Saturday, January 19, 2008


I suppose I should begin this post with a wee disclaimer, and tell you that I'm totally aware that "folk rock" is a pretty big umbrella term that covers a whole swack of musical styles. It's way more complex than these simple posts are intended to cover; The Kingston Trio, Dylan, Simon and Garfunkel, on and on. So many blends, crossovers and experiments that we won't take the time or space to touch on here. For now, I'm just going to focus on one of my particular favorites - the music known as "country folk." and even more particularly, the musicians from California.

Long before the "new" country became cool from coast to coast and pole to equator, many musicians discovered it was a great addition to their sound. Some used it to add the occasional additional extra flavor, while others planned entire menus around it. Of the latter groups, my long-time faves are The Byrds, Poco, and The Flying Burrito Brothers. It's no secret they were all related, and hugely influential to those around them, and those who came after. We've all picked up bits of info about them here and there over the years, but a while back a friend emailed me an astonishing chart that really gives us the complete perspective. It's not new, maybe you've seen it already, but it certainly won't hurt to be amazed all over again. Here you can see the roots, the transitions, and the legacies, all in "one swell foop" as they say. And my hat's off to Pete, the guy who pulled it all together. Here's the link for the Byrds Family Tree.

And, of course, the music...



And one more for good measure, not from California, but who doesn't love these guys. We all know the various postures required to play guitar (think Jimi Hendrix or Pete Townshend). Or drums, bass etc. Now here's cutie-patootie John Sebastian showing the world how to rock with a zither. Who knew.

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