The 2017 Folk Alliance International folk music conference, which was held in Kansas City this past weekend, reflected the state of America. "The music is about to get interesting,” said John McCutcheon "we live in interesting times."
The state of America was on everyone's minds. Isn't that what creativity is all about? Creative people express themselves through their art.
So many incredibly creative minds expressing themselves in a variety of ways at this year’s conference. One of the weekend’s highlights was being a part of a small song circle led by folk legend Tom Paxton. The folk legend, who made a career of illuminating cultural issues through song, lead a packed room of aging peaceniks as they sang about peace in stacked harmonies.
One of the nicest surprises, for me personally, was stumbling upon an impromptu hallway jam with the Handmade Moments and Trout Fishing in America. The two groups produced some of the most fun sounds I have ever heard. I was captivated in the middle of the night in a dark corner of the hotel by Anna Horton. Horton exudes and amazing joy and zeal when she sings. This tiny bright spot of a human being belted out one great tune after another. Bouncing and smiling, she brought several Randy Newman songs to life making them her own.
If I were to describe Horton, I'd say she had the wildness of Janis Joplin, the jazzy expression of Billy Holiday and the gritty, smooth, heartfelt, soul sounds of Nina Simone. Horton is one of a kind and she and her partner Joel Ludford cut through the pack, for me, as one of the great experiences and unique talent of the weekend.
I will let the pictures and videos speak for themselves.
Below you can hear Handmade Moments, Tom Paxton and John McClutcheon.
©Karen Pulfer Focht-
Tom Paxton sings about peace.
John McCutcheon sings about alternative news.