It is worth comparing Ochs' life to Robin Williams, since both artists were filled with authenticity, passion, love and idealism for a better society. In theatrical terms, they defined the tenets of catharsis and pathos.
I saw at an early age that through singing one could stand up for the rights of the many. What I realize now is that I longed to do something for the greater good through singing and that this was a part of what the folk movement and protest song genre accomplished.
Yarrow credits his half-century of performing with Peter, Paul and Mary for giving him a platform that allows him to address global issues -- the Middle East and climate change, among others -- at the highest levels. At least as important, his musical legacy affords him credibility with kids.
Saying the unsayable in his wickedly funny, well-observed folk songs, Wainwright is profane, smart, poking received wisdom in the eye and then grabbing your heart with a tender and devastating truth about life and love, mistakes and mystery.
It's no coincidence that most of the best-known Hungarian composers loved folk music; the country has unusually rich and deep folk traditions, and many modern Hungarians are fully aware of the treasures of their heritage.
I've always loved European-style folk-rock, also known as electric folk: the application of electric instruments and rock techniques to traditional songs. It's a style you can find here in North America, as well as in Britain and Europe.
Last week I put up one of my silly tongue-in-cheek HuffPost offerings: I Am the Coolest, Hippest Uncle in the Whole World. It's gone ever-so-slightly viral thanks to Hozier retweeting my tweet -- and tossing up one of his own.
Čechomor marked their 25th year as a band in 2013, and they celebrated with another live concert and recording project, their most ambitious in a career of ambitious projects: a massive outdoor concert in the stunning medieval town of Český Krumlov.
I spent two weeks in June wandering around Prague and Budapest, seeing the sights and looking for folk and folk-inspired music. I came back with a satchel of CDs, some of which I'll share here in a series of posts.