Scott Alarik’s ‘Revival’ portrays the rise and fall of folk musicians

Scott Alarik knows a thing or two about the folk music scene. Maybe that's why so many critics and music enthusiasts alike love his new book, "Revival".


Journalist, folk musician and author Scott Alarik (Photography by Asia Kepka)

Alarik is a journalist, folksinger and author who grew up in Minnesota. He covered folk music in the Boston Globe for over 20 years and also spent many a night playing music in the Minneapolis West Bank scene of the late sixties and seventies.

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Recently Alarik spoke to Heartland Radio's Mike Pengra. He said while the characters in his new novel are fictional, their lives are based on the experiences of musicians he's known.

For example [the character] Nathan Warren is this middle-aged songwriter who sees himself as a complete failure because he hosts this open mic and folk music jam session at a little pub in North Cambridge. What happened to him was that he signed a major label deal, he was everybody's pick for the next sure fire star, the record is made, word of it gets around that it's going to be a masterpiece and then there's a staff shake-up at the label. The guy who discovered him is gone and there's nobody there who can take credit for that album if it becomes successful.

And this is a story that's happened to several people I know. It's almost a cliche term in the music industry - "staff shake-up at the label" - as part of the reason that the promising career of an artist or a band was destroyed. I mean [the label makes] money on fewer than five percent of their products, so there are incentives to have write-offs.

You can here the rest of Scott Alarik's interview here, or by clicking on the audio link below: