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Folk This & Folk That

Published August 23, 2023 at 1:26 PM CDT

A blog for Folk Weekend on Tri-States Public Radio by Folk Weekend host, Kyra Dean

Join Kyra Dean Sunday nights at 7:00 as she travels through the worlds of alt. country, Americana, Bluegrass, Blues, and of course, Folk on Folk Weekend. You'll hear classic recordings that defined their genres as well as new releases from contemporary artists that push in new and interesting directions.

I'm an eyebrow

American Girl Dreaming

Posted June 26, 2024 at 4:18 PM CDT

"I'd take better care of myself
I'd stop drinkin' from the bottom shelf
But my old wheels keep spinnin' and I cannot make them stop
I've been American dreamin'..."-Sierra Ferrell

Hello folk buddies and bunnies. This is your old gal pal Kyra, host of Folk Weekend. I hope ya'll are having the swell-est summer since whenever. I hope you are making Folk Weekend part of the soundtrack.

I'm going to take this opportunity to sing the praises of West Virginia born singer-songwriter Sierra Ferrell. First of all, she is the coolest. Look at her in that pic up there. Miles and miles of style. But that's not why we are here.

Her latest album, Trail of Tears, is an absolute delight to my ears. The way she blends elements of folk, country, bluegrass, calypso, "gypsy jazz" and more is perfect for an eclectic gal like me. Most important, these are catchy, passionate tunes that you will not soon forget. Case in point, the first single, "American Dreamin'" has been burrowed deep in the pleasure center of my brain for a couple of months now, and it ain't goin' nowhere. The whole album that proceeds it is equally excellent.

Buy Sierra latest album, go see her show, buy her t-shirts. Let's show her love, so she keeps doing what she does, because she does it well.

Thanks for listening and for being cool.

Love, Kyra

Chicago Farmer brings working-class folk songs to Galesburg

Posted April 23, 2024 at 2:49 PM CDT

Hello. I want to talk about this while it is still fresh in my mind.

I had the pleasure of seeing Chicago Farmer and the Fieldnotes at the historic Orpheum Theatre in Galesburg, IL and it was most excellent.

Galesburg locals, The Memphis Dives, got the festivities started with a rollicking set of energetic rock-n-roll about love, PBR, and whiskey. They sounded great.

Cody Diekhoff has been performing as Chicago Farmer for two decades now. In that time he has amassed quite a catalog of great songs. Diekhoff, who grew up in Delevan, IL, writes songs about small town living and the working class that don’t sound forced or pandering. Like other songwriters who move me (Bob Dylan, John Prine, Jenny Lewis), Chicago Farmer’s songs can make me laugh and cry, often in the same song.

Chicago Farmer is usually Diekhoff performing solo, but for this event, he brought along his band The Fieldnotes., and holy moly!, did they jam.

I spoke with Diekhoff before the show, and he spoke of how he got into both Nirvana and Hank Williams during high school and that some may find that to be on an odd combo (not me). A highlight of the show was a song about the Peshtigo fire in Wisconsin 1971. He introduced the number as being influenced by Nirvana and Hank Williams. Of course, it worked perfectly. Did I mention that the Fieldnotes can jam?

So, my friends, I highly recommend that you go see Chicago Farmer and buy his records. I anxiously await to see what he and his band do next.

March, Movies, St. Patrick's Day, Women's History Month and more

Posted March 6, 2024 at 11:46 AM CST

March is going to be a fun month musically. We've already kicked it off with a mostly new music episode on March 3rd. So much great new stuff already in this young year. I have some fun themes in store for March, starting with Folk Weekend Goes To The Movies on March 10th. Skip the Oscar's and listen to some Academy Award nominated songs from Bob Dylan (he won) and Elliott Smith (pictured below. He did not win.) Stuff from great film soundtracks like O' Brother Where Art Thou? and Pulp Fiction. Music from actor/musicians like Dwight Yoakam, Harry Belafonte, Dolly Parton, Tom Waits, Jason Isbell & more. It's gonna be a fun one.

Other themes will include St. Patrick's Day (it's on a Sunday this year, same time as Folk Weekend...fun!) and Women's History Month.
So many amazing women in the world of folk, blues, Americana, bluegrass, roots, alt-country and beyond, past and present. I really look forward to that show on March 24th. The hard part will be deciding what to play.

Join me for Folk Weekend every Sunday evening at 7 on Tri-States Public Radio...or listen on-demand at your leisure.

Thanks for listening!

FEBRUARY RANTS

Things to do in February

Posted February 5, 2024 at 12:04 PM CST

Hello. Two thing to talk about to start of February

1st: Silently, The Mind Breaks is the eleventh(?) album by the Iowa singer-songwriter, William Elliott Whitmore and it makes me feel all of the things. I don't always beg for raw honesty and deep perspective in the music that I listen to, but when it is delivered in such a powerful way, I am all in. Will has a way of compelling a listener using very little. Just a banjo or guitar and that voice, and those brilliant words. He's been doing this for years and lucky for us, he keeps getting better and better at it. The performance and production are downright flawless. Nothing gets in the way of Will's songs of existential anxiety. Sound bleak? It's not. One minute you may fear for our future, but the next you may crack a smile. In short: You should own this record.

Which leads me to the 2nd thing: Buying records

Remember buying records? Of course you do, you are reading this, and probably a cool person. I'm just here to encourage everyone to support and preserve the music that you love by buying the physical media. Go to the shows, buy whatever the merch booth is selling. These people are out there doing the hard work, making our lives better. Go to the record store. They still exist! I'll be discussing this more in the near future, but right now I'll point you in the direction of Macomb Square Music and Dusty Bins Records and More. Maybe make a trip to Ft. Madison to Pool 19 Plants and Records or Weird Harold's in Burlington. Take a scenic drive to rural Cuba, IL and seek out Shandi's Music and More. One might even have to travel out of our listening area to Ragged Records in the Quad Cities, Pizza Records in Jacksonville, IL, Dumb Records in Springfield, Co-op in Pekin... These stores still exist. Shop them often. Maybe more will pop up. Keep it alive.

Thanks for hearing me out...

What to listen for in 2024

Posted January 17, 2024 at 11:34 AM CST

Hello listeners and hello 2024.

I have a feeling this is going to be a weird year. Might as well have a great soundtrack for it.

I've been working on some cool new Folk Weekend themes for this year including local music, the songs of Hank Williams, New York, Chicago, The South, Black History Month, Women's History Month, Valentine's Day and more.

Of course, I will do my best to keep you up to date on the latest in folk, Americana, blues, bluegrass, roots music, alternative country and beyond.

Don't forget that you can listen to Folk Weekend ON DEMAND right here https://omny.fm/shows/folk-weekend

Tell your friends!

If We Make It Through December

Posted December 4, 2023 at 9:38 AM CST

Hello! I'll start this blog post with a lame cliche: "can you believe it's already December 2023? The year went fast etc. etc. yadda yadda..."

Now that we did that, let's talk music...

Make sure you listen to Folk Weekend every Sunday in December. I have some good stuff for you. Folk Weekend will air on Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve this year. Naturally, I will be getting festive with the tunes, so it should be a good time...

Also, December is when music nerds make lists. Here's some of my favorite albums from the year 2023 that I recommend. I'm sure I missed a few, but, deadlines.

11. The Rolling Stones-Hackneyed Diamonds

10. Milk Carton Kids-I Only See The Moon

9. (tie) The Fly Birds/The Cleverlys-The Band Is Playing Covers/Solid Butter

8. Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit-Weathervanes

7. Yo La Tengo-This Stupid World

6. Lucero-Should've Learned By Now

5. Lucinda Williams-Stories From A Rock and Roll Heart

4. Margo Cilker-Valley Of Hearts Delight

3. Cat Power-Cat Power Sings Dylan: The 1966 Royal Albert Hall Concert

2. Sparklehorse-Bird Machine

1. Sunny War-Anarchist Gospel

also: The Let It Bleed Edition: reissue/Ed Stassium mix of The Replacements' album, Tim. It sounds amazing and serves as a reminder of the Mat's influence on many of the alt-country artists we love today.

Seek out all of that stuff for your listening pleasure.

Tune in all month long for more!

Happy Holidays!

November Folk Weekend Update

Posted November 1, 2023 at 10:30 AM CDT

Is it really November?....Just checked the calendar, and the temperature...yep, it's very much November.

Folk Weekend got pretty dark and gloomy in October with the Halloween, devil, and murder ballad episodes. The plan for November is to lighten up a little...

Of course you'll get a Thanksgiving episode of Folk Weekend. I like food. I also like songs about food. I suspect that I'm not alone in this.

I also intend to give you another Beatles episode. That's when you'll get to hear a bunch of cool songs from the Lennon/McCartney/Harrison/and even Starr songbook.

There is plenty of exciting new music being released, and I'll be serving up plenty of that as well.

Also, the times they are a changin' on Novewmber 5th. Don't forget to set your clocks back.

A reminder that Folk Weekend is now available on demand with a 2 week archive! Listen whenever you want! Check it out! https://omny.fm/shows/folk-weekend

Yay spooky season and music recommendations

Posted October 2, 2023 at 2:11 PM CDT

Confession: October is my favorite month. Mainly because I have an excuse to listen to dark and spooky tunes (and some fun ones too). Show themes this month will include the devil, murder ballads, and Halloween. It will probably get weird. Make sure you tune in every Sunday at 7.

You can also listen on-demand, in case you miss the original broadcast. You can find that here on our website.

Speaking of music, here are some recent releases that I recommend:

Lydia Loveless-Nothing’s Gonna Stand In My Way (album)

Every few years Lydia re-emerges to remind us why they are one of the best voices in Americana music. This may be their best yet.

The Replacements-Tim: Let It Bleed Edition (album reissue)

Big, multi-disc reissues can be for suckers, rich kids and completists. They can also make an album that suffered slightly from it’s 80’s production sound like a revelation. If you don’t hear a strong Replacements influence in today’s alternative country greats Lucinda Williams (Drive-By Truckers, Lucero, Lydia Loveless, Lucina Williams and many more) then I suggest an armada of Q-tips be dispatched to your ear area forthwith. It’s undeniable. Tim just happens to be one of the best albums ever. It just got even better.

The Milk Carton Kids-"Body & Soul" (song)

Just 2 voices harmonizing like their names are Paul and Art, some acoustic guitars, a whole lotta words, and a heck of a lot of fun.

Drive-By Truckers-Welcome To Club XIII- (album)

This came out last year, but after hearing these songs performed live, I had to revisit. It rules.

The Cleverlys-Hot Butter (album)

I'm easily amused by fun covers of familiar hits, especially when it is done with such finesse and joy as The Cleverlys do on Hot Butter. Bluegrass renditions of hits from Dr. John, Silk Sonic, B-52s, Psi, Radiohead and more. It's a good time

Margo Cilker-"I Remember Carolina" (song)

An outstanding barn burning American travelogue about Montana fisherman, Bob Dylan concerts, the best burger in Texas and a whole lot more. Yes please. From her fine new album, 'Valley of Hearts Delight'

Rodriguez-"This Is Not A Song, It's An Outburst or the Establishment Blues" (song)

Better late than never discovering this 1970 gem. RIP Sixto Rodriguez.

have a great October, and thanks for listening.

September 2023

First Air of Autumn

Posted August 31, 2023 at 2:06 PM CDT
Woody Guthrie singing aboard a New York City subway train.
Eric Schaal/Life Pictures/Getty Images
Woody Guthrie singing aboard a New York City subway train.

Howdy. I'm Kyra Dean and I host Folk weekend. I am also a blogger, starting right now. I'm just going to take this opportunity to say hello, and thank you for listening, or thinking about listening. I'm also going to tell you about the show. It's called Folk Weekend. It's 2 hours of folk, blues, Americana, bluegrass, roots, alternative country and beyond. I like to mix up the genres, styles, tempos and what have you as much as possible. On Folk Weekend, you are going to hear artists from the early 1900's all the way up to music released this week. Sometimes I have a theme that unites the songs and artists on a particular show.

I have some fun themes planned over the course of the next couple of months...Labor Day, various renditions of traditional folk songs, the devil, murder ballads, Halloween...and we will have a very special 4 hour fundraising all request episode on September 24th, raising funds for Tri-States Public Radio, so we can keep bringing you news, information, and diverse music . I hope you can tune in and help out. We sure do appreciate you.

More good news: We are in the process of making Folk Weekend available ON DEMAND, so you can listen, even if you miss out on Sunday night. Here's a little sample of that.... https://omny.fm/shows/folk-weekend?fbclid=IwAR2FLmjS11nJtzs7yR_PlUIS1Uanm5hvyAmiukPiLA2cDt34Oa6wVMTwZrs

Thanks again and I hope that you have the greatest September of your lives