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New folk and old folk: tying the two lines together

Paul Hash works at the Homestead Pickin Parlour, a specialty folk music shop in Richfield.

Courtesy of Stubble

Stubble: What were you saying about the difference between the young and the old folk music?
Paul: I was saying that there seems to be two alternate or parallel things going on. The two lines aren’t quite tied together. We have quite an older clientele — we’re old school. And take your case, you didn’t know that this existed until a little bit ago. I’ve always had the feeling that Radio K would be a good audience, but the boss doesn’t realize what’s going on and vice versa. Though there’s a lot of alternative folk rock going on right now, whatever you want to call it, the Mumford and Sons kids aren’t too hip to Dock Boggs and stuff from the 20s and 30s though I’m sure there’s some investigation of that.

Stubble: Was there a split between what the younger people were doing even back when you were getting into folk? Seems like it can’t be a new thing.
Paul: I’m from the 70s in my musical stuff and there was a different thing going on even than original folk then, but it was still tied together. Joni Mitchell and Jackson Browne, those guys are pop stars now but they came out of the folk singer-songwriter thing. I was into that stuff. I really just accidentally work here. I’m more of a rock and americana fan.

Stubble: That’s kind of an interesting distinction sometimes, where do you draw the “folk” line with types of music.
Paul: Yeah, it is very interesting. With this split, though, it seems like there’s a different thing going on at the same time. Then there’s this old school store. I don’t know how you’d say that exactly.

Stubble: If you did have the ear of the newer folk scene, if you could tell them something about “tying things together,” what would you say?
Paul: I’d just say, did you know that there’s a store that stocks stuff for folk music buffs and musicians? I think you guys know about the older style, there’s just like a… it’s hard to say. There’s two different things going. It’s like a fine restaurant and a McDonalds, they both serve food.

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Stubble: Oh so who’s the McDonalds in this?
Paul: Hah, well that was a bad comparison. Maybe it’s just about access. This used to be a pretty busy store and it’s not as busy as it used to be. The people who come here are the people who have always been coming here. Somehow that awareness of this store hasn’t reached out to new batch of folkies that just have other sources of getting information. We’re not reaching out to the new kids. We have a Facebook, but social media is a weakness for us. But on the other hand, just going out to look for stores in the city and meet people might do good for the dependency on social media for your generation. Just get out and look around, but we could market better.

Stubble: On top of stocking folk stuff, you also host jam sessions and lessons here. Sounds like the mission is also about community development.
Paul: That’s a hard thing to nail down too. Are we a music store or a record store or a school? We offer lessons in a space where you can have teachers from our staff. The jams we have here in the middle room. We try to be full service.

Paul Hash works at the Homestead Pickin Parlour at 6625 Penn Ave South in Richfield.

This post was written by Tom Johnson and originally published on Stubble. Follow Stubble on Twitter: @stubblemag.

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