Tuesday, November 25, 2008


...is that there may be no such thing as an Americana scene. After hearing Carolann talk about Americana music in the first video, I began thinking about that as the beat. I thought I could look at folk, bluegrass and singer-songwriter musicians within an overarching label of Americana. However, I'm not so sure the musicians would unite themselves under such a label. The guy at Banjo Jim's playing mandolin might not consider himself on the same scene as the guy playing folk rock at Sidewalk Cafe. To try to do a piece about those pubs and how business is going as if there was a connection may be stretching things too far.

When I interviewed Shanta Thake, the director of Joe's Pub, she suggested that these genres operate in separate worlds. Folk music is by definition music of the people, she said: in New York City with the wide mix of people we have here, folk is wide open in terms of the musical influences on it and different strains. It may not be as uniform as it once was in the 60s.

For example, I looked at a local indie NYC music magazine called "The Deli" and found a wide assortment of genres that would fit under this so-called Americana label: bluegrass, Old Time bluegrass, folk, folk rock, indie, lo-fi, and even something called "shoegaze country." While I can talk about the artists' struggles, it seems rather odd to talk about the clubs' businesses in sequence given the variety of music. Maybe I'm being too hard on myself...

I covered the Williamsburg Live Singer-Songwriter Competition for my photo slideshow, and I suppose in covering a "scene" for this third piece, it could be the singer-songwriter scene, which has elements of folk, bluegrass and country. I can try to see how the environment is for that type of music: all the clubs I've filmed at so far invite such kinds of music.

The plan for now: log my footage from Sidewalk and Joe's Pub, interview Valerie Ghent and Robin Hersch at Cornelia Street Cafe, and see if I can get Banjo Jim's over the weekend. Meanwhile, take my photos and audio and my script and edit my slideshow from the Williamsburg competition. I'm psyched! I hope you are too.

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