folk

As the second Folk Alliance International conference kicked off in Kansas City in February, Central Standard explored the question: “What is folk music today?” 

Jake Jacobson

Louis Meyers has heard a lot of music.

He's a banjo player. He’s also one of the co-founders of Austin’s South By Southwest music, film and tech festival, and he spent ten years as director of Folk Alliance International – he was the one responsible for moving the organization and its annual conference to Kansas City. But there’s one record he’s heard only in his imagination: a bluegrass version of The Who's classic rock opera "Tommy."

Paul Andrews

The first time Danny Cox visited Kansas City, it was not a pleasant experience.

It was 1963, a year before the Civil Rights Act banned racial discrimination in public places, and Cox was a nationally touring musician arriving for a show. When he walked in the door at the Muehelbach Hotel, the clerk told him that black people couldn't stay at the Muehelbach.

Though the word he used for "black people" was not quite so polite.

Most of Cox's fellow musicians and road crew were white, but they refused to stay in a place where their vocalist wasn't welcome.

Hannah Copeland / KCUR

Dozens of Kansas City bands performed at Folk Alliance International's 27th annual music conference and Winter Music Camp, Feb. 18-22 at Crown Center. Local musicians were among the thousands of musicians, concert promoters, industry representatives, folk DJs, and other supporters occupying the convention hotels for what Folk Alliance called "Planet Folk."

Julie Denesha / KCUR

For the past 20 years, the nonprofit Folk Alliance International has promoted and celebrated folk music. The organization relocated last year from Memphis, Tenn., to Kansas City, Mo. And, later this month, nearly 250 artists, from Sam Baker to Chuck Mead & His Grassy Knoll Boys, are scheduled to perform in about a dozen venues in Kansas City during the group's annual conference.

gregbrownmusic.org

Critic Josh Kun once called singer-songwriter Greg Brown, "A Midwestern existentialist hobo with a quick-draw heart, a bloodied heart, and bourbon on his breath." If there's one thing Kun left out, it's Brown's growling tones, which have gotten deeper and more soulful after nearly 50 years of performing.

On Friday's Up to Date, we sit down with musician Greg Brown and discuss his long career and continued success as a Midwestern folk staple.

Guests:

Lauren Kirby

Kansas City, Mo., will take on a folksy note next month when Folk Alliance International holds its annual conference at Crown Center.

A celebration of all types of folk culture, the event is perhaps a harbinger of bigger things to come. The nonprofit Folk Alliance moved its headquarters from Memphis to Kansas City last summer — and already, the folk connections are building. 

The group set up its headquarters in Kansas City's River Market and opened a boutique music shop called The Folk Shop on location.

Paul Andrews Photography (http://www.paulandrewsphotography.com/)

This weekend marks the release of Country Singles, the first full-length album for The Grisly Hand. The band played their first shows in Kansas City about four years ago and mixes country, soul, blues, folk, rock and pop.

Top O' The World, MAW!

Nov 21, 2012

What do you get when three band wives get together with friends to make their own music?  Well, you get MAW, a Lawrence-based, all female string band with an attitude.