• 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.

    At the heart of the band's sound are the twin engines of  Ryan McKasson's dynamic, Scottish-based fiddling and the understated-but-monster picking of mandolinist Ashley Broder.

    Jeff Spero provides wonderfully inventive and surprising piano accompaniment,anchored by the driving power of Christa Burch's non-traditional bodhrán.

    The Syncopaths are equally at home with pulsing, high-energy dance tunes and beautiful, contemplative songs.They ably stretch melodic boundaries while keeping a steady, compelling, danceable beat.

    Saturday, October 25th 8:00pm 

    doors open at 7:00pm (food will be available)

    newly renovated Talking Stick Cafe

    1411 Lincoln Blvd., Venice, CA 90291

    Tickets

    General Admission: $18

    FolkWorks members (Friend and above) – reserved seating: $16

    Online:      Syncopaths Concert Tickets                   

    Read more: For Tickets, Venues, Videos and more


    SPOTLIGHT

    Show Ponies

    More information about Show Ponies:

    Founded by lead singers and songwriters Andi Carder and Clayton Cheney in Texas in 2011, The Show Ponies recruited guitarist and producer Jason Harris, champion fiddler Philip Glenn, and master percussionist Kevin Brown when the band moved to Los Angeles. The music they make now can be described as Bluegrass-Infused Americana, but really they¹re just making songs that speak to their lives today. Whether it¹s struggling with the thought of marriage, working through issues of faith, or just blowing off steam from long weeks of touring, this is the voice of today¹s American artists. With Run For Your Life, The Show Ponies are crafting anthems for their generation.

    Read more: SHOW PONIES


    FEATURE ARTICLES

    NOBEL WHO? YOU DON’T NEED A WEATHERMAN

    TO KNOW WHICH WAY THE PRIZE GOES

    A Commentary By Ross Altman, PhD

    Nobel Prize for LiteratureAnother wasted Nobel Prize for Literature goes to someone you’ll never hear of again, while the writer whose Collected Lyrics are responsible for more quotable quotes than any book this side of Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations is passed over again. What were they thinking in Stockholm, I wonder, to make yet another award for extra-literary reasons—in this case the literary remembrance of the Nazi Occupation of France—rather than for literature itself, a body of work that truly represents what Victorian poet/critic Matthew Arnold called “the best that has been thought and said.”

    I refer of course to the collected works of the Poet Laureate of Rock and Roll, Bob Dylan, America’s weathervane in spite of himself—the artist whose every utterance is likely to find itself in newspaper headlines whenever the editor wants to hook a reader on a story. The vapidity of the Literature Prize has become all too predictable; no one can tell without a Google Search who won after it stopped being given to writers you had to have heard of before they won the award.

    Read more: NOBEL WHO? YOU DON’T NEED A WEATHERMAN


    ANGEL LUÍS FIGUEROA: THE MUSIC OF SANTERÍA

    By Jonathan Shifflett

    SanteroShuffling through a record bin last month, an LP titled Santero from the famed Cuban label Panart caught my attention. The cover is beautiful but a little strange. Set against a fiery background, a conga player is frozen mid strike while a wraith of a beautiful woman billows like smoke from the drum, poised as if waking from a long sleep. In the liner notes, the writer claims it to be the first ever commercially recorded Afro-Cuban “cult music.” The strange track titles – Changó, Babalú Aye, Yemayá, Ochún, Obatalá, Eleggua - I recognized as the names of Santerían deities.

    It was not the kind of record I would have expected to resurface in a new-age vinyl shop, but I was pleased to find it having taken a semester of percussion lessons. My teacher was the renowned Afro-Cuban percussionist, Angel Luís Figueroa, who has for the past decade, endeavored to make the music and philosophy of Santería accessible to all.

    Read more: ANGEL LUÍS FIGUEROA: THE MUSIC OF SANTERÍA


    A TALE OF TWO DYLANS

    By Ross Altman, PhD

    Bob Dylan“I did more for Dylan Thomas than he ever did for me,” replied Bob Dylan to an inquisitive journalist asking him for the umpteenth time about his relationship with the Welsh poet born October 27, 1914 whose centennial we celebrate this year. Bob Dylan changed his last name from Zimmerman to honor one of the major poets of the 20th Century when he launched his career as a folk singer in NYC in 1961 just 8 years after his namesake Dylan Thomas had died in NYCs Bellevue Hospital of a “massive insult to the brain” from consuming 18 straight whiskeys at his favorite drinking hole The White Horse Tavern on November 9, 1953. However, like many aspects of his constantly changing biography Dylan (Bob) often shied away from the obvious truth and hid behind a barrage of obscurantist tall tales, such as that he had taken his name from an uncle in Hibbing, Minnesota—yes, one of the many middle-class Jewish “Dylans” in the North Country—or had named himself after Matt Dillon of Gunsmoke fame before some reporter misspelled it in a story and it became “Dylan.”

    Read more: A TALE OF TWO DYLANS


    COLUMN OF THE WEEK

    September-October 2014

    COUNTDOWN: THE COLD WAR HIT PARADE

    By Ross Altman

    Atomic PlattersWe know of the great songs to have come out of the Civil War (We’re Tenting Tonight On the Old Camp Ground); and the Revolutionary War (Yankee Doodle), and the First World War (I Didn’t Raise My Boy to Be a Soldier) and the Second World War (The Sinking of the Reuben James), and the Vietnam War (Lyndon Johnson Told the Nation); but the Cold War? Since the battlefield was more like a chessboard, and the casualties were truth and faith in one’s government, what great songs would one point to give some kind of equal nobility to the cause for which so few died in vain?

    That’s the question that vexed me as I spent several months preparing for a Pasadena library show on the subject of folk music during the Cold War. I knew the peace songs I had grown up on—Strangest Dream, Where Have All the Flowers Gone, A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall—but I had no idea there would literally be hundreds more—on both sides of the Iron Curtain, and that they would lead me to a broader understanding of the cultural response to the looming Mushroom Cloud that overshadowed our childhoods in the 1950s.

    Read more COUNTDOWN: THE COLD WAR HIT PARADE

    BLOG

    If you're not already familiar with www.folkstreams.net, click on over and lose a couple hours.

    The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA)  has a great article on Folkstreams....check it out.

    Here's a brief excerpt:

    "An account of the blues experience through the recollections and performances of NEA National Heritage Fellow B.B. King, Son Thomas, inmates from Parchman prison, a barber from Clarkesdale, a salesman from Beale Street, and others. Give My Poor Heart Ease (1974) is one of a series of films made in Mississippi in the mid 1970s by William Ferris and the Center for Southern Folklore and produced in association with Howard Sayre Weaver. View the entire film here." 


    OCTOBER 21, 2014

    Clyde DavenportHAPPY BIRTHDAY

    Clyde Davenport  (October 21, 1921)

    Old-time fiddler, banjo player from Monticello, Kentucky

    For more information, surf over to this page.


    DID YOU KNOW?: FolkWorks started as a hard copy newspaper. We printed 12-15000 copies every two months for 7 years. You can find the PDF versions by using the main menu and finding ARCHIVES on the right..


    Read more: THE FOLKWORKS BLOG


    FULL CALENDAR click here

    TODAY'S EVENTS 10/23/14


    fwpick

    7:30pm MICHAEL MCCARTY

    Family Scary Stories

    Muckenthaler Cultural Center Foundation

    1201 W. Malven Ave., Fullerton, CA 92833

    714-738-6706


    8:00pm AIREENE & THE RARITIES / PLUNK AND PHUNK ORCHESTRA

    Singer-songwriters

    Coffee Gallery Backstage

    2029 N. Lake Ave., Altadena, CA 92675

    626-798-6236 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


    8:30pm COLIN HAY

    The Largo at the Coronet

    366 N. La Cienega Blvd., West Hollywood, CA 90048

    310-855-0350


    fwpick

    9:00pm PRESTON REED

    Lestats Coffee

    3343 Adams Ave., Normal Heights (San Diego), CA 92116

    619-282-0437


    CD REVIEWS

    TITLE: LAUGHTER OUT OF TEARS

    ARTIST: MOIRA SMILEY & VOCO

    LABEL: WHIM RECORDS

    RELEASE DATE: SEPTEMBER 15, 2014

    By Jackie Morris

    Laughter Out of TearsHaunting, ethereal, and totally mesmerizing, Moira Smiley & VOCO bring an almost mystical quality to both original and traditional folk music. Drawing from a deep well of influence, their fourth album, Laughter Out of Tears, moves effortlessly from Appalachian roots to Balkan polyphony to Scandinavian folksongs; and then transcends tradition on five tracks by introducing the innovative “Choir of YOU,” a technology-empowered “chorus” of 200 voices from around the English-speaking world.

    The result is a kind of magic that is both subliminal and sublime, characterized by rich, complex harmonies, other-worldly polyphonic singing and sparse instrumentation. The 8 women who contributed to this VOCO release all sing (divinely, I should add) and play most of the instruments – a minimalist banjo and accordion (by Smiley), a tender cello (by April Guthrie), and plenty of body percussion. Single tracks are also punctuated by fiddle and uke, with guest artists on guitar, trumpet and percussion.

    Read more: LAUGHTER OUT OF TEARS - MOIRA SMILEY & VOCO


    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


BATTLEFIELD BAND’S NORTH AMERICAN TOUR

By Ron Young

Battlefield_BandScotland’s venerable Battlefield Band has been playing great Scottish and Irish music since their formation in 1970, and they are just embarking on their latest tour of North America. Unlike some Rock and Roll bands who have become sad caricatures of themselves, they have stayed to the forefront of traditional music. They have pretty much seamlessly pulled it off with the timely changing of personnel, not always an easy or satisfying feat to accomplish.

I first saw them in the early nineteen eighties at the home of Clark and Elaine Weissman in Tarzana, who in my estimation did more to promote this kind of music in Southern California than did all the Scottish and Irish cultural organizations put together at the time. The Weissman’s also hosted Silly Wizard, Ossian, and the Tannahill Weavers, among others. To say that I was blown away, is a serious understatement, as I really thought that I had died and gone to musical Heaven! I subsequently saw then at McCabe’s in Santa Monica, the Barn at U.C. Riverside and Cal Tech in Pasadena and always enjoyed them.

The Battlefield Band, named for an area in the South of Glasgow, has had a great deal of lineup changes since their founding, and their list of alumni reads like a who’s who of great Scottish and Irish musicians. I have a sneaking suspicion that some of the current line up were just a gleam in their parent’s eyes, when the band first hit the road.

The current musicians are Sean O’Donnell (vocals, guitar), Ewen Henderson (fiddle, bagpipes, whistles, piano, and vocals), Alasdair White (fiddle, tin whistle, banjo, bouzouki, Highland bagpipes, small pipes, and bodhran), Mike Katz (Highland bagpipes, small pipes, various whistles, bass guitar, and guitar). A swift piece of arithmetic comes up with around twenty instruments, which must be no fun for their roadie!

They are currently beginning their umpteenth tour of the States, which will include AMSD Concerts in San Diego on the 24th of March, Ojai Women’s Club on the 27th and Freight and Salvage in Berkeley on the 28th. If you have seen them before, then you will know that they are the real deal (or make that the reel deal), and if you haven’t, then you are in for a treat. From frenetic jigs and reels to traditional (and not so traditional songs, such as O.V. Wright’s hit That’s How Strong My Love Is (made famous by Otis Redding). The tunes and songs continue to sound fresh, and you get the feeling that they are really enjoying themselves. Their somewhat different version of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s Bad Moon Rising will always be a classic for me!

Philadelphia Folk Festival 2011
(http://www.youtube.com/v/Vn7vKDjOq1s )

I had a really interesting conversation on the 9th of March with Robin Morton, who has managed and produced them since the early days. Robin was an original member of the Boys of the Lough, so he has a very good pedigree in this particular field. It was somewhat surreal, as he was in New York, and I was in the Scottish Highlands. We talked about the current economy and its effect on musicians in general. We also discussed the current line up, and talked about the early days.

In this current climate of the internet, there is a whole world of information at your fingertips, so look them up, see what they are about, and attend one of their concerts near you. You will not regret it.

Tour Dates

New Album:

Battlefield Band's latest record Room Enough For All was released in the USA on the 19th March, by Temple Records.


Ron Young had the good fortune to grow up in rural Scotland, surrounded by the traditions of Scottish music and dance. He would like readers to know that whatever you heard about that sheep, it’s not true. Ron has spent the better part of thirty years involved with various Celtic and Scottish cultural organizations in southern California, and now back in Aberfeldy where he has continued to pursue his love of traditional music.