First off, what does Adirondack folk music sound like? A
sweet mix of Northern Ireland work songs with homemade musical traditions
of England, Scotland, Canada and the rural New York lumberjacks in the 1800s
makes a blend of Celtic energy and the hard knock life of the Adirondack woodlands.
Pioneers to the land played with anything they had. Guitars, fiddles, voice and even beer bottles were used as communal gatherings invited traveling peddlers, laborers and trappers to tell tales from all points of America and Europe. These are songs of spectrum emotion and act as a living diary connecting the then to the now, an ode to the early Mohawk Indian social songs from the region.
- The recent 2013 PBS documentary Songs to Keep highlights the major work of Marjorie Lansing Porter who recorded the traditional sounds of Adirondack folk music in the 40s and 50s and connects the modern folk community with its predecessors.
- The DIY-styled folk community concludes the Adirondack summers with an annual folk music festival in Schroon Lake. A community favorite, the folk music festival marries folk acts from the North Country, Vermont and beyond with local craftsmen and artisans.
Adirondack Folk School preserves the folk music culture by offering classes
ranging from blacksmithing to timber framing in true Adirondack fashion. Folk
music lessons will teach the next generation of New Yorkers the foot-stompin'
beats and the buttery licks of banjos and guitars.
Of course the best way to experience Adirondack folk music is to listen to it yourself. What are some of your favorite local folk musicians?