Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy birthday, Tom Paxton!

Thomas Richard Paxton
(born October 31, 1937) is an American folk singer and singer-songwriter who has been writing, performing and recording music for over forty years. In 2009, Paxton received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.[1][2]

His songs have experienced enduring appeal, including modern standards such as "The Last Thing on My Mind", "Bottle of Wine", "Whose Garden Was This?", "The Marvelous Toy", and "Ramblin' Boy". Paxton's songs have been recorded by Pete Seeger and The Weavers, Judy Collins, Joan Baez, Doc Watson, Harry Belafonte, Peter, Paul and Mary, The Kingston Trio, The Chad Mitchell Trio, John Denver, Dolly Parton and Porter Wagoner, Willie Nelson, Flatt & Scruggs, The Fireballs, and many others (see covers). He has performed thousands of concerts around the world in such places as Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Hong Kong, Scandinavia, France, Germany, Italy, Belgium, Holland, England, Scotland, Ireland, Canada, and all over the United States; and his songs have been translated into various languages. Paxton enjoys a strong relationship with fans throughout the world.

Tom Paxton's songs can be emotionally affective and cover a wide range of topics, from the serious and profound to the lighthearted and comical. "What Did You Learn in School Today?" mocks the way children are often taught lies. "Jimmy Newman" is the story of a dying soldier, and "My Son John" is a moving song about a soldier who comes back home and can't even begin to describe what he's been through. "Beau John" is a civil rights era song about taking a stand against racial injustice. "A Thousand Years" tells the chilling tale of Neo-Nazi uprising, and "Train for Auschwitz" is about the Holocaust. "On the Road to Srebrenica" is about Bosnian Muslims who were killed in a 1995 massacre in Bosnia and Herzegovina. "The Bravest" is a song about the firefighters who gave their lives while trying to save others on September 11, 2001. Then there are Paxton's "short shelf life songs", which are topical songs about current events and things in the news. These songs can be lighthearted and comical, or serious depending on the situation, and they change all the time as new ones are written and old ones can reappear as things seem to have a way of cycling around in this world. They include: "In Florida", about the 2000 election scandal; "Without DeLay", a song about the former congressman; "Bobbitt", about John and Lorena Bobbitt; "Little Bitty Gun", which lampoons Nancy Reagan; "I'm Changing My Name to Chrysler", about the controversial federal loan guarantee to Chrysler in 1979 (which was rewritten in 2008 as "I Am Changing My Name to Fannie Mae"[3] about the 700 billion dollar "bailout of the U.S. financial system"); "The Ballad of Spiro Agnew", and "Lyndon Johnson Told the Nation" (which became "George W. Told the Nation"[4] in 2007).


Originally written as "Lyndon Johnson Told the Nation" during the Vietnam war, reworked into "George W. Told the Nation" in 2007.

Happy birthday, Tom, you're timeless!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Folk music or roots culture support organizations listed in NEFOLKnRoots

Folk music or roots culture support organizations listed in the NEFOLKnRoots "links" area.

NEFolknRoots is a news and discussion group celebrating and supporting traditional folk, folk revival, folk rock, roots, blues, bluegrass, Cajun and zydeco music and dance in the northeast US and from beyond that affects our community.

Its DATABASE and FILES areas contain scores of community-based non-commercial radio and internet station other resources. This is but one. Share widely, but please cite the source.

Links > Folk music or roots culture support organizations

Boston Song Sessions
Pub sings and chantey sings within hailing distance of Boston. Such sessions typically emphasize traditional songs with choruses everyone can join in on.

Boston Zydeco

Boston Zydeco, a non-profit organization, covers the Zydeco community in the general Boston area and is dedicated to enhancing access to Cajun and Zydeco dance, culture and music.

Canadian - American Club of Massachusetts

Every Friday Night , the Canadian-American Club is the place to be! You never know who might drop in from 'down' home, and can't help but have a smile on your face listening to the masterful fiddle of Ludger Lefort . Independent Organizations that sponsor events at the Canadian-American Club facilities include: Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Eireann , with Larry Reynolds , Patio Records, The Gaelic Club, and St. Brendan's Society.

Canadian Society for Traditional Music

The Canadian Society for Traditional Music is dedicated to the study and promotion of musical traditions of all communities and cultures, in all their aspects. The scope of the society's activities is intended to reflect the interests both of members who are ethnomusicologists and of members whose interests are mainly with traditional music and its contemporary counterparts, especially in Canada. Formed in 1956 as the Canadian Folk Music Society by the eminent folklorist Marius Barbeau, the Society has provided a national focus for lovers of the diverse traditions of music in Canada. Annual conferences have been held in all regions of the country, from St. John's, Newfoundland to Vancouver Island, British Columbia. From its initial focus upon First Nations and rural French and English cultures, in recent years the Society has broadened its horizon to include the musical expressions of the many cultures that now call Canada home. Contact Info Website: Office: Facebook:

Elysium Arts Folk Club (New Hampshire)

Why a Folk Club? For the love of music without the distraction of a restaurant or bar is the short answer! We will be serving fine quality coffee and tea and snacks but our main focus is the music. We want to provide a comfortable, homey, family oriented atmosphere where the music can shine. We also want to provide a venue that is comfortable and accessible for the performers.

Field Recorders' Collective

The Field Recorders' Collective, originally formed with five collectors, is now a growing group of collectors who have generously agreed to share their field recordings with the old time community. Both the collectors and the musicians they recorded have traveled parts of the same old time music road. Members of the collective, just as did the musicians they recorded, wish to share the tunes and creative individual styles that developed in isolated communities with others seeking their own right of way on the road.

Folk Arts Center of New England

The Folk Arts Center of New England is an incorporated nonprofit educational organization dedicated to promoting interest and participation in the traditional dance, music, and related folk arts of many cultures, and to supporting other groups and individuals with the same mission. Folk Arts Center of New England • 42 W. Foster Street • Melrose, MA 02176-3811

Folk Music Society of New York, Inc.

Traditional music is alive and well in New York City.

Folk Song Society of Greater Boston, The

The Folk Song Society of Greater Boston is a non-profit organization of people interested in folk music: its traditional origins and sources and its current expressions. We are dedicated to providing opportunities for everyone to make, enjoy, and support this music. has two goals. One is to build a national preserve of hard-to-find documentary films about American folk or roots cultures. The other is to give them renewed life by streaming them on the internet. The films were produced by independent filmmakers in a golden age that began in the 1960s and was made possible by the development first of portable cameras and then capacity for synch sound. Their films focus on the culture, struggles, and arts of unnoticed Americans from many different regions and communities.

Heritage Folk Music

Heritage Folk Music, Inc's mission is to collect, preserve, document, display and interpret the regional and historic folk music, folklore and oral history of New York State, including specifically the Catskill Mountains and Hudson River Valley.

Institute of Musical Traditions (Md.)

A non-profit dedicated to preserving and promoting American and international folk music traditions and nurturing new styles evolving from these cultural roots through concerts, workshops, & educational programs.

Monadnock Folklore Society, The

The Monadnock Folklore Society (MFS) was founded in 1980, and incorporated as a nonprofit organization in 1982. The original purpose of the organization was to increase the visibility of folk dance and music events in southern New Hampshire, provide new venues for performers, and provide educational services in the folk arts to the community. MFS is governed by a Board of Directors, assisted by interested members of the community for help with special projects. From time to time “open” meetings are held, which any member of the community may attend. At these meetings, the directors seek ideas and feedback for both new and ongoing projects. Most concerts are presented in the Nelson Town Hall, which is a pleasing venue for acoustic or modestly amplified music. A wide range of musical and cultural traditions are represented. Recent concerts have included Irish, Cape Breton, Quebecois, Cajun, Balkan, Scottish, and Delta Blues. Historical presentations have included American Civil War era music and American songs collected in the Monadnock Region in the 18th-20th centuries. Two perennial favorites are the annual December performance by Nowell Sing We Clear and the Nelson Solstice Concert and Dance.

National Folk Organization - USA

To advance and preserve folk arts representing national, local and ethnic customs as they exist throughout the United States of America; to promote and encourage the exchange of folk dance and dance related to folklore in the USA and abroad and to effectively network those who support these objectives.

New England Folk Music Archives (the)

The New England Folk Music Archives preserves, promotes and documents the ongoing cultural legacy of folk music and its connections to New England through education, collaboration and entertainment.

New Hampshire Acoustic Music Association

Listings for NH

New York Folklore Society

The New York Folklore Society recognizes and celebrates the extraordinary in everyday life, bringing focus to traditions of our state’s diverse peoples. NYFS is a leading resource for folklore and folklife by disseminating research and information.

New York State Traditional Folk Music

Come all friends of George Edwards, "Yankee" John Galusha, Sara Cleveland, Vic Kibler, Alice Clemens, The Van Arsdale Family and the Stevens-Douglass Manuscript! A place to discuss, share information and resources and generally enthuse about the musical traditions of our ancestors here in New York State.

Old Town School of Folk Music (The)

The Old Town School of Folk Music teaches and celebrates music and cultural expressions rooted in the traditions of diverse American and global communities.

Passim Folk Music and Cultural Center

Passim Folk Music and Cultural Center is a nonprofit arts organization dedicated to the cultivation and preservation of folk music. Through its diverse programming - Club Passim, the Passim School of Music, the Passim Archives, and Culture for Kids - Passim Center reaches out to people of all ages, backgrounds, and communities. For more than 50 years in the heart of Harvard Square, Passim Center has been a cornerstone of the arts community of New England, fostering both performers and audiences alike.

Pinewods Folk Music Club

The Folk Music Society of New York, Inc. / New York Pinewoods Folk Music Club is a non-profit 501(c)(3) educational corporation, an affiliate of the Country Dance and Song Society of America, a member of the Folk Alliance, and a member of the NY-NJ Trail Conference. It is run by a volunteer Board of Directors, elected by the membership. It runs concerts, weekends, classes, singing parties, and get-togethers, all with an emphasis on traditional folk music of all flavors.

Pioneer Valley Folklore Society

Fostering folk music and storytelling in Western Massachusetts since 1960.

South Shore Folk Music Club

Bringing traditional and contemporary, folk acoustic music to the South Shore over 25 years.

TAUNY (Traditional Arts in Upstate NY)

Songs from the lumberwoods, dance tunes from northern NY fiddlers, ballad singers and more, along with streaming audio concert features, downloadable sheet music, an entire section for educators, features on song collecting in the region, indigenous and ethnic musical traditions and much more.

Woods Hole Folk Music Society, The

Bringing top traditional artists to Woods Hole since 1973. Come for the intimate waterside setting, great acoustics, yummy goodies (supplied by you), a chance to chat with performers, and above all great music hosted by an all-volunteer organization. All for $15 ($12 members, discounts for seniors, youth & kids.)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

RIP, Barry Finn

From Joe Stead


Barry Finn

Barry was not feeling well a couple of weeks ago on a Friday evening so he was transported to the hospital on the following Monday for observation and tests. It was diagnosed that he had had a recent heart attack. By Thursday evening all seemed to be well and going in the right direction. He took a drink of water and all ended for him...his heart just stopped pumping and he died Friday October 16, 2009 at the Elliot Hospital, Manchester, NH. He was born on February 5, 1951 in Boston, MA a son of Elizabeth (Barry) Bent and the late Eugene Finn.

He formed a duo with Neil Downey whom he first met in the mid seventies while singing and playing at the Irish Music session in the ‘Village Coach House’ in Brookline, Ma. They performed primarily a cappella songs related to heavy work and hard labour, specializing in the performance of traditional sea songs, shanties and work songs originating in the southern prison system.

A gifted songwriter, together with Neil they performed at the Mystic Seaport Sea Music Festival, New England Folk Festivals (NEFFA), New Hampshire’s Great Bay Festival, the Gloucester (US) Maritime Festival, Boston’s First Night, the San Francisco Maritime Festival, the Salem Maritime Festival, the Boston Antique & Classic Boat Festival, for Sea Revels in Boston, at Sail Boston Tall Ships Parades 88 and 92 and at the Massachusetts State House for the “Welcoming of the Captains” during Boston’s last Tall Ships Parade. They have also performed on board the USS Constitution, the USS Eagle, the USS Salem, the Unicorn, the Schooner Adventure, the Brig Carthaginian, the Polish schooner Zawisza Czarny, the Larinda, Canada’s schooner Empire Sandy, the Shenandoah & Nova Scotia’s Bluenose II. This very year he sang with Neil at the Scarborough Sea Festival and wrote to me afterwards thanking me for recommending the fish and chip shop on the main front just across from the performance area. Kimber’s Men were performing at Warwick.

My wife and I were fortunate enough to meet him when we toured America earlier this year; and I was able to film him after the concert I gave in South Portland, Maine. I recommend you look at it>

He is survived by his wife Justine Donovan of Derry; his daughter, Natalie Finn and his son, Gabriel Finn, both of Derry; his mother, Elizabeth Bent of W. Dennis, MA; two brothers, Daniel Bent of Walpole, MA and Earl Moore of N.H.; one sister, Cheryl Finn-Poole of Carlisle, MA. He also leaves behind countless friends in and out of the music community. I only met him for one evening, but he left a good unending impression.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

“Forever Young: The Amazing Grace of Folk Music History

Brendan Hogan, host/producer of "Blues on WGBH", will be the featured performer for the kick-off reception at Daedalus (original home of “Club 47” est. 1958).

This November Harvard Square will become “One Large Community Gallery” featuring Vintage Photographs, Folk Artworks, and Harvard Square Music History Ephemera displayed throughout in store and restaurant windows, walls, nooks and crannies!

Forever Young is a collaborative endeavor between the New England Folk Music Archives (NEFMA) and the Harvard Square Business Association (HSBA) and its members.

The month long focus on Folk Music and its Harvard Square roots will include a Walking-Tour Map of the visual imagery displays and historic locations and a calendar of “Special Events.” The Walking Tour Map will be available to pick up or download on - please check the website often as we add more “Forever Young” special menus, drinks, and ways to get in the spirit in Harvard Square.

About Community Gallery Show:

The visual images and ephemera in the show come from the New England Folk Music Archive collection and from the private collections of photographers and collectors who spent time in Harvard Square.

Artists and collectors include: Rowland Scherman, Steve Nelson, Don West, Byron Lord Linardos, Melissa Bugg, John Byrne Cooke, Robert Corwin, Eric Von Schmidt and several others.

Legendary musicians captured in photos and artwork include: Pete Seeger, Arlo Guthrie, Janis Joplin, Ellis Paul, Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, Peter Wolf, J. Geils, Odetta, Tom Rush, Jackie Washington, Taj Mahal, Patty Larkin, Geoff & Maria Muldaur, Shawn Colvin, and Suzanne Vega among many others.

A collection of early Club 47 calendars, posters, highlights, copies of Boston Broadsides, Programs, Letters, Album Covers and other Harvard Square vintage goodies!

Special “Forever Young – Folk History Month” Events in Harvard Square!

11/1/09 – Kick-off Reception at Daedalus (original home of “Club 47” est. 1958).
Time: 5:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Location Daedalus Restaurant, 45 ½ Mount Auburn Street

Enjoy hors d’oeuvres and cash bar while listening to Brendan Hogan (blues musician and host of WGBH’s Blues Evening Show) and a short introduction to the New England Folk Music Archives…and other special guests and treats!

- The Christmas Revels: John Langstaff's Merry Vision
Time: 7:00 p.m to 9:00 pm
Location: Tommy Doyle’s Irish Pub, 96 Winthrop Street
Admission is free. Appetizers and a full pub menu are available.

In 1971, renowned classical singer and educator John Langstaff, along with his daughter Carol, created the Christmas Revels. It has grown from a Cambridge holiday tradition into a global empire, helping people all over the country to keep traditions of music, ritual, and lore in their lives today. Revels artistic director Patrick Swanson, music director George Emlen, and singing star David Coffin discuss Langstaff's life, vision and legacy with Scott Alarik.

The “Forever Young” Conversations at Tommy Doyle’s are a casual, salon-style evening of conversation and music, recorded as part of the New England Folk Music Archives ongoing Oral History Project, to document the important chapters of New England's long and colorful folk music history.

Scott Alarik, Forever Young Salon Moderator, has been a principal folk music writer for the Boston Globe since 1986. He is also a frequent contributor to Sing Out! the Folk Music Magazine, and was folk critic for the public radio program "Here and Now" for seven years. From 1991-97, he was editor and chief writer for the New England Folk Almanac. Pete Seeger calls Alarik one of the best writers in America," and Dar Williams calls him "the finest folk writer in the country."

- Harvard Coop Kids Event (10-12 years) with Janet Feld
“It Can Take a Village to Write a Song”
Time: 1-3 pm. (in the Children’s Department!)
Location: The Harvard Coop, 1400 Mass. Ave

Presented by the New England Folk Music Archives.

Please join us for “It Can Take a Village to Write a Song” a collaborative workshop with Janet Feld where the kids will have a chance to create a song from scratch. Age appropriate reading lists about Folk Music and Folk Artists as well as a display of books and photos will be available. Snacks provided and copies of the song will be given to each child.

– Brunch with the FOLKS!
Time: Check for specific times
Location: Restaurants, Coffee Houses and outdoor spaces throughout Harvard Square!

Join us for a Special Sunday of food, music, and comraderie as we celebrate the rich and vibrant community of folk music heard ‘round Harvard Square! Please check back for specific details on musicians and participating restaurants!

- Irish Music in Boston: Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann & the Celtic Movement
Time: 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Location: Tommy Doyle’s Irish Pub, 96 Winthrop Street

Admission is free. Appetizers and a full pub menu are available.

The Irish cultural organization Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann has played a crucial role in preserving and popularizing traditional Irish music. Few Bostonians know that its largest chapter outside Ireland is right here, the Hanafin-Cooley Branch. Local Comhaltas president Larry Reynolds and fiddler Seamus Connolly, a 10-time All-Ireland champion and educator, discuss Boston's historic importance to Irish music, from the Dudley Street ballrooms of the '50s to today's thriving Irish Session scene and Celtic concerts.

The “Forever Young” Conversations at Tommy Doyle’s are a casual, salon-style evening of conversation and music, recorded as part of the New England Folk Music Archives ongoing Oral History Project, to document the important chapters of New England's long and colorful folk music history.

Scott Alarik, Forever Young Salon Moderator, has been a principal folk music writer for the Boston Globe since 1986. He is also a frequent contributor to Sing Out! the Folk Music Magazine, and was folk critic for the public radio program "Here and Now" for seven years. From 1991-97, he was editor and chief writer for the New England Folk Almanac. Pete Seeger calls Alarik one of the best writers in America," and Dar Williams calls him "the finest folk writer in the country."

– A Special Screening of the film “Festival!” directed by Murray Lerner. “Festival” is a documentary featuring rare performances from the Newport Folk Festival between 1963 and 1966. A “Q&A” with the Director and Reception will follow the screening.
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Location: The Brattle Theater, 40 Brattle Street.

For more information visit or call Tim Mason at 617-480-0388.

All events are presented by the New England Folk Music Archives in Collaboration with the
Harvard Square Business Association

For more information about the New England Folk Music Archives

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Is modern music torture?

I became aware of the "torture music" a few days ago. Listen to the very end of Thursday's edition of "The World". The one band I remember the program playing was "Matchbox 20". If you are aware of specific artists/music used as part of the US torture program, please append here, or in NEFolknRoots or Facebook.

Excerpt: " assortment of rock stars and pop thingies announced Friday the filing of a lawsuit under the Freedom of Information Act (in the U.S.) to force declassification of government documents with the playlist for music pumped during interrogation and whilst terrorism suspects sleep...."

October 24, 2009

Rosie DiManno

Is modern music torture?


The thought crosses my mind every time I'm in an elevator and Norah Jones – the female Perry Como – invades my ear-space with her insufferable neo-jazz ballads. Ditto Sarah McLachlan's narcoleptic vocals on those late-night public service ads for sad-eyed canines. What is it with chanteuses who always sound like they're warbling dirges – music to slash your wrists by?

Neither of those ladies is, however, among the recording artists who are bitchin' outraged about their music being played as instrumentals of torture for detainees at Guantanamo Bay.

There's no copyright infringement here. But an assortment of rock stars and pop thingies announced Friday the filing of a lawsuit under the Freedom of Information Act (in the U.S.) to force declassification of government documents with the playlist for music pumped during interrogation and whilst terrorism suspects sleep.

Included in the anti-melodic remix – lest this be perceived as exclusively an audile indictment of the hip and the famed – is the Meow-Mix cat food jingle and Sesame Street ditties.

So maybe Khalid Sheikh Mohammed – 9/11 architect and the biggest terrorist "get" in custody – rolled over on his Al Qaeda pals not because inquisitors subjected him to waterboarding or attached electrodes to his gonads but on account of not being able to take another refrain of ... Baby One More Time. And really, who can?

This is hardly a novel tactic. It was 20 years ago that an American Psyops team mounted five humongous speakers around the Vatican Embassy in Panama wherein fugitive Gen. Manuel Noriega had taken refuge. After only a few days of being blasted by heavy metal – Van Halen featured – the drug-trafficking despot surrendered. And really, who wouldn't?

I don't recall Eddie V.H. and his bandmates objecting. But we're into a whole new generation of conscience-elevated performers who apparently don't wish to be downloaded for the purpose of torture- lite accompaniment.

The thumpa thumpa as inflicted at Gitmo was first revealed in a report last November from the Senate Armed Services Committee, which mentioned that one Mohamedou Ould Slahi had been subjected to a looped soundtrack of Drowning Pool's Bodies in 2003. That disclosure caused not a ripple of protest.

A follow-up report by the Pentagon noted that the "futility technique" – as in resistance is futile? – leaned heavily on Metallica, Britney Spears and Eminem.

Now, I'm thinking that what most pop/rock stars know about global issues (with the exception of global warming, the cool cause du jour) wouldn't fill a shot glass. Green Day ain't no Pete Seeger and even bands that cluster around Bono for Live Aid seem more about the cachet than the humanitarianism.

But then the National Security Archives – a Washington-based independent research outfit (not to be confused with the other NSA, as in ultra-secret intelligence cryptologists) – got in on the act, rustling up a couple of retired generals for military brass oomph, and suddenly the rockers are all, like, how-dare-you? Though if I'm, say, Don McLean of one-hit-wonder American Pie trivia, I might be grateful for the career jolt.

Others who've had their hits-with-a-bullet (you should forgive the expression) "exploited" down Gitmo-way, include Marilyn Manson, Nine Inch Nails, Rage Against the Machine and The Bee Gees(!).

"At Guantanamo, the United States government turned a jukebox into an instrument of tortures," harrumphed NSA executive director Thomas Blanton.

A jukebox? What century is this mook living in? iPod, maybe.

R.E.M., while not cited in the line-up, chimed in sanctimoniously on "We have spent the past 30 years supporting causes related to peace and justice. To now learn that some of our friends' music may have been used as part of the torture tactics without their consent or knowledge is horrific. It's anti-American, period."

And, from Rosanne Cash: "Music should never be used as torture."

Tell it to, oh, Michael Bublé.

So, music to induce a confession is reprehensible. But regurgitated as income-fattening, credibility-gutting ad-tunes – everyone from Dylan to Smash Mouth selling out – that's okay.

Co-opting a seminal piece of music for political currency is understandably infuriating, especially if the original message is turned on its head – hence Bruce Springsteen's cease-and-desist order when Ronald Reagan chose Born in the U.S.A. as his re-election theme song during the 1984 presidential campaign.

I suggest a tit-for-tat shake-rattle-and-hum is appropriate with, say, Afghan music (you haven't suffered until you've spent 10 hours with it in the car) or Osama bin Laden jihad monologues played round-the-clock for accused Wall Street felons or rogue soldiers.

Also, while I'm on the subject, can we please can the deafening arena rock anthems at hockey games? Now that's torture.

One more fusillade of We Will Rock You and I'm gonna get a gun.

Rosie DiManno usually appears Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Lissa Schneckenburger returns to notloB

Lissa's last appearance at notloB was her unofficial Boston-area "Song" CD release party at the Loring-Greenough House in JP, which sold out. This time she brings Bethany Waikman as accompanist. Ari and Mia Freidman open.

Lissa Schneckenburger returns to notloB

Friday, November 6, 2009
8:00pm - 11:00pm
Unity Church
6 William Street
Somerville, MA
Suggested donation TBA
Series Website:

Reservations recommended: notlobreservations @

New England Fiddler and Folk Singer "World class fiddler... far from just offering one dance tune after another, simple settings allow the true beauty of the music to shine through" - Sing Out The traditional music of New England can be as warm and comforting as a winter fire or as potent and exhilarating as a summer thunderstorm. Fiddler and singer Lissa Schneckenburger is a master of both moods, a winsome, sweet-voiced singer who brings new life to old ballads and a skillful, dynamic fiddler who captures the driving rhythm and carefree joy of dance tunes old and new. Raised in a small town in Maine and now living in Vermont, Lissa grew up with music. She began playing fiddle at the age of six, inspired by her mother's interest in folk music and a family friend who was a professional violinist. Soon she was studying with influential Maine fiddler Greg Boardman and sitting in with the Maine Country Dance Orchestra.

By the time she was in high school she was playing concerts on her own, specializing in the sprightly New England dance tunes that combine influences from the British Isles and Quebec with homegrown twists that have been evolving since Colonial days. Another of her major influences was the diverse musical community that she found at fiddle camps, where she had a chance to play with and learn from a wide variety of musicians including noted Scottish fiddler Alasdair Fraser. In 2001 she graduated from the New England Conservatory of Music with a degree in contemporary improvisation, and since then has been performing around the US and internationally for a growing audience of enthusiastic listeners. She has recorded seven CDs, (four solo and three with various groups).
Lissa's fiddling is uplifting and lively, and her singing is gentle and evocative. Both in concert and in the studio she is regularly accompanied by some of New England's best musicians, including guitarists Keith Murphy and Matt Heaton and double bassist Corey DiMario.

Recently she has been closely studying the roots of the Downeast traditional music that she first heard as a young girl. Her latest project is a pair of CDs dedicated to reintroducing some wonderful but largely forgotten songs and tunes from New England that she uncovered through archival research at the University of Maine and elsewhere. "Song", to be released in April 2008, contains ten timeless ballads that go back as far as the eighteenth century that she set to carefully crafted modern arrangements, while "Dance", scheduled for 2009, will feature fiddle tunes. "There is currently a lot of focus on traditional American music from the South", she explains, "and many bands are exploring and recording that repertoire, but no one is getting to hear the amazing repertoire of traditional music from the North. This is my first attempt at getting some of that music out there for people to enjoy."
Whether playing for a folk club audience or a hall full of dancers, Lissa brings to the stage enthusiasm, energy, and the bright future of New England?s musical traditions.

Accompanying Lissa: Bethany Waickman (guitar).


"...adventurous and lyrical... They have a unique style and approach, engaging original compositions... [Their CD] is a strong first impression for the Friedman sisters." - Dirty Linen Magazine Ari and Mia Friedman are members of a dynamic up-and-coming folk band. Their music is all at once driving, uplifting and moving.

Ari is a recent graduate of Northwestern University where she studied cello performance with Hans Jorgen Jensen. A winner of ASTA's 2009 Alternative Styles Award, she is an inventive folk cellist and, aside from gigging with Mia, she performs, tours, and records with Scottish National Fiddle champion Hanneke Cassel. She also is a member of the new Boston-based girl band, Long Time Courting, as well as New England's highly acclaimed fiddle band Childsplay. She teaches classical and folk music at a music school outside Boston (, at various fiddle camps during the summer, and has her own private studio.

Mia is a talented fiddler, singer and banjo player studying at New England Conservatory's Contemporary Improvisation program. She won first place at the New England Regional Scottish Fiddle Champion in 2006 and performs around New England with various musicians. Both girls live in Boston and are the founding members of Fireside, a four-piece band that mixes old-time Appalachian songs and Scandinavian fiddle tunes. Visit for more information on Fireside.

Ari and Mia perform mostly original and traditional music. Their main influences are Southern Appalachian, old-time, folk, celtic and bluegrass traditions.
Their first CD, titled Lady and the Pants, was released in December 2006. This well received, eleven-track, self-released CD is based mainly in the folk/Celtic tradition. You can order copies on CDbaby or iTunes. Doors 7:45pm Suggested minimum donation amount tba soon.

Reservations to notlobreservations @ at least 24 hours prior to the concerts.

More information at

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Worlds of Sound: The Ballad of Folkways

Watch here -> Worlds of Sound: Sneak Peek

Smithsonian Folkways Documentary Premieres This Sunday

Worlds of Sound: The Ballad of Folkways is a new one-hour documentary about Moses Asch and the 60-year history of Smithsonian Folkways. Tune your TV to Smithsonian Channel this Sunday, October 25th, at 8 pm EST to watch the premiere.

Watch Excerpts from Worlds of Sound: The Ballad of Folkways

From Smithsonian Channel:
"His name was Moses Asch, and he set out to catalog the sounds of the world. In the process, he changed the way people thought of folk music, and modern life in general. This is the story of his iconoclastic Folkways Records, America's most influential grassroots record label."

Save 20% with Code BALLAD09 through October 27th
Careful observers will see a short promotion at the end of the Worlds of Sound: The Ballad of Folkways documentary offering a 20% discount and a free sampler CD with the purchase of the recently published book Worlds of Sound: The Story of Smithsonian Folkways.

We are extending the same discount to email newsletter subscribers! Just enter the code BALLAD09 during checkout to receive 20% off your next order through October 27th and get a 26-track sampler CD free with the purchase of the book Worlds of Sound: The Story of Smithsonian Folkways.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Swamp Reed

Thanks to the Real School of Music in Burlington, MA, who hosted and co-produced Jim Hurst this past Sunday, for the video below of Jim's "Swamp Reed", an instrumental tribute to Jerry Reed.

Jim, a two-time IBMA guitar player of the year, was in the area for two gigs, Saturday at the Bull Run Restaurant in Shirley (as a member of the Claire Lynch Band) and Sunday in a solo performance at the Real School of Music in Burlington, and looks forward to return gigs at both.

Monday, October 19, 2009

MARYLOU FERRANTE helps launch new house concert series

Marylou is a notloB alumna, having opened for Dennis Brennan during the Spring '08 season at the Loring-Greenough House in Jamaica Plain. When we were considering artists to launch the new notfarG series, Marylou came to mind first and foremost.

notfarG House Concerts, a sister series to notloB Folk Concerts, produced in Somerville and Newton, is pleased to present


Sunday, October 25

$10 suggested donation, all proceeds go to the artist.

Marylou Ferrante was described by music critic and writer, Daniel Gewertz, in the Boston Herald, as the Bay State's finest female acoustic blues interpreter.

Marylou is an artist who performs pre-war blues from the 1920's & 30's. She covers major artists from the delta to east coast piedmont style players such as Robert Johnson, Charlie Patton, Blind Boy Fuller and Memphis Minnie along with mandolin players such as Yank Rachell.

Her passionate expression of these old songs comes from a love of the music and the arrangements themselves, as well as what she says is an appreciation for "the history of these folks and the difficult circumstances they endured."

Marylou has honed her craft listening to the old recordings and learning from some of the great blues players today such as Paul Rishell, Guy Davis, Robert Jones and mandolin great Rich DelGrosso. Marylou has taught at The Cellar Studio, Salem MA

* "Marylou is a killer. I have watched her grow, and now she's taking over. Blues lovers look out!"... GUY DAVIS

* "Marylou has the soul of a blues Woman" Detroit's Blues Man... ROBERT JONES

Potluck lunch at noon
Concert 1pm
Pickin' party 3-4pm

Guests are welcome to bring a beverage of choice, Tea and Coffee available.

Recording is permitted and encouraged as long as we get a copy.

Seating is very limited so we ask that you RSVP ~ send email to notlobreservations @ ~ RESERVATIONS ARE REQUIRED

Future notfarG house concerts:
Sunday, November 22, 2009 Claudia Nygaard
Sunday, December 13, 2009 David Massengill

More information about Somerville and Newton concerts at the notloB Folk Concerts' website ~

Join the notfarG House Concerts mailing list ~

Join the notfarG House Concerts' Facebook group ~

View this event in Facebook ~

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Young songwriter wins contest with 'haunting' piece

Molly is a notloB alumna, having opened for Hungrytown during the Fall of 2008. She is a founding member of Jaded Mandolin, who will be co-featuring with Red Hot Black Top in Somerville before year end (date tba), and part of the hybrid "Jaded Tops" (members of both groups), who will be opening for the Claire Lynch Band at the Bull Run Restaurant in Shirley on October 17.

Young songwriter wins contest with 'haunting' piece

Jennesa Regios
Staff writer

October 07, 2009 11:21 pm

Molly Pinto Madigan, a 19-year-old from Peabody and freshman at Salem State College, recently won first place in the Boston Folk Festival songwriting contest. Her song "I'm Bound Away" was chosen out of five finalists in the youth division, and she performed the song last month on stage at the University of Massachusetts Boston, where the festival was held.

Click play to listen (Total time: 5:19)

Madigan is a multi-instrumentalist; she plays bodhran, banjo, guitar, pennywhistle and is classically trained in piano. She is also the lead singer of a bluegrass band called Jaded Mandolin.

When did you begin writing your own music?

I wrote a few little songs when I was younger, but I started seriously writing music a few years ago when I was 15. I saw other people writing songs and thought, well I can do that. And I really like poetry so I can include that in my songs. I write mostly folk, though this ["I'm Bound Away"] is the first one I wrote for piano. I wasn't sure how to go about that. I'd written classical pieces. And I've written lyrics, but not piano and voice together.

How would you describe your winning song?

When I played the piano part for my piano teacher he said it was haunting. When I brought in the lyrics, my English teacher said the lyrics were haunting. And when someone heard them together, they described it as haunting.

What is the song about?

It's not about anything. Just what I was feeling. It's more about the emotion, not the event. My thoughts and feelings mulling around inside. I wrote the song in June. I started it, then I had to go to orientation at Salem State, and I kept saying, "I have to get back to my piano. I need to keep writing it." I think the whole song was influenced by the ballad tradition.

How did it feel to win?

I got a phone call and found out I had to perform with four other finalists on Saturday at the festival. I was really nervous. Then I found out I won. I was kind of shocked. I was kind of worried about the audience reaction at first. When I recorded it, to send in, it's six minutes, I was worried they would get bored with it. But a lot of people told me, "Oh, you sound beautiful."

What are your musical influences?

I'm really interested in world music and traditional music. I really have a keen interest in folk music and folk lore. I listen to a lot of that stuff.

How did you come to play the bodhran (an Irish frame drum)?

I listen to a lot of Celtic music. I thought, "Oh, that would be cool to play." And my dad kept saying, "You should get one." I saw one in the shop and it was cheap, so I just bought it and taught myself.

And what's happening with Jaded Mandolin?

We just had a gig this past Tuesday. It was in Acton at an open-mike feature. We play a lot of Club Passim, in Cambridge. And this October we're teaming up with another bluegrass band and opening for Claire Lynch.

Have you thought of recording a solo CD?

I haven't thought too much about it yet, but it would be pretty cool.

Copyright © 1999-2008 cnhi, inc.


Molly Pinto Madigan's "I'm Bound Away" took first place in the Boston Folk Festival songwriting contest youth division. Courtesy photo

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Woody Guthrie Rediscovered

Woody Guthrie “My Dusty Road” Rounder - Review

By Dan Evon
Reposted from

Woody Guthrie Rediscovered

It isn’t often that a legend gets the chance to be reborn, but listening to these four disks is like hearing Woody for the first time. His voice is clear on all of the tracks. The hiss and background noise that is so familiar to any Guthrie recording is virtually unnoticeable. My Dusty Road presents Woody Guthrie in an all new natural light that uncovers nuances never noticed before. But if the pristine recordings aren’t enough, the four disk box set unveils never released, and practically never before heard tracks, which for an artists as widely covered as Guthrie, is a very rare find.

In April of 1944 Woody Guthrie, along with Blind Sonny Terry and Cisco Houston recorded over 250 songs. These are the songs on these disks. These are the songs that lay buried for nearly 60 years. Some of the songs are informal, some are rehearsed, and all of them transport you to an earlier era.

The first disk is a collection of Woody’s greatest hits including “This Land is Your Land,” “Going Down the Road,” and “Hard Traveling.” And although some songs, like “This Land is Your Land,” is played traditionally with Guthrie accompanying himself on the guitar, he also picks up the mandolin, let’s Cisco take the lead, and is never afraid to let Sonny blow that harp.

The songs on this disk cover the dust bowl and the depression. They hit on legends like Pretty Boy Floyd, and the Reuben James. Guthrie also demonstrates his prowess at the talking blues, a technique that is musically sparse, and lyrically poignant.

The second disk concentrates on Woody’s ability to document folk songs. Woody was an encyclopedia of songs. He plays here, traditional songs that he heard on old 78’s. He plays songs from the Carter family. He plays songs that he learned from his mother Nora, and from George, the shoeshine in Pampa.

This disk demonstrates Woody’s vast knowledge of folk music and uncanny ability to tell stories through song. On “Buffalo Skinners,” a dramatic ballad that sings like a novel, Woody mournfully works his way through accompanied only by his guitar, to tell the sad tale of the American Indian and the lonesome great plain Cowboy.

Woody The Agitator, the third disc in the set concentrates on Woody’s ability to write protest songs. Woody rallied for workers rights, the equality of African Americans, and helped stage strikes and organize unions. He wrote songs like “I’m Gonna Join That One Big Union,” “Hangknot Slipknot,” and “Tear the Fascist Down.” The last of which is a virtually unheard song about the second world war.

Woody Guthrie is as influential as a singer can be. Without him there’d be no Cash, no Prine, no Dylan. He was a cowboy troubadour, and a poet balladeer. He represents an almanac of work, a library of songs that documents the past, and inspires the future. My Dusty Road presents a rich history of early America, that can, of course, be hummed along too.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Mark Brine

National Traditional Country Music Association Hall of Fame member Mark Brine will be presented by notloB Folk Concerts at its "kitchen" series at the historic Jackson Homestead, 527 Washington St., Newton this Saturday evening (10/10). Doors 7:15om, Concert 7:30pm.

$10 Suggested Donation, $5 well-behaved children w/ a $30 immediate family maximum.

More information.,


Capturing the essence and spirit of America through song would be a daunting task for any artist, but Mark Brine has made a long career of it.

Over the years, Brine has won fans, critical praise and awards for his efforts in traditional American music. But as nice as that recognition is, nothing is more important to Brine than his songs and his message – the mark of a true artist. Though a current resident of Baltimore, Brine was born and raised in Cambridge, Massachusetts, one of the leading folk music centers in the country, and was exposed to music at an early age. He got his first taste of Hank Williams from his uncle’s record collection and later learned about rock and roll through the Buddy Holly and Elvis Presley records his aunt played for him. Both of these discoveries, along with exposure to the southern blues sounds of artists like Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf, would cement Brine’s interest in traditional American music.

While in his 20’s, Brine first heard the music of Jimmie "The Singing Brakeman" Rodgers, a discovery that would have a great impact on his path in music. Though widely referred to as the "Father of Country Music" due to his popularization of the hillbilly music form, Rodgers was revolutionary because he mixed elements of the blues, jazz and other popular music genres of the day to make a sound all his own – a style that would be copied by many artists and is prevalent today. Brine was enamored by Rodgers’ and his old time music would be the single biggest influence on Brine’s career.

Though Brine’s professional music debut came as an electric guitar player for several different rock bands in Massachusetts, he ultimately unplugged his guitar and followed down the path created by Rodgers, Williams and the other legendary figures of American music.

There's a new blue yodel
Let me sing it here for you
There's a new blue yodel
Let me sing it here for you
Jimmie Rodgers he done start it
'N I'm 'a gonna see it through

New Blue Yodel ©1995 Mark Brine Music (BMI)

Mark will be on three radio programs this week:
10/8: Dan Boudin’s “Barn Dance”, WRIU, 90.3fm,, 7pm
10/9: Troy Tyree's "American Roots", WCUW, 91.3fm,, 10am
10/10: Cousin Lyn's "Hillbilly at Harvard", WHRB,, 95.3fm, 9-11am

Future concerts at the Jackson Homestead
  • Saturday, November 21: 2004 Kerrville Music Festival "New Folk" songwriting competition winner ~ Claudia Nygaard
  • Saturday, December 12: From Tennessee one of America's finest songwriters ~ David Massengill

Friday, October 2, 2009

Turn your radio (or computer) on ... get in touch with community radio

Reprinted from NEFolknRoots.

It's pledge time again.

Rarely played on commercial stations, non-commercial broadcast/streaming radio and internet stations are the primary purveyors of folk/roots/blues/bluegrass/Celtic/old-timey music.

Scan the programs listed below for that have been entered into this group's calendar over the years. It's a compilation of the members' programming choices* representing several genre coming from North East US stations. Bookmark this page and refer back throughout the week, Discover some new programs. Maybe you'll find a new station that will satisfy a musical need.

Maybe the listings will help you to decide to which station(s) to support.

If you are adversely affected by the poor economy or otherwise unable to give your financial support, these and other public stations would be very pleased to talk with you about volunteering opportunities.

Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday


* If there are errors or omissions, as always, send your information to the "owner" address which appears on the home page.