Ross Altman’s Top Ten in 2010

In the order in which they occurred to me, here are the folk music events, CDs and films that made my year one of discovery, inspiration and entertainment—demonstrating that you’re never too old to be surprised and uplifted.  With many thanks to the following artists whose dedication to their craft and grasp of the human spirit fulfilled John Ruskin’s image that the aim of great art is to burn always with a hard gemlike flame:

1.         CD: Pete Seeger: Tomorrow’s Children, with the Rivertown Kids Chorus on Appleseed Recordings

2.         CD: Uncle Ruthie: The Jacaranda Tree double CD

3.         MOVIE: Phil Ochs: There But For Fortune—a magnificent documentary film by Kenneth Bowser, (to be officially released in January, 2011

4.         Live concert: Bob Dylan's Small Town Tour concert in his at the Citizen’s Business Bank Arena of Ontario, August 19, 2010

5.         Live concert: Patti Smith's State of the Union performance of readings and song at the Hammer Museum, January 28, 2010 (the day after Obama gave his, based on her memoir Just Kids, which won the National Book Award for Nonfiction

6.         Live concert: Guy Carawan's Tribute and Benefit for Highlander Center For Education and Research, Saturday, October 23, 2010, produced in Santa Monica by Ed Pearl

7.         Live concert: Roy Bookbinder's spellbinding concert at McCabe’s, June 25, 2010

8.         Live concert: Buffy Sainte-Marie's delayed but not denied concert at the Bootleg Theatre in Los Angeles, April 15, 2010

9.         Live concert: Arlo Guthrie and Family Ride Again at UCLA’s Royce Hall, April 16, 2010

10.       Live concert: Joan Baez and Roger McGuinn’s concert at The Queen Mary in Long Beach, on a lucky Friday, August 13, 2010

It will be a hard year to top, but I am looking forward to 2011, with thanks to FolkWorks for continuing to celebrate the best in folk music, far and wide.

Ross Altman has a Ph.D. in English. Before becoming a full-time folk singer he taught college English and Speech. He now sings around California for libraries, unions, schools, political groups and folk festivals. You can reach Ross at