has impressive lineup of talent
of 'The Byrds' is a rabid promoter
of traditional folk music
(May 2006) The Ohio Valley Folk Festival that
runs May 19-20 in Madison, Ind., will feature an impressive lineup of
folk musicians from a variety of traditions. There will also be a rich
blend of folk artists and storytellers. Included in the musical lineup
are favorite local folk musicians as well as nationally prominent ones.
Headlining the event will be Roger McGuinn, founder of the influential
1960s rock group The Byrds and a popular solo folk musician. McGuinn
will take center stage at 9 p.m. Friday night.
McGuinn, a veteran performer who
was orignally with The Byrds, will take
the stage Friday night. He has recently
appeared on PBS-TV specials
and has a new CD.
McGuinn started out in the music business studying folk
music and was active on the folk scene in his native Chicago. After
finishing school, he toured and performed folk music with the Limeliters,
Chad Mitchell Trio and Bobby Darin.
After hearing the Beatles perform in the early 1960s, McGuinn experimented
by combining folk music with a rock beat.
When he formed The Byrds in 1964 along with Gene Clark, David Crosby,
Michael Clarke and Chris Hillman, they became one of the most important
rock groups in history because of their new musical blend.
McGuinn disbanded The Byrds in 1973 to pursue a solo career, and in
1981 he decided to return to his folk roots. In 1995, worried about
the loss of traditional folk music, he began to record many traditional
In an April telephone interview, McGuinn said that back in The Byrds,
he introduced people to a combination of folk and rock, but now he is
interested in people getting to know more traditional music. He said
his love of traditional folk music and his conscientiousness about preserving
it were the reasons he decided to put together a four-CD set, Folk
Den. He called his compilation of traditional songs, a labor
He said he plans on doing more traditional music at the upcoming folk
festival in Madison. He will perform many of the songs that he has recorded
on Folk Den.
This will be his first time in this area, but he said he looks forward
to it. Unfortunately, McGuinn will only be here for his performance
because he has another show the next day.
own Tom Roznowski
is a regular performer
in Madison but will
share the stage with
some folk musician heavyweights Friday
evening. He has a lyrical
grasp of Americana.
Todd Snider joins McGuinn on the impressive schedule of
performers Snider is a wry and honest, yet funny performer. Snider will
take the stage at 7 p.m. on Saturday evening.
Snider was born in Portland, Ore., but after high school moved to California
and learned to play the harmonica. His brother, living in Austin, Texas,
thought he might be able to get a job in a band, so he sent him a plane
ticket. It was at that point that Snider decided he would dedicate his
life to music.
Snider, who first garnered attention with his Talking Seattle
Grunge Rock Blues, will strike a chord with the younger members
of the audience, yet he will still appeal to those older listeners who
grew up with the folk revival of the 1960s.
Ironically, Tommy Makem, a traditional folk singer whose style is completely
opposite of Snider, will perform after him at 9 p.m. Saturday. Armed
with his banjo, tinwhistle, poetry, stagecraft and his magnificent baritone
voice, Makem is sure to impress listeners at the festival.
Makem is known around the world as the Godfather of Irish
music and has been mesmerizing fans for more than four decades. He has
expanded and reshaped the boundaries of Irish culture and infused a
pride in that culture in the Irish.
Locally-known The River Newts, with Madison resident Roy Gentry, will
open the festival at 5:30 p.m. Friday. The group was formed in 2004
with the purpose of re-establishing the tradition of river musicians.
The Newts, a contemporary group, use the themes of history and ecology
for their original works.
Megan King is another musician with local roots. She will open Saturday's
entertainment at noon. King, a singer-songwriter who also plays an acoustic
guitar, has a unique style and sound, drifting in and out from a bluesy
sound, a Celtic feel, and with a Folk poets lyrics.
Snider of Portland, Ore.,
is among the headliner acts booked
the music stage. He performs
late Saturday afternoon, May 20.
John Franz of Nashville, Ind., will also be a familiar
face to the crowd at the festival. Many people will recognize him as
the folk musician who plays outside the Artist Colony in Nashville.
He will perform on stage at 1 p.m.
While there will be many more musicians for the crowds to enjoy, there
will also be storytellers, such as Tom Cunningham with his Fiddle Tales,
and Stephanie Holman, Patty Callison and Ginny Richey. Performances
on the Tall Tales stage will begin at 6 p.m. Friday.
Folk artists showing off many of their unique talents will be seen throughout
the parking lot between Poplar and Central streets. Among them will
be Bill Berg, of Nashville, Ind., who creates handmade, high-quality
mountain dulcimers and hammer dulcimers.
Berg, who owns Mountain Made Music, has been designing and creating
these dulcimers for more than 30 years. He started working as a violin
makers assistant back in the 1970s but decided to create his own
unique designs in dulcimers shortly afterward.
Makem is a
traditional folk singer
who performs music
and poetry armed with
and a magnificient
Berg explained that the mountain dulcimer is a traditional
American instrument created in the Appalachian Mountains when the earliest
settlers arrived in that region. The mountain dulcimer is strummed much
like a guitar.
On the other hand, the hammer dulcimer is an ancient instrument from
Persia dating back to nearly 500 B.C. The hammer dulcimer, which is
part of the psaltery family, has close to 100 strings, and players use
little mallets to strike the strings. It is the hammer dulcimer that
eventually evolved into the piano.
Berg will be giving demonstrations at the festival on how the dulcimers
are made and will have several to sell as well. Anyone interested in
his dulcimers can visit: www.mountainmademusic.com.
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