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Basic Folk

The Bluegrass Situation

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Basic Folk features honest conversations with folk musicians hosted by Cindy Howes, a well-versed public radio DJ, and singer/songwriter Lizzie No. While we’re not gassing up the banjo, fiddle, guitar and mandolin, Basic Folk approaches interviews with warmth, humor and insightful (invasive?) questions. This podcast fosters the folk community and showcases a genre that is often misunderstood. Our definition of “folk” is extremely broad, so you’ll hear interviews from Molly Tuttle, Ben Harper ...
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Dinty Child, founding member of Session Americana, the beloved Boston roots music collective, who've accidentally been a band for twenty years, has just released his second solo album, Letting the Lions In. The new songs feature co-writing on all tracks between Dinty and Boston area songwriters like Mark Erelli, Kris Delmhorst and Dave Godowsky. A …
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Tyrone Cotton, a decades-long mainstay of the Louisville, KY music scene just released his 2023 debut album, "Man Like Me." A quick listen to these songs reveals an artist who has spent decades steeped in roots music. Lizzie No spoke with Tyrone and Ray Rizzo, one of the album’s producers, about Tyrone’s journey as an artist and the making of ‘Man …
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Canada's Talia Schlanger is best known for her work in broadcasting; guest-hosting Q with Tom Power on CBC and Alec Baldwin's "Here's the Thing" podcast, as well as taking over for David Dye on NPR Music's World Cafe in Philadelphia. Before all that, Talia was an actor and singer in many theater productions including Mamma Mia, Queen's We Will Rock…
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Dive into the enchanting world of Elise Leavy, a musician hailing from the picturesque Monterey, California through her latest album A Little Longer. Elise's artistic journey is steeped in the influence of her magical surroundings and a childhood filled with music, thanks to her mom's painting and stepdad's musical talents. Growing up with a deep a…
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Sarah Jarosz is what happens when young women are taken seriously. A huge part of the mandolinist’s story is that she had supportive male mentors and that has added to her confidence. We all know the age old story of “Young woman shows promise, gets exploited by the patriarchy and it affects her work.” We need to hear stories like this. Starting in…
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Vivian Leva and Riley Calcagno, known as Viv & Riley, dive deep into the nuances of old-time music, folk influences, and the process behind their album, Imaginary People. The duo, who ​met ​at ​a ​music ​camp ​in ​Port ​Townsend, ​Washington, trace their roots from Riley's disciplined musical practice to Viv's intuitive approach. The two found insp…
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Rachael Kilgour unravels the layers of her late father on the album, "My Father Loved Me." Recorded in the cold of Toronto and produced by Rose Cousins (who also joins us for this conversation), this album carries the essence of Canadian roots and is a profound exploration of family heritage through the lens of an ordinary, hard working and humble …
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The cover of Darrell Scott's latest album, Old Cane Back Rocker, immediately sets the tone for your listening experience. The inclusion of the names of the Darrell Scott String Band (Bryn Davies, Matt Flinner and Shad Cobb) lets you know right off the bat that this recording is a band effort. The photo on the album cover gives a visual of Scotts' f…
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Let's get folking special! We're closing out 2023 with an exclusive live recording from folk mothership Club Passim, the historic folk venue located in Cambridge, MA, celebrating the bi-annual festival campfire. and its remarkable 25th anniversary. It started as a way for the club to book a slow holiday weekend and now 25 years later, campfire. is …
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Songwriter Maya de Vitry and bassist Ethan Jodziewicz come to their partnership with an understanding for their chosen lifestyle and a creative playfulness that enhances their connection. While Maya's roots are firmly planted in folk music, Ethan brings classical music and improvisation to the table. They've been collaborating together since Maya's…
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Thirty years ago, Rosanne Cash experienced an all-encompassing transformation. She had just left Nashville, her major label record deal and her marriage. She was living in New York and found herself falling in love with her producer, the guitarist John Leventhal. Her previous album Interiors had set the stage for the new Rosanne. With her landmark …
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Long before the world fell in love with the music of Iron & Wine, and even before he knew that he wanted a career in music, Sam Beam knew that he loved making things. His parents, who didn’t necessarily understand their artsy kid but wanted to support him, kept Sam well-supplied in drawing paper and art supplies so that his imagination could run fr…
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After two decades in The Infamous Stringdusters, the Grammy-award winning neo bluegrass band, Travis Book releases his rock americana debut: Love and Other Strange Emotions. That's not to say that Book, who thrives on collaboration, got here on his own. The Colorado musician (now residing in Western North Carolina), was raised by parents who went o…
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Former trumpet player and anxious adventurer Caroline Cotter had been constantly on the move performing hundreds of live shows since 2015. At the dawn of the pandemic she had a full album in the can and ready to go. When the world shut down, so did she. She set her songs to the side and didn't pick up her guitar for a long while. She left her city …
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Jobi Riccio has only begun to scratch the surface of what they have to offer on their debut album Whiplash. The songwriting is centered around self-discovery and mourning past lives laid alongside super smart country and pop melodies. Our hero grew up an outdoor kid amongst the woods of Red Rocks Parks and Amphitheatre in Colorado. A strong bluegra…
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Curiosity, luck and drive are three words that revolve around singer-songwriter Billy Keane. He was born with all three traits and they are the hallmark of his music, especially his new album Oh, These Days. The seven song cycle was written during the pandemic and right after some very big life changes: he got divorced, quit alcohol and split with …
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Bluegrass hero and former weird kid Alice Gerrard strongly believes that traditional music is connected to everyday life. She has said: “When you listen to traditional music you have such a sense of this connectedness of this person’s life. It comes out of the earth.” She was first exposed to folk music while attending Antioch College. Jeremy Foste…
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This week we have a Basic Folk hero returning to the pod! Tre Burt is back today, going track by track through his new album, ‘Traffic Fiction.’ I am a longtime fan of Tre’s music, and this new release on Oh Boy Records is my favorite of his records so far. It combines what fans have come to love about Tre’s writing and unmistakable vocal performan…
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Antje Duvekot confronts trauma with a newfound wisdom and fierceness on her new record, My New Wild West, her best in her 20 plus year career produced by her friend Mark Erelli. To put it plainly, Antje, who moved to America from Germany at age 13, had a really rough time as a teenager. She was transplanted to a totally new universe with a new lang…
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Your Career vs Your Soul: a debate feat. The Milk Carton Kids (Kenneth Pattengale and Joey Ryan), music journalist and Why Write Host, Kim Ruehl, Isa Burke (Lula Wiles, Aoife O’Donovan), musician and Basic Folk guest host lizzie no and yours truly, Cindy Howes, boss of Basic Folk. It's Folk Debate Club, our occasional crossover series with fellow f…
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Podcaster, #1 hit songwriter, human and dog mother, gay icon Jenny Owen Youngs returns with her first full length album since 2012! In the last decade plus, Jenny has experienced a wild ride of changes like divorce, extreme grief, moving across the country, remarrying, etc. Her main project while not writing, recording and tour, she hosts podcasts …
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Milwaukee singer-songwriter Buffalo Nichols returns to Basic Folk today to talk about his new album, ‘The Fatalist,’ out September 15 from Fat Possum Records. We picked up where Nichols’ debut album left off, traveling the world hot on the heels of the blues. Following a profound tradition can be just as frustrating as it is romantic. In his years …
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Sisters Leah Song & Chloe Smith grew up in Urban Atlanta, they also lived in New Orleans and outside of Asheville. The pair are deeply rooted in their Southern identity as evidenced in their band, Rising Appalachia. Although their parents are not professional musicians, music was a constant part of the family. Their parents were dedicated students …
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Lancaster-born, Nashville-based Nina de Vitry‘s debut album, What You Feel is Real, shines while showcasing her passion for jazz and folk music. de Vitry’s name may sound familiar, as she comes from a musical family and is the youngest sister of folk superstar Maya de Vitry (formerly of The Stray Birds). She grew up fiddling around the campfire, wh…
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Ben Harper has a deep connection to music through his family, who own a a very special music store in the Inland Empire of California. The legacy of the store is founded on ensuring its community always has access to music. That legacy has deeply impacted the type of person Ben Harper continues to be throughout his artistic life. He’s been a musici…
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Canadian-born, New York based banjo person Taylor Ashton’s second solo album, Stranger to the Feeling, was recorded on a coast to coast road trip during 2021. These were the two weeks post-vaccine where we thought everything was A-OK, so Ashton and producer Jacob Blumberg set out on a recording adventure that included collaborations with friends ne…
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The headline for Los Angeles-based Raye Zaragoza's new album Hold That Spirit is that after she broke off her engagement, she used her wedding budget to fund the recording. She wrote the songs the year she turned 30 while she was thinking of the expectations placed on women in society to have everything together at a certain age: marriage, kids, ca…
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It’s been ten years since Boston-area Meg Hutchinson has released an album and she did it super quietly, so no shade if you didn’t realize that your favorite middle sister is back with some seriously devastating songs. Meg grew up just outside of Great Barrington, MA where she had an idyllic childhood surrounded by woods and framed by her desire to…
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Basic Folk is thrilled to interview The Bluegrass Situation's July 2023 Artist of the Month: Molly Tuttle! Quickly becoming The Bluegrass American Idol, Molly Tuttle's new album City of Gold is hot off the heels of her Grammy-award winning 2022 record Crooked Tree, which also got her a nomination in one of the coveted "Big Four" categories: Best Ne…
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Kara Jackson has a mind like a diamond and a voice like maple syrup. She has always been drawn to music as a medium, but you probably first heard of her as the National Youth Poet Laureate. Cutting her teeth as a performing poet gave Jackson a huge public platform as well as a sense of how form can be a foundation for expression. Now, at the ripe a…
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Tim O'Brien is one of Bluegrass' beloved players, from his work with the innovative Hot Rize to his yearly appearances at The Telluride Bluegrass Festival. He's just released his first album of all original material, which is something to be said for his 50 year career. At 69 years old, it's no surprise that the theme of aging pops up on quite a fe…
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I am feeling #blessed and #grateful to be sharing today’s interview with our listeners. Brian Dunne is one of my dearest pals in the music biz, not to mention one of my favorite songwriters working today. Brian’s songs are always clever and sincere, dark and fun, honest and imaginative. He’s got a way with words, a killer voice, and big time rock s…
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Is mandolinist Ethan Setiawan 100 years old?! The Indiana-born Setiawan's expert playing will fool you into thinking he's four times his actual age. Thanks to a supportive family and mennonite community, Ethan came to the mandolin and folk music at an early age. His impressive proficiency and technical prowess landed him a full scholarship to Berkl…
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Urgency and patience are the two poles of New England songwriter Caitlin Canty’s magnetism. Her music invites you to quiet moments of reflection with unhurried confidence. When I first heard her song “Get Up” in 2015 I felt like I was receiving a very important magical message. Canty’s subsequent releases have further revealed her uncanny talents f…
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Rissi Palmer and Miko Marks have been laying the foundation for country musicians and fans who are Black for almost 20 years. Back in the early 2000's both women experienced the trials and tribulations of being Black women in country. Despite their success and large growing fanbase, both were separately discouraged by the ceilings and roadblocks th…
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Welcome to Folk Debate Club, our occasional crossover series with fellow folk-pod Why We Write! Today, to discuss Lyrics vs Melody, we welcome our panel of guests: music journalist and former singer/songwriter, Kim Ruehl, Isa Burke (Lula Wiles, Aoife O’Donovan), illustrious male folk singer Willi Carlisle, musician and Basic Folk guest host lizzie …
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Lately I have been fascinated by musicians who are creative not only in what they create, but also in terms of how they share it. This curiosity has made me a fan of Matt Sucich, an artist who has cultivated a passionate fanbase via his live performances, instagram livestreams, and thoughtful email newsletter. We are living in a moment of history w…
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Fiddler Hanneke Cassel has been a big Celtic star for decades and comes to the pod to try and teach me the difference between Irish and Scottish music. Just kidding all you Hanneke-heads! …. But seriously, she helps me keep some things straight. She’s been fusing all different styles of music for a long time and her latest album Infinite Brightness…
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Dr. Dom Flemons comes off as older than his 40 years and I think it's because he seems like he is of a different era. This is thanks in part to his work in teaching and interpreting such old songs, such as his work with the Carolina Chocolate Drops that he was in alongside Rhiannon Giddens and Justin Robinson. Originally from Phoenix, Dom is consid…
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Libby Rodenbough’s second solo record sees the fiddler and songwriter further stretching from the bluegrass/old time style of her band Mipso. Born in Greensboro, SC, music was just another activity that Libby did along with soccer and going to girl scouts. She played violin in her school’s orchestra and thought she’d be a music major, until a colle…
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Follow Basic Folk on social media: https://basicfolk.bio.link/ Sign up for Basic Folk's newsletter: https://bit.ly/basicfolknews Help produce Basic Folk by contributing: https://basicfolk.com/donate/ Advertising Inquiries: https://redcircle.com/brandsThe Bluegrass Situation による
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Tracking with her brand: “an old soul inside a 30-something millennial,” Alice Howe‘s latest was recorded at FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, AL. Although the legendary studio has seen massive icons like Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett and Etta James recording their biggest hits, the building itself is quite unremarkable. Regardless, Alice was able t…
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Kristian Matson grew up in the Swedish countryside and came to be The Tallest Man on Earth in the country's diverse and low-key music scene. He often speaks of his weird little brain and a wild imagination, which actually stems from a heap of anxiety that he lives with everyday. Growing up, he struggled to tamp down his high-energy, especially in a…
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William Prince spent a long time recording his debut album. By the time ‘Earthly Days’ was released in 2015, Prince had lived a lot of life and was ready for the sort of instant stardom that would throw a lot of emerging singer-songwriters for a loop. A number of extraordinary things happened followed the release of ‘Earthly Days:’ the song “Breath…
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Multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, librettist, teacher, and dog lady Kimaya Diggs grew up surrounded by music. In her family music was a tool for connection. Kimaya’s 2018 debut album, ‘Breastfed,’ puts together the story of her upbringing through dreamy soul-folk jams. Even though she had been a musician all her life, she experienced a steep learn…
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Brett Dennen is a songwriter, painter and summer camp enthusiast. His camp experience was instrumental in developing his musicality. He attended Camp Jack Hazard in the Sierra Nevada Mountains where young Brett was enamored with the music his camp counselors would play on guitar around the campfire. He was introduced to Paul Simon, Neil Young, Joni…
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Nickel Creek, the bluegrass trio who's been in existence for almost 35 years, returns with their first original release in nine years. It's brainy, it's theatrical, its twists and turns are not predictable from its authors, who have entered mid-life. To that point, there is lots of middle on this album. The middle's not the most exciting or thrilli…
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Adeem the Artist has gained a slew of new fans in the past year with their new album, ‘White Trash Revelry,’ but they are anything but an overnight success. Their journey to singer-songwriter acclaim began in middle school, when they moved from the Carolinas to New York State. Finding themself a southerner in the north, they found out that being fr…
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Welcome to Folk Debate Club, our occasional crossover series with fellow folk-pod Why We Write! Today, to discuss Lyrics vs Melody, we welcome our panel of guests: music journalist and former singer/songwriter, Kim Ruehl, Isa Burke (Lula Wiles, Aoife O’Donovan), musician and Basic Folk guest host lizzie no, and yours truly, Cindy Howes, boss of Bas…
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Sam Phillips was born to a family that loved doling out nicknames. She was called “Sam” growing up in a house that was filled with readers. She nurtured her love of philosophy and spirituality by exploring different religions and devouring works by authors like C.S. Lewis and Thomas Merton. Early in her career, she found success as a Christian musi…
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