Sing Out’s Folkfinds task force plumbs the depths of social music media to bring you the best amateur, local, regional and/or generally under appreciated makers of folk music of all stripes, from traditionals to contemporary hybrids. While we certainly hope to generate interest in these wonderful independent musicians, their music, and the scenes they represent, we also hope to encourage Sing Out! readers to make their own discoveries by exploring the broader world of online music making communities.
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For those concerned about traditional music’s appeal to the youth today, this week’s Folkfinds is Rob Fong of Asheville, NC. Rob fell in love with Southern traditional music a few years ago and has since become a skilled Piedmont guitarist, banjo player and fiddler. That may not be unusual, except that he’s 19. His output on Soundcloud, combining his RobsRags and Boll Weevil Bobby personas, varies between deftly fingerpicked rags and old-time jams where Rob features on every instrument, and while it’s all worth a serious listen, his version of the old-time tune Katy Hill is among many standouts.
Q & A
What is your goal in recording and sharing music?
To eventually record my own solo album and hopefully other collaborations.
Come up with a descriptive, original genre name for your music.
Tastefully authentic old-time music
Who do you feel is a likely audience for your music?
The old-time and blues communities, mostly being music players themselves.
If trapped on a desert island with only three songs, which would they be?
Blind Arthurs Breakdown – Blind Blake.
Oh Glory – Reverend Gary Davis
Buck Hoard – Alva Green
Is there an instrument you do not currently play that you’d like to learn?
I’d like to better learn the ones I play, as the more you learn an instrument the more of yourself you can put into the sound.
Who is your musical hero(es), if any?
Blind Blake, Reverend Gary Davis, Edden Hammonds, Blind Boy Fuller, Alva Green, Marcus Martin. Newer guys such as Roy Bookbinder, Bruce Molsky, Ernie Hawkins.
You can hear more from Rob Fong on his Facebook page: Click Here
Martin Kirwan is a young Irish gardener, family man and guitarist who’s been delighting his Soundcloud fanbase for the past two years with his exuberance and deft picking influenced by the likes of John Martyn, Paul Brady and Arty McGlynn. He’s as likely to extrapolate on a ukulele noodle or … → read more
In the days of Youtube and Spotify, it can be hard to remember that not that long ago the only means of learning a song was via oral tradition or sheet music. It can take some effort to do so today without cheating, but the results can be interesting. One … → read more
Midwestern fiddler John Daniel Lane takes a panoramic high-definition view of American fiddle music and clearly enjoys experimenting with different styles. There’s a distinct and acknowledged John Hartford influence to his playing and repertoire, but he’s as likely to be playing Irish, Scandinavian, or hyperlocal Missouri styles and tributes to … → read more
English harmonica wiz Mat Walklate is another incredibly versatile performer on his instrument. While his focus can vary depending on which of the several bands he’s playing with, he works predominantly in Irish traditional music and blues, frequently mixing in old-time, bluegrass, ska, pop, country and whatever else catches his … → read more
We didn’t realize it when we picked this week’s tune, but old-time instrumentalist John Walkenbach has been tangentially featured in Folkfinds previously; he is among the old-time mentors Mexican banjo picker Juan Cordero found in the Tucson Old-Time Music Circle. ‘Opera Reel,’ our favorite from his Soundcloud page, does present … → read more