We sit at the precipice of what could be a new appreciation of the Folk Music Revival. Yes, an appreciation of that Folk Music Revival—of the 1960’s. This has been preceded by what some have called a contemporary folk revival, that of young bands over the last few years from Mumford & Sons to the Stray Birds who incorporate “old timey” instrumentation.
Attempting to bridge these eras is the new Coen Brothers film Inside Llewyn Davis. Perhaps this film and its soundtrack will do for Folk troubadours what the Oh Brother Where Art Thou movie and soundtrack have done for Bluegrass music. Yet Inside Llewyn Davis is one project of at least three this year to renew appreciation for one particular figure…Dave Van Ronk.
2013 has seen the release of a new edition of Van Ronk’s memoir, The Mayor of MacDougal Street, coauthored (finished posthumously) by Elijah Wald. In late October, Smithsonian Folkways released Down In Washington Square, a 3-CD collection of Dave Van Ronk recordings. Not only are there previously unreleased studio and live recordings—all of Disc 3 plus a few other tracks–but the performances really bring out Van Ronk’s interest in a variety of musical styles such as Blues, traditional jazz, spirituals, and…sea shanties. Hmmm. And late this month comes the film Inside Llewyn Davis. As you may know, it is based loosely around stories from The Mayor of MacDougal Street. You might recognize some of the musicians of the early Washington Square scene that the players are based on.
Best of all, WUMB is holding a member screening of Inside Llewyn Davis on Wednesday December 11th at the Kendall Square Cinema in Cambridge. What a great way for younger and older WUMB members to connect over an integral part of the station’s musical heritage.
As of the electronic version of “press time,” the event is sold out. So if you are a station member who still wants to go, sign up for the wait list on wumb.org ASAP. Good luck. We look forward to seeing you there.
And as always, thanks for being a member of listener supported WUMB.