abe po' ugly - lady tumbleweed

one of my favorite tracks from abe po' ugly, composed while he was out in the wilds of the pacific crest trail, posted for new years eve. another year is gone by.

the modern folk music of america.

a snakehorn christmas

here are a couple songs for the season from snakehorn. merry christmas!

the modern folk music of america.

street muse project

here is a link to the the street muse project, an effort to document the transformative power of street music across the world. this involves one of my favorite musicians, nate rappole, aka gull, of richmond, va. check this business out, and maybe help kickstart it.

this is something everyone who is a fan of homemade music should get behind. wild music being performed in public on the street has the power to transform our world. and gull is one of the most transfixing performers i have ever had the pleasure of seeing. also, check out his other legendary band, the ultra dolphins. the modern folk music of america.

creeping jesus - never really tried

unfortunately, this isn't available for download, but i had to get this up here.  tune from creeping jesus, out of harrisonburg, va. a band that contains four of my good friends, some of them former bandmates. the name is from a william blake poem.

i hope to hear more from these guys in the near future. the modern folk music of america.

party in the usa

a cover of miley cyrus's party in the usa. i think this song could be a bit like emperor nero's fiddlings. so party on.

now more than ever, it's a party in the usa. that much is obvious. the modern folk music of america.

ps check out the revised version of blackie/rubie.

powerline hawk and bigelow 6-200

a couple transmissions, one an original song, about hawks who perch on powerlines and another a cover of a song by don woody, that i heard on a brenda lee record.

people would assume that powerlines upset animals. but when you see a hawk sitting on top of a powerline, with an eye on all the surrounding fields, it seems like one man's trash is another man's treasure. the modern folk music of america.

duo recital and documenting harmony: music education in the holy land

well, this post takes us a little ways outside of america, but i thought i would share to this documentary photography project, out of philadelphia, which jordan perry (who is featured on the folksgiving C90 mixtape) is involved in. here are the photographer's words about what she is trying to accomplish:

----"The project began last spring when I crossed paths with musicians Jerrell Jackson and Vena Johnson.  As a photographer, I had been looking for a project to work on, related to under-privileged children and their access to a nurturing and healthy childhood.  Childhood is such a consequential time, and I've always wanted to do a project that documents the spirit of children facing difficult situations, and their will to aspire to bigger dreams.

When I met them, Jerrell and Vena had recently returned from performing and teaching music to children in Bethlehem, Jericho, Jerusalem, and Ramallah.  The experience left them changed and inspired to give back, so they created The Duo Recital, a series of concerts in Philadelphia and Virginia aimed at raising awareness and funds for music education in Palestine.  Their friend and guitarist, Jordan Perry, deeply moved by their experience, also joined the Duo Recital.

As a photographer, I felt the work they were doing was important because it wasn't about politics, or religion; it was about what can bring us together.  It was about the transformative power of music and artistic expression in children's lives, and the space it honors for them to create and realize greater dreams.  I knew I had found the project I was looking for.
I began documenting their rehearsals and concert series in the U.S. this past spring, and now Jordan and I have the opportunity to travel in December, together with Jerrell and Vena, as they return to the Holy Land.  They will all perform with the International Baroque Festival, and teach music to children through the Al-Kamandjati Music School.  My role will be to tell the stories of the children and the music, through photography."----- 
here is a video about the project that shows the duo recital in action.
not my usual subject matter, but if music is taught to more kids all over the world, then future generations will continue producing what i call modern folk music. music made by regular people because they love it so much they can't stop, and who won't let the drags of modern life get in the way of it. so check out the kickstarter, learn more about the project, and maybe give them a donation. the modern folk music of america.

check out the duo recital's page here for show information.

the tenants at rock lotto 2009

here are some tracks from the 2009 rock lotto show by the band i was involved in, the tenants, with mickey, bladen and ben. mickey and bladen have been featured on the blog elsewhere. i wrote about rock lotto at length for a a track of mickey's that i upped awhile ago. it was a kickin' time, and when i stumbled across this file i had to up it.

these tracks are available on the rock lotto website here, but each band's set is one file. i went ahead and split this one up. download the zip file if you want all the whole f'n show. any other rock lottoers that want their show split up, i'm happy to do it, send me an email. i'll even post it here if you want. the modern folk music of america.

blew and hollow room (california demos)

here are some demos i recorded in late 2008 that would later become tomsmen songs. the guy downstairs in the apartment where i recorded these yelled at me everyday to keep it down. check out the final versions here. the modern folk music of america.

MFOA folksgiving C90 mixtape

well i've had this thing going for about a year now, so i thought i'd throw together a 90 minute mixtape, just like you could dub onto one of those old fashioned cassettes. there's something here from most every artist i've featured, in most cases a tune i havn't yet posted. alot of the tracks are things i've been invloved in over the years. alot of the tracks are just nostalgic, echoes from the past.  i hope you like it.

1-elephant child - cemetary
2-brent emanuel - flea market
3-trade- dirl
4-mudrock and werther - cash money
5-abe po ugly - in the hotel of lost light
6-appomattox - emily
7-the brooms - lies
8-phix -southland tales redux
9-nitemayors - in the pines
10-iron bladen - valentines day
11-matlock 4 - neil
12-finder&found - open hands
13-the tomsmen - i'm a hustler

b1-country creatures - today your love, tomorrow the world
b2-badfellows - tuesday the 13th
b3-moss -doomsday cult
b4-jordan perry - title unknown
b5-da bris - why oh why
b6-dirtpond - dance the mountains
b7-april and wayne - aint love strange
b8-jlb - where is my granola
b9-zach barbery - it's hard to leave you sweet love
b10-petal shop - little miss derby
b11-bryan whitten - we look away
b12-port wine band - you're so sweet
b13-uncle bengine - bootleggers
b14-kalamity cat - spring's an hobo

-the modern folk music of america-

cuntry flesh pump/messed up hotel/many many unpleasant surprise

here is a trio of tunes i recorded quite awhile ago in a hotel room, while the birds were singing outside in the wake of a high desert thunderstorm.

i've also uploaded alot of my other recordings on bandcamp, as free downloads. get them here. the modern folk music of america

american folk songs

here are two tracks from an EP collection of five folk song interpretations i recorded this weekend, 'american folk songs'. once again, a nod to carl sandburg and john and alan lomax. i always keep their folk song books around. download the EP here.

check this book out if you get the chance. the modern folk music of america.

pc worship - staring at the sun and southern withdrawal (video)

ran across this today, a pair of new videos from brooklyn, ny's pc worship. they have a new release pending, called 'toxic love', check out their blog to figure out how to get your hands on this limited release. this band has sailed the weedy sea from tribal drumming ornette coleman style jazz excursions to moderately poppy psychedelic grunge, i've been pretty into it all the way. one reviewer called it 'shitgaze'... see for yourself and see about grabbing the new LP 'toxic love'. a more widely known and high profile band than i usually feature here, but i think their music is too good not to post something about them.

PC Worship "Staring At the Sun" from Kreephaus on Vimeo.

PC Worship "Southern Withdrawal" from Kreephaus on Vimeo.

these guys were nice enough to let us crash at the place pictured in "southern withdrawal" one night when the brooms had a show in brooklyn. always glad to hear new tunes from this band. check that site for tour information, and free downloads of most of their older albums. the modern folk music of america.

what da hell? - a documentary about buck gooter

a decent documentary by ben dansby about infamous harrisonburg noise band buck gooter. it's always an experience playing with these characters or going to one of thier shows. henry rollins is among their fans. its a few years old but worth a look.

What Da Hell? A Rockumentary from Ben Dansby on Vimeo.

the modern folk music of america.

zach barbery - i don't mind

here is another collaboration between zach and i, recorded a couple months ago. whiskey and a late night in portland. i don't mind, i don't mind.

z bar- vocals, guitar
moss- percussion, microphones

the modern folk music of america

the cinnamon band - i'm asking you (video)

here is a music video from the cinnamon band's 'all dressed' release. the song is called 'i'm asking you'. video is directed by will renton, whose photography has been featured here before.

The Cinnamon Band - "I'm Asking You" from Will Renton on Vimeo.

the cinnamon band consists of john harouff and neil campbell, they can be found charming audiences all up and down the mid-atlantic. the modern folk music of america.

petal shop - oh! revelation and I declare

here are two tracks from the upcoming LP 'the scope' by detroit folk duo petal shop. old timey tunes with modern themes, delivered in charming harmonies. hints of percussion add puncuation to these fast paced fiddle and banjo songs.

petal shop was nice enough to answer three interview questions, a first for the modern folk music of america. so here is that:

-MFMOA- what are a couple of your favorite albums, ones you constantly come back to, and listen to over and over again?

-PS- there's always been plenty of roger miller in our rotation. the best album that really gives you an idea of what we've always loved about him is called simply, 'the genius of roger miller'.
    iris dement's 'my life' is a personal classic and lyle lovett's 'pontiac' will never, never grow old.

-MFMOA- how do you feel about the fact that modern technology has made it possible for anyone with the will to do it to record, produce, and distribute their music?

 -PS- you always hear about how the demise of the music industry has made the game more democratic, but it's true. as producers of a musical product, our overhead continues to shrink while our ability to reach fans directly only increases. we can record, distribute and tour from one record without having to sell out stadiums in every city. since millions of dollars don't have to change hands in order for a band to be successful, that means that so many more bands are able to carve out a piece of the listener base and set up camp. it's been great for folk music because it means that the music really can stay where it belongs, among people who truly feel a connection to it.

-MFMOA- what are a couple of your favorite cities and venues that you have played on your tours?

-PS- whenever we leave detroit, we always love to swing through the south. we've played some great shows in san antonio and dallas when we hit texas. There's an amazing spot called 'the cove' in san antonio that has a stage set set up at the end of three or four rows of long tables that stretch the length of the room. there's a family band that plays there every weekend called
'the lavens' that are just great. we've been treated like family in atlanta and little rock. we've loved philly when we've been there and chicago always treats us well. the old town school of folk music is an amazing institution. we always find a reason to like each city more and more whenever we return. we start to see the same fans at the shows and they end up showing us an angle of town that we'd never have found on our own. we love the road . . .

thanks for your responses petal shop. i love roger miller too. 'the scope' is due for release on november 11th, and is available online here. look for them touring through your town. the modern folk music of america.


here is a new collaboration with zach barbery, thought up late at night on the porch. zach plays bass and some of the guitars.

the modern folk music of america.

uncle bengine and the restraining orders - comes in nines and jesse lee & daniel d

i'm proud to feature a couple tracks from the upcoming full-length release by harrisonburg, va's uncle bengine and the restraining orders, 'comes in nines'. whiskey soaked tales of love and loss with a driving groove and very nice musicianship all around. a good mix of weepers and rockers.

i've got a couple preview tracks here, including the title track, and 'jesse lee & daniel d', a standout ballad that shows a sweet taste of what this record has to offer. It will be available for purchase november 8th here and here. you can also check out their previous releases at those sites or at funny/not funny records. if you live in the harrisonburg area, they put on a good show and will probably be playing a bar or basement or maybe on a porch near you sometime soon. the modern folk music of america.

brent emanuel - flea market (video)

i found this cool video of brent emanuel playing his tune 'flea market' in a yard in asheville, nc, with a dog.

i featured a collection of brent's recordings called '22 bad love songs' last winter. its not too late to go back and download it. the modern folk music of america.

golden brown and creatures

two new tunes from an album called 'crawdad song', recorded on a tascam porta one with three working tracks. 'creatures' was written mainly by zach barbery

you can download the album at my bandcamp. the modern folk music of america.

damnson brothers - live in portland - rollin in my sweet baby's arms

thought i'd up some new stuff by the damnson brothers from their recent hitch hike to portland where they recorded a live album. the lead off to this rippin' show here is a traditional appalachian folk tune called "rollin in my sweet baby's arms". just gonna lay 'round the shack till that mail train comes back.

washington woman and full moon

two new tunes. another transmission. tonite its a full moon. autumn is knocking at the back porch door, wondering if maybe he could paint your fence for a plate of chipped beef gravy and white toast.
the modern folk music of america.

thanks to sean namei for playing bass on full moon

marriage of heaven and hell (clearing in the woods)

a song combined with some lines from william blake's 'marriage of heaven and hell'....the garden of love and the proverbs of hell.

the modern folk music of america.

finder&found - big sky and wolves

some pretty tunes from kaitlin and jeff, who go by finder&found, recorded in connecticut. a song about being on the road, and a song that tells the story of a soldier being at war and in love.

the modern folk music of america.

dream places

dream places are from in between your bones. dream places are the only ones you own.

the modern folk music of america.

sean namei played some bass and guitar on some tracks. country critters.

the damnson brothers - nine pound hammer and banjo song

some virginia boys find themselves in california singing for their dinner at a moose lodge or something. some raw and ragged tunes from the damnson brothers. just a banjo, a guitar, and i imagine some whiskey. these are some practice recordings. i especially dig 'new banjo song'.

the modern folk music of america.


two new songs. recorded this weekend. thanks go to my friend kelly clark for giving me the floor tom and snare drum you hear on these songs. the snare drum is also on 'alligator man'.

the modern folk music of america.


photo by breanne taylor.

alligator man

this is a cover of a jimmy newman song, but i learned it from alex chilton's version on his album 'like flies on sherbert'. the dog barks on this recording are by sebastian and fidel.

the modern folk music of america.

the brooms - too drunk to apologize

it recently came to my attention that many of the broom's fondest supporters (a handful of our best friends) did not have a copy of our swan song of a recording, working-titled 'too drunk to apologize'.

it was recorded sometime in 2009 on a tascam 488 cassette 8 track, at a time when we all began to say 'fuck it' about the band, but not this recording (or each other as friends for that matter), we for some reason put alot of effort into it. so here is a copy of "too drunk to apologize' to download and a couple of songs to stream. i think the wonderful jake adams might play some guest tambourine on 'cake'. the modern folk music of america.


photo by will renton

ukeladies - wandering way

here is another track that calamity kat hooked me up with, by the ukeladies out of minneapolis, mn. a sweet original tune called 'wandering way' featuring three part harmonies, recorded in the basement at 'we the people studios' there in minneapolis. i love the harmony arrangements around the refrain.

this picture came from their myspace page. check that for show dates and other such information. the modern folk music of america.

nitemayors EP

a six song EP recorded in my bedroom in portland in late june, just after my 27th birthday. it is about mountains, nightmares and demon dreams, walking, folk songs, william blake, driving and working.

the modern folk music of america.

nitemayors EP

the ladies three - dona dona

another tune by calamity kat and her friends, the ladies three. this one with lead vocal duties taken over by madeline fendrick, who provided the lovely harmonies on 'shake you'. This is apparently an anti war song that was taught to madeline by her grandfather. i like the lyrics about the laughing wind. i like when songs are passed from one generation to the next. the modern folk music of america. thanks kat for the wonderful tunes!

the ladies three - shake you

very glad to have a new song to post by calamity kat, who was featured here in march accompanying herself on banjo on her song 'spring's a hobo'. this track finds her joined by a guitar, a fiddle and a harmony vocal, in a somewhat more formal recording, also in alaska, where 'spring's a hobo' was recorded. a fine and pretty tune with a properly heartworn story and melody that sails over it. quite excited to add it to the modern folk music of america. kat and her friends go by the name 'the ladies three'.

dirt on our hands/out on the town

unfortunately no one has been sending me their work lately, so here is another internet 45" from me. dirt on our hands/out on the town. the modern folk music of america.

i hope you enjoy it. thanks to robbie g for contributing some of the above art.

ol paint/yr jet black jeans

ol paint is a song about a horse that i would always see from the window of the work truck right as we were almost home from work. i called him ol paint. one day he wasn't there in his pasture any more, i would like to think he's not dead but i figure it is a possibility, so this is his hypothetical eulogy. and i guess jet black jeans are what you would wear to ol paints' funeral. the modern folk music of america.



yr glow

here is a song i wrote and recorded this weekend, my first successful portland recording aside from those as a part of sean namei's country creatures. i don't have alot to say about it, the idea for this page was for me to write about other people's home recordings, but ya'll have been slackers, for the most part. this is a picture of my recording desk.

thanks to matt and sarah, and sean and zack, for letting me move in to this sweet place to live in beautiful portland, oregon. once again, check out some other stuff at country creatures. here is 'yr glow'

appomattox - the j.e.b. stuart demo

a whisper from simpler time. an 18 year old summer in harrisonburg VA. living across the street from the hospital. i thought this demo was lost, but thanks to the patient archiving talents of jason knicely we can now enjoy the near forgotten appomattox demo. a kind hearted folk love letter crooned right into your ear. somehow this evokes a sunny day or a rainy day. intimate and unassuming, these songs seem to talk about memories of things that could have happened to anyone. recorded by casey "zone" schroen as one of the first of many things he would record with one or the other of us, on a tascam 8 track that would still be in use 7 years later. songs, guitar, vocals and harmonica by chris bennett, percussion by andrew richardson. the reminder, in the form of mp3 files or a well scratched CDR, of the lives we lived together, broken forties and plant pots full of cigarette butts. the modern folk music of america. here is the song 'i never liked maryland', and a link to download the demo itself.

download appomattox - the j.e.b. stuart demo

abe po' ugly - dog god dog

five new songs from abe po' ugly (and his hired guns). endless closet revisions and the beginning of a very long trip. meditations with and without words, on modern life. a lofi hunt for the turkey of meaning. boy, you'll be a lawyer someday. maybe. these songs wander in front of you like a procession of pilgrims, but they are gone before you know it.

there are small spaces between each daily engagement and there are sometimes larger spaces, blank back pages between each chapter. i think this most likely grew from both kinds of crack. the modern folk music of america. i'm gonna feature the song 'lawyer' for streaming, and you can download the whole thing.

download abe po ugly - dog god dog

calamity kat - spring's a hobo

from fairbanks, AK, by way of minneappolis, MN comes this sparse folky tune by calamity kat, an independant travelling theatre actress, singer and musician. this track was recorded live by harrisonburg, VA's own bryan whitten, whose excellent song 'we look away' was featured earlier this month by the modern folk music of america. the recording quality isn't great but trust me this sucker is worth your time...kat's voice is as beautiful as her banjo picking is disarming and sweet. this is a recording of an event: far flung travelers converge in a living room and play and record the modern folk music of america. and i lay it before you. spring's a hobo and he's pulling into town on that long, circular iron rail, bindle on his shoulder, dancing that old soft shoe, and he's gonna sit on your porch, ask you for a buck fifty so he can buy a quart of beer, and tell you a long, long story.

jen mccarthy - fannin street and chocolate jesus (tom waits covers)

this might be my first truly field recorded posting for MFOA. this lady was very nice to me when i played at this little wine shop the week before, and she told me she would be doing an evening of tom waits covers the following wednsday. i felt i should attend.

she only did late career material. she had a 3-ring binder sitting on the piano with all the songs in plastic sleeves and a post-it note inside reminding her to breath in and out. the modern folk music of america. it was a charming performance. i like these recordings, with the introductions and background conversations. this is an attending to a laying before, for what its worth.


i'm gonna do some self promotion here. check out tomsmen's new EP, available as a completely free high quality download.

mickey arefaine - noted rider

i wanted to post this somewhat made up version of a leadbelly song that mickey and i recorded in early 2009 today in honor of the third annual harrisonburg rock lotto, taking place at the blue nile in harrisonburg, va, on march 18th and 19th of this year (so, in a little less than two weeks...mark your calendar if you live in the valley). this recording came about because mickey and i were playing together in the 2009 rock lotto, which was the first occurence of a re-creation of an idea that had lived before at some point in the late 90's  (check this out for the full story). rock lotto is a process by which musicians form bands with strangers, are given two months to write songs and to practice, and then get the chance to play a show. all proceeds go towards local education. rock lotto is a classic way to produce the modern folk music of america. it couldn't be better. i had a really great time playing in it, i have to mention my other bandmates ben and bladen, it was a good combination (i have some recordings of that show...maybe i could post those here). cheers to everyone who plays in the rock lotto and everyone who works hard to put it on.

mickey and i recorded this song in a couple takes one day after we had had practice with our rock lotto band. i thought she did a really good job on the vocals. its another case of gender bending, lyrically. as far as i know this is one of few recordings she's ever done, and i hadn't had a way to get it out there before.

bryan whitten - we look away

this one comes second hand from country creature's sean namei...this is bryan's first home recording, but he sounds like an old pro. he sent it to sean, and sean sent it to me to post as a surprise for him...i hope he finds it as pleasant of a surprise as i found the song itself to be. an introspective, dynamic, songwriterly gem from another harrisonburg, va native. this one rewards repeated listenings, there is alot going on here both musically and lyrically. there are pleasing layerings of acoustic and electric guitars, and tight vocal harmonies throughout...can we ever get enough of a person alone singing with themselves, with the help of just a little bit of inexpensive technology? the modern folk music of america. bryan, i know i am posting this without your knowledge, let me know if you want me to take it down, but it should be out there. great work. there ain't nothing you're doing wrong here.

sister lovers lovers - first installment

this is my tribute to my favorite album of all time, big star's third/sister lovers. a shambling, mysterious, dark album, the sound of collapse. for awhile, and in some ways still, this record made me forget about most other records. i know i will be friends with someone if i meet them for the first time and they also love this album, but since i have really been into it, i'm not sure that that has happened. i have only recorded versions of seven of the album's 19 possible songs (thats part of the mystery...never properly released, what songs are even on this record? the version i have has 19...) but there might be more to come. like certain other great albums, captain beefhearts' trout mask replica comes to mind, sister lovers can be a tough nut to crack, but it is totally worth it. i have been known to listen to this album like 10 times a day.

this little experiment goes out to everyone else out there who has had their soul stirred by this work of art, and also to alex chilton, a man who suffered his whole career from a lack of appreciation. some people might see it as overambitious to try to cover the songs on this album, fair enough, if you feel that way, let me have it, but i love this album so goddamn much i literally had to do it.

i would also like to give a quick shout to nick barbery's ghost capital  music blog...look at it, you wont find this music anywhere else.

we do our goo-goo-koos


i found myself alone in a condo next to a golf course in moses lake, washington, for five days, with nothing to do. i had my recording equipment, so i recorded these two songs.  i see them as an internet 45... two sides of a record, blackie/rubie.

the only unfortunate thing was that this process didn't kill more than 1.5 to 2 of the days. but a friend had mailed me a biography of william blake, and there's a TV, so, i think i will be ok. so, enjoy blackie/rubie, an internet 45. new drums recorded november, 2011.

trade - dirl

from tom's brook, va comes trade, a heavy rock band reminding us of the best things about the late eighties and early nineties. stripped down rock that moves from spaced out drone to tight grunge harmonies and back again. also, i really love the name of this song. there were some great photos of the equipment they used to record this on thier FB page, which i also wanted to share.

its always interesting to see the tools that build the modern folk music of america. 'dirl' is the lead track on an ep trade is relaesing in 2011, so look for that, and hopefully look for them playing shows in the shenandoah valley area in the near future. here is the track, and check out their big cartel site  for any future updates.

shenandoah valley metal, gone studios

the modern folk music of america usually posts tracks for you to listen to right here, but my efforts at field recording failed, so i am going to resort to links, but i felt i had to write about two excellent metal bands i saw this january at gone studios in staunton virginia. gone studios is an art gallery in a rented warehouse space in downtown staunton and over the past month has cemented itself in my mind as one of my favorite places to see and perform music (I also had the pleasure of playing there twice in january). heated by a double barrelled wood stove, decorated by old furniture and a motley and beautiful collection of local art and old furniture, gone always seems to be inhabited by a supremely receptive and appreciative audience, people without pretensions who hunger for beer and the modern folk music of america. rarely at a 'diy' show have i seen more folks approach the musicians afterwards with genuine words of thanks and encouragement, regardless of the genre, talent level, fashion sense or perceived social cache of the performers...it is truly excellent.  gone is run by two wonderful dudes named john and angus, and to quote a great movie, "proud we are of all of them..." i encourage everyone in staunton and harrisonburg to attend every event they can at gone, and donate heavily. its fun and its free(donations greatly appreciated). trust me, this is the kind of space that you want to have around, that i think our culture probably needs to have around in some way. gone is the kind of soil from which the modern folk music of america so much loves to grow.

the bands i intend to expose here are the smell of death and earthling, two head crushing metal bands with incredible musicianship and taste. both have a vibe that harkens back to the best of what classic metal has to offer while at the same time sounding fresh. i could go on and on describing them, but i think i will let their music do the talking. check out these links, get out and see them as soon as you can, metal is best appreciated in a live setting, and they are growing right in your backyard. like weed. the modern folk music of america.

the smell of death (you can actually purchase the album digitally here)-
the smell of death


gone studios-

so there are the links. sorry i couldn't provide field recordings...i am working to improve these methods.

the james badfellows - evil powers

the modern folk music of america presents the james badfellows. james wrote this song in his head at work and got us together to play it at neil's house a couple nights ago. even though we had been recording for the past week, i neglected to bring any recording equipment. james sang the song for us, we figured out the chords, and we started to play the song. i set my phone on the coffee table and recorded it on the phone's voice record function. the sound quality is terrible, but the song quality comes through. a dark, classic sounding pop tune, recorded at what may very well have been the only opportunity. i hope you enjoy our attempt to wrecking crew james' ronettes. the modern folk music of america.

zach barbery - its hard to leave you sweet love

songs can teach us things. the lou reed song femme fatale taught me the diminished 7th chord. zach tells me he was using this song, an old folk tune, in a version by louis mcdaniels and gid smith, to "learn vocal harmonies better". a good use for it, and the by-product is the modern folk music of america. zach is involved, with the not-so-mysterious sean namei, in country creatures, who have appeared on this blog before, and it is always good to hear from either of these guys. zach ended his email with this piece of advice.

"Morning is the time to pity the sober. The way they're feeling then is the best they're going to feel all day."

dj finks - phix - get out of here

the modern folk music of america presents a track from an unreleased 2003 album by DJ finks, who was "going by the name phix at the time". our first sample of the electronic folk music of america. DJ finks does more than maybe anyone i know to give the modern folk music of america a home. he does this through his tireless efforts as entertainment director at a basement bar called the blue nile in harrisonburg, va, where he oversees shows most nights of the week for independent local and touring bands from all over the country and in some cases beyond. it is a great place to play music and to attend to music, it is eclectic, inexpensive, and fun, and this is because of his work. he also has been a producer and performer of electronic music for years, and i am happy to feature some of his music today. thanks finks, for the home you have made in harrisonburg for the modern folk music of america.

download some more

moss brothers - buddy record

abe and i recorded these five songs, with kaitlin's help, for our parents as a christmas present. the modern folk music of america presents it as a belated christmas present to you. these are cover songs, so we must give credit where credit is due. here is the track list.

1- coconut (h. nilsson)
2- 13 (chilton/bell)
3- don't forget me (h. nilsson)
4- house of the rising sun (traditional)
5- 32-20 (r. johnson)

we love these songs, and these composers.

download the whole thing.

brent emanuel - 22 bad love songs

the modern folk music of america is happy to present an entire album by charlottesville's brent emanuel, a fellow traveler in the struggle to wrest music from the cracks in our daily lives. the songs range from ragged yelps and experiments to relatively slick country jams, featuring a range of un-named musicians. some of the songs are recorded in live settings, with the slip and shuffle of a bar or space or house during a show, some seem to be at the height of home recording quality. the lyrics don't fail to be funny and heartbreaking, usually at the same time, and it is because they are without guile or contrivance. the cd copy of this collection that brent gave me has blood smeared on the back cover. the modern folk music of america. I couldn't choose a song so here is a zip file of the whole album. enjoy.

22 bad love songs


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