ROSELAND, NJ — The Roseland Public Library invites area residents to enjoy a program by New Jersey author and historian Michael Gabriele on his new book, “New Jersey Folk Revival Music – History and Tradition,” a chronological narrative on the evolution, traditions and history of folk revival music in New Jersey.
The event is free and open to the public. Copies of the book will be available for sale throughout the evening on Friday, March 24, beginning at 6 p.m.
“It was very nice that the library invited me to do a presentation,” said Gabriele, who is a Nutley native and resident of Clifton. “I’ve been very fortunate—even with my last book, I’ve gotten a lot of offers to speak at historical societies and libraries so it’s very nice and it’s quite an honor.”
According to Gabriele, the Garden State is home to major events that feature folk revival music and attract thousands of people, such as the New Jersey Folk Festival and the Delaware Valley Bluegrass Festival—both of which are held annually and were founded more than 40 years ago. In addition, he said there is a thriving folk-revival music scene throughout the state that features performances at coffeehouses, taverns and concerts.
“If you ask most people, they wouldn’t think that folk music is such a big deal here in New Jersey,” said Gabriele. “That’s one of the reasons why I wanted to write the book—to let people know the NJ has this really expensive and substantive history of big accomplishments and events in the whole folk music genre.”
Gabriele’s book, which came out in December, underlines the notion that folk revival music is a “living history” that builds upon time-honored traditions. The book documents the Garden State’s vast contributions to this musical genre and examines the effects of folk revival music on local history and culture, as well as how it has changed the lives of those on stage and those in the audience.
He said that New Jersey was an important chapter in many artists’ careers, and hopes that sharing this knowledge with area residents will give them a sense of New Jersey pride.
“Generally speaking, as New Jersey residents, I hope the people take away and appreciate the story that I have to tell—that folk music is a big and vibrant enterprise here in New Jersey,” he said.
With 190 pages with more than 80 photos, Gabriele’s book begins in the colonial days of tavern revelers and fiddle players in the 1700s and moves to the acoustic sounds heard throughout New Jersey’s Pine Barrens; to the advent of the “Guitar Mania” phenomenon in the mid-1800s; to monumental recordings made by Woody Guthrie, the Carter Family, Paul Robeson, Jimmie Rodgers and Cecil Sharp at the Victor studios in Camden during the early 1900s; to inspirational concert performances by legendary artists Joan Baez, Pete Seeger and Bob Dylan; to the development and growth of music festivals and organizations throughout the state; to the rise of bluegrass and new grass music; to the achievements of world-class New Jersey musicians.