Category Archives: Folk Thursday

Folk Thursday: Shawn Colvin and Mary Chapin Carpenter

This cover of “Amelia” is easily the best thing I’ve heard since Judy Collins sang “Diamonds and Rust” with Joan Baez. Joni Mitchell is a hot mess, but daaaaaaaaamn, can that girl write.

If you don’t own Hejira, you really ought to remedy that ASAP. It’s been reissued on vinyl, which is really the best way to hear it. I’m much more tolerant of cold nights when I can curl up in the living room with Hejira on the turntable and drink hot cocoa with extra marshmallows. Which is probably what I’m going to do for the rest of this evening. I’m a little fuzzy around the edges, and I could use a quiet evening in my pajamas.


Folk Thursday: Helen Reddy

Not folk, but protest. Close enough. I’m not at liberty to go into the details, but I got an eyeful of some spectacularly misogynistic respectability-politics bullshit in action yesterday, and it reminded me of how terribly true this song remains — especially that bit about, “I’m still an embryo with a long, long way to go until I make my brother understand.”

Forty-two years later, and we’re fighting the same frickin’ battle.



Folk Thursday: Joe Hill

I’ve probably posted this before. I don’t care. Although it addresses a different issue, that line about “what they could never kill went on to organize” went through my head when Trayvon Martin’s murderer was acquitted. As I was dinking around with the guitar tonight, I mentioned that to Ron, who said, “What about Michael Brown?”

To which I responded with:

I dreamed I saw Mike Brown last night, alive as you and me.
Says I, “But Mike, you’re 10 weeks dead.”
“I never died,” says he. “I never died,” says he.

“Darren Wilson killed you, Mike; he shot you, Mike,” says I.
“Takes more than guns to kill a man,”
Says Mike, “I didn’t die.” Says Mike, “I didn’t die.”

And standing there as big as life, and smiling with his eyes,
Says Mike, “What they can never kill
Went on to organize, went on to organize.”

From Ferguson on up to Maine, in every street and town
Where innocents defend their rights
It’s there you’ll find Mike Brown, it’s there you’ll find Mike Brown.

I dreamed I saw Mike Brown last night, alive as you and me.
Says I, “But Mike, you’re 10 weeks dead.”
“I never died,”says he. “I never died,” says he.

This is why I’m a folkie. I really wish the songs I love would become obsolete. I really want them to be quaint relics of the past. But every day, they become more relevant. And until they’re not, I will keep singing them.

I’ve got a lot of horses in this race: kids I adore who are at risk of being hurt or killed solely because of the color of their skin, and cops I interview regularly who are at greater risk of being hurt or killed every time a member of their profession is involved in an unnecessary shooting.

And the middle of it all, I watched a video the other night of a former colleague being arrested at a protest.

Listen, society: Mama Bear’s gettin’ real sick of your shit. I need ALL my cubs safe.


Folk Thursday: Tupac

For Devin, Joey and Tevin. Good luck in St. Louis this weekend, guys. I love you, and I am ridiculously proud of you for taking a stand. The root of the problems you’re trying to solve predates all of us, but I’ve known since the minute I set foot in Room 204 that if anybody can get this world moving in the right direction, my kids can.

Go save the world. <3

(And the rest of you: Say a prayer, light a candle, or just hold a good thought for my kids this weekend. They're planning to travel 400 miles to participate in a very large protest on a very controversial issue, and things could get … tense.)

Ms. Priddy

P.S.: I realize Tupac isn't folk, but his lyrics are at least as powerful as anything Bob Dylan or Joan Baez ever had to say. I'm just sorry they're still relevant. I'd hoped they'd be obsolete by this point, but we still have a long way to go.