As the 21st annual Folk Alliance Conference wrapped up a 4-day run in Memphis, it became ever more apparent that the global underground music scene is becoming less about singer-songwriters, and more defined by highly energized, creative performers that criss-cross and variety of genres.

That’s not to say that there was any shortage of terrific songwriters—established touring artists such as amilia k. Spicer, Jim Photoglo, Amy Speace, and Lara Herscovitz were at the top of their game, and long with dozens of others. At the same time, numerous fresh and up and coming groups grabbed the attention of the agents, radio DJs, and fans on hand. Among the many new school artists who gave memorable performances were Lisa Haley and the Zydecats from L.A. and Boston’s Bull Mosse and the Unbuttoned Zippers. Highlights of the event included the keynote address by Roger McGuinn and thursday’s feature showcase by John Sebastian (photo), whose stage presence and ability to relate to the room well demonstrated why people still line up for his shows. As is typical of the FA conferences, each day was a mix of educational workshops and skill sharpening sessions, networking in the exhibit hall and music making that goes well into the early morning hours. In total, over 2000 were in attendance for this year’s gathering proving that even in a down economy, music is a necessity. For more information on Folk Alliance and it’s regional counterparts, visit folk.org

Originally posted 2009-02-23 01:32:25.