Folk Music 101 - Index of Articles
Folk Music 101 is an ongoing project that began in January 2000. I will be adding articles on various subjects, trying to create a useful picture of folk music in North America and abroad.There will also be a growing number of spotlight features on some of the major artists in the genre, offering brief biographies, discographies, and websites. Your comments are welcome. - HB
Contents of this page (scroll down):
History & Definitions
Major Artist Pages
Basic Internet Resources for the
Folk Music Fan
What you need to access the vast information resources and sounds on the internet.
What Is Folk Music?
For a question that can't be answered, it sure gets asked a lot. Here are some of the issues.
Origins of Folk Music
Francis Child collects and classifies the English ballads, putting many in print for the first time; John & Alan Lomax collect field recordings from around the world.
Major American Artists
Woefully incomplete, but this list offers an overview of the central figures and some of the major trends in American folk music.
The Sixties: A 4-Part Series on the U.S.'s Golden Age
of Folk Music
Follows the revival of interest in traditional folk music, the rise of the great songwriters, the fading of the folk scene as rock grew, and the legacy of the 60s in today's crop of contemporary folk artists.
Part I: The Folk Revival
Part II: Songs of Protest
Part III: Fork in the Road
Part IV: The 60s Legacy
Contemporary American Scene
Who should you be going out to see? If you still think folk music is Peter, Paul & Mary, get thee to a coffeehouse - these artists are not to be missed.
African-American Folk Tradition
American folk and popular music has arisen out of a unique historical encounter between European and African traditions. This page attempts to give an overview of some of the African-American contributions to mainstream folk.
101 Essential Folk Songs: A List
While any list will be prone to controversy, we can at least start with "This Land Is Your Land," "Blowin' in the Wind" and "Circle Game" can't we?
Thoughts on the genre - the good, the bad and the sickeningly sweet. Plus a veteran radio DJ's list of over 50 classics.
These pages give a thumbnail biography, a rundown of essential songs, albums and books, and a list of the best links on the net for each one.
Classic Folk Artists
Coming soon: Richard Shindell, Christine Lavin, Patty Larkin, Cheryl Wheeler, Ferron, Richard Thompson...
A new series of articles for guitar pickers:
Chord Progressions: a little theory - and a
few simple techniques - go a long way.
Alternate Tunings: how and why to retune your guitar
Guitar Tab to 25 Top Folk Songs: From the traditional "Greensleeves" to Ani DiFranco's weird and wild ballads, here are links to tabs for 25 songs where the right fingerings and tunings make a difference.
Fast Folk Musical Magazine
Overview of the influential publication/CD of the 80s and 90s, now part of the Smithsonian archives.
Hugh Blumenfeld, Editor