Dear Mother Maple: forgetting your roots?!
It’s been ever so much fun reading your comments, dearies. And I am so glad to get this question from Calgary. Why, I remember John Allan Cameron asking me to iron his shirts at the 1980 Calgary Folk Festival. What some men assume because you’re carrying a washboard. But I digress. Here’s the question:
Dear Mother Maple,
One thing I’ve noticed over the years is that a lot of young musicians hit the “folk” scene because they can get a gig as singer-songwriters. Then when they hit it big, they get a band, start playing rock and roll, and turn their backs on folk.
They don’t realize they got their big break because a bunch of people who really cared did a lot of work for nothing and it bugs me.
What do you think?
Concerned in Calgary.
I understand your concern, Concerned. But ’twas ever thus, wasn’t it? I remember tut-tutting when that dirty-necked Bobby Dylan went electric at Newport, but I think we all took ourselves a little too seriously back then.
It is a sad thing when one of “our own” moves on to greener pastures, but such things are beyond our control, aren’t they? We lovers of the music have to just keep loving the music and helping those who make it do just that. Then it’s up to the musicians to figure out what path they will follow. As my own dear mother used to say, “The bait hides the hook,” and you and I don’t know whether our one-time friends are happy with their choices or full of regret.
I sense some disillusionment, Concerned. But as my old friend Tommy Douglas used to say, “Courage, my friends — ’tis not too late to build a better world.” Look at that adorable young Meaghan Smith. There she is with a brand new Juno award (he was a lovely man, but terrible halitosis), as well as a brand new Epiphone guitar as part of her prize. But rather than keep it, she’s giving it away to “someone else deserving and in need of the chance to become another Best New Artist”, she says. If my heart had cockles, they’d be warmed.
All of that aside, Concerned, I do want to finish off with a little advice for the “big stars.” “Friendship is like money, easier made than kept.” Think about that the next time you’re at Canadian Music Week and you sneer at that busker you once co-headlined a coffeehouse in Wawa with, you little flibbertigibbet!
Do you have a question that’s keeping you awake at night? Email Mother Maple for a righteous response!