Janis Ian will headline the 20th annual Savannah Folk Music Festival, to be held through Sunday.
Ella Fitzgerald once called her, ”the best young singer in America.” And Chet Atkins added, “Singer? You ought to hear that girl play guitar.”
Over the years, Ian added songs like “Jesse” — a song recorded by so many, people forget she wrote it — and “Stars” recorded by singers as diverse at Mel Torme and Cher. In 2008, Ian won two “Just Plain Folks” awards, and this year she won the prestigious JPF “Founder’s Award for Best Live Act,”
“Best Political Song (“Danger Danger”), “Best Folk Song (“Shadows on the Wind”), and “Best New Folk Album (“Folk is the New Black.” Just Plain Folk is the world’s largest independent music awards, reviewing 40,000 albums and a half-million songs.
This year she will do two sets at the festival’s convenient final event, the concert from 2-7 p.m. at Grayson Stadium on Sunday — and the price is free.
But that is not all. Joining Ian on the stage will be Jay Unger and Molly Mason, David Jacobs-Strain, Osalami Lamoke and the winner of the annual Youth Songwriting Competition. Plus, you will have the opportunity to bid on some fabulous “art guitars” and instruments signed by major folk music celebrities.
Unger and Mason are extraordinary musicians. They will play at the Grayson Stadium concert as well as at the Old Time Country Dance the evening of Oct. 10 at Notre Dame Academy gym. The pair performed on the soundtrack of Ken Burns’ “The Civil War” and Jay wrote the haunting
“Ashokan Farewell,” the most memorable music of the Civil War series and an Emmy nominee.
The three-day, four-event festival is presented by the Savannah Folk Music Society and the City of Savannah’s Cultural Affairs Department, Bureau of Leisure Services. The entire festival is free to the public.
The Festival begins with its traditional “Folkfest in City Market” on Oct. 9 from 7-11 p.m. The Folkfest features a variety of Savannah’s top folk performers in a number of folk music styles and genre. Included in the lineup are Hank Weisman, Chris Desa, Michael Amburgey and Bobby Hanson, Melanie Mirande, Savannah Ceili Band, Michael Maddox and Cynergy. The evening also features part one of the “Noteworthy Art” silent auction, the sale of several Gretsch guitars, some signed by celebrities and others transformed into unique art objects by leading Savannah artists.
There are two big events on Oct. 10. At 2 p.m. will be the finals of the “Youth Song Writing Competition” held at The First Presbyterian Church, 520 E. Washington Ave. This is the culmination of a contest between youth (under 20 years old) from Savannah-Chatham County and Georgia counties adjacent to Chatham as well as Jasper and Beaufort counties in South Carolina, for the best original song in the acoustic folk tradition.
Winners divide $1,000 in prizes from event sponsor, AMR Music. The first place winner is also given the opportunity to present the winning song on Oct. 11 at the Festival’s grand finale.
The second event on Saturday is the “Old Time Country Dance” from 8-11 p.m. at Notre Dame Academy gymnasium, 1709 Bull St. Beginners and contra dance veterans are welcome to have a great time. Guest caller Seth Tepfer will lead and Jay Unger and Molly Mason will play the music. Not a dancer? The music alone is worth the visit!
For more information, go to www.savannahfolk.org on the web or call (912) 786-6953.