I arrived at college and promptly fell victim to the "folk scare" as the trend was dubbed by Pete Seeger and other elder statesmen of the genre. But hey, the Kingston Trio looked really cool, sporting their striped shirts with topsiders. And co-edly Joan Baez in faded jeans, man's white shirt, and her impossibly clear soprano, was irresistible. Then of course Mary and the other two guys...oh yeah, and what about Ian and Sylvia, and Tom Rush, and The Journeymen and some scruffy dude named Bobby Dylan...well anyway you get the drift. I was hopelessly hooked on folk music, and I still am, in 2011.
As soon as I got home for the summer, I went directly to Ray Costello's music store, purchased a Stella Six string for about twelve bucks, and formed a folk group. Two guitars and a banjo, blended with three chords, and dazzling one part harmonies... The Voyagers were born! Skip Major, Dave Withers and I had three truly unforgettable summers as The Voyagers, before events of the turbulent sixties overtook us, and we went off to figuratively conquer the world, each in his own respective fashion.
These days, I've got a more expensive guitar, and learned another chord or two, but the music is just as fresh and new to me as it was at the 1963 Newport Folk Festival. Maybe the greatest unexpected gift that folk music has given me, is the priceless network of friends made along the way...oddly, they appear to have aged a tad...but that's a minor concession to the passage of time. For a dyed in the wool folkie like me, the music weaves an ageless, delightful tapestry that's always new, yet somehow always familiar.
Maybe tomorrow I'll learn another chord, and at long last, master the finger picking part to Railroad Bill........