Musings along the Blue Sky Highway Adventures in Sound and Music – Part VII: Folk Music


Traveling the Blue Sky Highway


Adventures in Sound and Music – Part VII:

Folk Music

Roger Allen Baut
Michael Ash Sharbaugh

“Well, Michael, time to get a move on to good old Folkerville! Do you need any coffee or sandwiches before we get going? I’m excited to get on with our next adventure in sound and music.”


“Nah, I’m fine,” Michael replied, “I found one of those cream-filled doughnuts I had in the fridge from the other day, so I had that and a coffee from the machine. The donut wasn’t too bad; I’m not sure about that machine’s coffee, though.”


“Oh, okay, as long as you don’t have any problems from it,” I replied. “I know how your stomach gets when your food doesn’t resonate with it. There are some Rolaids in the glove compartment if you need them. I want you feeling well for all the music we’re going to encounter as we move on to Folkerville! We should have a good time with it.”


“Yeah, I’m looking forward to it, Roger!”


“I know the folk genre is one of your favorites, too, Michael,” I said. “So, let’s begin, and let me know what your perceptions and observations of folk music are. Personally, what I find very interesting is that many people acknowledge that folk songs may be considered almost oral histories of society, and may even be traced back in time to that of traditional English folk music,” I added.


“Even farther back than the 19th century, Roger! And the stories folk music tells are usually ones that most everyone can relate to,” Michael added.


 “Well, one of my favourite British groups is Fairport Convention with lead singer Sandy Denny. I also think that ‘She Moves through the Fair’ is one of their finest, and, it is said, it comes to us from a traditional Irish Folk song.”


Michael chimed in: “I think Fairport Convention’s performance of ‘Suzanne’ by Leonard Cohen is one of their best!”


“I remember that I’ve always had a fondness for ‘Greensleeves,’ which is a traditional English folk song,” I remarked.


“That tune rocks, Roger, but so does ‘Green Fields.’ I have about twenty-five versions of the latter song in my iTunes! Check this one out by The Brothers Four!” Michael dragged his fingers and tapped his pad.


“Hmmm, I think we’re drifting a bit,” I added. “Yes, we know that the roots of American folk music may be found in English, Irish, and Scottish traditional music and, perhaps, a bit from France and Germany, too. There is so much to consider! When I think of folk music, I tend to think of Judy Collins, Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, and Donovan.” I added. “’Catch the Wind’ is definitely one song that keeps riding through my consciousness, along with ‘Laleña,’ which really gives a powerful demonstration of Donovan’s excellent vocal qualities. I think we could spend hours looking at all the folk music genres, Michael! Who are some of your folk favorite musicians and groups that you like?,” I inquired.


“Well, I dig The Kingston Trio. They are the first that pop into my mind. I especially love their ‘Scotch and Soda.’ Then, I think of Peter, Paul, and Mary. ‘Leavin’ on a Jet Plane’ is a classic, well-written song!”


“American folk music is kind of a slippery genre; that is, no one really knows how to define it. Is it music with no known author? Is it the music of the ‘poor?’ Is it music that has been passed down through centuries and via oral transmission? Is it a bit of all three? I’d venture to say that some of the music we call ‘contemporary’ nowadays will become the ‘folk music’ of the future! I know—for me, a child of the ‘60s and ‘70s—when I think of American folk music, I think of ‘traditional music’ that is performed in an intimate setting with unaffected and unamplified instruments, such as guitar, ukulele, upright bass, washboard, and tambourine; for others, it’s not that easy.”


“Those others, I can tell you, would likely classify the idea I have of American folk music as ‘American folk revival,’ for the initial zeniths of what Americans tend to term ‘folk music’ happened much earlier in the 19th and 20th centuries. The term, ‘traditional,’ too, has its foibles: each time something is performed it is created anew; it is merely a reference or a mirror of the past—the ‘tradition,’ in these cases.”


“Well, now I’m really confused, Michael,” I winced. “Here, let me play you my Picks of the Week and see if the listener can discern any continuity among the tunes.”


Roger’s SoundCloud Picks of the Week


Folk Music


Here are my SoundCloud picks of the week for Folk Music. Give a listen, and if you like what you hear, please ‘like,’ and ‘repost’ the tracks you enjoy on SoundCloud, Twitter, and/or Facebook. This is a great opportunity for you to support the creative work of the following fine artists.

Who Knows Where the Time Goes – Judy Collins (from the Best of Judy Collins) [Sea Breeze] [folk]

Northern SkyNick Drake (from Northern Sky) [Sea Breeze] [folk]

The Circle GameJoni Mitchell [folk]

Have you heard the latest episode of Blue Sky Highway?
[Ep007] Thoughts from Waking Dreams


The Blue Sky Highway™ is
Roger Allen Baut – Michael Ash Sharbaugh
and Adrian Hallam

blue sky highway

About Roger Allen Baut

Roger Allen Baut, aka Chasing Tao, is a music, art, and written word aficionado. His undergrad is in social studies (Major: Psychology and History with a Minor in Political Science) graduating Cum Laude, with departmental honors, and a member of the Gold Key National Honor Society, in 1989. He received his Master of Science in 1993. He is also a photographer and developer of "Contemplative Photographic Art," as well as the 'triplet' form of poetic expression, which consists of a photograph, poem or prose, and a video, to bring a three-dimensional aspect to the written word. His triplets may be found on his, and his contemplative photographic art on his site. Roger's latest adventure is the Blue Sky Highway™ (BSH), an experimental effort that has been very positively received by listeners on BTR and SoundCloud. It's a journey into sound that becomes sights and thoughts for the mind! The BSH is designed to be laid-back and relaxing, so that the listener may enter into a greater sense of creativity and contemplation. Roger says, that, "Through innovative music, writing, vocals, and thought, one may enter into a contemplative state, and thereby, enter into a greater sense of awareness."