Top Ten 2009

By Renee Bodie

1. L.A. Acoustic Music Festival:

Not because I was involved - the Top 10 part for me was seeing our folk community come together and make it happen. Seeing all the familiar faces volunteer and work to bring this music to Los Angeles was wonderful and inspiring. We are lucky folks. The line up was also part of my top ten, seeing Bruce Cockburn, Richard Thompson, Natalie MacMaster, David Lindley (watching Jackson Browne enjoy David Lindley's performance from the audience with his brother Severin was a highlight as well), David Bromberg and the Angel Band, the Kingston Trio, the Woody Guthrie Tribute, Jimmy LaFave, Eliza Gilkyson, Joel Rafael, Slaid Cleaves, the Refugees, and Stonehoney all in one place was just plain fun!

2. The Lowen & Navarro goodbye at Hotel Café:

Tough, hard, and beautiful tribute to one of the best songwriting teams in our genre - 20 years of wonderful music. Watching Eric sing in a whisper the words to "If I was the Rain" was one of the most moving moments of 2009 for me. A wonderful, grace-filled individual devastated by the monster disease of ALS. Never have I seen someone handle such a devastating illness with such grace. We love you Eric.

3. Woody Guthrie Fest:

The Woody Guthrie Festival takes place in July in Okemah, OK, birthplace of Woody Guthrie, and always features an incredible line up of musicians. I went on the encouragement of Jimmy LaFave, who is instrumental in making the festival happen. Let me tell you, folks, there is magic in that red dirt - the music seeps deep into your soul. Or maybe it's that you're just steps from Woody's boyhood home, or that Mary Jo Guthrie, Woody's sister, and the whole host of the Guthrie family is all around you, but it is an experience you will never forget. Joining Mary Jo at her Pancake Breakfast on Sunday morning is one of the highlights of the fest.

4. Folk Alliance International conference:

Best Tribe Gathering - Always a bright spot of the year where we get to gather with our community, and network too! Highlights this year included honoring Vic Heyman and Odetta posthumously at the Awards Banquet (seeing Vic's empty easy chair was moving - we miss you, Vic!); the Keynote Address by Roger McGuinn; the Electric Guitar Summit featuring Freebo, Albert Lee, Phil Hurley (Stonehoney), Colin Linden (Blackie and the Rodeo Kings), James Burton (best known for playin' with Elvis!) and Luke Doucet (Blue Rodeo); the showcase rooms in general; and of course watching the sun come up after playing music all night with Stonehoney, Kenny Edwards, Wendy Waldman, Sarah Lee Guthrie, and many, many more that wondered in...

5. CD: "Monsters of Folk"

Debut album - For that matter, the entire Monsters of Folk tour - this collective's four songwriters -Conor Oberst, Jim James, M. Ward and Mike Mogis are each a monster artist individually. Good to see the next generation carrying the torch of folk music and making it their own.

6. Best Up and Coming:

Check out the Hotel Cafe in the early hours of the evening, which tends to be dedicated to acoustic music - I am amazed at the young talent they have booked there. Kate Miller-Heidke, Caitlin Crosby, and Astrella Celeste among others.

7. Best Folk Radio: KPFK

To Roz Larman of FolkScene, for carrying on the torch on KPFK every Sunday, and Mary Katherine Aldin, also on KPFK on Saturday early AM. Great interviews, great music, great job!

8. Best Gig Calendar:

Larry Wines, Acoustic Americana Music Guide - every week Larry tirelessly creates a very extensive posting of live acoustic music shows and news in the greater Los Angeles area, and beyond

9. Best Online Mag & Best Interviews:

To FolkWorks - yep, you guys. Carrying on the online version, reinventing and filling such and important role for Folk Music - you definitely deserve this. And the Interviewers you have - Terry Roland and Ross Altman are wonderful! Thank you for keeping such an informative and delightful publication going.

10. Best Legislative move:

The Folk Alliance International PRO agreement for House Concerts getting done - finally, we don't have to worry about the PRO's coming down on House Concerts. The ongoing negotiations will include Coffeehouses and non-profit Promoters in the coming months - all positives for our community.