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Folk Alley

July 14, 2008

Following last week's post about two great music radio shows that I've been listening to lately -- London Calling and Thistle and Shamrock -- I received a variety of mail not just from fans of these shows, but also from radio buffs about other interesting musical offerings on the radio.

I am particularly grateful to Mark Urycki, Program Director at WKSU in Kent,OH for pointing me in the direction of Folk Alley. This online folk music radio station boasts some ear-grabbing content. Just now, as I've been typing, I've heard a gorgeous ballad by Sonia Marie entitled "Ashes Fall Down," Nick Drake's maudlin "Road" (one of my favorite songs by the late brilliant songwriter) and Jeff Black's "One Last Day to Live", a song which wouldn't sound out of place played on mainstream American rock radio.

Mark tells me that most listeners access Folk Alley online, but some public stations in the US are broadcasting it on their HD channels.

Some other things to know about Folk Alley:

*Folk Alley features feature concerts and studio recordings by professional bands.

*The Open Mic section broadcasts music by anyone who feels like sharing their material. I've been shuffling songs on the Open Mike playlist and have been delighted to hear a wide variety of content from a skin-tingling version of "The Star of the County Down" by a German Celtic music group called Craic, to a rockin' bluegrass track by James Reams & The Barnstormers with guest fiddler Bill Christoph.

*According to Mark, all the Open Mike music on the site is original. "The really good songs get added to the regular mix," says Mike. "Some people from different states have met on Folk Alley and later collaborated on music."

*The channel is about to celebrate its 5th anniversary. Folk Alley is producing concerts in Cleveland, OH and Boulder, CO in August in celebration of this auspicious event.

*Folk Alley is working on developing un-hosted side streams so that people who only want to hear Celtic or Bluegrass or 1950's music or whatever, can hear those genres nonstop. Though my own musical tastes are all over the map, this development particularly excites me; it'll mean I can listen to sea shanties all day if I want to.

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