Folk music receives the thumbs up.
Folk music receives the thumbs up. Rob Williams

Listen and you will learn

FOLKS, today I'm in the Sunshine Coast hinterland, near the bustling metropolis of Imbil, a-twanging my guitar along with several hundred other folk musicians. Citizens of Imbil, don't bother running to the hills, we have you surrounded.

As a young lad I enjoyed folk music before turning away to popular music, then hard rock, dabbled with heavy metal, toyed with punk, then got hooked on country. Now I may have been a musical grasshopper, leaping randomly from one musical branch to the next, but I've returned to folk music like a cheating husband crawling home to his long-suffering wife.

Speaking of which, my Long-Suffering Wife is not a fan of folk music, camping rough, outdoor toilets and balding hippies, so she'll be firmly otherwise engaged this weekend. But, thanks to me, she's had a solid folk education, which was how she recognised an Ian Anderson sticker on a parked car recently.

Glaring at the picture of the Jethro Tull front man/flute player, she muttered, "Great. Now there's two of you in town.” At this rate I'll be able to form a local Tull fan club in 60, or 70, years.

I like folk music because it's history set to song. Old tales of people, places and events, inspirational or tragic, that have been handed down through the ages and traditionally sung badly by well-meaning people.

Jazz legend Charlie "Bird'' Parker knew the score. He enjoyed listening to country music songs between sets at Charlie's Tavern, and one night his friend asked, "Bird, how can you listen to that music?” Charlie simply replied, "Listen! Listen to the stories!”

The story of folk music is as old as the hills, and tonight the hills around Imbil will be alive with the sound of folk music. Toora li oora li ay!

Greg Bray blogs at Find him on Facebook: Greg Bray - Writer

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