• UPCOMING CONCERT

    FolkWorks Logo Presents

    SYNCOPATHS

    The Syncopaths bring a fresh, contemporary spin
    to music and songs rooted in the
    Scottish, Irish, and American folk traditions.

    Syncopath 2014 3

    CONTRA DANCE

    Friday, October 24th

    8:00pm 

    CONCERT

    Saturday, October 25th

    8:00pm 

    doors open at 7:00pm

    (food will be available)

    CDC LogoCONTRA DANCE:Skandia Hall

    2031 E. Villa St., Pasadena, CA 91107


    CONCERT: newly renovated Talking Stick Cafe

    1411 Lincoln Blvd., Venice, CA 90291
    at Lincoln and California St. in corner behind Pollo Loco
    Parking available behind or in Ross Dress For Less parking lot.

    Read more: For Tickets, Venues, Videos and more


    SPOTLIGHT

    labs 11x17 poster final venue-01 smaller

    Read more: BLUEGRASS SITUATION FESTIVAL


    PASSINGS

    REMEMBERING JEAN REDPATH:

    THE VOICE OF SCOTLAND

    APRIL 28 1937 – AUGUST 21 2014

    By Ross Altman

    Jean RedpathIn the dead of winter in 1961 a brilliant young folk singer from the North Country blew into Greenwich Village and caught the eye of Ramblin’ Jack Elliott and Dave Van Ronk—even sharing their village flat—and the ear of Mike Porco at Gerdes Folk City—who was booking the best and the brightest for his growing clientele of folk music fans—at the behest of the Folklore Center’s Izzy Young next door; a young Bob Dylan, from Hibbing, Minnesota?

    Wrong gender; wrong city, wrong country; wrong folk singer; she was Jean Redpath—all the way from Edinburgh, Scotland—who shared an apartment with Dylan that first fateful “coldest winter in 17 years” when together they redrew the map of American folk music. Thirty-six years later, in 1997s Time Out of Mind, Dylan opened a window onto this early relationship with his long rhapsodic love song, Highlands, inspired by Robert Burns’ song My Heart’s In the Highlands, where he avowed his heart still belonged:

    Read more: Remembering Jean Redpath


    COLUMN OF THE WEEK

    September-October 2014

    MUSIC FOR A CAUSE, OR A CAUSE FOR MUSIC?

    BY LINDA DEWAR

    national-collectiveFlashback! As I’m writing this, Scotland is in its final weeks of political frenzy leading up to an important referendum vote on September 14. It will be one of the most significant votes taken in any European country in decades… a chance to decide whether we will remain in the United Kingdom or become a separate country on our own, no longer tied to England, Wales and Northern Ireland except as neighbors on the same group of islands.

    This is a true grassroots political event, the likes of which I haven’t witnessed since the sixties. And it’s reassuring to note that folk and trad musicians are involved in much the same way they were in those turbulent times.

    Read more Music for a cause, or a cause for music?

    CD REVIEWS

    TITLE: YOU GOT THIS

    ARTIST: HAAS KOWERT TICE

    LABEL: NONE

    RELEASE DATE: JULY 2014

    By Jonathan Shifflett

    Haas Kowert Tice - You Got ThisBrittany Haas, Paul Kowert and Jordan Tice are friends who, after meeting at various string band festivals in their youth, represent a new wave within the American string community. Bursting with their combined influences, You Got This is less like newgrass music and more reminiscent of works for a contemporary music ensemble. Released in July of 2014, the nine original compositions are densely packed with contrapuntal exchanges, changing meters and extended harmonies. The result: fiddle, guitar and bass at their most innovative. 

    Read more: HAAS KOWERT TICE - YOU GOT THIS


    TITLE: SONGS ABOUT TRACTORS AND STUFF

    ARTIST: DENNIS ROGER REED

    LABEL: PLASTIC MELTDOWN RECORDS

    RELEASE DATE: 2014

    By Jackie Morris

    Songs About Tractors and StuffFrom the very first blue notes of Dennis Roger Reed’s guitar, I knew I was hooked. And the vocals that followed did not disappoint. Reed has “that sound” – so casual, so fluid, so rhythmically right-on-the-money – that makes his blues-infused Country/Americana, rootsy, rock-a-billy and other “stuff” groove so immediately appealing. It’s a sound that conjures up fantasies of old-time honkytonks and gritty biker bars; yet at the same time, it’s the timeless sound of polished talent.

    Read more: DENNIS ROGER REED - SONGS ABOUT TRACTORS AND STUFF


    CONCERT REVIEW

    GORDON LIGHTFOOT AT THE SABAN THEATRE:

    DOWN AND OUT IN BEVERLY HILLS - SEPTEMBER 27, 2014

    By Ross Altman

    Gordon LightfootI got taken by a creative con artist at Gordon Lightfoot’s concert last night at the Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills—taken for my extra ticket so graciously offered by theatre publicity manager Luanne Nast. In exchange for my FolkWorks Preview of the concert (Gordon Lightfoot: A True Night Upon the Road) she gave me a press pass + 1, which it turned out I didn’t need. When I got to the theatre, before going to the box office window I was approached by a down-at-the-heels slight-looking bearded man-on-the-street straight out of an O. Henry story who, of course, “had a certain charm about him.”

    He smiled at me and started singing If You Could Read My Mind and asked me if I had an extra ticket. He looked like someone who couldn’t afford to pay for one, and I thought in an instant maybe here is an opportunity to do a random act of kindness, a mitzvah just in time for Rosh Hashanah. He read my mind perfectly—an easy mark—and I said, “Wait a minute, I just might.” After a recent disappointment with a promised press pass that did not materialize I never count my press passes until I hold them in my hand. When I got to the window there they were as promised—and an aisle seat at that just as I had requested so my guest would be able to take an unscheduled restroom break without disturbing the entire row: Orchestra, Row DD (fourth row from the stage) seats 113 and 114—$125 face value each (concealed by a big fat “O” (for O Henry?) where the price would have been).

    Read more: GORDON LIGHTFOOT AT THE SABAN THEATRE


    BLOG

    OCTOBER 1, 2014

    THIS AIN'T NO MOUSE MUSIC! The Story of Chris Strachwitz and Arhoolie Records

    Don’t miss the new documentary, This Ain’t No Mouse Music!  about the legendary founder of Arhoolie Records, Chris Strachwitz, coming to the Downtown Independent theater at 251 S. Main St. in LA on October 1st through 9th! Opening night, Wednesday Oct. 1, the filmmakers and Chris will be in attendance. Join him for on a hip-shaking stomp from Texas to New Orleans, Cajun country to Appalachia, on a passionate quest for the musical soul of America.

    Read more: THE FOLKWORKS BLOG


    FULL CALENDAR click here

    TODAY'S EVENTS 10/1/14


    fwpick

    8:30pm FILM: THIS AIN'T NO MOUSE MUSIC: THE STORY OF CHRIS STRACHWITZ AND ARHOOLIE RECORDS

    Downtown Independent Theater

    251 S. Main St., Los Angeles, CA 90012

    213-617-1033


    FEATURED VIDEO

    FULL ONGOING MUSIC click here

    TODAY'S ONGOING MUSIC 10/1/14


    7:00pm BRAD COLERICK'S WINE AND SONG SERIES

    Firefly Bistro

    1009 El Centro St., South Pasadena, CA 91030

    626-441-2443


    7:30pm - 11:00pm SIMI VALLEY HOOT (SONGMAKERS )

    Simi Valley (Contact via Songmakers website)

    www.songmakers.org, Simi Valley, CA 00000


    7:30pm - 10:30pm IRISH TRAD SESSION

    Griffins Of Kinsale

    1007 Mission St, , South Pasadena, CA

    626-799-0926


    8:00pm GUITAROLOGY

    Bar Melody and Grill

    9132 S Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90045

    310-670-1994


CARRIE NEWCOMER
HER LEGACY OF PEACE
THROUGH MUSIC

AN INTERVIEW

By Terry Roland

CARRIE_NEWCOMER.jpg
Photo by Jim McGuire

Carrie Newcomer is not so much a hit maker as she is a legacy-maker. And it's quite a legacy she's been creating; a flow of songs that stream down from her life as a writer, philosopher, peace activist, conservationist and a silence-practicing Quaker. 'Pay attention' she says, and so doing, miracles emerge in an abundance of small ways. Her peace-activism is not about the absence of war, but the presence of a grace everyone can experience each day by practicing what she refers to as 'the greatest law, love.'

Her current tour in support of her new album, Before & After, follows a good will mission to India where she shared her music and participated in the daily life of the people there. As she spoke on the phone from her Indiana home she elaborated on her philosophy and the influences behind her legacy of songs that serve to point her audience toward a deeper appreciation of their everyday lives.

CARRIE NEWCOMER
HER LEGACY OF PEACE THROUGH MUSIC

AN INTERVIEW

By Terry Roland

Carrie Newcomer plays at McCabe's on Friday, March 12 at 8:00pm  

CARRIE_NEWCOMER.jpg
Photo by Bill McGuire

Carrie Newcomer is not so much a hit maker as she is a legacy-maker. And it's quite a legacy she's been creating; a flow of songs that stream down from her life as a writer, philosopher, peace activist, conservationist and a silence-practicing Quaker. 'Pay attention' she says, and so doing, miracles emerge in an abundance of small ways. Her peace-activism is not about the absence of war, but the presence of a grace everyone can experience each day by practicing what she refers to as 'the greatest law, love.'

Her current tour in support of her new album, Before & After, follows a good will mission to India where she shared her music and participated in the daily life of the people there. As she spoke on the phone from her Indiana home she elaborated on her philosophy and the influences behind her legacy of songs that serve to point her audience toward a deeper appreciation of their everyday lives.

TERRY: How did you get started with the music as a career?

CARRIE: I started early on. I didn't come from a musical family. There was a music/arts program in the public school where I was raised. I became a part of wave of musicians and artists during my teenage years. I fell in love with poetry as I learned to pick guitar. I wrote some awful songs, but I was always drawn to the stories in the music. I went for visual arts in college. I got a degree to go along with it. I didn't start out in music even though it was my first love. But, then I began playing at schools, in coffee houses, and bowling alleys.

TERRY: Your songs carry a literary feel to them. Also, there are spiritual overtones.

CARRIE: I am a big reader. I love to read books. I love ideas. I love beautifully written language. I always leaned into language and stories. My dad was an educator. For me, reading has really made a difference. Spiritually, I've been a life long seeker. I don't think there are a lot of easy answers. There are really good questions. But, it's the questions that sustain me. Good questions are at the heart of my life. You know, it's the realm of the poets, theologians and mystics. That's how I approach songwriting.

TERRY: Tell me about the new album, Before & After.

CARRIE: It's about finding something extraordinary in an ordinary day. About paying attention. The idea of being in the moment. We live such busy lives. Someone once said we don't remember days, we remember moments. We remember songs.

TERRY: In one song you refer to religious cornflakes. What is that?

CARRIE: (Laughs) It's a metaphor for the packaged religion of today. The superficial. You know, it's like fast-food. It doesn't sustain you for very long. I have a spiritual current running through my work. But it's not exclusive, it's inclusive. I don't want to put the Sacred in a box.

TERRY: You identify yourself as Quaker.

CARRIE: I didn't grow up Quaker. I discovered it later. What drew me in was the silence. I've been attending a silent meeting for over 20 years. It's funny because people will say, ‘you're a woman whose life is in sound!' But, it's a balance. Some of my best language comes out of silence. It is actually really understandable.

TERRY: The silence-meditative place inspires music?

CARRIE: Yes. Taking time to be quiet, to reflect. Being a writer is a very solitary profession. You're alone a lot. You're committed to sitting down and showing up for work. You really have to sit down and be with the practice of writing. It's been said, writers get to live their lives twice. You live it, then you write it. There's a song on the album, I Meant To Do My Work Today. It's about that idea. We're so busy and there are all of these things we need to do. But, there are times when we're called to do nothing. We're a busy culture. Doing is everything. You know, I'm a proponent of doing. I love engaging. But there's a balance between being engaged and being quiet.

TERRY: Some of this sounds a bit like Zen.

CARRIE: I've heard Quakers called Zen-Christians. Some Quakers don't call themselves Christians. But, I've heard the term and it makes sense. There's a place for the contemplative, for the practice of meditation on the simplicity of the moment. You know, the Dali Lama always stops in our little town in southern Indiana. He has a brother who lives there. It's funny to read his itinerary....New York, Chicago, Bloomington, Indiana...(we both laugh). But there's a vibrant Buddhist community in the area.

TERRY: Do you take your songs beyond the spiritual, philosophical themes?

CARRIE: As a student of philosophy and religion there's a lot in the songs about my own exploration. I find wonderful truth there. The songs then become inclusive, compelling. It's a tricky thing to have universal themes. You can't write about world peace all the time. It's just too big to get your arms around. But, you can write about things that happen everyday. I can tell a story with particular human details.

TERRY: That's illustrated in the song, I Do Not Know Its Name, the story about meeting the man on the airport shuttle.

CARRIE: It's a true story. The title comes from the saying....'the name that can be named is not the Tao.' We just experience these moments of transcendence, these moments when we feel larger than ourselves. Maybe it can be found in some formal spiritual practice. But it's there in the little moments. I was on this shuttle early when this wonderful man just started singing and he told me he sang in a gospel choir. He finished the song, the doors opened and I never saw him again. I never forgot it. These are the moments we remember. Life is a series of these moments.

TERRY: How do you deal with conversation with the larger ‘Christian' community?

CARRIE: We talk in metaphor. As soon as you start to talk this way and people take it for something literal, it stops being a metaphor. People take it for something solid. This puts the Sacred into a very small container. I think it's interesting now. There's a spiritual movement everywhere. There's a rumble out there. People are really interested in spiritual conversation. They're not looking for easy answers, but authentic spiritual conversation. They sometimes find their way to my work. Putting ideas into action, making a difference. You know, the greatest law is love, but what does that mean? I had a conversation about this with author, Parker Palmer. He's a Mennonite. I love his work. It was this idea that we may not see the fruit of the seeds we plant but it's no less important to drop the seeds. Like the ripple in water from a small stone. But, this is not always encouraged in our culture. This is in the song, Stones in the River.

TERRY: Are there any other themes running through Before and After?

CARRIE: The title song is about moments that have changed me. They could be large or they could be very small moments. Once a friend read me a Mary Oliver poem over breakfast. I was never the same. Sometimes, it's just a friend who sits down with you. And I think, ‘how did she know what I needed most was someone to sit down and say it'll be okay?' The song Before and After is also about forgiveness, which begins with self-forgiveness. We have to give up all hope that we can ever change the past. Nothing can change what has happened. You get this loop in your head, how things might have turned out different. It takes forgiveness to step beyond that. I forgive myself, then I can forgive others. So, the songs on this album are universal themes written in a personal way.

TERRY: One of the most engaging songs on the album is Do No Harm.

CARRIE: It was inspired by a story by Scott Russell Sanders. It's from a collection of short stories, Wilderness Plots: Tales About the Settlement of the American Land taken from stories and incidents he encountered. It's funny, tragic, bewildering. This particular story was called Savages. He had read about this part of the country that was being settled by a man from the east. He was establishing a Utopian society where native Americans and white settlers could live and work together. It worked for ten years. Eventually, others came and it ended. But, the song is about trying to hold the balance with the best of our human nature. We've seen the worst, but we're quite capable of the best. We can achieve this. There is a violent side to human nature and those who don't get the idea of the greatest law, love. Look what happened in this story. We hold the tension between the worst and the very best of our nature.

TERRY: Tell me about your influences.

CARRIE: I have to say I was inspired early on by the singing poets with beautiful, interesting lyrics and poetry. Early on it was Joni Mitchell and Leonard Cohen. That vein of songwriter and they still come out with amazing writing. Also, high on my influences list is a local songwriting group in Bloomington. There are five of us. We bring songs to the group. We give each other challenges. We push our edges. I've been part of this group for 8 years now. It's really a wonderful experience. One of the members is Krista Detor. She's so good. A good writer and singer. She sings harmony on Do No Harm. She has this beautiful low voice in the tenor range. Like Mary Chapin. It's so fun to sing with her. You don't usually hear two women with low voices. Singing together, we strike this sound. It works quite well.

TERRY: Who influences the ideas that come out of your songs?

CARRIE: Authors like Russell Sanders. I've worked with Barbara Kingsolver. Also Philip Gulley. I've really admired their work. It all works together.

TERRY: I heard you called If Not Now your first real folk song.

CARRIE: (laughs) Well, it's my first sing-along. It's a group song in the spirit of We Shall Overcome. It was written for a specific purpose. But, I hope it wouldn't be for just one thing but would reach across to all kinds of issues that need our attention, like health care. When do we start taking care of the least of these. When do we give our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters full legal rights? It can be used in a variety of ways. It's a song of hope.

TERRY: From the album, you have some really fine musicians featured.

CARRIE: Yes. There's Gary Walters on piano. He's worked with me for five or six years now. He's a wonderful pianist. He's with me on the album tour. I occasionally work with a band. A cellist and violinist. I love the musicians on this new album. They are a great combination of musicians. They're elegant players. Everyone on this album is masters of their instruments. It's not about how many notes they play, but that the right notes are placed perfectly, uncluttered. It's all about the song. That's what makes this work.

TERRY: There's a phrase which seems to sum up a lot of your philosophy. It's on the album, something about the center.

CARRIE: Yes. If holy is a sphere that cannot be rendered, / There is no middle place because all of it is center. It's inspired by a concept in physics.

TERRY: It strikes me as the inclusive/universal theme you've emphasized on Before and After and much of your previous work. I look forward to hearing the songs live. See you at McCabe's on March 12!

Terry Roland is an English teacher, freelance writer, occasional poet, songwriter and folk and country enthusiast. The music has been in his blood since being raised in Texas. He came to California where he was taught to say ‘dude' at an early age.