Folk music has changed a lot throughout the ages. With two completely diverse revivals throughout the last two centuries, it’s hard to keep track of it all. Luckily, some things haven’t changed. Thanks to Jack, resident Folk Director and head DJ on The Folk Show, quality folk music is here to stay on WUNH.
Even for those who know him by his voice alone, Jack’s passion for Folk music is clear. “My love for folk music and all things traditional began in the early 70s while I was in high school”, he recalls. “I started reading about and then listening to Woody Guthrie, and, about the same time, I saw the great guitarist Elizabeth Cotton on public television. To my amazement a few years later I was shopping with her for a winter coat before a Taj Mahal show in Boston.” He’s also known in the field. “Eventually I helped produce a recording of contra dance music for the Smithsonian Folkways label, Choose Your Partners, and there’s even been a dance tune composed for me, Jack Beard’s Jig.”
“The Folk Show” has been going since the 70’s, so it has clearly encompassed a wide array of music. “My definition of folk includes Cajun, blues, ethnic, gospel, bluegrass, etc. etc. as well as the more commonly recognized tradition of the singer songwriter. I try to do things just a little bit outside of the ordinary and I like the idea that a listener might never know what’s coming next”. Jack even goes so far as to look behind the music, reading into song lyrics or the reasons why songs were written in the first place. “I also love to explore the history and stories behind the music.”
This year, in honor of the 100th anniversary of Woody Guthrie’s birth, The Folk Show is entirely dedicated to him. “Without Woody there wouldn’t be the folk scene that we know or even the Bob Dylan that we know.” Each show, Jack provides some sort of tribute to the artist, whether through song, lyrical reading, or any other creative way of integration. “What better way to explore the complex multi-faceted artist that is Woody than through his words and music.”
Jack also occasionally has live music, speaking volumes to the audiences who love and appreciate folk music. “Sunday, Dec. 2, Ed Gerhard will be stopping by the Folk Show to perform live,” he informs. “Ed’s career was just getting started about the same time I was getting started in radio. He is now known world wide in guitar circles but he continues to find time to visit the Folk Show.”
Check out Jack and The Folk Show every Sunday 10-12pm right here on WUNH, Durham!