PNW Folklore Society – A New Plan, by Stewart Hendrickson

In the April/May issue I wrote that I was stepping down as Director of the PNW Folklore Society, and after next October I would no longer actively book new concerts. In the absence of a new director and other volunteers, the Society would wind down and concerts would continue only on an occasional basis as new performers and volunteers came forth. This prompted an encouraging reaction. Continue reading “PNW Folklore Society – A New Plan, by Stewart Hendrickson”

Juba Music – The Earliest Roots of American Popular Music, Part I, by Tom Berghan

Dance Boatman Dance: An early favorite song of the Minstrel Troupes of the Antebellum Period. Attributed to Dan Emmett and Virginia Minstrels. Featuring Banjo, Jawbone, and Singing by Tom Berghan. To play, move cursor to left part of audio player and click.

Juba Music?  What is that?!  It pre-dates ragtime, jazz, blues, hokum,  jugband, hillbilly, country, and in fact most of what we term today as “American Folk Music.” It is from the time we call the Antebellum (before the Civil War, from about 1750 to 1850). Continue reading “Juba Music – The Earliest Roots of American Popular Music, Part I, by Tom Berghan”

The Princeton Traditional Music Festival, August 17-19, 2018

The Eleventh Annual Princeton Traditonal Music Festival takes place in Princeton, B.C. Canada this August 17-19. The whole town of Princeton comes out to support the festival. Near-by “locals” come from the Okanagan area, and others come from Vancouver, other parts of B.C., Washington, Oregon and points even further away. The main focus of the festival is the traditional music and folklore of British Columbia, but it also includes traditional music, liberally defined, from other areas. This festival is enhanced by the friendly people and the small-town atmosphere of Princeton.   Continue reading “The Princeton Traditional Music Festival, August 17-19, 2018”

James Stevens – Paul Bunyan and the Frozen Logger, by Stewart Hendrickson

The CD, Songs of the Pacific Northwest, has songs contributed by sixteen regional musicians. Since logging played a big part in our history it is not surprising that a number of these songs are about logging. One of the most well-known logging songs is The Frozen Logger. It was written in 1929 by James Stevens, who lived in Seattle during his later years. Who was this guy and what other things did he do? How did Paul Bunyan fit into this? Continue reading “James Stevens – Paul Bunyan and the Frozen Logger, by Stewart Hendrickson”

The Power of Music, by Bob Nelson

It was just about seven years ago that Judy and I started to participate in a musical event that has changed our lives forever. This was not just a performance, but was a series of events that lasted for over four years! The events started when our good friend, who also happened to our personal physician, was diagnosed with A.L.S., which is also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. At this time, there is no known cure. Continue reading “The Power of Music, by Bob Nelson”

The Power of Song – The Endless Mile, by Bruce Baker

sketch by Peter Wieben

The Endless Mile is a song written by Julie Snow – “Here came a wanderer, a woman with no name, she said ‘I only have one question, am I crazy or sane.’” I enjoy singing this song, but this morning it was different. Continue reading “The Power of Song – The Endless Mile, by Bruce Baker”

You’d Have To Be Crazy, by Peter Wieben

sketch by Peter Wieben

You’d Have TO Be Crazy
Homelessness in Seattle
by Peter Wieben
reprinted with permission, June 13, 2016, The Awl

Seattle has a strikingly visible population of homeless people. One out of three of them are mentally ill, which is strikingly visible too. Lately though, rents are skyrocketing, and people are being priced out of their neighborhoods.  Read the whole article


Beethoven and Banjos – Cross-Genre Musicians, by Stewart Hendrickson

Classical music and folk music may seem like two opposing ends of the musical spectrum, yet many folk musicians today have started out with classical training and many classical musicians have crossed over to the folk music genre. Beethoven and Banjos is a collaboration between members of Decoda (Carnegie Hall’s affiliate classical musical ensemble) and folk musicians, creating and performing music together. Evan Premo, a member of Decoda and a native of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, is the artistic director and founder of this collaboration. Together with his sister Laurel Premo, a Michigan folk musician, fiddle and banjo player, and their parents, they produce an annual series of cross-genre concerts and workshops in the UP. Here we profile some of the artists and show how they span cultural and musical boundaries in their music. Continue reading “Beethoven and Banjos – Cross-Genre Musicians, by Stewart Hendrickson”

Andy Blyth “Banjo Andy” (June 7, 1945 – July 27, 2017)

It is with sadness that I share with you the passing of another member of our great musical family. I first met Andy Blyth at Rainy Camp (Seattle Song Circle) when I moved to Seattle about twenty years ago. I recorded two songs he sang for our CD, “Songs of the Pacific Northwest”- Frozen Logger, and Apple Pickers Reel.  He also participated in Victory Music open mics in the Seattle area, and with his wife, Sue Peterson Blyth, formed the Raging Zephyr band of musicians. And he was a founding member of Tickle Tune Typhoon, “a playful troupe of magical musicians, colorful dancers, and creative arts educators.” But Andy was much more than that – he was the most positive, upbeat, friendly person I’ve known, in spite of  health problems endured throughout his life. In 2008 Andy and his wife retired to Berea, KY, where he continued to play music and spread joy in his community. Andy Blyth’s Memorial video is here. And here is his obituary. – Stewart Hendrickson. Continue reading “Andy Blyth “Banjo Andy” (June 7, 1945 – July 27, 2017)”

What Is A Folk Song? by Stewart Hendrickson

What is a “folk song”? This is a question that has been raised over many years with no agreed-upon answer. Here we explore the origins of this term, and the collection of these songs. Continue reading “What Is A Folk Song? by Stewart Hendrickson”