Down Home Radio Show Host Eli Smith and The Jalopy Theatre are proud to announce the 5th Annual Brooklyn Folk Festival coming up on Friday, April 19th through Sunday, April 21st!Come out for three days of music at the Bell House, 149 7th Street, in the heart of Brooklyn’s Gowanus neighborhood.
The festival includes performances from more than 30 local and national bands in the fields of old time music, blues, early jazz, country, bluegrass, klezmer, Balkan, Mexican traditional and more! Plus a variety of instrumental and vocal workshops, folk music related film screenings, a family friendly square dance, and the return of the famous banjo toss competition!
All the information including schedule and tickets is at
Brooklyn Folk Festival Preview Concert and Benefit
Friday, March 1st @ the Jalopy Theatre
9pm: John Cohen (of the New Lost City Ramblers)
with Walker Shepard and Eli Smith
10pm: Alex Battles
11pm: The Four o’Clock Flowers
The proceeds from this concert benefit the production of the 2013 Brooklyn Folk Festival. Get a taste of what is to come at this year’s festival, and at the same time help us raise money to produce the event.
317 Columbia St.
Doc Watson’s daughter Nancy, Roy Andrade and others are producing an incredible 4 CD box set of recordings of Doc Watson and his family including Gaither Carlton. They need your support right now to produce it, with less than 2 days to go on their fund drive: Click Here for the Kickstarter link.
This is a very important collection, which promises to be incredibly powerful, affecting and informative.
Here is a message about it from Jody Stecher followed by a short film about the production of the material and box set itself. Amazing!
“Milestones” is the most moving and stirring collection of recorded music I have heard in a decade. I co-wrote the liner notes with Roy. “Milestones” is a book of Watson Family photo collages, assembled with scissors and glue over a 10 year period by Doc Watson’s daughter Nancy. And it’s four CDs of music. The recordings are extraordinary musically but also historically as they comprise a major document of a local musical tradition that was made from within the tradition itself. Some of the music was recorded by Nancy as a girl. Her familiarity to the musicians she recorded gave her access to a side of the singers and players that a folklorist or “collector” from “outside” would be unlikely to ever see or hear. This includes gentle loving renditions of beautiful traditional songs and tunes by her grandfather Gaither Carlton, sacred songs recorded at home prayer meetings and at Mount Paran Church, Read the rest of this entry »
Interview with Clifton Hicks
Here’s an interview with John Cohen and myself for the No Depression roots music magazine about our recent album “Old Man Below” by the Dust Busters out on the Smithsonian Folkways label. The interview was done by Chris Mateer who has the excellent Uprooted Music Revue blog site: http://www.uprootedmusicrevue.com.
The Dust Busters and John Cohen (of The New Lost City Ramblers) recently released their new album, Old Man Below, on the legendary Smithsonian Folkwayslabel. I am thrilled to present this interview with John Cohen and Eli Smith (of The Dust Busters) regarding their friendship, admiration for old time music, and musical collaboration together.
Eli, before we dig into The Dust Busters’ work with John Cohen, I’d like to ask you if you can you discuss your own personal musical history with the work of The New Lost City Ramblers and John Cohen?
Eli Smith: I’ve been very appreciative of the New Lost City Ramblers and John Cohen’s work in particular as a musician, field recordist, photographer and film maker for years.
I first became acquainted with the New Lost City Ramblers’ and John Cohen’s work when I was first starting out as a musician and fan of folk, blues and old time music back in high school in the late 1990′s. I loved the sound of the New Lost City Ramblers, thought and still think they are an incredible band and I also greatly appreciated the information about their sources for their music.
The Ramblers led me back to the original recorded sources of the music and those recordings have in turn become the core of my favorite music. I also greatly appreciate the field work that each of the Ramblers, of most particular note: John Cohen’s work in recording and making known Roscoe Holcomb, Wade Ward, Frank Proffitt and so many others.
Can you discuss what drew you to this genre of music initially and what keeps it fresh to you?
John: I first got involved with old time music in 1948 when I first heard re-issues of 1920s string band recordings. It was music that excited me, and music I could perform, or learn to play it. It still excites me today, and the challenges I felt in 1948 are still with me.
There is a quality of music contained in the old stuff that is lost in today’s music scene (it has been lost throughout the Folksong movement and revival.) It’s lost quality is what fed the New Lost City Ramblers for 50 years, and continues to feed me today.
Eli: I liked music since I was a kid and I started playing guitar when I was quite young. However, it was not until my high school era when I heard old time music and authentic American folk music that I really cared about music specifically. I had heard music on the radio and television, my parent’s listened to some music around the house, but I didn’t care about any of it too much. I thought it was my fault that I couldn’t like any of that plastic garbage you hear everywhere.
Music is very close to the human soul, and when I heard old folk music that really spoke to me it hit me real hard. The music gave me a clarity in my mind that I required, and it was a lot of fun! And if you listened to the words you could learn a lot about some gritty subjects, about getting through life, and one can connect with people and history that you don’t hear about or get to feel anywhere else.
You met and toured together before the release of Old Man Below. I’d like to dig into your back story including how you met, hit it off, and what led up to your collaboration.
On today’s show I speak with Piedmont blues guitarist and singer Boo Hanks and multi-instrumentalist Dom Flemons of the Carolina Chocolate Drops. They have a new album out on the Music Maker label entitled, “Buffalo Junction” and I caught up with them recently before their show at Joe’s Pub in Manhattan.
I speak with Boo and Dom about their influences, style and collaboration over the last several years. We delve into Boo Hanks’ early history growing up on the Virginia – North Carolina border, the “Piedmont” area where his distinctive style of guitar comes from and where he was born 84 years ago. Boo learned guitar from his father but was most attracted the style of Blind Boy Fuller and cites him as his primary musical influence. Boo has worked as a farmer for his entire life, raising his many children on their family farm, and playing guitar for country dances and functions. Over the past several years he has toured extensively, performing his excellent country blues music for audiences around the United States and Europe.
We thank our sponsor, the Old Time Herald Magazine – a magazine dedicated to Old Time Music. Subscribe today at: www.oldtimeherald.org
Ernie Vega – an awesome folk musician and friend of Down Home Radio – has started a brand new weekly show at 116 Macdougal St. (Btwn Bleecker and W. 3rd St.) in Greenwhich Village, NY, NY. This is the same room that used to be known in the 1960′s as the Gaslight Cafe, probably the greatest small folk club of the 60′s era, where Dylan played, Mississippi John Hurt, Son House, Dave Van Ronk, Stampfel, Ramblin’ Jack, New Lost City Ramblers, all those amazing folks from that era.
A new club has opened in the same space and we are lucky to have a regular high quality FREE folk show there every Monday. Check it out!
Brand new on the Smithsonian Folkways label: “Old Man Below”
CD Release Show – Thursday Sept. 6th at the Jalopy Theatre!
With an opening performance by Blind Boy Paxton
Come check out the festival – It’s free and open to the public, out in Washington Square Park in New York’s own Greenwhich Village!
Saturday Sept. 15th
2pm Jackson Lynch – Blues and old-time singer, multi-instrumentalist
3pm Randy Burns – Songwriter
4pm Ian Link – Songwriter
5pm Stephanie Coleman – Old-time fiddler
6pm Banjorama – Banjo oriented jug band
7pm Whiskey Spitters – Blues and old-time stringband
4pm Ginny Hawker and Tracy Schwarz – Old-time and country duet
5pm Blind Boy Paxton – Country blues guitarist
6pm 4 O’Clock Flowers – Folk duet
7pm Feral Foster – Songwriter
* The stage is located just East of the central plaza/fountain area of the park. Seating will be provided.
Here’s what happened last year at the inaugural 2011 festival!
[Banner by C. Cassano]
Hello everybody, just letting you know about the upcoming Washington Square Park Folk Festival. I got hired by the Parks Department to produce the first ever folk festival in Washington Square Park. Gonna be fun!
The festival is FREE and open to the public!
Its gonna be an excellent two days of music, with 9 of my very favorite groups (including my own) gracing the stage and myself on hand to serve as your MC. Hope to see you there!
Saturday Sept 17th, 2011:
Sunday Sept 18th, 2011:
2pm Bob Malenky – country blues
2:45pm Brotherhood of the Jug Band Blues – jug band music
3:40 Frank Fairfield – Old Time songs and fiddle tunes
4:15pm The Dust Busters with John Cohen – old time string band
5:10pm Willy Gantrim & the Phantoms – original songs, country & blues
6pm Peter Stampfel and the Ether Frolic Mob – make a wish for a potato
Proudly sponsored by:
2011 also marks the 50th anniversary of the 1961 “Washington Square Folk Music Riot” when the City tried to revoke the permit for folk musicians to play and sing on Sundays in the park. They needed to clear undesirable people out so that they could satisfy local real estate interests and I heard possibly enact a crazy plan to extend 5th ave. through the park! Luckily folkies resisted the attempt by the police to kick them out of their public space, resulting in the “riot,” and the planned extension of 5th ave never materialized. There’s been a film made about the “riot” and the film will be screened at the festival.