A Look At The Folk Americana Roots Hall Of Fame Inaugural Class Of Inductees

[The following is from the official press release.]

The Folk Americana Roots Hall of Fame (FARHOF), Boston’s living music museum and newest cultural and educational initiative inside the Boch Center Wang Theatre, announced its inaugural class of inductees. The first induction ceremony for recipients and their families will take place in mid-April 2024. Living and deceased artists, songwriters, record executives, managers and concert promoters tied to elevating Folk, Americana and Roots music were all eligible.

Celebrating the lifeblood of America’s musical and cultural heritage, the inaugural class of 29 was selected by a designated nomination committee. This committee includes industry experts, whose collective experience reflects an eclectic mix of genres, geography, gender, race, and roles as well as FARHOF’s Board of Directors which consists of artist and industry advisors.

Folk, Americana and Roots music has paved the way for generations of musicians and activists who use their voices to speak their truth, address social justice issues, and act as modern-day troubadours reporting on the human condition. FARHOF offers a glimpse into the rich tapestry of these genres and the profound impact it has had on society.

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The inaugural class and categories include:

Solo Legacy Artist – A solo legacy artist is a performer whose initial impact on the genre was at least 45 years prior to the year of Induction. 

  • Odetta
  • Pete Seeger
  • Woody Guthrie
  • Lead Belly
  • Richie Havens
  • Josh White
  • Oscar Brand
  • Johnny Cash
  • John Prine
  • Jean Ritchie
  • Gordon Lightfoot

Solo Living Artist  A solo living artist is a contemporary performer whose initial impact on the genre was at least 25 years prior to the year of Induction. 

  • Joni Mitchell
  • Bob Dylan
  • Joan Baez
  • Mavis Staples
  • Willie Nelson
  • Emmylou Harris
  • James Taylor
  • Taj Mahal
  • Bonnie Raitt
  • Ramblin’ Jack Elliot

Duo or Group of Musicians  The Duo or Group of Musicians are performers whose initial impact on the genre was at least 25 years prior to the year of Induction. 

  • Peter, Paul & Mary
  • The Band
  • The Byrds
  • The Weavers

Non-Performer – The Non-Performers category includes supporting musicians, songwriters, managers, publishers, historians, producers, etc.

  • Albert Grossman (former manager to many musicians in the folk music scene)
  • George Wein (jazz promoter, pianist and producer as well as founder of Newport Jazz Festival and co-founder of the Newport Folk Festival and instrument in the founding of the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.)
  • Betsy Siggins (Founding member of the Club 47 venue now Passin in Boston; assisted in creating the Festival of American Folklife and founder of the New England Folk Music Archives/Folk New England.)

Paul Robeson Artist/Activist Award – Non-performing industry professionals who have had a major influence on the social justice that has impacted culture. This award is dedicated to those with the same integrity asPaul Robeson, the epitome of the 20th-century Renaissance man. He was an exceptional athlete, actor, singer, cultural scholar, author and political activist. Today, more than one hundred years after his birth, Robeson is just beginning to receive the credit he is due.

  • Frank Hamilton – (American folk musician, member of The Weavers and co-founder of Old Town School of Folk Music.)
Wang Theatre/FARHOF Lobby

“When we created the Folk Americana Roots Hall of Fame, identifying the inaugural class and those after was going to be a big part of our initiative with focus on preserving these important genres and the history they created,” said Joe Spaulding, President and CEO of the Boch Center and founder of FARHOF. “The diverse inaugural class reflects activism and social justice that shaped our world today, and we look forward to inducting these national treasures into the Folk Americana Roots Hall of Fame.”

The Folk America Roots Hall of Fame is a cultural and education initiative of the Boch Center located inside the Wang Theatre at 270 Tremont St. Boston, Massachusetts. Geared to music lovers of all ages, FARHOF offers educational offerings to ensure legacies are honored, and new musical traditions are nurtured for generations to come. These genres of music have historically provided an outlet for individuals of all races, classes, and locations to express their joys and sorrows.

Through exhibits, lectures, concerts, educational programming and more, Boston’s new cultural destination continues to advance this mission for people of all ages. Recent and current exhibits include Bruce Springsteen: Portraits of an American Music IconLegends of Folk, Americana, RootsArlo Guthrie: Native Son; Life in Six Strings; Don’t Think Twice: The Daniel Kramer Photographs of Bob Dylan, 1964-65Boston: A Music TownThe Wang Theatre: A Century of Great Music; historic artifacts from David Bieber Archives and the Cultural Heroes sculptures on loan from Alan LeQuire Galleries in Nashville, TN.

Featured photo: The Cultural Heroes Sculptures by Alan LeQuire

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