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Scott Alarik

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Revival News

For the first time in over 20 years, I’ll be shaking the leaves and acorns off my back, poking my nose out of my Cambridge cave, and heading back on the road. Of course, I’ll have Nathan and Kit along with me this time, and I’m sure Joyce will be shouting traffic directions and travel tips from the backseat.
   I have such a strange mix of feelings, ranging from a soft kind of fear that’s almost pleasurable, to a new kind of excitement about getting back on the backroads of Folk Music, U.S.A., where I lived for so many years. It was a hard circuit then, and I was a young, perpetually up’n’coming Minnesota folksinger with gigs few and far between, and the best of them fighting to keep their doors open. There was a shared sense of struggle that only strengthened the sense of purpose and community we all felt. We weren’t trying to to do anything but keep the long chain from breaking in those lean years, after the commercial media had learned to ignore us, but before we had learned how to exist without them.
   I watched the rise of folk radio as one of the lucky few whose music was heard around the country, thanks to Garrison Keillor and A Prairie Home Companion. I wasn’t a regular on that show because I was hot stuff. It’s just that I was local, and Garrison thought of his show as local, an evocation of old-time community radio. He once described the music on his show as “People who aren’t famous singing songs for people who aren’t famous.” That’s not a bad description of folk music, when you think about it. Folks singing for folks.
   But I always felt that something about me didn’t quite belong on the folk circuit. When I moved to Boston and began writing for the Globe, I finally figured it out. As Ferguson says to Kit in Revival, “I’m a writer who’s also a musician, not the other way around.”
   So I’m excited to travel those old roads as the writer of a folk music novel, to revisit old haunts and see old comrades, sharing the song of Revival. I was recently interviewed by Michael Pollitt for a February segment on WMUA’s Writer’s Voice program in Western Massachusetts. He said that Revival felt like a song to him, and I told him it felt that way when I was writing it, too. Writing that book is the most musical thing I’ve ever done. As an artist, I’ve never felt so at home as I did in the company of Nathan, Kit, and Ferguson, peering over their shoulders as the last open-miker left the stage at Dooley’s.
   I’m really looking forward to performing Folkstage, a Chicago concert series that’s part of the venerable WFMT radio show Midnight Special, which has been the Windy City’s folksy heartbeat for over 50 years. Host Rich Warren is such a stalwart champion for the best instincts of folk’s past, present, and future. I’m proud to call him a friend.
   And I know that all these strange feelings will be strongest when I return to my old home in the Twin Cities, doing a Revival release bash with Cliff Eberhardt, Dean Magraw and other special guests. The grand folks at Red House Records are helping to pull the show together, and we’ll all gather at Ginkgo Coffeehouse, a place Nathan Warren would absolutely love. From the moment you walk in, you know this place is all about community, a haven where folks can sing for folks. In so many ways, it will be a homecoming to share the ballad of Nathan and Kit there, the truest song I ever wrote.
   - Scott