Folk music took up residence in my soul when I was a boy listening to Chad Mitchell Trio records and singing about the cabin boy who sank “the Turkish enemy” only to be betrayed by his captain on The Golden Vanity. Like the singing boy in Woody Guthrie’s “Over Yonder in the Minor Key” singing folk songs has provided shelter for me from Life’s misfortunes, pratfalls and tragedies. I am a folkie. I am not a rocker or a bluesman or a singer-songwriter. I sing and play folk songs, old and new.
Early on, I connected with the politics of folk music and the way it often brings dignity to the stories of the poor and disenfranchised. Whether a Civil Rights Era song or an old Irish ballad, folk songs tell a history not often found in the history books. As a folk singer I want to be part of the oral tradition that gives voice to the sacrifices men and women have made to promote a just world in which to live and raise our children.
To me, a folk song, like a good piece of writing, is a living organism with breath, a pulse, and something even more ineffable we can only call a soul. In The Power of Myth, Joseph Campbell writes: "Anyone writing a creative work knows that you open, you yield yourself, and the work talks to you and builds itself. To a certain extent, you become the carrier of something that is given to you from what have been called the Muses - or, in Biblical language, 'God.' This is no fancy, it is a fact." (58)
Singing a folk song is as much a creative act as writing a poem or painting a picture. When I sing a song, if I really listen, it starts to talk to me and does build itself. I have sung Woody Guthrie's "Deportees" to the point where I wonder if I’m overdoing it...except that every time I sing "Deportees" something new happens. It will always be a work in progress, but that's what I love most about singing. I guess I like being just the "carrier of something given to me." Learn more: http://www.diatoddnics.com/