I Believe I’ll Go Back Home: Roots and Revival in New England Folk Music

Bright Leaf. May 2021. 232p. ISBN 9781625345660. $90; pap. ISBN 9781625345653. $22.95. MUSIC
Ostensibly covering the great folk revival and coffeehouse scene in Boston and Cambridge, MA, from 1959 to 1968, Curren (chairman of the board, Folk New England) brilliantly expands that moment—which he calls “a lucid interval in a delusional age”—into a history and analysis of 300 years of the folk tradition in the United States, including the crucial contributions of Indigenous peoples, enslaved people, and colonists. The author covers the folk scene with diligent analysis, an archivist’s eye for detail, and anecdotes aplenty, capturing the imagination and engaging the intellect. Ultimately, the book is about America writ large, the power of our best (and worst) selves, and the role of music in inspiring, reflecting, and recovering the ideals of various times and people. In this time of discord, Curren hits exactly the right note.
VERDICT Curren’s work is both historically important and vital reading for the present moment. Our need for a spiritual and cultural revival is, it would seem, as essential and natural as our need to sing. Highly recommended.
Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing