I think what makes the Byrds stand up all these years is the basis in folk music. Folk music, being a timeless art form, is the foundation of the Byrds. We were all from a folk background. We considered ourselves folk singers even when we strapped on electric instruments and dabbled in different things.
So much was so easy. Glamour was second nature. It was just making folk see what they wanted to see. Fooling folk was as simple as singing. Tricking folk and telling lies, it was like breathing. But this? Convincing someone of the truth that they were too twisted to see? How could you even begin?
Folk songs are evasive-the truth about life, and life is more or less a lie, but then again that's exactly the way we want it to be. We wouldn't be comfortable with it any other way. A folk song has over a thousand faces and you must meet them all if you want to play this stuff. A folk song might vary in meaning and it might not appear the same from one moment to the next. It depends on who's playing and who's listening.
Most people's intuitions are drowned out by folk sayings. We have a moment of real feeling or insight, and then we come up with a folk saying that captures the insight in a kind of wash. The intuition may be real and ripe, fresh with possibilities, but the folk saying is guaranteed to be a cliche, stale and self-contained.
I remember the first time I was booked into a jazz club. I was scared to death. I'm not a jazz artist. So I got to the club and spotted this big poster saying, 'Richie Havens, folk jazz artist.' Then I'd go to a rock club and I'm billed as a 'folk rock performer' and in the blues clubs I'd be a 'folk blues entertainer.'
My music doesn't really sound like punk music, it's acoustic. And it doesn't really sound like folk music 'cause I'm thrashing too hard and emoting a little too much for the sort of introspective, respectful, sort-of folk genre thing. I'm really into punk and folk as music that comes out of communities and is very genuine and very immediate and not commercial.
Gods, I love this place, " Locke said, drumming his fingers against his thighs. "Sometimes I think this whole city was put here simply because the gods must adore crime. Pickpockets rob the common folk, merchants rob anyone they can dupe, Capa Barsavi robs the robbers and the common folk, the lesser nobles rob nearly everyone, and Duke Nicovante occasionally runs off with his army and robs the shit out of Tal Verarr or Jerem, not to mention what he does to his own nobles and his common folk.
I think that anything is a form of folk music. That's just me being glib, but the thing I like the best about humans, and there are not many other things besides this, is that humans make culture. If you're an artist, a big part of folk is noticing what other people are doing and incorporating it and changing it - the way that songs warp and change over time.
Now any person who plays an acoustic guitar standing up on stage with a microphone is a folk singer. Some grandmother with a baby in her arms singing a 500-year-old song, well, she's not a folk singer, she's not on stage with a guitar and a microphone. No, she's just an old grandmother singing an old song. The term "folk singer" has gotten warped.
Repeat after me, there are the living and the dead, there are day-folk and night-folk, there are ghouls and mist-walkers, there are high hunters and the Hounds of God. Also, there are solitary types." "What are you?" asked Bod. "I," she said sternly, "am Miss Lupescu." "And what is Silas?" She hesitated. Then she said, "He is a solitary type.
Life, as a part, is interwoven with the life of the whole, not only present, but past and future, for while men come and go the folk lives on, continuous, eternal, providing its members perform their duty to it. Thus, in identifying himself with his folk man prolongs himself through the multiplicity of his ancestors and his descendants, and thereby attains immortality.
Songwriters I've always been drawn to are people who deal with something of depth in the lyric writing. ...I've always been influenced by the folk song, the storytelling tradition in folk music. And so for years I wrote mostly story songs. I still do that, but as I've gone on, it's gotten a little more personal. I used to write mostly in the third person. I write a little more in the first person now.
A library cannot be made all at once, any more than a house or a nation or a tree; they must all take time to grow, and so must a library. I wouldn't even know what books to go and ask for. I dare say, if I were to try, I couldn't at a moment's notice tell you the names of more than two score of books at the outside. Folk must make acquaintance among books as they would among living folk.
A professional entertainer who allows himself to become known as a singer of folk songs is bound to have trouble with his conscience provided, of course, that he possesses one. As a performing artist, he will pride himself on timing and other techniques designed to keep the audience in his control [...] his respect for genuine folklore reminds him that these changes, and these techniques, may give the audience a false picture of folk music.
History and the task of the future no longer signify the struggle of class against class or the conflict between one church dogma and another, but the settlement between blood and blood, race and race, Folk and Folk. And that means: the struggle of spiritual values against each other.
Why, you'll be 'changed, m'dear. We'll just swap you for a human child who'll make a good servant to the Band. Half Humans never work out 'mongst the Folk. No, never do." "But-I'm half Folk too... What if I never work out 'mongst the humans?" "Aye, you're neither one thing nor yet quite t'other. Pity, but there 'tis.
Eloise Jarvis McGraw
I was only a folk singer for about two years... By that time, it wasn't really folk music anymore. It was some new American phenomenon. Later, they called it singer/songwriters. Or art songs, which I liked best. Some people get nervous about that word. Art. They think it's a pretentious word from the giddyap. To me, ... the word art has never lost its vitality.
Like vampires and extremely rich people, black folk can sense one another. Use your Spidey Sense (Blacky Sense?). Use your blackdar to inspect the workplace for signs of Other Negroes. They may be working security for the building. They may be in administrative support. They may be among the associate pool, or they may even be in upper management. Black folk can be anywhere. After all, you're here. But one of the biggest mistakes you can make as The Black Employee is to assume you are the only one.
Baratunde R. Thurston
You know, in Fairyland-Above they said that the underworld was full of devils and dragons. But it isn't so at all! Folk are just folk, wherever you go, and it's only a nasty sort of person who thinks a body's a devil just because they come from another country and have different notions. It's wild and quick and bold down here, but I like wild things and quick things and bold things, too.
Catherynne M. Valente
Myths, as compared with folk tales, are usually in a special category of seriousness: they are believed to have "really happened,"or to have some exceptional significance in explaining certain features of life, such as ritual. Again, whereas folk tales simply interchange motifs and develop variants, myths show an odd tendency to stick together and build up bigger structures. We have creation myths, fall and flood myths, metamorphose and dying-god myths.
I went to high school right outside Dallas, and (songwriter and performer) Michael Martin Murphey was a senior there when I was a sophomore or junior, really into folk and acoustic music. Larry Gross, who's the host of "Mountain Stage" on public radio, and B.W. Stevenson, also a musician, were there at the same time, too. Michael was a big inspiration -- through him I discovered Woody Guthrie, Dylan, Jimmy Rogers. Then I ran into Jerry Jeff Walker there in Dallas back when he was just a folk singer. Those are my earliest influences.
Ray Wylie Hubbard
I am deeply sensitive to the spell of nationalism. I can play about thirty Bohemian folk songs ... on my mouth-organ. My oldest friend, who is Czech and a patriot, cannot bear to hear me play them because he says I do it in such a schmalzy way, 'crying into the mouth organ'. I do not think I could have written the book on nationalism which I did write, were I not capable of crying, with the help of a little alcohol, over folk songs, which happen to be my favourite form of music.
Some folk learned the nature of God, that He was merciful, having spared a husband or some cattle, that He was strict, having meted out hard punishment for small sins, that He was attentive, having sent signs of the hunger beforehand, that He was just, having sent the hunger in the first place, or having sent the whales and the teeming reindeer in the end. Some folk learned that He was to be found in the world-in the richness of the grass and the pearly beauty of the Heavens, and others learned that He could not be found in the world, for the world is always wanting, and God is completion.
He [Alan Lomax] started right off trying to find people who could introduce folk songs to city people. He found a young actor named Burl Ives and said, "Burl, you know a lot of great country songs learned from your grandmother, don't you know people would love to hear them?" He put on radio programs. He persuaded CBS to dedicate "The School of the Air" for one year to American folk music. He'd get some old sailor to sing an old sea shanty with a cracked voice. Then he'd get me to sing it with my banjo.
In the United States, many people said you can't have folk music in the United States because you don't have any peasant class. But the funny thing was, there were literally thousands, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of people who loved old time fiddling, ballads, banjo tunes, blues played on the guitar, spirituals and gospel hymns. These songs and music didn't fit into any neat category of art music nor popular music nor jazz. So gradually they said well let's call it folk music.
And those characters [in a fairy tale] dwell in a moral world, whose laws are as clear as the law of gravity. That too is a great advantage of the folk tale. It is not a failure of imagination to see the sky blue. It is a failure rather to be weary of its being blue- and not to notice how blue it is. And appreciation of the subtler colors of the sky will come later. In the folk tale, good is good and evil is evil, and the former will triumph and later will fail. This is not the result of the imaginative quest. It is rather its principle and foundation. It is what will enable the child later on to understand Macbeth, or Don Quixote, or David Copperfield.
In our folk nobody has any experience of youth, there's barely even any time for being a toddler. The children simply don't have any time in which they might be children... Indeed... there's simply no way that we would be able to provide our children with a viable childhood, one that is real. Naturally, there are consequences. There's a certain ever present, not to be liquidated childishness that permeates our folk; We often act in ways that are totally and utterly ridiculous and, indeed, precisely like children we do things that are crazy, letting loose with our assets in a manner that is bereft of all rationality, prodigious in our celebrations, partaking in a light-headed frivolousness that is divorced from all sensibility, and often enough all simply for the sake of some small token of fun, so much do we love having our small amusements. But our folk isn't only childish, to a certain extent we also age prematurely, childhood and old age mix themselves differently with us than by others. We don't have any youth, we jump right away into maturity and, then, we remain grown-ups for too long and as a consequence to this there's a broad shadow of a certain tiredness and a sort of hopelessness that colours our essential nature, a nature that as a whole is otherwise so tenacious and permeated by hope, strong hope. This, no doubt, this is related to why we're so disinclined toward music-we're too old for music, so much excitement, so much passion doesn't sit well with our heaviness;