The loss of folk music in the face of popular music is happening worldwide, yet there are still young musicians who find their way into the genre. The East Lansing based band The Bard Owls is composed mostly of college students and recent graduates. They play old time folk music, as well as original songs. We sat down with the group to discuss their upcoming album “No Tracks.”
Folk singer Tom Paxton recently said that he enjoys songwriting more than ever. That’s especially noteworthy since he’s been doing that since the 60’s. Then, Paxton was at the center of America’s folk revival, performing in Greenwich Village with the likes of Bob Dylan, Phil Ochs and others.
Tom Paxton talks about singing, songwriting and his eventful musical career with Current State.
This Friday, musician Janis Ian will perform at the Ten Pound Fiddle in East Lansing. In 1967, Ian wrote her first hit song, "Society’s Child," which was about an interracial relationship. She was 13 years-old. The song was banned by some radio stations, and Ian received hate mail, but it became a national hit after conductor Leonard Bernstein featured it in a TV special.
Mid-Michigan has a strong folk music tradition. The annual Great Lakes Folk Festival held in East Lansing each August has attracted international attention, and you can hear folk music on 90.5 FM WKAR every Sunday night.
One of the genre's most famous performers will appear in Ann Arbor on Sunday. Peter Yarrow formed the folk super group Peter, Paul and Mary with fellow singers Paul Stookey and Mary Travers in 1961. Their music was part of the soundtrack of the civil rights era.
WKAR's Kevin Lavery asked Peter Yarrow about the current state of folk music.