Is the Coens’ new movie about to re­float the folk boat?

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - MUSIC -

There’s a folk re­vival a-comin’ down the line. You may think that there’s a folk re­vival of sorts un­der­way at the mo­ment. In­deed, you may even think that folk mu­sic never went away in the first place and thus there’s no need for a re­vival.

But the new film from the Coen broth­ers is go­ing to put the folk scene of Six­ties New York right back in the lime­light , and we can ex­pect many side-ef­fects, good and bad, from this prome­nience.

In­side Llewyn Davis has been gath­er­ing rave no­tices since it pre­miered at the Cannes film fes­ti­val last week, with even the most cur­mud­geonly of crit­ics (not our Don­ald Clarke) us­ing their full com­ple­ment of five-star re­views for it.

In­side Llewyn Davis is based loosely on The Mayor of Macdou­gal Street, the mem­oirs of folk singer Dave Van Ronk. The Coens’ movie fea­tures a beat­nik folk singer, played by a dead­pan Os­car Isaac, hang­ing around the Green­wich Vil­lage scene wait­ing for his big break, get­ting beaten up and em­bark­ing on a road trip. There is also a cat – al­ways some­thing which could go ei­ther way.

We can ex­pect a stel­lar sound­track to go with the film. As with the Coens’ O Brother Where Are Thou?, T-Bone Bur­nett is on­board to guide the ship, and he’s been talk­ing about how the film might well re­float the folk boat.

“We’re go­ing to do a se­ries of con­certs,” Bur­nett said in Cannes,talk­ing about the film. “Mar­cus Mum­ford is go­ing to cu­rate the con­certs with me and the Coen broth­ers. We’re go­ing to use this op­por­tu­nity to in­tro­duce a lot of peo­ple who are rein­vent­ing this kind of mu­sic.”

A new folk re­vival by the end of the year? You’ll know who to blame.

Macdou­gal mem­oirs: Dave Van Ronk in New York, 1964

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