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Despite other forms of popular music distribution, companies producing records are very much part of the fabric of the genre of folk music.
Rounder Records is an independent folk/American roots label founded in 1970 in Cambridge, Massachusetts by college students. They describe their catalogue as a ‘roster who’s who of contemporary, traditional folk and roots music’.
Artists include Alison Krauss, Delta Spirit, Darol Anger, Doc Watson, Uncle Earl, Rhonda Vincent, The Steeldrivers, Madeleine Peyroux, King Wilkie, Siera Hull, the Nashville Bluegrass Band, Bela Fleck, Nanci Griffith, The Cowboy Junkies and They Might Be Giants.
To take one example of folk artists who sold a lot of records, but were equally popular on the touring circuits: The Carter Family. They inspired Johnny Cash and Dylan. Guthrie’s This Land Is Your Land melody probably came from an old Carter family tune. Their guitar picking style was unique: Maybelle played both rhythm and melody. It was album sales that financed their touring.
Eventually Maybelle’s daughter June, joined the band. She, of course, went on to marry Johnny Cash in 1968 and the song Ring Of Fire is one of several they wrote together.