what is a fanlisting?

It's literally in the word - it is a listing of fans. This is a common concept, but it was popularised into an online phenomenon by the creation of an unofficial, voluntary organisation, The Fanlistings Network (TFL) in 2000, and has now expanded to listing thousands of diverse fanlisting subjects - from TV shows, to foods, musicians, etc. There are no costs to join a fanlisting (financial or otherwise); the only requirements are your name and country, and often e-mail. Fanlistings are voluntary fan projects, therefore they are usually only recognised by TFL and *not* by any official, profit-making organisations centred around the fanlisting subject itself. (More information »)

About this fanlisting

This is the only fanlisting checked by The Fanlistings Network for American folk music. It is listed in the "Music Miscellany" category, and then the "Genres" subcategory (check here). It was opened on 04th September 2007.

Listening to Bob Dylan is none other than the sweetest poison - once I leapt for breath from the ocean of literature, imagination, psychedelia, provocation, sensuality, individuality and soft elegance that he offered me, his interest became my own: the story behind the simplest song, etched in the immense lands of America.

Suddenly I found myself becoming infatuated with Woody Guthrie as he himself had, noticing exact similarities between the pair. Dylan "borrowed" as thoroughly as a folk musician could! Woody Guthrie lead me to Pete Seeger; Pete Seeger to the dark, sinister and endless world of blues music that ran deeper than the deepest valley, took you to the crossroads and left you there. Slide guitars drove me back into folk/blues musicians such as Mississippi John Hurt... taking me forward to the 50s/60s American folk revival with Joan Baez and her contemporaries and von Schmidts and van Ronks of her time - taking me back to Appachalian folk, high on Virginia hills. Suddenly, I find myself as far back as the late 1800s, infatuated with the history of America and its music, about the people that travel through their land to trudge their own answer into the dust; I've found a music that twists me up but still makes me feel safe. One that welcomes the most awkward, foreign visitor.

But enough of me! That story is pretty endless and I've hurriedly written it down. Everything has a story. American folk music, as it pens itself into the changing history of a changing country, borrowing significant styles from European folksongs, it represents the huge diversity of feeling, image, wealth and individuality thrown across America, accompanied by the rural voice of community. While a record by Pete Seeger can draw a map of idealistic American hopes for you, a record by Woody Guthrie will throw you straight into the dusty ol' road, head first, to face the real world. Then draw up a circle of beaten friends, and a song will explain the fate of Tom Joad. And it may be America, but the wonderful thing about American folk music is that, being folk music, it has borrowed and travelled so far across the lands, it can now fit anywhere in your soul.

This land was made for you and me.

The very roughness and reality of American folk music is it's attraction - the earthy, surreal yet homely simplicity that my soul has ached for, and that can work so strongly to unite mankind through soft words, guitars, banjos, sacred harps and wailing organs. Although it's roots lay deep in Americana, its branches holds hands with folk music all across our world. But from Oregon to Alabama to New York, American folk music peppers across time, the American land and themes of humanity, travels, poverty, relationships, suffering, politics, morals, changes, unity and individuality. Every song is a beautiful educational journey.

I know this is a rambling mess... but, if you find yourself unable to explain your love for American folk music, and are generally a fan of this magical genre, why join the fanlisting, and add your name to the fanlist? :)

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