Saturday, 28 February 2009

Millennium Folk: American Folk Music Since the Sixties

by Tom Gruning

Folk Music Magazines
Before 1962, Sing Out! magazine (whose predecessor was People's Songs) was the only folk music publication on the market. From about 1962 to 1972, a publication called Broadside was put out by the joint efforts of Seeger. Agnes "Sis" Cunningham, Gordon Friesen, and Gil Turner. This mimeographed publication was designed to put out the songs of the folk music movement (Eliot, 1979), and included the publication of some of Dylan's earliest material (McKeen, 1993). It also included articles about various protest movements, concerts, festivals, record reviews, and more. (Neff, "Media Usage")
Neff's account of the folk music periodicals that marked the genesis of popular folk movements in twentieth-century America suggests that these publications had a limited commercial appeal and consequently a limited economic scope. In a conversation in September 2002 with Sonny Ochs, sister of popular 1960s folksinger Phil Ochs, she commented about the appearance of these publications in contrast to current folk music periodicals. Ochs stated that in the early 1950s when Sing Out! was in its infancy, it was decidedly "unglossy." Likewise Broadside reflected its folkie ideological conceptual backdrop in its simple, underwhelming appearance. As the new face of folk began to emerge in the late 1980s and 1990s, publications that had informed earlier folk music enthusiasts changed in appearance, and new publications surfaced to fulfill the needs of a changing marketplace. As popular culture seemed to broaden the base of a postmodern politics of image, the landscape of folk publishing bowed to the pressure. Glossy, full-color publications replaced the mimeographed statements of the older folk's ideals, and a new contender began to rise in stature.

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