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Edited by Tom Rhoads

Here's where you can learn all about the bands and performers we like or who have influenced our music, or both. The descriptions were written by Tom and constitute a cheap, probably opinionated guide. (No angry e-mails about my implied dissing of Yes, OK?)

There are, of course, lots of other musicians whom we like and/or draw inspiration from, but we don't know of an Internet resource for information about them. In most cases the resource is a web site, but there are some mailing lists and other things as well. It's organized alphabetically by band/artist name. If the only resource is a single web page, the band name is the link - just click!

Amy and Ashley have their own pages of musical links.

There are a number of other directories of musician pages ... try www.liveirishmusic for one.

Mike Agranoff

Mike's vast repertoire of songs and tunes makes his concerts delightful, and his playing on guitar, concertina and piano is the icing on the cake. He's also one of the vital forces behind the Folk Project and the Minstrel Coffeehouse.

Ray Ashley

A fine Stick player and Ashley and Helene's partner in crime...

Battlefield Band

One of Scotland's most consistently excellent and enduring folk bands, they maintain a busy schedule or recording and touring. Over the years their membership has included such notables as Brian McNeill, Ged Foley, Pat Kilbride and fiddle wunderkind John McCusker. Former Ceolbeg singer Davy Steele was a member for a few years before his untimely death.

Boiled in Lead

Magnificent world-punk band from St. Paul, Minnesota. Irish music is the strongest thread in their work, but many other traditions both Eastern and Western are represented. The band seems to be more or less dormant these days, alas!

The official BiL page is part of the Omnium Records website. The Leadheads mailing list also has a page.

Dark Aether Project

Very cool, somewhat Fripp/Crimson-influenced progressive rock from Baltimore, Maryland.

Einstein's Little Homunculus

If you live in or near Boston, like Celtic and/or Klezmer music and have a sense of humor, do yourself a favor and check this band out. Take a fiddle- guitar- percussion trio and weld on a couple of saxes and a stack of humorous original songs ... it's more fun than you can shake a stick at.

Fairport Convention

"Fairport" were the cornerstone on which British folk-rock was built, and the launch pad for Richard Thompson, Ashley Hutchings and (to some extent) Sandy Denny and Dave Swarbrick. Their rock delivery of jigs and reels and meteoric instrumental skill, together with their combination of well-chosen traditional songs and killer originals that flowed out of the tradition, set the standard for the genre. They have also had more lineups than the Chrysler Building has floors (over the years enough musicians have passed through the ranks to form at least three complete bands), and there's a good deal of stylistic variation in their canon, but every version of the band has something to recommend it (except maybe that clunker from 1976) and a lot of them are very good indeed. The current version is a rather acoustic- oriented outfit, very tight and excellent players, though without the raw edge that marks the best of the band's history.

As for web sites, let's see ... there's the Fairport domain site, and the official Fairport Web site. Take yer pick!

Finest Kind

The tri-national trio of Ian Robb, Ann Downey and Shelley Posen - straight-ahead folk music indebted to the 50s-60s revival tradition, but never sounding dated. They're wonderful on stage - catch 'em if you can.


This Swedish band combines traditional Swedish (and some other Scandinavian) music with a powerful rhythm-and-drone assault that fuses old and new instruments, rumbly looping grooves, and great vocals by Emma Härdelin.

Dick Gaughan

Pretty much the dean of Scottish folk singers as far as I'm concerned, and a fine guitarist and songwriter to boot. His album Handful of Earth is on my short list of the best folk records by anyone, anywhere, ever.

Gentle Giant

A too-often-neglected English progressive-rock band of the 70's, they were to Yes (to whom they bear some musical resemblance) what C is to Visual Basic - not as slick, but more flexible and powerful. Their records, especially the earlier ones, demonstrate a seldom equalled combination of reckless inventiveness, amazing musicianship and just plain fun. (Not unlike Frank Zappa, whose influence is evident in many of their more anarchic pieces.) Unfortunately, they eventually tried to sell out, only to discover that nobody was buying (truly a sad fate!).

Juan Luis Guerra

With and (occasionally) without his group 440, this Dominican star is one of the masters of Latin pop. Señales de Humo is a well-done fan site.

Greg Howard

Masterful Chapman Stick® player, one of the very best on the national scene.

Iron Maiden

Yup, the monsters of '80s metal! Their music has a progressive edge, especially in Steve Harris' magnificent bass playing. (A web search can also turn up a lot of fan sites.)

Jethro Tull

A band that seems to have covered every corner of the musical map - idiosyncratic blues and jazz, riffy AOR classics, 80s technorock, hypercomplicated electric folk, classical pastiche - without ever sacrificing their own identity. There's something for almost everyone in the Tull catalog - a lot more than just "Aqualung."

King Crimson

Progressive-rock supergroup centered around guitarists Robert Fripp and (at times) Adrian Belew, not to mention many other luminaries who have passed through the ranks.

The Morrigan

Very exciting folk-rock outfit from England. Cross Steeleye Span with Queen and you might get something like it. Maybe I can get Ashley to write a better description of them. (Sez Ashley: Long overdue and forthcoming!)

The Oyster Band

Stalwarts of the English roots-music-to-rock movement of the latter '80s; they never seem to have quite gotten their due commercially, which is a shame, but they consistently produce fine albums and they can really do the business on stage. Too bad they don't tour the US anymore.

There is an Internet mailing list for Oysters fans. Send email to majordomo@lists.best.com with the words "subscribe oysters" in the body of the message.

Patent Ochsner

A band that few outside of Switzerland have heard of. Jim says do yourself a favor and track down any of their four CDs! Excellent, stylistically diverse pop-rock, mostly sung in the Bern dialect of German (some of it is in Italian). There's also a web directory of Swiss-dialect rock bands.

The Pogues

The essential folk-punk band; semi-aptly described as "the Clancy Brothers meet the Clash," they fused Irish lyricism, excessive quantities of alcohol and a small army of mostly acoustic instruments with a rock rhythm section and hurricane energy. For web resources, try www.pogues.com.

Maddy Prior

Longtime lead singer of Steeleye Span, of which band her stunning vocals were the watermark. Now busy with her solo career.

Procol Harum

A band best known for a very small number of chart hits ("Whiter Shade of Pale"), but whose work really goes way beyond those few songs. Remarkable for their orchestral-sounding approach to rock... without hiring an orchestra to play along.

Our friend Vroomfondel has a fun Procol site.

Simple Gifts (featuring Broadside founder Rachel Hall)

All-instrumental, all-international, all-female, great players and infectious fun to listen to.

Soul Coughing

A current pop-culture fixation ... since disbanded (oh no!)

Steeleye Span

The other biggest band in British folk-rock history, founded by Ashley Hutchings after he left Fairport. They crossed over to some mainstream success in the mid-70's. A big influence on Broadside in their approach to the arrangement and use of traditional music. The group is officially disbanded these days, but that's happened before.

Sites: a Web page in England, a real nice one in Germany, and one in America, and one from I know not where.


A five-piece, Ontario-based folk band with a big sound - they all play hard, and they all sing. Their material is mostly originals which tell stories drawn from Canadian history and folklore. The songs have great choruses, and the band's onstage energy is fantastic.


Among the main bearers of the Brit-folk-rock torch in the US, this Bay Area band have improved markedly in the past few years and mix in some Scandinavian music here and there. While perhaps not the most original in their approach (or, to be fair, the least), they play with great skill and energy (not to mention great stage antics). Their records are enjoyable, but I personally think they are best heard live. In addition to the official site, here's a semi-official fan page.

They Might Be Giants

An underground pop/rock duo (sometimes a full band), anarchically humorous, quirky to a fault, often hilarious lyrically. Highly entertaining but not easily described - better check 'em out for yourself.

Richard Thompson

A great songwriter (arguably the best to emerge from the English folk-rock scene), a very good singer, and a fantastic guitarist who sounds like he learned to play on three different planets - he's capable by turns of beautiful acoustic playing, pure rock'n'roll groove and out-of-control modal skronk. In addition to Richard's own site, see The Bee's Knees, or this nice Aussie fan page, or this discussion site.

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