Jake Blount - Folk At The Edge recap
On the sweltering hot day of August 7th, 2022 some brave and trusting souls gathered together under the of shade of Edgewood Park for a community event, brought together by CT Folk.
In 2021 Folk At The Edge was meant to be a safe alternative to a full-day festival, while being accessible to the people. As we return to an in-person CT Folk Festival and Green Expo, expanding to two-days, two-stages; we still wanted to have a connection to the smaller shows, keeping Folk At The Edge alive. With the Festival growing, we wanted to shrink the footprint of the FATE show, dropping the large stage and hullabalo for an intimate event. We swapped out multiple openers for a drum circle and workshop. As you can see below, we think it was a success.
We turned the park from this...
JAKE BLOUNT WORKSHOP
The event started with a workshop by Jake Blount. For those that don't know besides a musician, Jake is a legit academic scholar as well. He spent the early afternoon with us, going over African American Music Traditions & Repertoire. To way-too-quickly summarize, Jake taught us about the history of slaves brought to America for their skills, and as such many musicians as well were brought over from Africa for their skills. Many styles and forms that we know today, can be traced back to these roots. In true scholarly fashion, Jake even provided some source material we should all checkout, many of which he lists on his website - jakeblount.com/black-stringband-resources
Photos : @photosbyfernandopayano - Fernando Payano -
Following Jake was Rhythms From The Heart Interactive Drumming
Photos : @photosbyfernandopayano - Fernando Payano -
We'll let the pictures tell the story, but Jake's tweet says it all.
Jake, oft-referred to as a Bluegrass musician, self-classifies as a 'Traditional Black Folk Musician.' To espouse, Jake said "It explains what I'm doing, but leaves the door open to a wide range of sounds and expressions." After listening to his Workshop, it makes a ton of sense not to fall into the trap of categories assigned to him.
He took no short cuts on his solo set, as he played through a broken string, recruiting a musician from the crowd (THANKS EBEN), brought along a friend (Rosalie Coleman), and told stories along the way. The crowd was most amused when Jake admitted to the crowd that he first heard and learned the great Leadbelly traditional 'Where Did You Sleep Last Night" from the classic folk artist Kurt Cobain on the 'MTV Unplugged album'
Here's 2 clips from the CT Folk Instagram.
"Roustabout' from Spider Tales
'Boll Weevil' from 'Spider Tales'
Here's a linkto a low-quality video snippet of a high quality song 'Hard Time Killing Floor'
Another low-quality video of a high quality song, only meant to relive the event for this recap. ' Where Did You Sleep Last NIght"
Photos above by : @MeAndTheOtherMomShows - Jake Blount and Rosalie Coleman
Photos below by: @photosbyfernandopayano - Fernando Payano -
Takeaways: The biggest thing learned from this event is how much more Jake has to offer.
For instance, "The things Jake has to say, are things we need to hear. and no one is going to communicate them as clearly or as gracefully as he does. "Cameron DeWhitt - 'Get Up In The Cool
(following video has nothing to do with the event, but was fun to watch)
While we're at it. here's a snippet from the following NERFA Keynote Speaker Video
" I grew up Black in Washington DC, having very little connection to the folklore that I now participate in, the folk music culture that I now participate in; despite the fact that my immediate family came from a farm in Southern Virginia. I was separated, I did not feel close to my rural roots and the rural roots of my people. And it was only as an adult, moving away from home, and trying to find a way to grapple wit the massive black lives matter movement and the conflict that that brought and the ways that it changed the way that I saw the people that I grown up around and the places that I'd grown up (around). I felt that I needed to go back and see how my ancestors would have dealt with the situation. And what I found was I would uncover these old songs, these old stories from back in the day, and they were meaningful to me despite the fact I didn't know who had written them, and that I had never lived in those same circumstances, that they told a story that was impactful to me and spoke to my own experiences despite the fact that the experiences of the authors whoever they were, were so very different.
And I found a very meaningful quote to me, from W.E.B. Dubious, from 'The Souls of Black Folk' where he talked about the same revelation, when he encountered the same body of music. "They that walked in darkness, sang songs in the olden days. sorrow songs, for they were weary at heart. Ever since I was a child, these songs have stirred me strangely, they came out of the south unknown to me, one by one. And yet I once knew them as of me and of mine. Out of them rose from me morning noon and night, bursts of wonderful melody full of the voices of my brothers and sisters, full of the voices of my past."
Do yourself a favor. Check out Jake Blount. Find him on tour, buy his upcoming record.