my first contribution to the Bitter Southerner Just an Old House — THE BITTER SOUTHERNER http://ow.ly/i2Oc305a0d7
You must be willing to come to folk music understanding that your journey has not been the only journey that deserves to be shared, that your truth is not universal, that there are other stories not being told. You must understand that the history we have been taught is a selected history. You must simply bear witness, not to be a spokesperson, but to share what it is you have seen. You have a unique role as a travelling musician. You are a story teller. You have driven through the ghettos that some call home while some drive past with locked car doors. Share the humanity that has been elevated in you by the struggle that was once hidden and is now filling the streets. Help others understand what they may not understand. Help them open themselves to others’ experience. Help the listener realize that the media stereotypes they have ingested are not the absolute truth. Help them expand their consciousness. You have the power to spread the words of justice. Take an active role by helping amplify the voices of people who are doing such dangerous and important work. Help undo the racism we are taught. Help reinvent the future. We do not have to continue this way. But make room, because there are more voices who are coming to share the table.
The October 2016 issue of Bluegrass Unlimited contains my latest feature with color photographs by Becky Johnson. It profiles the extraordinary music collector Tom Isenhour of Salisbury, NC.
When I was in Maryland, Clifford Murphy truly impressed me as an excellent state folklorist and a delightful person. Congratulations on succeeding Barry Bergey.