In the hill country of west Texas, not far from San Antonio, there exists a haven of Folk Music, yes a conclave of hippie-type, free-thinking, folk singers existing in the shadow of the Bush enclave. Go figure. The Kerrville Folk Festival is held at the Quiet Valley Ranch for almost three weeks at the end of May, early June (beginning on Memorial Day weekend), with a shorter festival over Labor Day weekend.
I have entered two of our new songs in the Kerrville New Folk songwriting contest. Always wanted to do it, but frankly, the competition is stiff. Past winners have included: Lucinda Williams, Lyle Lovett, Nanci Griffith, David Wilcox, John Gorka, Jimmy LaFave, Tish Hinojosa, Steve Earle, Hal Ketchum, Robert Earl Keen and hundreds of others. If you are not a folk music aficionado, let me explain: WOW!
Before you go off thinking it’s all just Camptown Races and Where Have All the Flowers Gone, let me clarify.
Most of the winners are in a genre called “singer-songwriter” which is a part of the broad category of Americana, which was formed, I think, as an alternative to Nashville, but includes Nashville country all the same. It also includes Folk (old-timey and “new”), Blues, World Music, Reggae, Kitchen, Hillbilly (and Rockabilly), and Alternative (Outlaw) Country , which has put Austin on the map (musically that is.) New Folk and singer-songwriter stop short of “pop” on one end and traditional on the other end, though sometimes can sound old-timey.
Why go through all this? Our new album centers more firmly in the middle of Americana than our first album. Intentionally a little more “rootsy”, the genius at work here is Kyle Harris, who both produced and engineered all the tracks. The key here: he produced each track in the way he thought best exemplified the song. I believe most of the songs would fit comfortably in the New Folk category. I also believe Kyle deserves a Grammy for this album.