'Simply Folk' Hosts Its First Virtual House Band
Saturday, January 2, 2021, 5:05am
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic and the miles between them, "Simply Folk" listeners shared their voices and their spirit with each other for the show’s annual singalong to be broadcast on Jan. 3. Invited to record their voices singing along to traditional folk songs, 60 listeners and staff members of...
World War I Christmas Truce Of 1914 Serves As A Witness Of Peace
Wednesday, December 16, 2020, 4:30pm
For many, Christmas is a season of peace, and in the middle of World War I, that literally was true. During our own time, when political divisions can feel so extreme, the story of the Christmas Truce of 1914 is a welcome gift and witness of peace between supposed enemies. The truce took place just...
In Spite Of It All, 2020 Was A Great Year For Music
Saturday, December 5, 2020, 7:30am
December is here, and with it the end of 2020. I know we’re all a little glad for that, but in the midst of all that’s happened this year, folk musicians continued to create some great music. That’s amazing, when you think about all the challenges, lost gigs and income, and interrupted recording...
'Simply Folk' Sing-Along Invites People To Join Virtual House Band
Saturday, November 7, 2020, 11:20am
Each year, we have a House Band of WPR and PBS Wisconsin staff members help lead the singing for a few songs during our Singalong Show. But this year, we’re going virtual… and we’d love to have you add your singing voice to this year’s House Band!
New Folk And Roots Music Releases For Your Halloween Playlist
Thursday, October 22, 2020, 12:20pm
Couldn’t we all use a little seasonal break right about now? Halloween comes at just the right time, with a few pretend frights to take our minds, if only for a moment, off the serious news of the day. Musicians are always coming out with new music appropriate for the holiday, so here are a few releases from the last year, suitable for your holiday playlist.
A Turbulent Time Birthed A Turbulent Talent
Thursday, October 1, 2020, 11:00am
Phil Ochs' time among us was fleeting, but he left a legacy of music capturing personal and societal turbulence that continues to reverberate even today.
We Learn The Music From Others
Wednesday, September 16, 2020, 7:20pm
Learning and inspiration can strike us from anywhere and from anyone. The Madison-based Krause Family Band has taken what they’ve learned from others and passed it on with their family’s music.
Science And Spirituality Sing Together
Wednesday, September 2, 2020, 3:05pm
Science and spirituality have often been portrayed as opposites or enemies, but for singer-songwriter Peter Mayer, they are intimately connected. His music has been described as spiritual or mystical, but, he said in a recent interview, "If I would think of myself as a mystic, I would also think of myself as a mystic who is very respectful and interested in science."
'Oh, These Warm Summer Evenings Are Where We Once And Again Shall All Meet'
Wednesday, August 12, 2020, 11:20am
"It's a warm summer evening / I can just hear the Knuckleball Suite / the clover hums along / the little rain clouds finding their feet." That’s how Peter Mulvey starts his musical sketch of the Cafe Carpe in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin. Titled "The Knuckleball Suite," a live in-studio performance of the song is featured on the "Simply Folk" 40th anniversary CD. Mulvey recorded it while being interviewed by Stephanie Elkins back in January of 2013 . You can download the song at the link above.
Hope, Beauty, And Community Bring Us Resilience
Wednesday, July 29, 2020, 4:10pm
What gives us resilience? It’s a pertinent question these days, with our country dealing with the twin crises of the coronavirus pandemic and systemic racism. While no recipe exists for resilience, we can find the ingredients all around us — beauty, hope, community. All these ingredients come together in one of the tracks from Simply Folk’s 40th anniversary CD, "My Bird Can Sing," by Willy Porter and the Carpe Diem String Quartet .
Elizabeth Cotten's Legacy Continues Beyond Her 80-Year Musical Career
Wednesday, July 1, 2020, 12:15pm
Years ago, a friend of mine, Skip Jones, taught me the song "Freight Train." Little did I know that Elizabeth Cotten was an incredibly influential musician, whose work, including "Freight Train," would be the inspiration for countless musicians that I enjoyed.
Folk Music From Our Neighbors To The North
Thursday, June 25, 2020, 11:20am
Our neighbors from the north have been sharing their folk music riches with us here in the United States for years. Now seems like a good time to say "thank you," with Canada Day, the country’s national holiday, coming up on July 1.
As Time Changes And Flows, Songs Do Too
Thursday, June 4, 2020, 12:30pm
Bob Dylan wrote, "The times they are a changin'." But when it comes to folk music, the music itself can change over time with what some people call the "folk process." A song can be passed along from person to person, band to band, with each musician putting their unique spin on the music. Over time, the song begins to change.
The Legacy Of Lead Belly Remembered
Wednesday, May 27, 2020, 12:00pm
A member of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Favorite musician of Kurt Cobain. The person that Woody Guthrie called the greatest folk singer ever. The musician whose recording of "Cotton Fields" changed the life of Bob Dylan. The performer without whom the Beatles wouldn’t have existed. Lead Belly was all that and more.
'You Can Do This Hard Thing' — Carrie Newcomer's Music Encourages Us In Difficult Times
Thursday, April 30, 2020, 10:25am
We’re all doing hard things these days, whether facing exposure to COVID-19 as a frontline worker, dealing with unemployment or just not being able to see family and friends. Doing something difficult was a theme back in June 2015, when musician Carrie Newcomer performed her song "You Can Do This Hard Thing" in WPR’s Madison studio.
Musical Comfort Food Is Good For The Soul Right Now
Wednesday, April 22, 2020, 10:00am
In this time of the coronavirus, social distancing, and economic hardships, a little comfort food is a welcome treat. And if it’s nutritious as well, all the better. The same works for music, too.
Celebrating 50 Years Of Earth Day In Story And Song
Thursday, April 16, 2020, 10:55am
Earth Day started 50 years ago this April 22! A half century of activism around this annual celebration of protecting the planet’s environment finds its roots in Wisconsin and the people who have shaped the environmental movement over the last two centuries.