Monday Morning Magic, Feb. 28, 2022: When Ellen Harper reached out to author Sam Barry, she knew their mutual love for music, and the stories behind the songs, would be a perfect pairing for the book she was writing for Chronicle Books. The heiress of the world-famous Folk Music Center in Claremont, CA, is also the mother of Grammy-award winner Ben Harper (pictured with her, above).
In our video interview on Inkandescent.tv: Sam says he joyfully accepted her offer, and in “Always a Song,” the duo takes readers on a ride through the history of America’s folk music movement.
It takes two: Ellen insists that signing Sam onto the book project was the key to making her stories come to life. Her co-author has penned numerous books, including Write That Book Already! The Tough Love You Need to Get Published Now, which he wrote with his wife Kathi Kamen Goldmark (who passed in 2012). Sam is also a harmonica-playing celebritywho has performed around the country with The Rock Bottom Remainders, a rock supergroup of published writers thatincludes Stephen King, Amy Tan, Sam’s brother, humorist Dave Barry.
Sam shares: “I loved listening as Ellen described her vivid memories of growing up in Los Angeles in the 1960s among famous and small-town musicians while raising Ben and his two brothers and helping to run the historic Folk Music Center in Claremont. The book tells the tales of the many music icons who crossed the book store’s threshold, including Pete Seeger, Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, Joan Baez, and Doc Watson, to name a few.”
Ellen explains: “My life has seen an endless flow of musicians, activists, and artists eddying through my home and the Folk Music Center my parents founded, and I maintain today. Some were musicians who played and sang for a living. Others played and sang for the sheer joy of it. They were working people, union people, family people, and traveling people. Some had money, and some were broke. Some had recognizable names—Doc Watson, Jean Ritchie, Hedy West, Sonny Terry, Brownie McGhee, Pete and Mike Seeger, Joan Baez—but most did not. What these musicians, music lovers, pickers and players, songwriters, painters, poets, dancers, political activists, and their husbands, wives, and children had in common was singing. Singing was essential. Everyone’s voice mattered, regardless of fame, skill, or any other label. Community mattered. We were all singers, and singing could change the world.”
Buy the book! Click here to read more about the book featured on Inkandescent Publishing. And be sure to get your copy of this historic, heartwarming tome about the folk music revival.
We leave you with this parting thought from Always a Song: “When people come together to sing — be it in a band, church, temple, picket line, protest march, ukulele club, or living room — wherever voices are raised together in song, that is folk music revival.”
Until next Monday, I hope you make music, magic, and spread the power of song! — Hope Katz Gibbs, founder,and president, Inkandescent™ Inc.