Folk music is all about folk – people, family, friends, you and me and everyone else; individuals coping with life’s everyday cares. Happy ones and sad, hard and sweet.
Folk music provides us with a country’s history because it’s the people’s history … and how can we understand the present without a feeling and grasp of the working people who’ve lived before us, built our railroads, plucked our cotton, suffered the dust storms and prayed for rain? Brought us to where we are? Not only with their successes … but also their failures. Folk is about “everyday” people in touch with their emotions, their strengths, their weaknesses, their environments.
American folk music is so incredibly rich that I’d like to introduce you to a few tunes, stories, people and songs. Far from today’s global political stage, these songs are rooted in everyday experience. Pionners. Immigrants. Roamers.Expressions of work, love, family, discovery.
Without the advent of sound recording, they’d be lost. Fortunately, there are many many recordings and thanks to a fellow whose name was Moses Asch, the Folkways Collection was a lifetime project to guarantee their perennity … and I, at least, am grateful to him and his team for their work. Vanguard Records, too, as well as major and minor labels produced artists whose souls are still very alive.
Folk music is for listening. And here’s one of the classics: Woody Guthrie, of course.
PS.The Folkways Collection put about 2 dozen podcasts on the net for free downloads on iTunes (and maybe elsewhere!) … and this leads me to one of my father’s, bless his soul, favorite sayings:
“A word to the wise is sufficient.”