Folk Alliance International 2017
I recently attended the International conference for folk musicians in Kansas City. Wow. Hundreds of musicians, DJs, media, and industry folks (@2,600 folks total)! Music and meetings everywhere (3 floors of the hotel alone were the private music showcases in each individual room which went on into the wee hours of the morning). My mentor, Si Kahn, was honored with a "Spirit of Folk" award for his half century of advocating for civil rights, worker's rights and numerous other justice issues. I was honored to play for his Musicians' United to Protect Bristol Bay showcase just before the incomparable Missy Raines performed (man can she rock that stand-up bass). The theme of this year's conference was "Forbidden Folk" which inspired a breadth and depth of performances. I played my song "Saving the Whales" in honor Si's nonprofit trying to prevent destruction of last great salmon spawning area in Alaska from a gold and copper mine. I heard so many amazing artists. Here's a random list of folks you might enjoy looking up:
- Korby Lenker singing his song about Sitting Bull ("Last Man Standing")
- My friend Sam Gleaves (whose 1st album Peggy Seeger said was "stunning") backing up John McCutcheon on his song "Y'all Means All".
- Legendary jazz, folk and blues singer Barbara Dane (whom I had a friend compare me to) still grooving at 90.
- Artist and Producer Alex Wong whom I heard 3 times (loved his "alien baby" and 20 faces songs).
- Inuit throat singing and "soulful Metis blues" from Quantum Tangle.
I could go on and on, but you get the idea! So many wonderful artists out there fighting cynicism (which key note speaker Billy Bragg called our biggest enemy) through song and advocacy.