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Folk Era Artists


Brandywine Singers
Brothers Four
Bud and Travis

Clancy Brothers
Travis Edmonson
Fannigans Isle
Dick Foley/Terry Lauber
Bob Gibson
George Grove

dotThe Highwaymen
The Hillside Singers
Kingston Trio
The Limeliters

McNamara & Neeley

MFQ
Chad Mitchell Trio
Paul Robeson
Shaw Brothers
John Stewart
The Tarriers
Town Criers
Various Artists
Taylor Whiteside
Glenn Yarbrough

All of the titles on this site (and many more) are available for purchase at our Rediscover Music catalogue site. Click here for details.


Folk Era is the largest independent folk label in the Chicagoland area, and as far as we know, the only independent record label located in DuPage county, and Naperville specifically. We're also 99% certain that we are the only record label in America to rent our office and warehouse space in a building located in a cemetery! As grave as the situation may sound, we find that from our office space in the Naperville Cemetery, we're able to keep in touch with artists and stores around the country and around the world.

Our roster of albums includes both reissues and new releases from legends like The Kingston Trio, Glenn Yarbrough, The Brothers Four, John Stewart, and the Chad Mitchell Trio. The number of albums on the Folk Era label has grown rapidly since 1991 when we began releasing music full time. We have over 70 albums currently in print, although that number is ever growing. Since the first LP record album with the Folk Era logo was released in 1985, there have been a total of 90 albums released under the Folk Era logo!

The genesis of our company's name was a simple one. The time period of folk music's greatest popularity was the decade between 1957 and 1967. Music fans and scholars have referred to this decade as the folk era since the early 1970's, so when Allan Shaw began to look into releasing a never-before-heard recording of the Kingston Trio, finding a name for the company was easy. It was the start of the Kingston Trio in 1957, fourty years ago, that brought folk music into mass consciousness, and began the folk era, so Folk Era we became.

While originally conceived as a reissue label when started in 1985, contemporary artists began to creep steadily into the mix from 1985 until 1988, when founder Allan Shaw decided to take a brief hiatus from the record releasing business. When Allan restarted Folk Era in 1991, he found the concept of the label steadily expanding as all of us involved in Folk Era came to realize that, with the resurgence of interest in folk and acoustic music, the Folk Era is now!

In the years between 1985 and 1988, Folk Era had a lot of firsts. Folk Era was the first folk label to reissue any popular folk music from the Kingston Trio, several years before the current resurgence in interest in popular folk music began to take hold. In 1986, Folk Era was the first record label to issue folk music on CD with a Kingston Trio album. In that regard, Folk Era may also have been the first label to issue a CD of an album without an LP, as since 1986, Folk Era hasn't released any of its albums on vinyl. In 1987 Folk Era partnered with the Commission On The Bicentennial of the United States Constitution to produce We The People, an album of songs that celebrated the 200th birthday of the United States Constitution.

We The People was a unique project for Folk Era in many ways, but today we're most proud of the fact that it featured Johnny Cash performing a stirring narration about our nations history. Our 1988 release by Allan McHale and The Old Time Radio Gang garnered two 10 out of 10's for Performance and Sound Quality in CD Review Magazine. When CD Review went back in 1990 to see which albums had received perfect reviews between 1984 and 1990, they found that our Allan McHale release was one of four in the country category. The other three were Emmylou Harris' Ballad of Sally Rose, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band's Will the Circle Be Unbroken Vol. 2 and K.T. Oslin's This Woman. Finally, in this time period, we experimented with releasing a couple of our albums on DAT, and were both the first record label to put folk music on a DAT, and the first record label to make one of our releases available on DAT before it was available in any other format. These early years of Folk Era also saw the release of four classic albums by the Kingston Trio, a live album from the Clancy Brothers, and a host of other critically acclaimed albums.

In 1991 after taking a couple years away from the label, Allan bought out the man who'd been his business partner in the early days, and restarted Folk Era. Several of the early Folk Era titles were brought back into print, distribution was secured, and a new line of Folk Era releases began to roll out. The first release was an atmospheric album blending bluegrass, jazz, world music, and new-age from banjo master Dick Weissman (now recording on our sister label Wind River). The second release was an album from acclaimed singer-songwriter John Stewart, and the third release was from folk legends, The Brandywine Singers. We have brought out three more classic Kingston Trio Reissues, a re-recording of Bob Gibson's classic Gibson and Camp at the Gate of Horn, two new albums from the Brothers Four, and three reissues and two new albums from the Chad Mitchell Trio. We have also recorded several new albums with legendary tenor Glenn Yarbrough, as well as reissued a few of his classic ones.

One of the most ambitious projects we've become involved with is a compilation album entitled Freedom Is A Constant Struggle. Freedom is a two CD set featuring forty songs from the Mississippi Civil Rights Movement. It brings together works of legendary performers like Tom Paxton, Bob Dylan, Peter, Paul & Mary, and Judy Collins, with younger performers like Sweet Honey In The Rock and Kim and Reggie Harris. Combining this album with the rest of our roster, we can say that every major recording artist from the folk era has been brought together on Folk Era Records. Even in the sixties, when folk was at its commercial height, there was not one label that brought together as wide a roster of hit artists as Folk Era has today.

In addition to our re-releases and compilation albums, we have put out new releases from our favorite artists of the Folk Era, such as John Stewart formerly of the Kingston Trio. We have released six solo Stewart albums in all, including his 1997 album Bandera that gained much attention on the Gavin Americana Chart. Also, in addition to re-releasing two 1960's albums by The Brandywine Singers, we have put out an original Folk Era recording World-Class Folk, first released in 1994. Brandywine Singers members Rick and Ron Shaw have released several albums under the name The Shaw Brothers, including two more recently recorded albums-The Shaw Brothers Collection and Something Special. The Shaw Brothers can also be heard on the Folk Era compilation Sing Out America with Robbie O'Connell, The White Mountain Singers, and the Northeast Winds.

Not being content to simply rest on the hit acts of yesterday, though, we've continued to work with younger folk acts and are finding great success with them. Small Potatoes, a young Chicago based duo who's debut album on Folk Era, Time Flies was one of the critical raves of 1996. They were also the first Chicago based act since the legendary Steve Goodman to play the famed Philadelphia Folk Festival. In 1994, David Roth's album Digging Through My Closet was nominated for a NAIRD (National Association Of Independent Record Dealers) Indie award in the singer-songwriter category. We've had a release, High Tea, by one of our Celtic acts, The New St. George, favorably reviewed in Billboard, and have been successfully working with two internationally based artists - Tamarack, a folk trio from Canada, and Totte Bergstrom, a bluegrass player from Sweden.

Realizing that the "Folk Era" label was not quite appropriate for our younger, more contemporary acts, we started a new division of the record label called Wind River. Its roster includes a few artists previously on Folk Era (Small Potatoes, Dick Weissman, David Roth) and some newly signed artists (Jeff Lang, Michael Smith). Check out our Wind River home page for more on these acclaimed musicians.

Folk Era has become not only one of the larger independent labels in the folk genre, but one of the most diverse. We attribute this to receiving airplay from DJs having Folk, Singer-songwriter and Americana-based programs on College and NPR stations, advertising in and receiving print reviews from the two top publications in the folk and singer-songwriter genres and a large catalogue of albums, with musical styles crossing from popular folk to bluegrass, western swing, Celtic, Irish, contemporary instrumental, and singer-songwriter. Our albums are distributed by Rock Bottom, Inc., Traditions Alive, Sidestreet and RM Distributing.

Personnel:
Allan Shaw President and Owner
Rachel Bridge Catalog & Internet Coordinator
Karen Rumaner Administrative Assistant, Folk Era/Wind River Records

 


There are two ways to purchase any of the CDs on this site. 1) Just write down the names or stock numbers of the items you are interested in. When you have chosen your items, go to Rediscover Music and type them into the "Search" field. OR 2) Click on the "Order Now" link next to the item you want to buy. This link will take you directly to that item at our Rediscover Music site. Once there, click "buy" to put the item into your shopping cart. If you would like to order more items, use your browser's "Back" button to come back here and continue browsing, or use the links to the left of the screen to see more items. You will be able to browse through all our available titles and view the song listings, too!


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For more information contact: folkera@folkera.com