I've been listening to a little bit of Keb' Mo' recently and a whole lot of the Smithsonian Folkways Classic African-American Songsters collection, thinking about the strange connection I have to African-American storytelling traditions. Strange because I'm a white lady who grew up in a small self-segregated Southern town.
As a student of literature, I gravitated toward African-American stories.…Continue
Posted on July 11, 2014 at 7:00am — 10 Comments
The butt-shaking harmonica solo and kick drum that give way to an almost Cajun fiddle at the onset of Jonah Tolchin’s new album Clover Lane make perhaps the disc’s most brazen statement: this kid knows his shit. By the time the song hits two and a half minutes, the fiddle arches into Celtic folk territory, before passing the melodic baton to a distorted bass solo. All the while, Tolchin’s raspy vocals romp and drag along like the bluesmen of whom he became enamored as a…Continue
Posted on June 24, 2014 at 8:30am — 2 Comments
"Everything you need is in your bones." - Mama Nayo
That quote, scrawled on a large sheet of paper, hung from the ceiling in the workshop center at the Highlander Research and Education Center in New Market, Tenn., two years ago, when I attended a week-long cultural organizing workshop named for Zilphia Horton. I had, two years prior, moved to North Carolina from Washington State to commence researching Horton's life and work for a book I will eventually finish writing.…Continue
Posted on June 6, 2014 at 6:05am — 2 Comments
I'm the Editor of No Depression. My work has also appeared in Billboard, CityArts, Yes, and Shuffle magazines, online at Folk Alley, NPR, the Bluegrass Situation, and elsewhere.
After studying classical music my whole life, I spent eight or nine years moving around the country, hopping from music scene to music scene, touring, and trying to make a living as a singer-songwriter. I moved to Seattle in 2003 and somehow wound up writing about music for a living. I found my way to No Depression when I was tasked with writing a story for a Seattle magazine about ND going out of print. Kyla brought me on board as News Editor for the old editorial site in late 2008 and then I became Community Manager when we launched the ND Community the following Feb (a job now ably held down by Shelley Champine).
In 2010, I moved to Asheville, NC, to start working on a book about Zilphia Horton - the small-town Tennessee music teacher from the 1930s-'50s who influenced Pete Seeger and Rosa Parks, fueled the labor and civil rights movements with music, and gave us universal anthems of empowerment like "This Little Light of Mine" and "We Shall Overcome." Learn more.