This is the first of a series of blogs sharing my experience in this SAC Songwriting Course mentored by Pat Pattison.

I became aware of the music and life work of Woody Guthrie over 40 years ago when I purchased a tribute album by multiple folk artists of the 1960’s. Many of these artists were influenced by Woody’s work and all certainly recognized his genius. This year, 2012, is the hundredth anniversary of the birth of Woody Guthrie. Woody died of Huntington’s Chorea on October 3, 1967.

I Have spent some time as a visiting artist in schools in Newfoundland and have had success teaching students to write song lyrics using the 12 bar blues as the model. The story of the life of Robert Johnson is a great lead-in to get students interest in the blues and songwriting all fired up. 

I spent some time teaching school children from grades 2 through 12 the fundamentals of songwriting. Part of the process would be to talk about different genres of music and eventually focus on the blues. I would model a traditional blues song for the students and then sing one of my own. From there we would begin a new song and I would have the class, in groups, write verses to finish the song. I have done this in dozens of classrooms in Manitoba and Newfoundland. I found it amazing that students, in school after school, would ask me to sing a Johnny Cash song and that he was one of their favorite singers.

Traditional music has been popular to people in my neck of the woods, Newfoundland for as long as I can remember. As a boy I can remember the adults gathering on a Saturday night in our kitchen in Springdale, Newfoundland for a kitchen party. The songs that were sung were the popular songs of the day but also a great many English Traditional Folk songs. 

Traditional music has always been popular to people in my neck of the woods, Newfoundland for as long as I can remember. As a boy I can remember the adults gathering on a Saturday night in our kitchen in Springdale, Newfoundland for a kitchen party. The songs that were sung were the popular songs of the day but also a great many Scottish traditional folk songs.

Folk songs have always been popular to recording artists of all genres. You can find the elements of folk songs in country music, the blues, rock music, bluegrass as well as other musical genres. Most countries in the world have their own particular type of folk music and is easily recognized by people from those countries. 

Irish ballads have been popular to people in my neck of the woods, Newfoundland for as long as I can remember. In Memorial University, as a student, it would not be unusual to take in blues artist Rory Gallagher one night, the jazz group – the Ralph Walker Quartet – on the next night followed by a Saturday night with Ryan’s Fancy, an excellent Irish pub band. You can find the elements of Irish ballads in country music, the blues, rock music, bluegrass as well as many other musical genres. 

Whether or not you agree with my picks, there can be no argument that these are some of the best Irish Ballads of all time. If you like folk songs you might also like to check out Smokin’ Joe Wiseman He has covered traditional folk songs and writes his own. Click here to download a copy of his latest single for free.

This is the 2nd folk tale passed on to me by my daughter in law, Kathleen Wiseman. She enchanted me with an oral rendition of 3 Phillipine folk tales while waiting for a pasenger boat at the Dumaguette Ferry Terminal. This current entry is a folk tale Kathleen shared in written form.

While waiting for the ferry to Siguijor on the dock at Dumaguete, I asked my daughter-in-law, Kathleen Wiseman to tell me a Phillipine Folk Tale. To my surprise, she told me three and I was as captivated at age 60 as I was hearing Folk Tales as a child. This blog is dedicated to Folk Tales.

This is a place where I will collect some of my favorite folk sites. There are a lot of them and I am juggling many balls. No slight intended to anyone not listed. Please contact me if you would like to be.

This blog will be a place to visit the feature articles from my Monthly Newsletters.

Recording videos for YouTube in a live setting can be an interesting affair!

Mobile works of art!

Learn to write the 12 Bar Blues in one session!

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