With each generation comes a new group of folk balladeers. Those who take music that has been passed down through generations--songs about the good Earth's majesty or the backbreaking struggles of the working class--filter them through their own artistic lenses and make them relevant again. Back in the 1930s and '40s, it was "Oklahoma cowboy" Woody Guthrie, who traveled across the United States reinterpreting old folk tunes, penning songs about the Great Depression, praising Works Progress Administration projects and drawing attention to immigrant struggles, often collaborating with black folk musician Huddie "Leadbelly" Ledbetter.
By the 1960s, Guthrie had inspired a whole new generation of folk singers, the most prolific being Robert Allen Zimmerman--a man we know as Bob Dylan. Dylan put his own spin on a number of Guthrie classics and quickly became the voice of the '60s civil rights and anti-war movements.
After five decades of creating new music, Dylan is still at it, himself inspiring countless new folk acts with every generation. Most recently, Dylan's rambling protest tunes have influenced a number of acts in the freak-folk genre.
Local musicians and non-musicians alike who've been inspired by Dylan can catch the troubadour at a special outdoor concert at Idaho Botanical Garden on Sunday, Aug. 15. Just make sure to pack a picnic to keep your blanket from blowin' in the wind.
Sunday, Aug. 15, 6:30 p.m. doors, 7:30 p.m. show, $52, Idaho Botanical Garden, 2355 N. Penitentiary Road, 208-343-8649, idahobotanicalgarden.org.