By Art Podell

Jeff KazorThe CD review of EMPATHY MOVES THE WATER ended here. What follows is the result of a phone call and some correspondence between me and Jeff Kazor, founder of The Crooked Jades. I asked him several questions about the band, their process and their vision for the future. His answers were complete and clear. At that point I asked if he would put those answers in writing for those who wish to know more.  This is the result:


Chris King and the Music of Epirus

Part 2 of 2: An Interview with Christopher C. King


By Pat Mac Swyney

Chris King full business card“Every time the needle hits the grooves, a miracle is performed.” – Chris King

I had the opportunity to chat with Chris this past August, a week before he left on another extended trip to Epirus:

PS: You are well known as an archivist, collector of 78 records and as a curator & producer of a growing number of CD and vinyl compilations from your extensive collection. Can you share how you came to 78 collecting?

CK: I began collecting 78s at the age of 15 when I discovered a small stack of pre-war discs; many black gospel but also some blues, hillbillly, Cajun, within an old shack on my grandparent's farm. My dad also collected music--including 78s but his taste was quite different from mine. And we were both natural-born collectors, so I just inherited the gene but modified the organism.


An Interview with Laemouahuma (Daniel) Jatta

By Chuck Levy ©2012

Laemouahuma Daniel JattaIn 2007, an unexpected series of events led me to Gambia where, amongst the Jola people and under the care of musician and scholar Laemouahuma (Daniel) Jatta, I would learn to play the akonting, (ekonting) a banjo-like instrument from that region. (Although he is known to many Westerners as Daniel, I’ve learned that Jatta actually prefers his birth-name, Laemouahuma.) Laemouahuma arranged my lodging and transportation in The Gambia, and introduced me to his cousins Remi Diatta and Ekona Diatta, master Jola musicians. 




By Christine Lovelace

David BraggerBack in the 1990s, UCLA students created an Anglo-American music ensemble, and the course was offered on and off through the 1990s and early 2000s. It’s most recent incarnation is as the Old-Time String Band Ensemble taught by David Bragger, a performer and teacher of old-time music.



By Karen Redding

Chubby CarrierBorn in 1967 in Church Point, Louisiana, Chubby Carrier is one of only four artists to win the Grammy in the short-lived “Best Zydeco or Cajun Music Album” category. He will be performing live on June 20 & 21, 2015 at the Long Beach Bayou Festival located at Long Beach’s Rainbow Lagoon.



By Annette Siegel

Mr. SunDarol Anger is a legendary fiddler; he’s also one of those rare musicians whose career has spanned many generations. He’s living a rich full musical life; whether teaching, composing or performing it’s with a passionate heart. His new band Mr. Sun boasts multi-generational players; happily their music takes no notice of age.

AS: What was the drive or instigation to form Mr. Sun?



By Annette Siegel

Eliza GilkysonEliza Gilkyson’s recent Grammy nominated The Nocturne Diaries delivers a haunting yet silky feel to the songs. Eliza’s guitar, acoustic or eclectic sets a base with steady rhythm creating a feel of yearning, crying out with the emotion packed within the lyrics. Adding various instruments that are used as a brush to color each song, with her son’s (Cisco Ryder) percussion keeping the pulse, Eliza is a Folk artist that’s not shy about looking at what’s currently happening in the world through her music.

AS: So you’re recently back from your trip to Los Angeles for the Grammy’s… it must have been quite an honor to be nominated once again (her previous nomination was for her 2004 CD Land of Milk and Honey for Best Contemporary Folk).




By Annette Siegel

Chris Thile - Edgar Mayer - bass and mandolinWhen listening to Edgar Meyer and Chris Thile’s Bass and Mandolin album – it’s amazing how the mandolin and bass weave together so easily even though they are from different sonic spectrums.

The duo’s music flows with call and response, delights with the quick melodic fingering conversation of Chris’s mandolin and the dancing, gliding bow strums of Edgar’s bass. It’s more than peanut butter and jelly…it’s like a flowing chocolate caramel swirl that delights your mind and fills your senses. And as it is with all good cooking, you can’t help but ask for more. They are very much at home playing together and this album invites us in for a listen.

I spoke with Edgar Meyer about his music and recent recording as well as the 2014 Fall tour.


Don McLean: The FolkWorks Interview

Part 3

By Ross Altman

Don McLean with Banjo at LenaRA:      How did you get acquainted with Pete?

DM:     I got acquainted with him because, well I always loved his records, and loved that image which I felt was the perfect image for me, you know, because I was always kind of an outsider. I didn’t really want to work with people. I didn’t get along with people. I was always getting punished for things I was saying, you know, even at home. In school, at home, whatever, I would say something that was the truth, but it would get me in a lot of trouble and it kind of continued right on.

RA:      Can you think of an example off the top of your head of that kind of thing?

DM:     I can – wow, I mean, no. But I was always being impertinent, let’s say.

RA:      Okay.

DM:     The biggest example was American Pie, you know, where everybody sort of crucified me for – Rolling Stone crucified me for trying to take over the telling of the history of rock and roll.

Read more: DON MCLEAN PART 3



By Ross Altman

July 14, 2014, Woody Guthrie’s 102nd birthday—a day to celebrate folk music.

Don McLeanRA:      Let me ask you about your father. You said at some point in the interview that I read that you were being encouraged to quit music because you weren’t making enough or weren’t successful enough and then the way you looked at it was you were making more in a day than your father made in a week…

RA:      Okay, so to repeat that you were making more in a day than your father was earning in a week, which was about $150, and so you couldn’t see the argument. So I wanted to ask you, what did your father do for a living? And what influence did he have in terms of values and the things that you saw around your home?

DM:     My father was a district manager for Consolidated Edison, the utility.

RA:      Oh, okay.

DM:     And he sold gas heat to people. And I never knew one single thing about what he did. He never spoke about what he did. He never talked about himself too much at all. He was taciturn in some ways, but near the end of his life when we were together, he told me all about childhood which was very tough. And then he died when I was with him.

Read more: DON MCLEAN PART 2



By Ross Altman

Don McLean with instrumentsIn the following interview Don McLean has a few things to say about Pete Seeger that may raise some eyebrows, especially since the interview was conducted well before Pete passed away last January 27; so I want to preface it with this lovely tribute by Don McLean for Pete and what his loss meant to him; it is copied directly from his web site and shows how complex love can be.

Thank you, Don.

Pete Seeger

For about seven years from the late 1960s to the mid 1970s, I knew the Seegers (Pete and Toshi) about as well as anybody. I worked with Pete Seeger frequently. He was very generous and encouraging at a time in my life when it meant a great deal to me. 

Read more: DON MCLEAN PART 1



By Annette Siegel

Scott TichenorNAMM is an exciting, tasking, inventive, and noisy experience. It’s also a great opportunity to meet people in person you’ve only emailed or talked on the phone with. Such was the opportunity to meet up with Scott Tichenor, the owner and webmaster of the Mandolin Café - home to all things Mandolin. He was kind enough to give me some of his time.

He’s taller than I imagined, very sweet, understated, and a knowledgeable person to talk with. He was there for the Café and the business contacts he meets, and also reports from a Mandolin point of view. Here are a few questions I sent his way while sitting down with him in the busy, crazy, world that is NAMM (Anaheim).

AS: Why did you come to the show this year?

ST: I came to mine information, make contacts and I’m always surprised every time. I come here with low expectations and it’s usually exceeded. For example; the first day, I meet with Mel Bay about some things, cause I’ve never met him in person. I turn around and there’s the person from Wiley Publishing (Dummies books) so I talked to them, made a contact with a marketing person; it was totally off my radar, I had no idea they were here.

Read more: Interview SCOTT TICHENOR Mandolin Cafe

Portal Irish Music Week

By Annette Siegel

Portal Director  Staff 2013 web

In the Spring of 2013, I got a strange and strong feeling pulling me to an music camp in Portal, AZ: Portal Irish Music Week. The place was remote and beautiful; the lineup of instructors was attractive and directed at Irish Music. I’d been bitten by the Irish mandolin bug and was looking for a place/person to go and get some help. Something about this little town with the big views was drawing me there.

Time marched on until October rolled around, Nowell (Luthier/husband) and I packed up and were on our way. Traveling on the I-10 headed east from LA is a somewhat unspectacular drive. So when arriving in Portal we were much relieved to find this little Store/Lodge as a welcoming destination. Attendees were coming in all day, with our first dinner together in the humble, wooded floor back room of the Portal Peak Café.

Read more: Portal Irish Music Week


An Interview with Marla Fibish

By Annette Siegel

Marlas mandolin front bodyAfter just a day and ½ of fun at the Mandolin Symposium this past June in Santa Cruz, I had the pleasure of sitting down with Marla Fibish, the Irish mandolin wizard. We talked about, among other things, her collaboration with her husband Bruce Victor on new album/CD Noctambule (Nocturnal + Ambulation) . Marla taught as a guest instructor this year and remarked that she had seen a recent surge of people looking for Irish mandolin instruction. Her classes included instruction is “nyah” (getting the Irish sound) as well as jigs and waltzes.

Marla’s mandolin has opened doors for her throughout the world, from the beginning of not quite knowing how to go about it all, to traveling in Ireland, sitting in sessions as well as taking a few lessons from a fiddle player.

What she offers as a teacher is a glimpse of what is possible with Irish music on the mandolin. Ever patiently and gently suggesting a triplet here, a sustain there with not only instruction on how to apply the technique but also offering a glimpse into the intangibles of a music that is best played without sheet music.


A Conversation with Iris Dement

By Terry Roland

Iris Dement Sings the DeltaIn one of her best known songs, Mama's Opry, singer-songwriter Iris Dement tells the story of playing alongside her mother during her childhood as she listened to her sing. Flora Mae Dement, who passed away in 2011 at 93, was a devoutly religious woman, so southern gospel music was always a part of her repertoire. However, in the presence of her young daughter she would also sing many of the less religious songs she heard on the Grand Ole Opry. She even revealed to young Iris how she dreamed of one day appearing on the show. It's a story best illustrated through the lyrics of the song:

The Carters and Jimmie Rodgers played her favorite songs.

And on Saturday nights there was a radio show and she would sing along.

I'll never forget her face when she revealed to me,

That she'd dreamed about singing at the Grand Ole Opry.

- from Mama's Opry on Infamous Angel

Read more: Iris Dement Interview


An Interview with Roy Zimmerman

[Note: Roy Zimmerman will be appearing at Coffee Gallery Backstage, Wednesday, January 23rd, 8pm]

By Terry Roland

Roy_ZimmermanWith all of the voices that come out of our television, computers and radios demanding our attention to buy their point of view, whether that is “spin,” distortion or blatant lies, it's easy to feel the need to just turn the radio off, shut down the computer or blow up your TV (in the words of John Prine.

But a song can make all the difference. A single voice in the wilderness, comedian singer-songwriter, Roy Zimmerman, asks us to take a fresh look at the state of the world through music. He offers insight, songs that are finely crafted and topical, and he gives us plenty to laugh about along the way. Make no mistake, Zimmerman's boat leans to the left. But, where the Left offers someone like Roy, whose show is ultimately affirming to everyone in attendance (conservatives have been spotted enjoying his shows), it seems the best the Right can do is Rush Limbaugh. In a past interview when asked why the Right has failed to produce a truly funny entertainer, he replied, 'it's hard to make fear funny.'

Read more: MUSICAL HUMOR - Roy Zimmerman


Interview With Noel Paul Stookey

By Terry Roland

Noel_Paul_StookeyIf anyone has taken the title of Dylan's classic song, Forever Young to heart, it's Noel Paul Stookey. For the last 50 years he has been best known as Paul of the popular folk trio, Peter, Paul & Mary. In a recent phone conversation, his enthusiasm, articulate and original insights and vision suggest the energy of a man half his age.

Although Peter, Paul & Mary's days of hit songs, including Puff the Magic Dragon and Leaving on a Jet Plane have long since passed, they continued as a concert draw over the last 40 years. With the untimely passing of Mary Travers in 2009, the trio, as an active touring act, came to an end. However, Stookey continues to pursue a solo career. With the recent release of his new album, the GRAMMY-worthy, One & Many, Stookey has added this new release to an already considerable legacy of music since his 1971 debut solo album, Paul And, which includes the classic that has defined Stookey's legacy, The Wedding Song. Composed in 1969, he wrote it as a wedding gift for his friend and co-member of Peter, Paul & Mary, Peter Yarrow. Before he wrote it he prayed for a song that would bring a divine presence to Yarrow's wedding. 

Read more: SONGS OF HOPE & LOVE - Paul Stookey


Actor/Singer-Songwriter RONNY COX

By Terry Roland

Ronny_CoxIf you spend even a few minutes talking with actor and singer-songwriter, Ronny Cox, you may see a subtle but distinct light shine from his eyes. If you spend a little more time listening to his new album, Ronny, Rad & Karen, or going to one of his shows, you may experience that same light as warmth. It comes from a life well lived in pursuit of songs and stories while keeping his own fires burning close to home. You may even recognize him. He’s one of those character actors who often remain nameless but familiar to the general public. His debut role in the 40 year-old classic movie, Deliverance, which also starred Jon Voight, Burt Reynolds and Ned Beatty, was distinguished by his friendly guitar-picking character, Drew Ballinger, who was the moral center point for the dilemma the characters face in the story.

Read more: DELIVERANCE Ronny Cox Interview

The Inspirations of Ernest Troost

By Terry Roland

Ernest_TroostErnest Troost’s music is a perverse and diverse celebration of American folk music. . It’s a vibrant festival of tragedy and comedy, a wind-blown crossroads of American culture where Piedmont blues meets modern literature in the darkest of themes.

Listening to his latest album, Live at McCabe’s (recently reviewed by Susie Glaze in FolkWorks) it’s not hard to imagine the Lovin’ Spoonful’s Sebastian front-porch harp-jamming with Steinbeck on mandolin while all of it is captured on canvas by Andrew Wyeth. With a voice reminiscent of Paul Simon, his characters and stories can be as dark as the prose of Cormac McCarthy or as inspiring as a Capra film as seen through the eyes of Woody Guthrie. He’s one of those rare songwriters who can gently seduce the listener into the pleasantries of his melodies while his subject matter subtly engages and disturbs with stories that tread closely to the dark-edge of the American dream revealing the nightmares of our hidden history.

Read more: The Inspirations of Ernest Troost

Josh White Jr.

A Rare Interview with the Son of a Folk Music Legend

By Terry Roland

josh_white_jrThe American dream is not always obvious in the way it comes true. Sometimes it comes true through nightmares. And from the nightmares dreams come true that serve to change the world. Josh White Jr.'s father was seven years old when, in 1921, he saw his father murdered. But, instead of embracing hatred, Josh White Sr. embraced music by learning the depths of the street country-Piedmont blues from blind folk singers. He turned the poison of racism into music that eventually gained him the attention of Chicago ethnic record producers. He crossed over and became the toast of Greenwich Village's first integrated night club, Cafe-Society in the 1940s. He wrote his own songs and eventually was even heard by President Roosevelt when his song, Uncle Sam Says, about racism in the American military, caught the president's attention. Josh admitted to Roosevelt that he wrote it to him. The two became fast friends.

Read more: INTERVIEW Josh White Jr.

Snap Jackson and the Knock on Wood Players

By Amy Reitnouer (BluegrassLA)

Snap_Jackson_and_the_Knock_on_Wood_PlayersTwo months back, the southland was graced by the first So Cal performance by Stockton's award-winning Snap Jackson and the Knock on Wood Players. Snap (whose real name is Antonio--the Snap part comes after being a photojournalism major in college) just returned from the International Bluegrass Music Association's World of Bluegrass conference in Nashville, Tennessee, where he and the band were highlighted in several artist showcases. Prior to their trip east, Snap caught up with me about his musical roots and a few of his favorite things....

AR: Can you describe your roots in bluegrass music?

SNAP: I was raised in a R&B and soul household on my mom's side, while my dad raised me with singer songwriter stuff. I got into bluegrass before I really knew what it was... when I was 11 years old, my best friend Alex introduced me to the Grateful Dead. That was the beginning of my education with 1960s psych rock. I totally dove in to the Dead eventually segued into Jerry's side stuff. According to Alex, the first time he played me a tune with Jerry on banjo I told him "I'm going to do that."

Read more: Interview: Snap Jackson and the Knock on Wood Players



By Terry Roland

David_Serby_-_Poor_Mans_PoemIn a few months, when looking over what were the best releases in Americana music during the year 2011 it will be hard to avoid David Serby's fourth independent release, Poor Man's Poem. In what is shaping up to be a fine year with new albums from Jim Lauderdale, Gillian Welch, Sarah Jaroz, Booker T and Levon Helm, this album stands in their company. Like the best of American folk songs over the last 150 years, this collection of songs and stories of the old west are pleasant, engaging tunes with lyrics as dark as forgotten gold mines. There's also a kinship to sea shanties and bluegrass songs that bring a melodic feeling of cheer while singing about death, betrayal, revenge and some occasional redemption. The nuance that has been added to this album is craftily weaving subtexts of current events into the ballads making them reverberate with a feeling of allegory that seems both urgent and timeless. What makes each song breathe with life is the conviction of the artist to convey both story and message. The songs can be experienced simply as they are written or as a commentary of the social, political and economic woes of the 21st century. At times, what the artist has accomplished is comparable to a short story by Larry McMurtry or Cormac McCarthy translated into the medium of song.

Read more: Interview - David Serby

Ribbon of Highway

Jimmy LaFave's Woody Guthrie Tribute
at L.A. Acoustic MUSIC Festival

By Terry Roland

Ribbon_of_HghwayOral traditions have long been the way we've handed down our stories, our characters, the dreams we've dreamed and our tragedies. Even in the end, with technology being what it is, it still may come down to one person talking to others with something urgent to tell them, some lesson learned, some human comedy. I think it'll always be that way, no matter how many phones, networks and computers preoccupy us. Jimmy LaFave's near decade run with the staged presentation of the words and music of Woody Guthrie, Ribbon of Highway, certainly embodies this tradition. With an ever rotating roster of artists who even included Pete Seeger, Arlo Guthrie, Sarah Lee Guthrie and Odetta, and with access to the Woody Guthrie Archives thanks to Nora Guthrie, the show has developed into the ever deepening portrait of America's most legendary troubadour.

Read more: Ribbon of Highway - Jimmy LaFave interview

Keaton Simons: Singer-Songwriter

An Unstoppable Talent

By Terry Roland

keaton_simonsThere's something special about the music of singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Keaton Simons. Perhaps it's in the warmth he projects. The only word that comes to mind is embracing. The songs, his voice, the instrumentation and the simple soul of the production simply embraces you, invites the listener into the warmth of the story in song, the sometimes painful and sometimes joyful observations. A recent song featured on his website and on YouTube, Beautiful Pain, speaks to this. But, from his debut album the song, Unstoppable is a revelation.

Keaton was recently featured on VH1's Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew as a family member of actor and film star, Eric Roberts. During the course of the season, we watch as Eric grieves about the 16 year chasm between himself and his step-son, Keaton. After a physical altercation they had parted ways when Keaton was 15. In a moment both vulnerable and authentic, they are brought together and embrace each other for the first time in a decade and a half. It is among the most touching moments I've witnessed on television in a very long time. After they reconcile, Keaton sings his song, Unstoppable and words like "When I think of you my love I know that anything is possible; when you're back in my arms again, I know that we will be unstoppable," poignantly summarize the feelings of returning home-father to son and friend to friend.

Read more: Keaton Simons Interview


By Terry Roland

Peter_Case.jpgPeter Case , fully recovered from open heart surgery, begins a U.S. tour with a solo performance at Claremont's Folk Music Center this Saturday, June 26, followed by an already sold-out show(a second show has been added) at McCabe's on July 9th. His new record, Wig, on Yep Roc Records will hit the streets on June 29th.

In his first interview since his surgery in 2009 Peter Case talked with a sense of urgency and irony. He talked like a man aware of the precious nature of his own life. He learned his lessons well as a street singer in San Francisco during the 1970s: When in doubt, when the pressure comes on, get back to basics. Lean on the streets. Who says you can't go home? If his hometown is a fresh and raw blues-rock Peter Case has done so with a vengeance with this new record. Recorded in three days live in the studio with guitarist and songwriter Ron Franklin and X drummer, DJ Bonebrake, there were no computers in sight and only minimal overdubs. At times it harkens back to the spirit of Dylan's classic Highway 61 Revisited. In the following interview, Peter talks about the making of the record, his life after surgery and his desire, as he said, ‘to just keep rockin.' And after all, that's what he's always done best.

Read more: Peter Case Interview


By Terry Roland

Guthrie_Family_2.jpgShe speaks in a voice which rings with generations of American folk music. If you listen to her youthful enthusiasm, you can hear the essence of her grandfather, Woody Guthrie's Dust Bowl days and train-riding songs and tales. You may hear her father, humorist, songwriter, philosopher, Arlo Guthrie with his tales of Woodstock, restaurants belonging to Alice and freight trains called The City of New Orleans. But, mostly, you'll hear the voice of Sarah Lee Guthrie. As she talks and sings, her voice conjures up a folksinger as American as those wheat fields waving Woody once wrote about in the well-loved patriotic anthem, This Land Is Your Land.

Read more: ARLO, SARAH LEE



By Terry Roland

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.

Read more: CARRIE NEWCOMER inteview



By Terry Roland

JACK_TEMPCHIN.jpgHow many songs from the last 50 years are there that the general, baby boomer public can recognize just by name and even sing a bar or two with the words? Surprisingly, I've found, not many. Then, there's Peaceful, Easy Feeling. The mention of the title inevitably brings a look of pleasant recognition on the faces of many people. The song, like any great American pop song, crosses cultural, social, generational and even international boundaries. While talking with Jack Tempchin for an hour during our recent phone interview, Jack told stories of experiences and memories told to him of the song. I even interjected my stories about the song. It seems he may have a great basis for a book on the impact and experiences of this song alone. "A Chicken Soup for the Peaceful, Easy Feelin' Soul," if you will.



By Terry Roland

Al_Kooper.jpgAl Kooper hardly needs any introduction. He's been there with the biggest names in rock including the Beatles, Stones and Bob Dylan. His mercurial organ is a signutare sound on Dylan's Like A Rolling Stone. He helped to create jazz-rock, later picked up by Chicago. He founded Blood Sweat & Tears, but he left for a more experimental sound. His studio work has been constant. But, he also is fine songwriter with a distinct soul/R&B sound. When he comes around on a solo-acoustic tour, it's a rarity. His year old White Chocolate album is his effort to re-invent blue-eyed soul.


A Conversation with Bess Lomax Hawes,
Part 4

By Ross Altman

July 10, 2003 (Reprinted from FolkWorks print edition V4N3)

Bess_Part_4.jpgWelcome to the conversation This is the fourth and final segment of our conversation with folklorist Bess Lomax Hawes. If you are just joining us, we hope you will look back to catch up on the first three parts. Utah Phillips wrote a wonderful song called All Used Up. The last verse goes:

Sometimes in my dreams I sit by a tree
My life is a book of how things used to be
And kids gather round and they listen to me
And they don't think I'm all used up
And there's songs and there's laughter and things I can do
And all that I've learned I can give back to you
I'd give my last breath just to make it come true
No I'm not all used up.

Read more: Bess Lomax Hawes, Part 4

A Conversation with Bess Lomax Hawes,
Part 3

by Ross Altman

July 10, 2003 (Reprinted from FolkWorks print edition V4N2)

Bess_Part_3.jpg[For those of you who would like to know more about Bess's work as a folklorist, there is a new DVD entitled, The Films of Bess Lomax Hawes, available for $24.95 plus $6.00 shipping from . You will discover that, even in this longish interview, looking back more than half a century, we have only scratched the surface].

FW: I know you've been asked this a thousand times and you can just tell me to bugger off. What is your definition of a folksong? With the emphasis on "your." I'm not asking you to recite the academic definitions in the American Heritage Dictionary, but as you see it.

BLH: I would probably come closer to that than to some of the more folky ones. I think that folksongs have to have a history, that they have to have some past. You can have a song that's probably going to be a folksong. You can bet on it.

Read more: Bess Lomax Hawes, Part 3

A Conversation with Bess Lomax Hawes,
Part 2

By Ross Altman

July 10, 2003 (Reprinted from FolkWorks print edition V4N1)

Bess_Part_2.jpg[Correction from Part 1: It was Arthur Stern, not Lee Hays, who wrote the parody Woody Guthrie, the Great Hysterical Bum. This information comes from a new biography of Guthrie by Ed Cray, entitled Ramblin' Man, which I will review in the next issue of FolkWorks. Now, back to our conversation with Bess Lomax Hawes.]

FW: When did you feel that you became a folklorist? When did you settle in as...more than just coming from a folklore family, that it was something you wanted to do?

BLH: That's a very tricky question because I did a lot of things before that ever happened.

Read more: Bess Lomax Hawes, Part 2

A Conversation with Bess Lomax Hawes,
Part 1

by Ross Altman

July 10, 2003 (Reprinted from FolkWorks print edition V3N6)

Bess_Part_1.jpgBess Lomax Hawes is the daughter of famed folklorist JohnLomax and the sister of Alan Lomax. During her student days at Bryn MawrCollege she met many of the folk musicians then living in New York andperformed with them at informal gatherings. Out of this grew The AlmanacSingers that included among others, Pete Seeger, Woody Guthrie, Sis Cunningham,Bess and Butch Hawes, who she was later to marry. She co-wrote The M.T.A. Song which was made famous bythe Kingston Trio. She later in her career joined the faculty of San FernandoValley State College (later California State University Northridge) where shewas an instructor of anthropology. In 1975 Hawes started and helped produce theSmithsonian's Bicentennial Folklife Festival and then joined the NEA in 1977 asan administrator.

Read more: Bess Lomax Hawes, Part 1

My Brother, Mike Seeger:
Peggy Seeger Talks to FolkWorks
Part 2

By Ross Altman

mike_peggy_pete_seeger.jpgSEEGER: Hello?

ALTMAN: Peggy. This is Ross Altman. Are you home?

SEEGER: Yeah, it looks like it. You called home. You've called my home and I've answered. So I guess I'm home.

ALTMAN: Okay. Well, welcome back.

SEEGER: Thank you.

Read more: Peggy Seeger pt 2

My Brother, Mike Seeger:

Peggy Seeger Talks to FolkWorks


mikepeggypete1995davegahr.jpgThe first time ever I saw her face I shoved a tape cassette into it-and she jumped up and hugged me. But more about that later.

When I proposed an email "interview" with Peggy Seeger to talk about her late brother Mike, I got an earful. "I absolutely don't do email interviews," she retorted; "I don't read anything online-not newspapers, not magazines, and not books. If I want to read I go to a nice café and find a quiet corner and bring something between two covers. I'm sorry, but that is still reading to me."

So needless to say, she had not read my tribute to Mike Seeger on FolkWorks web site, nor Peter Feldman's excellent obituary either."

Read more: Peggy Seeger pt 1

Ian Tyson
Takes the Gravel Road Less Traveled

By Terry Roland


Ian Tyson is the real deal. What others have imagined, Ian has lived. From a rodeo-riding youth to a broken-hearted gentleman and a prairie poet. He is a cowboy historian, a northern-sky storyteller and although he was born and raised in Canada, he's as American as a buffalo. He's a romantic and a realist, a rancher and a true singing cowboy, riding out on what he calls a fenceless plain; he's the one Gene Autry only wished he could have been. Tyson's songs are strewn with story, lore, and legends. In some ways he personifies the quietly disappearing prairie wind-song. Still, he takes daily walks along his own personal gravel road to his cabin at the end of a box canyon. There he continues to write his songs about lovers, wolf packs, wild horses, rodeo children, adventures on a Navajo rug, and the joys of Canadian whiskey.

  As we talked in a recent phone interview, a significant word kept coming into our conversation: space. In 1909, his Welsh immigrant father first stepped on to Canadian soil and experienced the reality of that western prairie wide-open space. It's easy to forget that there was a time when the untamed frontier was considered another planet to the uninitiated city-dweller. Tyson's father was this kind of person. But he stayed and the blood and yearning for the wilderness was passed on to him. He described it as the unfenced West, the place where wild horses roam free - the now disappearing wild land where man and beast dwelled in harmony. These are the topics of Tyson's finest songs.


Read more: Ian Tyson interview w space

January-February 2007

An Interview with Jorge Mijangos

Son Jarocho Musician and Luthier By Sonia Kroth

Son -

Literally a sound that is agreeable to the ear, it is a Mexican regional song/dance style, usually in 6/8 rhythm.

Jarocho - "of Veracruz" Applied to

the people and music of Veracruz, the term originally meant "irreverent," but the jarocho people have turned it into an assertion of pride.

Born and raised in Chiapas, México, Jorge Mijangos is a self-taught multi-instrumentalist and luthier. He began performing as a soloist in local theaters and radio stations at the age of five. During his formative years, he played guitar and sang in the traditional estudiantina. He has been in numerous groups, playing such varied musical styles as salsa, rock, Andean music, canto nuevo, and son jarocho, and has recorded and performed throughout Mexico and the US.

Read more: An Interview with Jorge Mijangos, Son Jarocho Musician and Luthier