Our Man at Folk Alliance

This is simply my experience of this year's Folk Alliance Convention. It doesn't reflect the opinions of anyone else involved, nor is it intended to be a press release. This yearly singer songwriter convention is nuts, it's too crowded and you don't get much sleep and there are way too many people playing. But, if you're a serious singer songwriter, or are involved with that scene from a booking, publicity, house concert, media, or any related standpoint, or if you're simply an aficionado of that scene, it's not to be missed.

To me, the most amazing part about it is the sheer number of great people you can see playing in small hotel rooms when you're on top of the schedule. And, apart from changes that come too late, Vic Heymann's showcase tables do an excellent job of detailing who's appearing where, from either the chronological view or by artist.

Unfortunately, many of the room locations are, by print time, still TBA, but a legend sheet available near Registration decodes the room number from the name of the Showcase. So, if you keep your energy up and eyes sharp, you can see at least part of many performances. Many of the shows one wants to see are going on simultaneously in different rooms, so that's where strategy and good navigation come into play.

Although the weather was less than ideal, it sure was nice to have Folk Alliance in my hometown. It's a whole different experience when you know where the good restaurants are, and can go home and sleep in your own bed, even if it's at 3 or 4 in the morning. They say there were 2,200 showcases. That's a hard number to swallow, over the course of one weekend in one hotel. But that's a good snapshot of how overcrowded the scene is.

My favorite shows were one with Annie Gallup and Louise Taylor, one that included the fabulous Chuck Pyle (get his record), a moving solo show by Darrell Scott, and a very entertaining few songs of Blackie and the Rodeo Kings. I'd gone expecting to see Stephen Fearing solo, and was at first disappointed--but they're great, and Tom Wilson is one funny dude. He had a rap on the vicious elevator etiquette of these folk people ("If I had been at a heavy metal or a rap convention, I'm sure it would have been more civilized") that was the funniest thing I heard all weekend.   continue