If there is one word I would use to relate to the music and people I’ve been plugging and playing for the last ten years on Folk Radio UK it would be PASSION. Folk music draws in people that often have no alternative but to live very modest lifestyles in order to continue playing that music and it also has some of the strongest musical communities you’re ever likely to come across.
These values and lifestyle choices are all touched upon by Director / Producer Sara Terry in her new American documentary FOLK. Let’s just be straight here…I’m not talking about the stadium filling bands who need no mention here, I’m talking about the growing importance of house concerts as a lifeline for many, a model which is also growing in popularity in the UK. Sam Brookes who was our Artist of the Month for March had a number of house concerts lined up following the release of his album Kairos, they were an important fund line for the release of that album and he continues to offer home concerts via his website. It’s a great way of helping to keep the music alive…
We’ve been shooting FOLK on the barest of bare-bones budgets, relying on frequent flyer miles, rewards points, credit cards, and everyone working for free (and often, doing more than one job at a time).*
Featuring: Hilary Adamson of The Flyin’ A’s, Dirk Hamilton the trio of John Elliott, Raina Rose and Anthony da Costa.
Three singer-songwriters, ages 30 to 60, navigate the quirky sub-culture of American folk. A musical tradition that once saw the likes of Woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan reach stardom, folk today rarely breaks into the mainstream. Instead, folk is heard at house concerts — where a new breed of mini music moguls roll back the furniture and host their favourite artists for a crowd of 20 or 30 friends; at jammed, 24/7 folk conferences — where would-be stars trade social networking tips by day and gig at night down long corridors of hotel rooms turned into micro-clubs seating 5 or 6 people; and in tiny bars and the occasional festival, set well back along the blue highways of America.
FOLK is a verite character study which is part music documentary and part road trip movie — a multi-layered examination of these three artists at dramatically different points in their lives, each faced with the same challenge of how to be heard in the 21st-century version of this distinctly American art form.
Main Image: Raina Rose playing guitar at a house concert, with her newly-born son, Emmett Rose Pressman, strapped across her shoulder.
Photo Credit: Amy Sue Berlin