By Margit Resch
Do you know Rebecca Folsom? She has relatives and friends in Beaufort, and I thought you may have had the good fortune to hear her play and sing for them on one of her visits from Colorado. Then you would already know that she is an amazing singer, an amazing guitarist, an amazing songwriter. You will have another chance to hear her again, to be entranced by her incredible voice, by her masterful skills as a guitarist, by her halo of beauty, and by her message of love and peace when she comes to Fripp Island on Sunday, April 24.
Rebecca has ambitious goals when she writes, composes and performs her poetic and, oh, so beautiful songs about life with all its joys and sorrows, about love and heartbreak, freedom and redemption, about her ardent wish that all of us work together towards a united world community, toward peace on earth. “My aim is to awaken and uplift people, it is important to look at the realities going on in the world today, socially and politically, but it is equally of value to laugh and spread comfort and joy.” And Rebecca certainly knows how to reach those goals, especially how to spread comfort and joy, happiness and laughter, believe those lucky people who’ve already heard her. “I want to help people, in whatever form I can,” she says, “break down barriers, to help people free themselves to live more openly, authentically, and with confidence that their dreams are possible and truly valued.”
And what a voice! It spans nearly four octaves, flows from lilting tenderness to unbridled release, has the soulfulness of Etta James, the abandon of Janis Joplin, and the folksy characteristics of Joni Mitchell, all qualities reminiscent of old Appalachia and bluegrass artists.
The stories Rebecca tells in her songs, especially in her latest album Sanctuary, reflect her own transformational, heart-breaking and heart-warming journey, a journey from homeless girl in Boulder, where she suffered poverty and loneliness, gender inequality and addiction, to widely-admired and richly-rewarded musical performer and songwriter.
By now she has twenty-five years of touring success and ten wonderful CDs. Her own songs have ranked as high as number 4 on the national Folk DJ chart. “Better Times” was named number 1 Best Folk Song. Her music, be it Rebecca solo or with her band (the Rebecca Folsom Band is composed of five ultra-talented musicians steeped in Southern Delta grooves), have attracted thousands of fans to venues like BBC Radio, television in Ireland, Nashville’s Bluebird, Opryland, New York’s Bitter End, Tin Pan South stages, the Red Rock Amphitheater in Colorado, and the Falcon Ridge Music Festival in Texas.
Her reviews, both by the audience–given the usual standing ovations–and by the critics, are, without fail, excellent. “Rebecca is a wonderful singer with a great range and a fine array of original tunes,” says Sam Bush, mandolinist and recent inductee into the International Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame. And KUNC Radio raves: “Very few musicians can take you from tender ballads to a knock-you-to-your-knees blues. Rebecca does – she is a performer to watch.”
Rebecca’s talents are not limited to music, to being a songwriter and a touring musician. Not surprisingly, she has published two books of inspirational poetry. And she is an accomplished painter who has shown her work in numerous art galleries. She has also been teaching song-writing and conducting workshops on the Art of Vocal Freedom. A renaissance woman, amazing in every way.
But, Rebecca muses, “What thrills me most is being on stage singing, with people connecting and loving the music, having their hearts opened, dancing, singing along. I absolutely love it.”
Come to Rebecca Folsom’s concert, if you have met her already or not, and have her open your heart on Sunday, April 24, 5:00 pm in the Fripp Island Community Centre, 205 Tarpon Blvd. Admission at the door is $30 for adults (credit cards accepted), students free thanks to the Peg Gorham Memorial Fund. You are invited to a meet-the-artist reception after the performance, catered, deliciously, by Harold’s Chef Services. This concert is presented by the Fripp Island Friends of Music, supported by the SC Arts Commission, and it helps fund FIFOM’s Music-in-the-Schools program. FIFOM is most grateful to the Fripp Island Golf and Beach Resort for their sponsorship of this concert. See our website frippfriendsofmusic.com for more information, and call Vanessa Peñaherrera at (704) 807-0255 for reservations.