READINGS PLANNED FOR RI, NYC
The first full-length book covering the full story of the Newport Folk Festival – I Got A Song: A History of the Newport Folk Festival, by Rick Massimo, is enriched with numerous new interviews. Massimo spoke with organizers, musicians, behind-the-scenes figures from every era, encountering some fascinating tales.
For example, Ketch Secor of Old Crow Medicine Show learned to play the guitar from listening to recordings from Newport Folk Festival growing up so it was a special moment for him with OCMS got to step on stage. “He was very conscious of all the traditional musicians who came up from the south, who different it must’ve felt for them to be playing at Newport for then-college kids. He feels a huge affinity for the people who came before him.”
Much of the theme of the book focuses on the changing views of folk music and how they reflected on each era of the festival. Massimo says, “Pete Seeger was in favor of mixing up genres. He donated his fee from the second festival to bring Canadian fiddler Jean Carignan, which was a precursor to the non-profit model. His vision lives on in the For Pete’s Sake stage.” He spent a day with George Wein and hours on the phone with Jay Sweet following the threads as well from the early years of trad music through to songwriters and now to an expansive interpretation of folk.
Joe Boyd, who was doing sound when Bob Dylan went electric, provided insight into that moment. “He had a lot to say about the progress of the ‘60s festival and what happened after Bob Dylan went electric and the folk boom faded. The effect of folk music morphed rock & roll so that you had lyrics with meaning,” says Massimo.
Pete Yarrow was the hardest interview but he finally did come through enthusiastically. John McCauley spoke about reviving the idea of the after party with concerts in town after the festival ends for the night.
Paste ran a feature on February 22 to preview the arrival of the book: https://www.pastemagazine.com/
Rick Massimo appearances:
April 29 – Brooklyn Folk Festival – Brooklyn, NY
July 27 – Books On The Square – Providence, RI
$24.95 Paperback, 978-0-8195-7703-0