There is no real nameable origin for American folk music because it grew more out of communal tradition than profit or entertainment. Folk songs as a term cover several musical styles, which includes from Cajun to Western, Appalachian to Zydeco music and then all the way to tunes of the urban diaspora. Within the tradition of folk music in America, the folk songs are the ones that use traditional modes to speak or melodies. The traditional folk songs can address political or social issues such as a popular opinion, work or even war, while others are ballads telling the stories of families, then there are love songs and some that can only be classified as nonsense songs.
American Music in the 20th Century
Folk Music returned in the 20th century into the psyche of America as workers struggled, they gathered in union halls, living rooms and churches to sing folk songs. It helped them cope with their harsh work environment. Songwriters such as Joe Hill was discovered as they adapted the tunes of Baptist hymns and replaced the words with verses regarding the struggles experienced by the labours. These were sung by workers during strikes and when they gathered in union halls. Woody Guthrie was another who worked that headed full of hope to California to find employment and wrote hundreds of songs before 1967 when he died. Guthrie was one of the most important figures in folk music and his most known song “This Land Is Your Land” continues to inspire millions both musically and politically.
American Folk Music in New York
Folk music blossomed in the 1950s to the 1960s in New York, especially in the coffee houses and clubs in Greenwich village showcasing singles like Bob Dylan, Paul and Mary and Judy Collins. New York still offers visitors an array of top music halls and pubs where folk music can be enjoyed.
New York’s Best Venues for Old-Timey Folk Music and Foot-Stomping Bluegrass
One place that rocks in Manhattan is the Postcrypt Coffeehouse an all-acoustic venue in the St. Paul’s Chapel basement. It is run by students and founded in 1964. Just to confirm that New York is everything but all about rock ‘n roll, the Greenwich Village coffee shops such as Hank’s Saloon and Japoly Theatre are only two of the best honky-tonk places to visit. Hank’s Saloon is referred to by the New York Times as a Boerum Hill Bar where the old days will never end, waiting to hand you, your first drink is Jeannie Talierco who has worked at Hank’s for more than 20 years. So, if it is the search to find a bit of America’s folk song history, you’re after do book at Hank’s Saloon where there is are no history, it is still in the making.