Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Pray For Peace

Thank you reba.

I believe we can find peace in our time - when we stop yelling at each other and listen.

I shall continue to stand for and pray for peace.

Will you join me?


Friday, August 11, 2017


Tell ya what. Next week I have to dig out my grownup clothes and start the meetings and paperwork and going-out-into-public stuff for the fall semester. I love my job, but for just a few days more I think we should pause and breathe and quietly celebrate summertime.

Friday, July 28, 2017

My sentiments if not my words....

Ann Miller can always lift my spirits no matter the temperature.

Even when it is Too Darn Hot

Are you looking forward to autumn as much as I?

Friday, July 21, 2017

Man, It's a Hot One

If you've been in Northeastern Oklahoma for the last week you know we're in the midst of blazing summer. 101 in the shade, as they say, and humid enough to cause condensation on those windows of folks who are lucky enough to have air conditioning. I saw an ambulance in front of a house down the street that only has window air units and I wasn't surprised.

It makes me think of the most ancient United States folk music, the stuff from way up in the mountains. Appalachia is home to the most wailing, honest, raw, and real music you'll find in these 50 states. The closest I've ever come in person is a hillbilly gathering that went on late into the evening, with mama finally being coaxed into singing "Summertime" to the deep satisfaction of everyone in the little house - every age, every class, every gender, didn't matter. Everyone loved the music.

Here's one that'll give you a feel for it: "Red Rocking Chair"

Friday, July 7, 2017

Been a week...

...of really weird stuff.  Some good, some bad, some with friends struggling, some just us plugging one foot in front of the other.

Then I sit down and put BB on repeat.  I listen to him as he talks around Lucille, cuz that gent never talked over his girl (=

And sometimes it feels better.

Hope you agree.

And may next week be a damn sight kinder.


Friday, June 30, 2017

Immigrants - They get the Song Sung

So I was wandering the internets this morning and I came across this goose-bumply video from the Hamilton Mixtape. It's definitely not a folk song, but it made me think of several folk songs, and the theme is one that has echoed throughout folk music for generations. If you want to be inspired and scared and indignant a little bit, here it is (apparently it's so new that Blogger can't find it at YouTube so I have to give you the link):

Of course, today is Folk Friday so that means the real reason we're here is to sing along with a good folk tune. American folk music has always had a political side, and nobody embodied that side better than Woody Guthrie. He wrote a song about immigrants that still haunts me today. It's been covered by several artists, but I kind of like the rawness of this version with Guthrie singing it himself.

It's called "Deportee."

Here are the lyrics:

The crops are all in
And the peaches are rotting
The oranges piled up
In their creosote dumps
You're flying 'em back
To the Mexican border
To spend all their money
To wade back again
Good bye to my Juan
Goodbye Rosalita
Adios mis amigos Jesus why Maria
You won't have a name
When you ride the big airplane
All they will call you
Will be "deportees"
Some of us are illegal
And others not wanted
Our work contract's up
And we have to move on
Six hundred miles to that Mexican border
They chase us like outlaws
Like rustlers, like thieves
Good bye to my Juan
Goodbye Rosalita
Adios mis amigos Jesus why Maria
You won't have a name
When you ride the big airplane
All they will call you
Will be "deportees"
The skyplane caught fire
Over Los Gatos Canyon
A fireball of lightning
Shook all our hills
Who are all these friends
Who are scattered like dried leaves
The radio said
They were just "deportees"
Good bye to my Juan
Goodbye Rosalita
Adios mis amigos Jesus why Maria
You won't have a name
When you ride the big airplane
All they will call you
Will be "deportees"
Songwriters: Martin Hoffman / Woody Guthrie

Friday, June 23, 2017

Closer to Fine

It's been a hard month - all little stuff but all enough to slow me down.

So as is my wont, I looked to my folk music roots for something to express that frustration and that desire to keep my head up and keep moving. 

Unfortunately, more often I feel like this song:

But once in awhile I realize we go to this and that and try this and that only to find:
"There's more than one answer to these questions

Pointing me in a crooked line
And the less I seek my source for some definitive
The closer I am to fine"

May we all feel closer to fine in the coming days...

Happy Summer, 

Friday, June 16, 2017

The Answer, My Friend

This week I'm thinking about questions and answers. It might be because so many politicians are being hauled in front of committees and asked to answer questions and it's all over the news. Those politicians have, in true political form, dodged and swerved every question that seemed important.

To my way of thinking, they could have just sat back and played some Dylan.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Folkie Friday

What will happen in the dry?

Friday, May 26, 2017

A Pause for Parting Before New Beginnings

This week has put me in mind of things ending and things beginning.

On a personal note, the kids have come for their whirlwind visit before flying off to live their own productive lives again - I don't expect to see much of them until summer ends.

On a more musical and tragically public note, the bombing at the Ariana Grande concert still echoes through my heart and mind and probably will for a bit longer.

This weekend is Memorial Day weekend, which causes many people to stop and remember the ones who parted from our own lives, and the soldiers who were permanently parted from friends and family as they did their patriotic duty.

Parting is bittersweet. But I have trouble lingering on the bitter side and tend to look toward the inevitable new season that occurs once the parting is over. What new adventures lie on the other side of this weekend of remembrance? I can't wait to find out.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Folkie Friday: Nothing new under the sun

As my friends bemoaned various things that have upset them (and rightly so in my mind, since I am upset by some of the recent occurrences as well), I am reminded that other generations have faced issues at least as frightening.

And since my definition of folk music is that which expresses shared values and experiences, I think this song can serve as a reminder. We have been on the eve of destruction before, and we have come through. I may not be able to trust my fellow citizens, but I can trust those who truly believe in the golden rule.  Not to do unto other before they do unto you, but as you would have them do unto you. Treat people the way you want to be treated.

And maybe, just maybe, some who think it is not their responsibility to assist those less fortunate then themselves might recall:

Matthew 25:35-40New International Version (NIV)

35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ (bible gateway)

And now that I am off my horse, here is today's folkie Friday selection


Friday, April 28, 2017

The Last Thing on my Mind

So the general consensus regarding last week's song was that it's probably not technically a folk song, although it does hearken back to folk stylings from a more European or Israeli mold. I should probably admit that one of the main reasons I included it was because it was stuck in my head that day and I was feeling a tad sentimental, which isn't the most academic reason to hijack a blog. Would I be pushing it too far to say que sera, sera?

This week I'll pull up one of my favorites from the Seekers. It's a well-recognized American folk song that found wide popularity in the folk revival of the 1960s. I've heard many different versions, but this is one of my favorites:

Just for fun though, let's include a version with a distinctly different sound:

And one more, for good measure:

Friday, April 21, 2017

We Were Young and Sure to Have Our Way

As I think about the song for Folk Friday I always find myself wandering afield from traditional folk music. The Carters, the Weavers, Pete Seeger, Woody Guthrie, those are all legitimate folk groups who sang traditional songs that define the genre.

But what is the genre? This week I'm going to post one that I think qualifies, even though the orchestration is so much more than a guitar and voice. There are strings, I believe a tambourine sneaks in there at some point, and near the end a choir of children join in. This song is a folk tune to me because of the lyrics more than anything else - it's a simple song of the common threads that bind all humanity together. Songs of universal truth as fundamental as this one have to be called folk music.

After all, hasn't everyone been young and sure to have their way?

Friday, April 14, 2017

Mom's favorite folkies: The Weavers

Here is a fun clip that has five of their songs from 1951... I love that they included the Hebrew version of Tzena, Tzena Tzena.

Hope you enjoyed the trip back in time and around the world.


Friday, April 7, 2017

Sticking with the Carters

Last week's Carter Family tribute made me want to revisit my favorite - and one of their best known - records. How can you discuss the Carter Family without asking that eternal question: Can the Circle be Unbroken?

So many people have covered this tune. What's your favorite version?

Happy Folky Friday!

Friday, March 31, 2017

Let's take it way back

The story goes that this is the first folk tune AP Carter, his wife Sara and his cousin Maybelle recorded.  Maybelle would go on to lead Mother Maybelle and the Carter Sisters. The rest, as they say, is history.

Happy Folkie Friday,

Friday, March 24, 2017

What is a Folk Song, Anyway?

We've been posting folk songs on Fridays because, well, we love folk music and Folk Friday has a nice ring to it. When we started this project I thought I had a pretty solid idea of what a folk song was. Then I went to a folk music singalong - a hootenany - at the Woody Guthrie museum a couple of weeks ago and my definition has become a bit hazier.

They sang the usual suspects - Bob Dylan, Pete Seeger, PP&M - but they sang some tunes that I hadn't really classified in the same genre as the folkies. For example, the Beatles showed up. More than once.

So what is folk music? Is it guitar-led acoustic instrumentation with a harmonized melody? Is it a song that everybody from a specific region knows well? Is it a song that is socially aware? A song that has been sung for generations?

I'm not sure anymore. I'm working on rewriting my definition. The fun thing is that this potential widening of folk music means we get to play some songs we might not have played before.

Case in point:

Friday, March 17, 2017

Happy St Paddy's day!

And to keep with our Folkie Friday theme, here are Celtic Woman (Mairead, Susan, Chloe and Lisa Lambe) performing in 2014.

May your day be bright, your drinks cold and your headaches slight.


Friday, March 10, 2017

Sometimes I Take a Notion...

All I have to do is think of this song and I'll be singing it for the rest of the day. I've always been a little concerned about that second verse, though: "Sometimes I take a notion to jump in the river and drown." I hope you're all safe and dry on the riverbank and planning to keep your head above water long enough to listen to at least one more classic folkie:

Friday, March 3, 2017

My First Folk Song

I grew up listening to the folkies of the 60's...and the first one my mother told me about was Pete Seegar...and the time she met him and the rest of the Weavers when they stopped in a diner near her home.

And this was the song my mother played for me first.

May your songs lack worry...


Friday, February 24, 2017

Another New Folkie for Friday

Eliza Gilkyson is another recent folk artist worth listening to. As a monument chaser this song speaks to me in an interesting way. I hadn't realized how many of the monuments I visit commemorate some battle or other. Thanks, Eliza, for the reminder that sometimes the most important fields are the ones "Where no Monument Stands."

Friday, February 17, 2017

Newer Folkie: Holly Near

I cannot tell if I prefer the title "Singing for our lives," or the subtitle "We are a gentle angry people."

Either way I felt it was worth sharing this again from the 2004 women's march. 13 years later we are fighting and singing again.

As Peter, Paul and Mary said in "Light One Candle"

             We have come this far, always believing
             That justice would somehow prevail.
             This is the burden, this is the promise
             This is why we will not fail!

Even if we have to fight the same battles every 13 years.

"We are a peaceful, loving people...."

Friday, February 10, 2017

Friday Folkies continue

We thought we would let the composer and Nobel laureate share with you this next tune...

But, as Mary Travers would say: "The answer is and always has been, peace, love and all of us working together."


Friday, February 3, 2017

Sayin' it Like it is

Woody Guthrie was never one to mince words, and this week I'm in a similar frame of mind. This week's anthem: "All of You Fascists Bound to Lose"

Friday, January 27, 2017

Friday, January 13, 2017

Peace on Earth.. was all it said...

I was 7 years old, I think, when "One Tin Soldier" hit the pop charts.

My father loved to listen to the top forty, and it was one thing we bonded over when I was a teen... but I digress.

The funny thing was, "One Tin Soldier" was sung in a movie about a man who rebelled against authority (The Legend of Billy Jack). My most vivid memories once I saw it were of a man using martial arts to beat up others.

Not exactly peaceful.

I guess that is the paradox of Americana: we espouse peace and often use violence to try and accomplish it.

When will we ever learn?

Oh wait... that's a different song.

Till next time,