What Makes My Performances Different?

I bring so much more to the stage than just music. I am a storyteller, a folklorist and above all a seasoned teacher. From the ancient ballad, to the newest song that I might have just composed, my years in front of both classes and audiences have honed in me the ability to draw the listener in and impart a deeper connection with the music.

I offer three different types of music:

• “Mine” – I am a songwriter. However, my process for developing my own music can be a very slow one. For example, the seed for “I’ll See You in the Morning Martin” was planted with the creation of a chorus in April of 1968, but only fully germinated with the full lyrics into a song in 2004. Finally, it was not until 2014 that it found its most recent resting place in an eight-song concept musical collage. Most importantly, my songs all have a background story, and I love sharing these stories with my audiences.

• “Theirs” – About one-third of my standard performance is made up of acoustic covers. Most of these are rather obscure songs that I find to have well written lyrics. A first time listener will most likely have never heard them before. As with the songs that I have written, these also come with their own life and story.

• “Ours” – These are traditional folk songs, ownership of which is in the public domain. These songs are possibly the only ones that merit the title of folk song. These songs belong to all of us, and for many the composer is unknown. While most performers today are usually singing either their own compositions (singer/songwriter) or doing covers of recognizable popular songs, my sets are about evenly split among: my own compositions, obscure covers, and traditional folk songs. Even more than with “mine” and “theirs” the traditional folk song’s story is essential for full appreciation.

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Pat McCaskey – Folksinger, Storyteller & Folklorist

Ok, I’m starting a weekly blog. This first entry will contain: some guidelines that I will endeavor to follow, and a general statement of why I will be writing this blog.

Guidelines:

• Follow the KISS method, “Keep It Simple Stupid”. People need to be able to read what I write and understand what I am trying to say or else they will not bother.

• Limit the length. Too much said, and too few will bother to follow the blog. Here I need to experiment a bit, but within a month or two, I should be able to set a word limit, and then stick to it. Right now I am thinking of somewhere around 2,000 characters.

• The blog should, early on, identify and serve a market. At the outset the blog will be limited to the areas of: folk music (and what that means), singer songwriters, the annotated lyrics of songs that interest me, and the plight of a present day folksinger. I’ll add more areas/topics as they come along.

• This will be a “once a week” offering. This seems doable and not over done.

Why bother:

• I’ve spent the last 35 years as a professor. It is hard to go cold turkey and not try to educate people. I don’t really miss the classroom, but I do miss the opportunity to offer my thoughts and insights. I sort of need this outlet. So, there is first of all, a selfish purpose.

• I have over 40 years of exposure to the folk music genre. There is a lot of life and information in there, and it just might be of interest to others. Most of my early life was within the orbit of a professional entertainer (my father).

• For years I would tell people that I planned on a life with three careers: a banker (my father told me to get a steady job), a professor (that was actually my nickname as a child and as a teenager), and a “world famous” recording star. Oh well, so far two out of three looks pretty good, but what the heck, let’s go for all three. This blog will be part of, and supportive of, that process.

• Others have told me that this needs to be done to move the third profession along. I could ignore them, but these people really are quite knowledgeable, so I believe that I should probably take their advice.

Welcome aboard and enjoy the ride…

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