Category Archives: Music

Folk Thursday: Shawn Colvin

Shawn Colvin is a Carbondale girl. I have no idea why I haven’t posted anything of hers here before, but this is a really nice Tom Waits cover.

Emily

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Folk Thursday: Harry Belafonte

The quality of the recording is a bit dodgy, but this is magnificent. The YouTube poster says it was recorded in December 1969. Some of those wounds were still pretty fresh in December 1969 — and when Harry Belafonte sings¬†about “my old friend Martin,” he’s not just reciting lyrics; he’s remembering a¬†beloved friend, taken much too soon.

Emily

Folk Thursday: Sandy Denny

It is beyond incomprehensible to me that I have never posted a Sandy Denny video here. She was the lead singer for Fairport Convention, but perhaps more importantly, she wrote “Who Knows Where the Time Goes?” which has to be one of the three greatest songs ever to come out of the ’60s folk revival. (“Both Sides Now” and “Blowin’ in the Wind” are, of course, the other two. And yes, I know “Both Sides” isn’t technically folk, but I bet there’s not a folkie alive who couldn’t sing every word of it by heart. If there is, I call No True Scotsman.)

Anyway. Sandy Denny. Gone way too soon, but her work remains to bless us all. Enjoy.

Emily

Folk Thursday: Leon Russell

There has never been anything even remotely folk about Leon Russell, but after spending nine years in Oklahoma, I came to appreciate him every bit as much as I do my beloved folkies, and I was so lost in my tears — for him, for Leonard Cohen, for an election that went horribly, horribly wrong — that I completely failed to acknowledge his passing and honor him and his work here.

The first time I saw Leon Russell in concert, I was slogging my way through the second draft of my novel, trying to whip several hundred blog posts into something resembling a cohesive narrative, feeling certain something was missing but completely baffled as to what that something might be.

On a gentle April evening in 2012, he walked onto the stage at the Brady Theater, that long, white hair and beard making him look for all the world like some kind of shaman who’d wandered in from another era, and two thoughts floated through my mind.

The first:

I want to photograph him.

The second:

This novel needs a lot more mysticism.

I never got to photograph Leon Russell. But my first impression of him is etched indelibly on my mind, and its echoes influenced the entire direction of my book, and maybe that’s better than a picture.

Maybe tonight, the Master of Space and Time is having Irish coffee with the bean sidhe in the warmth of a kitchen in a high-desert town that never existed but always will.

As the fanfic writers would say: Headcanon accepted.

Emily

Folk Thursday: Judy Collins and Ari Hest

I had to post this after seeing the list of Grammy nominees this week and discovering that Judy Collins and Ari Hest were on it for their recent album, Silver Skies Blue.

It delights me to no end that my beloved folkies refuse to slow down or retire. They just keep singing and writing and reinventing themselves and discovering new talent and making political statements and just generally being awesome into their 70s and beyond.

I want to be just like them when I grow up.

Emily