Get your folk on!

Tim Magaw

Before college, I’d have to say my taste in music was fairly limited. Sure, I liked plenty of artists, but most of them stemmed from the early-90s alt-rock invasion and the late ’60s and early ’70s rock explosion with a little bit of college indie-rock thrown in for kicks.

But once I moved to Kent, I experienced something new – folk.

I’d always been familiar with folk, I guess. Two of my favorite artists were Neil Young and Bob Dylan, but I never really realized the depth and the non-commercial side of the genre.

My whole obsession began with none other than Kent State’s own 89.7 WKSU-FM.

My girlfriend had worked there as a marketing assistant, and it was with her that I started going to shows at the Kent Stage.

One night she asked me if I wanted to head down to the Stage and check out a folk band called the Duhks. She wanted to go to hang out with a few friends from the station. As for me, I can rarely turn down the opportunity to go to a concert unless, of course, I’m offered Nickelback tickets, and then I’d rather eat my own vomit.

There were banjos, fiddles and foot-stomping good fun. Since then, I’ve been hooked.

A few months after the Duhks show, I volunteered to work the Kent State Folk Festival and saw amazing folk legends, including Tom Paxton, Loudon Wainwright III, Odetta and even Abigail Washburn with B‚la Fleck.

I wasn’t just hooked on folk concerts – but folk radio as well.

On Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights, Jim Blum of WKSU plays some of the most moving music you’ll hear on the radio today. It’s a nice change to hear artists such as Nickel Creek or Darol Anger instead of the same old ACDC or Led Zeppelin tunes. And if you can’t get enough of the weekend folk parties on WKSU, check out Folk Alley, produced by WKSU, hosts live-streaming folk music on the Web 24 hours a day.

So branch out a little. Drop the Death Cab and OAR CDs, and check out something with a little more zip on WKSU or Folk Alley. And if you need something to do on the weekend, take a stroll downtown to the Kent Stage.

Don’t assume something will leave a bad taste in your mouth until you take a bite.

Tim Magaw is a junior newspaper journalism major and editor of the Summer Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].