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American folk music has a history and lyrical content entrenched in political activism, made popular by 60s icons like Woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan. As the 60s gave way to the 70s, punk musicians continued mixing politics and music, extending their art to a way of life. Folk-punk, a contemporary of these musical movements, combines musical and lyrical elements of folk with the energy of punk rock. Baltimore-based writer, activist, and songwriter Ryan Harvey identifies with this hybrid genre. Harvey is influenced by 60s folk musicians like Phil Ochs whose music has a journalistic and political resonance. Similarly, Harvey grew up listening to politically motivated bands like Crass, Conflict and Aus Rotten in addition to Rancid, and local Baltimore punk. His music is rooted in his politics, and strikes an emotional and motivating chord. For him, punk communicates the energy and anger of its day. In addition to practicing his art with a political edge, Harvey writes about music and media on his own blog and has published articles in the local progressive Baltimore paper, The Independent Reader. He has also contributed to such publications as The Nation, Common Dreams and ZNet Magazine and he also works for the non-profit organization “The Civilian-Soldier Alliance” that works along side GIs for a progressive and just foreign policy.
GUEST: Ryan Harvey, musician, writer, and activist and member of the Riot Folk collective
Follow Ryan’s tour and learn more about him at http://www.riotfolk.org/?m=ryanharvey&p=shows. His website is http://www.ryanharveymusic.com.