By Art Menius 3/1/2012
This folk revival has legs beyond what happened fifty years ago. This one is not as obvious because it has depth, built to last, no apt to make some pop stars then fracture into many different scenes. The 21st Century folk revival comes up from these many genre related scenes, not from the top down. This movement comes from a sustainable direction. The myriad musical interests of today’s youth connect these worlds in a way consistent with Clark and Elaine Weissman’s vision for the Folk Alliance.
The folk big tent thrives. It covers old-time, singer-songwriter, bluegrass, blues, Celtic, Klezmer, New Orleans jazz, world, and more. It comes to life each year at the Folk Alliance International Conference. These last three years have seen the group grow consistently young with 2012 bringing the tipping point. I am as proud and excited as any grandparent.
The worm has turned. It is a great time to be an elder in folk music as the kids are all right – interested in learning trad and then using it for their own purposes. We have made it through the time when we disconnected from the roots and returned to where tradition informs innovation, where the past fuels change. Some of the young folks are into the politics too. Happy days are here again.