From indigenous music to Pete Seeger and Bruce Springsteen singing “This Land Is Your Land” side-by-side at the pre-inaugural concert for our first African American president, folk music has been at the center of America’s history. Thomas Jefferson wooed his bride-to-be with fiddle playing. Stephen Foster captured the mood of our country in transition. The Carter Family adapted music from across the pond to Appalachia. Paul Robeson carried folk music of many lands to the world stage. Woody Guthrie’s dust bowl ballads spoke to the common man, while Sixties protest music put folk on the map, following the Kingston Trio’s hit, “Tom Dooley.”
Folk music has evolved with America’s changing landscape, celebrating its multi-cultural traditions. From Irish step dancers to rap, parlor songs to Dixieland, blues to classical, Discovering Folk Music presents the genre as surprisingly diverse, every bit the product of our national melting pot.
Demonstrating continuing relevance of folk music in our everyday lives, the book spotlights an amazing array of personalities, with special emphasis on the folk revival era when Dylan, Baez, Odetta, and Peter, Paul and Mary sang out. These and others influenced such contemporary performers as Shawn Colvin and Ani DiFranco. Those on today’s “fringes of folk” scene continue to look to these deep roots while embracing alternative sounds.
Included are interviews with such legendary artists as Janis Ian, Tom Paxton, and Jean Ritchie. Nora Guthrie, Woody’s daughter, also weighs in. Discovering Folk Music is a ground-breaking look at 21st-century folk music in our rapidly changing digital world, family friendly while ripe for rediscovery by the Woodstock generation.
- Interviews with key figures in folk music including Janis Ian, Nora Guthrie (Woody's daughter), Jonathan Edwards, Tom Paxton, David Bromberg, and others
- 25 photos of various personalities and instruments, all taken by the author, an award-winning photo journalist. Cover photo of Pete Seeger is also by the author
- Foreword by JibJab co-founders Gregg and Evan Spiridellis
- More Folk, an appendix of selected Resources (a comprehensive guide to books, Web sites, instructional materials, camps, radio, children's material, record labels, organizations, museums, etc.)
- Listening Space, an appendix identifying 75 influential or representative recordings spanning the history of folk from the author’s perspective