I tell ya, there ain't nothing better
for your constitution than a mad dose
of sunshine, especially in the cold, evil
heart of wintertime in Ann Arbor. Sick
of being up to my 8-hole Doc's in
yellow snow and Pepsi-colored slush,
your humble hack broke wide to the
left. As far left as you can go inAmerica,
actually. Yup, you called it. The land of
palm trees, N.W.A. and celebrity
Under the guise of a business trip,,
my boyz and I made tracks to San
Diego, determined to start our world
domination of streetwear. Look out
Stussy, here comes elephanthaus!
The old, the new & the AZ Folk Fest
by Andrew J Cahn
But alas, no matter how beautiful
the scenery, Cali's still located in the
police state calledAmerica, wherethose
of us blessed with sexy dark pigment
must be reminded of our 'negritude'
on a daily basis.
Here's the scenario: The posse's (2
Black, 2 White - How p.c. of us!)
cruising downtown San Diego (during
broad daylight, mind you), checkin'
out the hip cafes and shops. As the
other brother and myself come out of
some store, we were suddenly con-
fronted with two of S.D.'s (far from)
finest, aka the 5-0, aka the p-lice. As
the Pharcyde would say, "oh shit."
Let's call cop #1 "UndeTom" (cuz
that's what he was), and cop #2 "Smug
White Guy." 01' unc kicks right into
bullshit mode, laying down some fic-
tion about how we saw them, called
them motherfuckers" andducked into
said store. As anyone who knows me
can tell you, I have no love for police
officers (too many reasons to men-
tion). But these same folks will also tell
that the last thing in the world I'd ever
do is provoke these powermad idiots.
Smug White Guy just stood behind
Tommy the whole time, obviously get-
ting off on this blind brother giving us
the 3rd degree. And as so many Black
people know how to do, Ijustcalled up
out of any trouble. And people have the
nerve to ask why I break into a cold
sweat when apig trough (cop car) rolls
Praise Allah, the rest of the week
was lots o' fun in the sun. And best of
all, I learned a really dope secret.
Did you know that's there's actu-
ally a whole underground industry
that's run by and for kids? And that
there are 20-yearold CEO's with blonde
dreads andpierced navels making mil-
At the sportswear show we
bumrushed, there were over 15,000
people, all somehow connected to the
clothing/skateboard industry. I met a
surfer that makes over one million
duckets a year. Surfing. I saw compa-
nies run by teens that manufacture T-
shirts or skateboard wheels or tennies,
raking loot in stacks and rolls. Some of
these kids have got their shit set up
betterthan IBM. Kids, man.That spent
their nights screening shirts instead of
doing homework, that studied Donald
Trump's "The Art of the Deal," and
made it work for them.
I gotta give up big props to these
youths of the so-called "Generation
X," that have quietly rejected the line
we're all fed about falling in line and
becoming another productive cog in
the killing machine. Instead of a blue
suit and red tie, they sport Fuctwoolies
and old skool Pumas to the office. And
best of all, they're doing something
they love. Gettin' paid (The economy,
Take my man Vinny, a 17-year old
cime T met nn the nlan roe Snnn
olk / bluegrass legend Peter Rowan
once sang, "Ain't no doubt about it /
I'm going to sing and shout about it
now / We're gonna have a revival."
That is the spirit of the new album by
Nanci Griffith, who will headline the Ann Arbor
Folk Festival. "Other Rooms, Other Voices" is a
collection of songs written by her favorite folk
writers, but you would only know that if you read
the liner notes - each song sounds as if she is the
only person who could sing it. Though many other
artists have been successful in the last few years
with'collections of covers, most notably Natalie
Cole, Rickie Lee Jones and Michael Bolton,
Griffith's decision to make this record had nothing
to do with the popularity of other records.
"The whole point of this record was that folk
music had been unheard by the masses for a long
period of time, and there had not been a folk revival
in twenty five years," Griffith said. "The reason for
me to do this record was to pay tribute to the writers
from the folk era, because without their influences
I would never have become a songwriter. I haven't
seen a record done like this, I certainly didn't get
the idea from anyone else, and it had nothing to do
with what is faddish or going on with music
because folk music has not been what's going on."
There actually have been a few tribute albums
designed to renew interest in folk music's past.
Michele Shocked's "Arkansas Traveler" is an out-
standing effort which included a few traditional
tunes from various points around the world, though
with updated lyrics and subtexts. Bob Dylan's
"Good as I Been to You" was at least an effort to
pay tribute to his influences, though the songs are
all too old to have royalties paid to anyone, and his
voice is just too withered to make any of the tunes
sound at all fresh.
The difference between these records and
Griffith's is that Griffith's mainly covers music
originally written and recorded since the '60s.
That was when America was going through the
first folk revival, or, as Martin Mull said, "The
great folk scare of the '50s and '60s." Though she
does sing Woody Guthrie's "Do Re Mi," the other
tracks were composed by many of folk music's
major forces from the last thirty years, including
Dylan, Townes Van Zandt, John Prine and Jerry
Interestingly, only one track was written solely
by a woman, Kate Wolf's "Across the Great Di-
vide," and two others were co-written by females.
Though Joan Baez, Judy Collins andJoni Mitchell
were important to folk music in the '60s and '70s,
the major figures were those men, along with
Arlo Guthrie and Guy Clark, who appear on the
record as accompanists.
The difference between then and now is that
whatever folk revival is happening features many
female performers. Ranging from the idiosyn-
See FOLK, Page 8
Many U-M students have attended the Folk
Festival throughout the years and thoughtof what
it would be like to on the bill. On Saturday, that
dream will become a reality for Dave Crossland,
who graduated from the University in 1987.
His professional career began while he was
still a sophomore, when he was a regular per-
former at the Ark's weekly open stage. His first
paid gig was that year when he opened for Tom
Paxton, and eventually, he had his own headlin-
ing shows. He continued to play at the Ark
periodically until he graduated, and he even won
UAC's Starbound competition his senior year.
He is now based near Boston, but he has returned
here to perform at least once each year.
This past year has been exciting for Crossland,
for his first real disc, "Here's to the Ride," is
attractimg attention around the folk community.
"I released an LP when I was a student," he said,
"but it is really dated, and it is by no means
representative of what I'm doing now."
Now Crossland is preparing to play at Hill
before the largest crowd he has seen up to this
point. "It will be really good from a career stand-
point," he said, "because it will help my regional
recognition, but the folk festival is something
I've always dreamed about."
Though he graduated five years ago, he has
not been asked to perform at the festival until now
for strategic reasons. He said that he was consid-
ered to play a few times earlier, but "Dave (Siglin,
the event's organizer) wanted to wait until my
career was ready for it."
He is currently in the midst of his second
national tour. Let's hope that the festival will do
for him what it did for the careers of Nanci
Griffith, John Gorka and Christine Lavin.
Crossland said, "I don't want the size of the
audience to be my peak."
- Andrew J Cahn
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