I can’t believe how long I have been on emusic and never bothered to check out Folkways. I guess I owe it to a bit of prejudice left over from my more punk days towards all things nostalgically american.
Well, I was wrong, dead wrong.
What I have been realizing recently is that the term “folk” is frustratingly broad. It includes everything from the vapid sentimentality of modern singer/”songwriters”, to the enraptured, feminine flitter of John Jacob Niles and even further to the rustic moans and chants of the herdsmen of Kyrgyzstan.
That is pretty damn broad.
It was the last example there that I was most ignorant of. When I saw the folk in the Folkways name, I immediately thought of trust-fund hippies. This is in part due to my aforementioned prejudice, but also due to the fact that the deeper reaches that “folk” encapsulates are ill represented at best in our current culture. While what does get represented is by far the most boring of the lot. I won’t get into the multi-layered corporate politics that got us here. What I will say though, is we have been missing out… big time.
While I have known this for some time, what I did not know, was that Folkways has been trying it’s damnedest to expose us to all of the great alternatives to our current state of boredom, and have been doing it for some time. I guess the “folk” just got in my way.
On emusic, Folkways has a ton of interesting records, from early american blues to railroad songs, to Indonesian guitar music. If you are not a member, I’d suggest getting a basic subscription just do get all of these records, let alone the massive amount of other music available.