Help us find and connect next week's Connection Finder profiles: Folk Musicians [closed]

+14 votes

To mark Joe Hill's birthday on October 7, we're featuring him in the Connection Finder next week.

We're looking for other folk musicians to feature with him.

Here's who we're getting started on:

Can you help with these profiles, or expand their families? Adding relatives in any direction helps with connections. Every missing relative you add will make our connections to them closer.

Who else should we feature? Do they need a profile?

All profiles we feature need a good biography and a connection to the big tree. We also want each one to have an image, and the image needs to have proper source attribution explaining why it's in the public domain or why we have the right to display it.

We can't feature everyone mentioned (we only have room for eleven per week), but if we don't feature a profile you work on, we may use it sometime in the future. And, of course, all contributions help improve our shared tree.

We'll make a final decision on which ones to feature early next week.

Please reply here with what you're working on so that we don't duplicate our efforts. Thank you!

To help us plan future themes, see the 2021 Example Profile Plans post here.

WikiTree profile: Joe Hill
closed with the note: Feature has run:
in The Tree House by Abby Glann G2G6 Pilot (487k points)
closed by Abby Glann

18 Answers

+13 votes
One suggestion: (Doc Watson)

Although, the profile needs more information on his music career. He was Bob Dylan's influence.
by Eileen Robinson G2G6 Mach 3 (34.2k points)
I applaud this suggestion!
+12 votes
Harry McClintock was a hobo serenader and a Wobbly. He wrote the song "Big Rock Candy Mountain."

Burl Ives:
by Mark Burch G2G6 Pilot (144k points)
Ah! I shoulda thought of McClintock too- Great suggestions, Mark!
+14 votes

Woo!!! Very, very excited for this one- I have a few preliminary suggestions, a list which I'll probably add to throughout the week.

To start off with:

Phil Ochs - needs connection, could do with a little more bio 

TommyPaddyLiam Clancy, or Tommy Makem (the Clancy Brothers) -  need more bio, photos & connection

Leadbelly - One of the greats; definitely needs to be connected, if any folks from the Black Heritage Project would like to take a look into his tree (if no one else does, I may eventually get around to it, but likely not before next week)

Malvina Reynolds - needs tree/connection

Paul Robeson - looks good to go!

There's always Dylan, but we had him a couple months ago, & much I like Dylan, I think it'd be good for us to have a little more variety. Same goes for Cohen. If we want the more famous, Johnny Cash is always an option.

Art Garfunkel & Paul Simon, the former is unconnected; both could do with improved trees.

Harry Chapin - looks good to go.

Joan Baez is set to unlisted, but Mimi Fariña, her sister & fellow folksinger is up (though definitely needs more bio)

John Prine - died last year; would be nice to have him up. Profile could be improved somewhat, but mostly looks good to go.

Gordon Lightfoot - Needs bio, connection, photo

Glenn Yarbrough - could do with extended bio; otherwise good to go

Earl Scruggs - Needs bio cleanup & photo, but is connected

I will be adding to this list soon, as I have a ton of artists who I think should be added to WikiTree (Hedy West, Bert Jansch, Kate Wolf, Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee (who needs a tree), among many others, including a long list of non-Americans, none of who I've managed to find on WT yet).

by Thomas Koehnline G2G6 Mach 5 (54.5k points)

In the '60s, Pete had a TV show, Rainbow Quest (on a small Spanish-language station in NY, because of course the major networks would never have broadcast it) where he & other folk musicians would sit around, discuss & play music. Many of the episodes can be found in full online, I'm happy to say! Wikipedia has a list of the episodes, which includes all the people involved; a number of them are folks I've already listed, & the rest would be some good jumping-off places for further profiles that could be made or used for next week. Here's the Wikipedia page:

If Abby can get Scott Fulkerson or the Notables Project added to the Joan Baez profile, we should be able to get the profile out of Unlisted.

I got Joan's profile updated. She's visible now!
Thank you, Abby! I'm hoping we'll get some lesser-known folks on the finder this time around, but Joan would be great to have on the list nonetheless

Have just created a basic profile for Hedy West:

Will work on biography & photo soon. I'm currently teaching myself how to play her song '500 Miles,' an old favorite of mine, on banjo.

I'll work a bit on Mimi Farina.  Just love her stark vocal harmonies with her husband Richard on The Falcon and Pack up your Sorrow. 

That's great, Bill! I always loved the Falcon as well, & her & Richard's appearance on Rainbow Quest:

I've also just added a photo for Jean Ritchie, who I think would be a fantastic addition to our list for next week. She's good to go.

I added a father profile for Malvina Reynolds and I added to her profile, but I am travelling and cannot do more at the moment. Her mother also can be added easily, and her maternal grandparents. I think that are lots of relatives in her mother's side.

I second Malvina Reynolds !

And what about the black woman, Elizabeth “Libba” Cotten who wrote “Freight Train,” written in 1904 when she was just 11 years old.

She was left-handed but always played a regular right-handed guitar, strumming it upside down. 

Thank you, Ellen! I'm going to first connect Hedy West, & then later see if I can do anything with Malvina Reynolds's connection

&, LG- Libba Cotten is at the top of my list of people to work on after those I just mentioned; I only didn't include her on the original list because she doesn't have a profile yet. Even if we can't connect her by Monday, I hope to get some work in on her tree, as I absolutely love her songs, & am currently trying to learn to play Freight Train

Happy to now say that Hedy West & her father are connected! Have a couple more lines to add in, & then will work on the others mentioned

Another update to now say that Malvina Reynolds is connected to our tree! It is only through one branch of her husband's family, but it's a start!

I will have some Source-a-Thon work to do tomorrow, but I'll also set aside the time to begin working on creating a profile for Libba Cotten!

+8 votes - Scottish folk singer. No profile yet.
by Ellen Smith G2G Astronaut (1.2m points)
Fantastic! I've recently been taking the time to read about & listen to each of the 305 ballads collected & published by Francis James Child back in the 1800s; Redpath's recordings of some of them have been absolutely lovely to listen to.

If I get the chance, I may take a look at her tree later
+10 votes
Mary Travers of Peter, Paul & Mary. She died in 2009 of Leukemia. I will never forget the force of her voice in a live performance.
by Virginia Fields G2G6 Pilot (747k points)

Just putting up the link to her profile:

Bio could do with a little expansion (to my mind), but otherwise she looks good to go

+7 votes
Is Canadian folksinger Stan Rogers (1949-1983) on WikiTree? Might be hard to connect, as there may not be any records available for his parents yet.
by Sharon Casteel G2G6 Pilot (117k points)

Paternal side appears questionable to me, but here:

+8 votes
From Australia -

Lionel Long - - connected, needs image

Marian Henderson - I've just created her profile, so it needs lots of work -

Another couple that I've just created profiles for -

Harry Robertson -

and the brilliant Declan Affley -

I think we might have trouble connecting these three up, but we can give it a go.
by Gillian Thomas G2G6 Pilot (172k points)
edited by Gillian Thomas
Love Lionel Long's rendition of the Dying Stockman!
I've connected up Marian Henderson (Grossman-383) and her husband at one time Don Henderson-23493, who was also a folk singer. I haven't had any success connecting up Harry Robertson or Declan Affley. If anyone feels inspired to add any photos to Marian or Don, or to do a biography, please feel very welcome :-)
+11 votes
My all-time favorite folk songwriter and musician, Nanci Griffith (Griffith-10455) broke my heart when she died last month, on the 13th of August. Her profile needs to be expanded, and it would be an excellent addition to the folk challenge.
by Debra Munn G2G1 (1.3k points)
I first discovered Nanci through her overlap with John Prine, who died last year- both have been very great losses
They have indeed. We weren’t ready to let them go so soon.
Nanci's music got me through a LOT of life lessons in the 90s and 2000s
Angela, she did the same for me, a native Texan like Nanci. And I was lucky to see her twice in concert here in England, where I live now. Her music means so much to me that I’m not ready to listen to it again, not yet. It still hurts too much.
+12 votes
Hey, let's Cherish the ladies - the Chieftains would agree!

Maybelle Carter and her cousin; as in the Carter Family

Joanie Mitchell and Judy Collins

Claudia Schmidt and Sally Rogers.  

Mary, from Peter Paul & Mary.
by Janine Barber G2G6 Pilot (185k points)

Excellent suggestions, Janine- I was looking for Judy Collins yesterday, but I think she might not be on the site yet.

The Carter & Cash families are all pretty well on here (here's June, & Maybelle); would be great to have one of all of them up

Maybelle Carter is closely related to my husband through his father. 6th cousins once removed.
+6 votes
I'm not a musicologist and don't know where the line between folk and country is, but there might be some good connections in these Categories:
by E. Compton G2G6 Pilot (158k points)
The definition of folk is oft debated, but I'd say that most of the old country musicians definitely doubled for folk, as well as many blues & gospel musicians, & those of many other genres that some might consider distinct. Folk is a very widely encompassing category, to say the least.

Many, if not most of the folks in those categories definitely fit the term
+8 votes
Joan Baez and she is connected in Wikitree.
by Susanna Yeakel G2G6 (9.7k points)
+10 votes

I am entering this again, but as an answer this time.

And what about the black woman, Elizabeth “Libba” Cotten who wrote “Freight Train,” written in 1904 when she was just 11 years old.

1895 - 1987

Born Chapel Hill, North Carolina

She was left-handed but always played a regular right-handed guitar, strumming it upside down. 

Elizabeth Cotten Master of American folk music

She does not have a profile at present.

by LG Price G2G6 Mach 3 (39.6k points)

I've just realized I was quite wrong in what I wrote before- Libba does have a profile! Maybe I was using the wrong surname or something, as I could've sworn I got no results when I looked for her the other day. Anyway, gonna get started on her tree soon, as there is no connection. Here's the profile:

Thanks for posting the link to her profile. I had been wondering how to find her birth surname.
+8 votes
I think I saw Bruce "Utah" Phillips come up here recently, he's already here, Rosalie Sorrels, Kate Wolf, Dave Van Ronk, Harry Belafonte, Holly Near, John Gorka, Odetta, Tom Paxton.Oh, and the Carter Family!
by Momo Holmquist G2G6 Mach 2 (20.7k points)
Ah! Many favorites of mine in your list; would love to see them all up here. One of Utah Phillips's performances of Joe Hill's The Preacher & the Slave will always be my personal favorite.
LOVE Tom Paxton - went with my parents to most all of his appearances at The Birchmere in Alexandria, Virginia... and one concert at Wolf Trap (maybe with the Kingston Trio?). Loved how he'd tell you to get your CD "activated" (have him sign it).

I just started a profile for Odetta at this link: or see: Holmes-18399

Still needs a lot of filling in, but at least it's a start.

I always liked the music of Bill Stains
+6 votes
O Death! Ralph Stanley is another great one. Made (more) famous in Brother Where Art Thou.
by Mark Burch G2G6 Pilot (144k points)
+6 votes

It's clear we need more than one week for this one. Here are 32 weeks of FOLK. I am sure there are lots more. I think we can fill an entire year. Think of it. A year of folk song. 

Songs in the

  1. American Style - born before 1932
  2. American Style - born after 1932
  3. Irish Folk
  4. Nigeria Folk - 'Les Filles de Illighadad'
  5. Swedish Folk
  6. Australian Folk
  7. Mexican Folk
  8. Spanish Folk - Pepe Romero
  9. French Folk
  10. German Folk
  11. English Folk
  12. Welch Folk
  13. Scottish Folk
  14. Norwegian Folk
  15. Russian Folk
  16. Ukrainian Folk
  17. Armenian Folk
  18. Turkish Folk
  19. Hungarian Folk - Bela Bartok
  20. Appalachian Folk - Edgar Meyer
  21. Native American Folk
  22. Brazilian Folk - Heitor Villa-Lobos
  23. Folk of the Argentine
  24. Uttar Pradesh, India - Qawwali
  25. Punjab, India - Bhangra
  26. Arabic Folk
  27. Japan - hōgaku
  28. China -Han - Fisherman's songs
  29. Norwegian Folk
  30. Danish Folk
  31. Polish Folk
  32. Latvian Folk
by LG Price G2G6 Mach 3 (39.6k points)
I strongly support this idea, LG! As I mentioned before, I have a long list of international musicians who would be absolutely great to feature in some fashion or another. Only question is how many we can connect to the tree, eh?

I would love to plan out something like this with you & anyone else who expresses interest- if so, maybe we'll need a whole new thread for the project


Thanks for you reply Thomas. I think "World Folk" could be a really nice project.

My thoughts would be to keep it relatively simple with a weekly set of 3-6 profiles for a specific country or folk tradition. I would depend on people stepping forward and sponsoring a few profiles and background information for  each week.

My only other thought is that I would like the project to have a nice sticker for the highlighted profiles but also a sticker for people to use to mark the musicians in their own families. To encourage people to talk about the music their families made in their family profiles. My uncle was a wonderful improvisor of jazz piano and played accordion beside. His father, my grandfather sang a beautiful Irish Tenor. I recently found a newspaper clipping from the early 1900's where he is performing in a Mistral show, singing Irish ballads. He was not professional, just loved to sing.

I am not an expert at world folk music but I have always had an interest in world folk and enjoy hearing music from different cultures.

As for lack of profiles, well, the best place to start is where you are. Undoubtedly profiled musicians would favor musicians in the western hemisphere, at least for a while.  But who knows.
I am in complete agreement with all you wrote, & definitely think this is doable- I especially like the idea of having a musician sticker; I grew up thinking there weren't many musicians in my family other than myself, but have since discovered through newspapers that my paternal family had multiple people as members of a local cornet band, & that basically my maternal great-grandmother's entire family were string players like myself. Just love finding that sort of information, & a folk musicians, or music as a whole project devoted to setting up those templates & categorizing musicians, notable & less so, would be great.

I don't consider myself an expert by any means, but I am a student of ethnomusicology, so I may be more familiar with the academic side of folk music than some. I have been setting up profiles for various musicians I've come across in my study of that field, as well as mentioning the musical ability of members of my own family in bios, categorizing when possible, but it would be ideal to have a more organized setup for that, alongside the featured musicians list you suggest

Unfortunately, the only folks who can create & edit templates are members of that project, which Steve Harris has informed me is no longer accepting new members (a mild nuisance to me, given that I would like to personally work on developing a pronunciation guide template, but oh well); if we want a new sticker setup, we'd have to ask them to work on it, I believe.

If we work on a set of featured musicians for each week, when do you think would be a good time to start featuring them? The beginning of the year, like the usual connection finder cycle, or any time?
Busy with the Thon, but giving this a lot of thought.

Hey, LG-

Not sure if you're still up for putting together this project, but regardless, I wanted to let you know that, at long last, I've just managed to connect Libba Cotten to the tree! One of her uncles married a woman of mixed race background, who was descended from a free family of color going back numerous generations

+5 votes

 Emma Overd.  1828-1938 Emma was an agricultural labourer from Somerset, England and a singer.  Her versions of 'traditional' songs were  amongst those recorded by Cecil Sharp in the early 20th C.  Many subsequently became part of the repertoire of  more recent singers  ( e.g. Bob Dylan) 

She has a photo and should be connected  through her sister's husband at the next update

by Helen Ford G2G6 Pilot (353k points)
edited by Helen Ford
+4 votes
Led Zeppelin is actually my favorite folk band. Here is their rendition of the Lead Belly classic, "Gallows Pole."
by Mark Burch G2G6 Pilot (144k points)
+3 votes
by Angela Dicks G2G1 (1.9k points)

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