Jack Warshaw

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Jack WarshawJack Warshaw (born 1942 in New York City) is an American folksinger, songwriter and musician. He moved to England in 1965 to start a career as an architect but stayed because both the music scene and the Vietnam War intervened. See Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack_Warshaw

Jack's love and understanding of American folksongs is as long and deep as his journey through time. His musical journey began in New York's Greenwich Village and developed in southern Ohio. At 16 he attended Weavers concerts at Carnegie Hall, New York. Early influences include the Seegers, Guthrie, Doc Watson, Tom Paley and traditional musicians, like Mississippi John Hurt, the Carter Family and Dock Boggs. In Greenwich Village he sang at the legendary Gerde's Folk City and Bitter End, in the company of then hopefuls like Bob Dylan, Tom Paxton, Eric Weissberg, Judy Collins, Fred Neil, Jo Mapes and Peter Paul and Mary, and greats like Josh White and John Lee Hooker. Mentored by the great Ed McCurdy, he shared gigs with the young Mamas and Papas, Jose Feliciano and Happy Traum. He met and learned from Peggy Seeger, Pete Steele, Walter Hensley, Mississippi John Hurt, Dave Van Ronk and many others. Influences included Pete Seeger, The New Lost City Ramblers, Doc Watson, Dock Boggs, Uncle Dave Macon, Leadbelly the Foggy Mountain Boys and the Tarriers.
Jack worked with Ed McCurdy before moving to England in the sixties folk boom. He performed at the London Singers Club, working with Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger until 1973. Writing and singing with Combine Theatre, resident performer Knave of Clubs, West London Folk Club, and Court Sessions followed through the 1980s. A growing family brought a gradual turn from musical to architectural heritage. But the past few years have seen the scales tip once again towards the old passion- performances, new songs and albums. In England he generally performs solo, occasionally touring both sides of the Pond with soulmate, Texan singer/writer Stuart Michael Burns.
He has an ear for melody, harmony and arranging in old time styles. His lyrics are explicit, often provocative, and dangerous. He loves authenticity- Mike Seeger and the Ramblers; the songs of Woody, Pete and Peggy, Paxton and Van Zandt; the artful stories and blues of Stuart Michael Burns.

He plays several fingerpicking guitar styles, finger and clawhammer banjo, autoharp and Appalachian dulcimer. Many original songs, like the celebrated “No Time for Love” often strike at injustice, but there are love, comic and reflective songs too. His range and interpretation of Guthrie songs alone could fill an evening. Now entering his 7th decade, he retains a powerfully earthy voice, instrumental dexterity and the surprise of new material at every performance. Jack is winning new, younger followers with material strongly connected to its original roots as well as new songs. He likens his other career, working with traditional buildings to traditional music. Enduring songs include the If They Come in the Morning (No Time for Love), The Grape Pickers and The Kent State Massacre. The 60s and 70s 'angry young man' goes deep into authentic American folk sounds alongside his own songs, building rapport with audiences in club settings. "I try to pass on what I have learned over 50 years with passion that keeps faith and touches the soul," he says. "I find that precision and pacing pays off, musically and emotionally. Everyone who's met me knows that folk songs are one of the three great passions of my life." A few people I've met, worked with, and been inspired by: (in no particular order) Pete Seeger, Peggy Seeger, Mike Seeger, Tom Paley, Barbara Dane, Irwin Silber, Stuart Michael Burrns, Ed McCurdy, Dave Van Ronk, Ewan MacColl, Mississippi John Hurt, Clarence Ashley, Christy Moore, Rev Gary Davis, Bob Dylan, Eric Weissberg, Walter Hensley, Cass Elliot, Sarah Grey, John Faulkner, Sandra Kerr, Donal Maguire, A L Lloyd, Leon Rosselson, Jean Ritchie, Roy Bailey, Charles Parker, Seamus Ennis, Doc Watson, Ravi Shankar, Alan Lomax, Mick Maloney, Frankie Armstrong, Jesse Fuller, Hedy West, Happy Traum, Finbar Furie, Paul Brady, Townes Van Zandt, the People of No Property and others I'm still trying to remember...

"I grew up in New York City, discovered folksongs in my teens through The Weavers and Pete Seeger concerts and inhabited Greenwich Village in the early 60s. As a student in southern Ohio I was drawn to authentic Old Time sources, started a folk song club, ran weekly "hoots," formed a trio and played my first gigs. Summers saw me back at Village magnets like Folk City and The Bitter End, meeting and playing with rising singers and writers at gigs and festivals. Moving to England, I resisted the Vietnam War, joined Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger’s Critics Group, sang, wrote, acted, and toured. In 1973 I formed Combine Theatre with other Group members, writing and performing topical songs and plays. Burning the candle at both ends, it was urban planning and historic conservation by day, clubs and concerts by night- until family duties brought new priorities.

Nearly everything on this 1979 album is real performance, not layered tracks and engineering. After my first child was born I gradually stopped touring but didn’t forget the songs. Some of my songs got taken up and recorded by others, notably "If They Come in the Morning, " AKA "No Time for Love" by Christy Moore. Now my family’s grown and I’m back, performing, writing and working on the next album. Was that the Golden Age of folk? I like to think there’s more depth to it now, less commercial nonsense. Me? I’m still looking to present unflinching, passionate, uplifting, thrilling, sometimes angry songs about real people fighting injustice, real stories, songs with staying power. Technology may capture every sound ever made, but nothing beats real sessions with friends and soul mates. I’ve been lucky enough to meet and learn from some of the great legends in folkdom, some now gone.

I owe them.


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