.

How about that? I said something nice about the Americans! Do you all feel welcome on your own site now?


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Subject: RE: Where Have All The Americans gone?
From: Betsy
Date: 14 Oct 06 - 08:23 PM

Hi Jerry , are you happy that everyone is talking to each other ??

Cheers
Betsy


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