Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Folk Music

Fast Eddie sent me a song yesterday that reminded me of Arkansas--good memories. Folk music has evolved naturally there over the years, a process that I witnessed but didn't really appreciate. Soon after I got my first paying job as a musician, I learned to play whatever music would pay money, not unlike a very common prostitute.

Over the years I also became friends with musicians who played just for fun in their living rooms and on the back porch, playing in a style best suited for acoustic instruments. There were no rules: you could play anything: Hank Williams, the Eagles, Pink Floyd, anything. It was the style that mattered.

And occasionally you would hear it: that genuine, unforced, natural quality: a crystal clear voice, a fiddle playing like honey, something unique and clearly unaffected, and often it seemed to be a reflection of that person's real self, in contrast to the musicians (like me) who spent so much effort learning to imitate other musicians. Sometimes I'd get a chance to play with one of those real musicians. Nice.

(Note to future self: I'm not swimming in self-pity here. Every day I practice and I'm getting better. I'm having real fun with music now.)

Unique talent is out there--the trouble is finding it. I just finished a graphic novel, Bone, written by someone who developed a unique style of drawing while in college and then developed a series that lasted 13 years, resisting offers from publishing companies and then finally publishing on his own. The collection is over 1,200 pages, and you get the sense that he enjoyed making every drawing. Within the graphic novel community he is a rock star, but most people have never heard of him. (I'm lucky to be married to a librarian who finds good stuff for me to read.)

Anyway, I couldn't upload the Cindy Woolf song that FE sent me, so I've included this video of her that I found on YouTube. She sounds like one of those real musicians: talent, unique style, happy. And her voice has Arkansas in it.


  1. Well-written and thoughtful my friend. I believe that guy looks like a brother of yours. I love that clip! She seems to be a delightful person and she writes all of her own music. Hope she makes it big. I am sure this exposure to your national readership will help her career along nicely!

  2. He does look like george.

  3. Yes, if you Google on "Cindy Woolf Fred" I'm second on the list. Except who is going search on "Cindy Woolf Fred"? :)