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Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Roger McGuinn keeps folk alive

Roger McGuinn, founding member of The Byrds and a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, heads onstage at a California music festival in 2013.

BY DAVID MENCONI

dmenconi@newsobserver.com

Two decades ago, the World Wide Web was just coming into being. It had more infrastructure than content back then, mostly consisting of the virtual equivalent of empty filing cabinets. But one of the Web’s most idiosyncratic repositories was already robust and growing at UNC-Chapel Hill – Roger McGuinn’s Folk Den.

Folk Den is an online archive run by founding Byrds member McGuinn, in which he records one traditional folk song per month and puts it online with lyrics and notes for free download. McGuinn has been doing this on the first of every month since November 1995, covering murder ballads and sea shanties and everything in between, and he hasn’t missed a month yet.

Tuesday is the first of March and will bring song number 245 in the series (McGuinn won’t say what it is yet). And he’ll also be appearing in Chapel Hill that afternoon as part of UNC’s Chat Festival, in which he’ll receive the newly created “Digital Preservation Under the Radar Award” from the School of Information and Library Science.

McGuinn will also do a lecture/performance that concludes with a big free-for-all jam. So bring your guitar if you are so inclined, and it wouldn’t be a bad idea to brush up on “Mr. Tambourine Man” or “Turn! Turn! Turn!”


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