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A Couple of Weekend Argument Starters

By admin Published: June 5, 2009

Folk Alley has a list of the 100 essential folk songs, based on listener suggestions. You can find it here. The announcement of the list is after the jump. Many great/good songs on the list, but I would have made some other choices, including different songs by some of the artists included, and raised other questions, such as whether Leonard Cohen should be considered a folkie. Still, plenty of fodder for debate.

Entertainment Weekly has released its list of the best and worst reality shows, which you can find in the latest issue of the mag or in online galleries. Best here. Worst here. "Survivor," by the way, topped the best list; I would have put "The Amazing Race." Discuss among yourselves, or comment below.

Here's the release:

From protest and work songs to the contemporary singer/songwriter movement, folk songs often become intricately intertwined in people’s lives. Music can frame and even define memories, relationships and events that form timelines between years, decades and centuries. People have songs that they consider essential – music used as a touchstone and as a tool to communicate and connect with others. asked listeners, “What do you consider an essential folk song?” It was a wide-open request, no suggestions of song titles and artists were offered. In this case, the answer was “This Land is Your Land,” a song Woody Guthrie wrote in response to Irving Berlin’s more commercially patriotic “God Bless America.” The top five also includes Bob Dylan’s “Blowin’ in the Wind;” “City of New Orleans,” which was written by Steve Goodman and popularized by Arlo Guthrie; and two songs by Pete Seeger, “If I Had a Hammer” and “Where Have All the Flowers Gone.”

The final list of the top 100 songs was compiled from nearly 3,200 votes from listeners all over the world. Ties were broken by Folk Alley’s programming staff. The top 100 list can be viewed online at Visitors can also go to to access an audio stream featuring the winning songs. And, if they disagree with the final list, listeners are encouraged to give a nod to “songs that should have made the list but didn’t.” Additional songs from this new pool will be added to the on-demand sidestream later in June.

Folk Alley Programming and Marketing Director Linda Fahey says, “Folk Alley fans love music. For the most part, they have very strong feelings for their favorite artists and these songs are more than simply moments on the radio. It’s been really fun asking our listeners to help us discover the most important songs in their lives.” has become the “coffee house that never closes,” offering folk fans songs from their favorite artists, an interactive discussion area, Open Mic (an area for new artists to upload songs), exclusive live concert downloads, interviews, videos and more around the clock. The flagship music stream is hosted by professional DJs Jim Blum, Elena See, Barb Heller, Matt Reilly and Gene Shay.

Since September 2003, Folk Alley has brought the best of traditional folk, Americana, singer/songwriter, bluegrass, Celtic, world and acoustic instrumental music styles to an international audience – listeners tremendously excited to finally find “their” music available 24 hours a day on the Internet. Listener-supported Folk Alley is dedicated to the promotion and preservation of music that is often overlooked by the commercial radio networks.

Folk Alley is heard online at, iTunes, Windows Media, RealAudio, Live 365, and as one of the founding partners of NPR Music. The stream can also be heard as an HD Radio side channel in select markets and each month on SIRIUS XM Satellite Radio’s The Village. is a non-profit Internet venture produced by WKSU-FM, an award-winning public radio station with nearly 60 years of broadcasting history. A service of Kent State University, the station also presents the Kent State Folk Festival and broadcasts 13 hours of original folk music programming throughout Northeast Ohio each week over WKSU 89.7, four repeater stations and two translator signals.

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