Andrew, like many folkies, wears many hats (some of them at the same time) and at Woodford he’s virtually juggling them. His supper club has two showings at Bill’s Bar every day, and Totally Gourdgeous are launching their new live DVD. Also, in the background, Andrew’s Blu Guru fusion band has found a surprising niche.
Bill caught up with Andrew under slightly trying circumstances in the media centre, with a couple of locals providing some sound spill to give that really authentic festival feel.
(Luckily you can’t hear the sound of me throwing books of post-it notes at one individual as Andrew was talking about what he’s been up to.)
Random observations on the wide, weird world of folk from the side of the stage
#14 Countrified folk or folkified country? (Greg Champion) First published in Trad and Now magazine, February 2009
When musical chat turns to genres, labels and identification, if someone poses the age old question, ‘Is it folk?’ or the broader chestnut, ‘What is folk?’ I suddenly hear my mother calling.
(For a woman with reduced lung capacity, she can make herself heard well enough from 300kms away when the need arises, God love her.)
They are worthy and valid questions of a kind, with multiple levels and directions of discourse, but to borrow a phrase another family member uses, if someone starts on these topics, I can just feel the backs of my eyes going dry.
It’s fair game (sometimes) if weighty matters are being discussed at a conference or workshop, but when someone decides to get all loquacious after 17 pints of the sponsor’s product at a festival, that indeed is time to throw them their guitar or bodhran or electric spoons and ask can they play that one about the boat/shearers’ strike/ode to Annie, Nancy or Gwinviere.
For all of that, there’s one related topic that I’m continuously interested in: folk versus country. Which is not some sort of fiddle and dobro slap-down in the cage with folding chairs at ten paces, but more of a mild interest on where the line is, or if it exists.
Are there points of intersection, cross-over (and pass your partner down the line) or even symbiosis?
I’m suspecting ‘yeah’ on all three.
But lord knows I’m a punter and do not presume to be capable of long treatises on-topic. Instead, I took the chance at last year’s Maldon Folk Festival to buttonhole a favourite performer, just one of many who move in both worlds of folk and country: Greg Champion, as he made his way through a lunch-time feed of Indian food outside the Guinness Tent. Continue reading →