February/March, 2017 – Vol. 9, No. 3

Seumas Gagne with Eli Weinberger & Christine Traxler at Couth Buzzard, 1/13/17

The past Concert featured Seumas Gagne on January 13. This issue features a celebration of folk music in Seattle coffeehouses – Seattle Coffeehouses during the “Folk Revival” of the 1960s, by Don Firth; and Seattle Coffeehouse Live! Pacific NW Folklore Society “Virtual CD.”  Upcoming events at the Couth Buzzard will feature concerts by Molly Bauckham on February 10, David Ingerson on March 10, and Colleen Raney on March 31. Every 2nd Saturday at the Couth Buzzard from noon – 1:30 pm, Stew’s Folk Music Corner will feature tunes, songs, and community singing.  The Events page lists some great concerts through the next few months. Keep tuned and revisit the NW HOOT as new articles may appear along with a new video of the week. We are still looking for more writers for the NW HOOT (send us your ideas and articles). Donations – Help support the Pacific NW Folklore Society. Donations of any amount are welcome – for $20 or more we will send you a free CD: “Songs of the Pacific Northwest“, or “Paddy Graber – The Craic Was Great“. Send a check to Pacific NW Folklore Society, 11720 1st Ave NW, Seattle, WA 98177. Thank you.

Seattle Coffeehouses during the “Folk Revival” of the 1960s, by Don Firth

Pamir House (1960), University District, Seattle

According to legend, coffee was discovered in Ethiopia in the ninth century, first roasted, ground, and brewed by the Turks, then brought to Europe by Venetian traders. Coffee quickly spread throughout Europe and the first coffeehouse in England opened around 1650. Coffeehouses became known as “penny universities” because one could get a fairly good education sitting with a cup of coffee (a penny a cup) and listening to learned men as they discussed matters of great import. Not many years later, coffeehouses opened in Boston and Philadelphia, and were frequented by artists, poets, philosophers, and revolutionaries—like Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Paine. Continue reading “Seattle Coffeehouses during the “Folk Revival” of the 1960s, by Don Firth”

Seattle Coffeehouse Live! Pacific NW Folklore Society “Virtual CD”

In March, 2008, the Pacific NW Folklore Society began a monthly series of Coffeehouse Concerts starting at the Kaffee Shachor in Green Lake, then the Library Cafe on Crown Hill, and then the Wayward Coffeehouse in Greenwood from October, 2008 through April, 2010. In May, 2010 we moved to Couth Buzzard Books/Espresso Buono, also in Greenwood, for our concerts every 2nd Friday of the month. All tracks on this CD were recorded live at the Wayward Coffeehouse (cover photo), except # 7 and 16 at Couth Buzzard Books. All the performers were local musicians: Ginny Reilly, Alice Stuart, Down The Road, JW McClure, Smalltime String Band, Squirrel Butter, Jerry Middaugh & Orville Murphy, Eliza Manoff & Kim Ruehl, Val & Mike James, Michael Guthrie, Sarah Comer, Canote Brothers, Dan Carolla, Carolyn Cruso, Jillian Graham, Hank Payne & Claire Favro.  Pull up a comfortable chair, turn the lights down low, relax with a cup of coffee, glass of wine or a beer, close your eyes, imagine you’re in your favorite coffeehouse, and enjoy this 70-min. concert – play all tracks (streaming mp3 files). The following is a list of individual tracks with more information: Continue reading “Seattle Coffeehouse Live! Pacific NW Folklore Society “Virtual CD””

Spirit of the Times, by Don Firth

“A bunch of us, including Walt Robertson, got together in late 1952 or early 1953 and formed the Pacific Northwest Folklore Society. The fate of the organization is described below,”
Personal Reminiscences, Don Firth (1931-2015).
1954 – Pete Seeger in Seattle and the Fate
of the Pacific Northwest Folklore Society

In fall of 1954 a major folk music event took place in Seattle. For the Pacific Northwest Folklore Society it proved to be more than a major event. Pete Seeger came to Seattle to give a concert. Under the aegis of the Folklore Society, Walt Robertson made the necessary arrangements and obtained the use of the basement auditorium of Wesley House, where several earlier Folklore Society events had been held. Continue reading “Spirit of the Times, by Don Firth”

A More Regional Folklore Society

While most of our activities are centered around Seattle and the Puget Sound area, we would like to have a more regional presence in promoting folk music and preserving its heritage and folklore in the Pacific Northwest. We recently sent an email to various folklore and folk music societies in the Pacific Northwest to solicit their help and involvement in creating a regional presence for our Society. It included several areas of interest in which we asked for input (see below). We welcome any ideas, help, and contributions that you can provide. Continue reading “A More Regional Folklore Society”

Odd Meters, 7/8 Anyone? by Stewart Hendrickson


Recently some Irish musicians have been composing tunes in odd meters such as 7/8. One example of this is the “Road To Barga” (starts at about 1:47 on the video) by Cillian Vallely of the Irish band Lunasa.

After a bit of difficulty, I learned this tune, and like to play it on fiddle at jams  (hear me play it)

The response I get is very interesting. Guitar players want to play along, but they get thoroughly confused with the rhythm, hopelessly out of beat, or just plain give up. Continue reading “Odd Meters, 7/8 Anyone? by Stewart Hendrickson”

CD Review: My Lovely Mountain Home

David Ingerson, Portland, OR, ©2016,  Reverbnation   Soundcloud

The songs on this recording are probably ones that you’ve never heard before, and they are sung un-accompanied in a style quite different from that which we are most accustomed to hearing in singing. Yet David Ingerson has put together a wonderful collection of songs – really stories – sung in the traditional Irish, or sean-nós, style. For the uninitiated this is an introduction to a different style of folk music. And for those acquainted with this style, a source of mostly-undiscovered material. Altogether a very pleasant listening experience. Continue reading “CD Review: My Lovely Mountain Home”

Future of the Pacific Northwest Folklore Society, by Stewart Hendrickson

Update, 9/22/16: Since running this article I haven’t seen a groundswell of volunteers. This time I’d like some advice and feedback: What are we doing well? What could we do better? What new directions could we pursue? How can we improve the way we promote concerts? Ideas for new exciting performers to book. New articles for the NW HOOT – any volunteers to write them? Please respond through comments or email, and meet me at the Couth to talk over a cup of coffee or tea (my treat). Thanks, Stewart

The Pacific Northwest Folklore Society was founded in 1953 by Walt Robertson and friends in the University District of Seattle to support the understanding and development of the folklore and folk music of this region. After a rough beginning during the turbulent years of the McCarthy “Red Scare,” the Society became inactive by the early ‘60s. Fast forward to 2007. Don Firth and Bob Nelson, two founding members of the Society in 1953, and I decided to revive it. Our first event was a house concert with Jeff Warner, a world-class folklorist and folk singer from New Hampshire. He had trouble finding a venue in Seattle, and we thought it was time to revive the Society in order to present and preserve the more traditional folk music and provide a venue for traditional folk musicians, particularly those from our region. Don Firth has now passed on, and Bob Nelson is no longer active in the Society. I will turn 80 next year and am not sure how much longer I wish to continue. We need new people to help carry it on. Continue reading “Future of the Pacific Northwest Folklore Society, by Stewart Hendrickson”

Midnight on the Ocean and Other Nonsensical Songs, by Stewart Hendrickson

Silver Threads Among the Gold, copyrighted in 1873, was a popular song in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The lyrics are by Eben E. Rexford, and the music by Hart Pease Danks: “Darling I am growing old/ Silver threads among the gold/ Shine upon my brow today/ Life is fading fast away.” It was recorded by Richard Jose in 1903, and later by Bing Crosby in 1948. A beautiful but very sentimental song, it was destined to be the tune for many silly nonsensical parodies throughout the early to mid twentieth century. Continue reading “Midnight on the Ocean and Other Nonsensical Songs, by Stewart Hendrickson”