Folk Alliance Lifetime Achievement Awards will be presented to Bob Dylan, Elizabeth Cotten, and The National Council for Traditional Arts (NCTA) on the opening night of the 2010 International Folk Alliance Conference, February 17, 2010 in Memphis. Early Bird Registration and Official Showcase Entry Deadline Nears for 22nd Annual International Folk Alliance Conference

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Attached is a press release announcing Folk Alliance Lifetime Achievement Awards will be presented to Bob Dylan, Elizabeth Cotten, and The National Council for Traditional Arts (NCTA) on the opening night of the 2010 International Folk Alliance Conference, February 17, 2010 in Memphis. Also, Early Bird Registration and Official Showcase Entry Deadline Nears for 22nd Annual International Folk Alliance Conference. Important details are included in the attached release. Please contact Alexandra Felgar at 901-522-1170 or by email at Alex at folk dot org with any questions or media inquiries. Thank you.

Greatest Artists of All Time

Folk Alliance International is proud to announce that the recipients of the 2010 Elaine Weissman Lifetime Achievement Awards will be Bob Dylan, the late Elizabeth Cotten, and the National Council for Traditional Arts (NCTA). The annual awards will be presented on Wednesday, February 17 as part of the opening day of the 2010 International Folk Alliance Conference in Memphis, TN. Past recipients have included Pete Seeger, Mavis Staples, Earl Scruggs, Rounder Records, The Carter Family, Alan Lomax, The Newport Folk Festival, Woody Guthrie and many others including last year's recipients Phil Ochs, Guy & Candie Carawan, and The Old Town School of Folk Music.

The 2010 Folk Alliance Lifetime Achievement Award recipients are:
***Bob Dylan has been described as one of the most influential figures of the 20th century, musically and culturally. Dylan was included in the Time 100: The Most Important People of the Century where he was called "master poet, caustic social critic and intrepid, guiding spirit of the counterculture generation". In 2004, he was ranked number two in Rolling Stone magazine's list of "Greatest Artists of All Time". Dylan biographer Howard Sounes placed him in even more exalted company when he said, "There are giant figures in art who are sublimely good--Mozart, Picasso, Frank Lloyd Wright, Shakespeare, Dickens. Dylan ranks alongside these artists.
Initially modeling his style on the songs of Woody Guthrie, and lessons learnt from the blues of Robert Johnson, Dylan added increasingly sophisticated lyrical techniques to the folk music of the early 60s, infusing it "with the intellectualism of classic literature and poetry". Paul Simon suggested that Dylan's early compositions virtually took over the folk genre: "[Dylan's] early songs were very rich ... with strong melodies. 'Blowin' in the Wind' has a really strong melody. He so enlarged himself through the folk background that he incorporated it for a while. He defined the genre for a while."

***Elizabeth Cotten had retired from the guitar for 25 years, except for occasional church performances. It wasn't until she reached her 60s that she began recording and performing publicly. She was discovered by the folk-singing Seeger family while she was working for them as a housekeeper. While working for a brief stint in a department store, Cotten helped a child wandering through the aisles find her mother. The child was Penny Seeger, and the mother was Ruth Crawford Seeger of the Charles Seeger Family. Soon after this, Elizabeth again began working as a maid, caring for the Seegers' children Mike, Peggy, Barbara, and Penny. While working with the Seegers she remembered her own guitar playing from 40 years prior and picked up the instrument again to start from scratch.
Her songs, especially her signature track, "Freight Train," written when she was 11, have been covered by Peter, Paul, and Mary, Jerry Garcia, Bob Dylan, Devendra Banhart, Matt Valentine, Laura Veirs, His Name Is Alive and Taj Mahal. Shortly afterwards, she began playing selected joint shows with Mike Seeger, the first of which was in 1960 at Swarthmore College. One of her songs, "Ain't Got No Honey Baby Now," was in fact recorded by Blind Boy Fuller under the title "Lost Lover Blues" in 1940. Over the course of the early 1960s, Cotten went on to play more shows with big names in the burgeoning folk revival. Some of these included Mississippi John Hurt, John Lee Hooker, and Muddy Waters at venues such as the Newport Folk Festival and the Smithsonian Festival of American Folklife.
Elizabeth Cotten died in Syracuse, New York at the age of 92 on June 29, 1987.

***The National Council for the Traditional Arts (NCTA) is a private, not-for-profit corporation dedicated to the presentation and documentation of folk and traditional arts in the United States. Founded in 1933, it is the oldest folk arts organization in the nation.
NCTA programs celebrate and honor arts that are deeply rooted cultural expressions - music, crafts, stories and dance passed down through time by families, communities, tribal, ethnic and occupational groups. The NCTA stresses quality and authenticity in presenting traditional artists to the public in festivals, national and international tours, concerts, radio and television programs, films, recordings and other programs.

The early bird registration deadline for the 2010 International Folk Alliance Conference, held in Memphis, Tennessee February 17-21, 2010, is Thursday, November 19 for official showcase entry and Tuesday, December 1 for early bird registration.

Through the Folk Alliance website, Folk Alliance members may purchase a full conference package for $325. Membership is also available from our website. If you register by mail, please make sure your registration is postmarked no later than December 1.

The first artists confirmed to showcase at the 2010 conference are 8 Ball Aitken (Brisbane, Australia), Act of Congress (Birmingham, AL), BettySoo (Austin, TX), The Border Blasters (Fort Davis, TX), Pippa Drysdale (London, England, UK / Australia), Archie Fisher (Galashiels, Scotland, UK), John Fullbright (Okemah, OK) , Chic Gamine (Winnipeg, MB / Montreal, QC, Canada), Susan Gibson (Wimberley, TX), James Hand (West, TX), David Hyams and the Miles To Go Band (Fremantle, Western Australia), The Jack Stafford Foundation (Amsterdam, The Netherlands), Bill Jackson & The Acoustic Orchestra (Melbourne, Australia), Jansberg Band (Copenhagen, Denmark), Jeni & Billy (Jewell Ridge, VA), Martyn Joseph (Cardiff, Wales, United Kingdom), Will Kimbrough (Nashville, TN), The Lee Boys Sacred Steel Review (Tampa, FL), Unni Løvlid (Oslo, Norway), Kirsty Mcgee (Manchester, United Kingdom), Paul McKenna Band (Glasgow, Scotland, UK), Danny O'Keefe (NYC, NY), David Olney with Sergio Webb (Nashville, TN), Tom Pacheco (Woodstock, NY), Thom Schuyler (Nashville, TN), John Spillane (Cork, Ireland), Richard Thorne (New York City, NY), Nibs Van Der Spuy (Durban, South Africa), Andy White (Belfast, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom), Tommy Womack (Nashville, TN) and others. Artists wanting to showcase in Performance Alley (official showcases) should submit immediately, with a definite deadline of November 19, 2009, via mail or online through Sonicbids. Artists' discounted registration price ($250) will be honored until January 4, 2010 for both selected and unselected artists. Over 200 artists will showcase during the conference. All registration and showcase entry forms are available on our website,

With over 1,800 attendees in 2009, the Folk Alliance conference has become the annual "town hall" of the folk community, offering a complete view of the business world of traditional and contemporary folk music and dance through showcases drawn from every possible genre of folk, as well as films, workshops, and a networking-rich tradeshow. The conference also provides an avenue for members to conduct business, connect with their peers, and simply recharge their batteries for the coming year.

Recent Folk Alliance conferences have included appearances from Rodney Crowell, Bela Fleck & Abigail Washburn, Kathy Mattea, James Burton, Jim Lauderdale, Albert Lee, The Carolina Chocolate Drops, Roger McGuinn, John Sebastian, Ian McLagan, Tommy Ramone, Rosalie Sorrels, Guy Clark, Victoria Williams, Charlie Louvin, Jim Dickinson, Chris Knight, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Arlo Guthrie, Alvin Youngblood Hart, The Duhks, Wendy Waldman, Susan Cowsill, Ronnie Cox, Hazel Dickens, Gretchen Peters, Tom Russell, Jimmy LaFave, Chad & Jeremy, Justin Townes Earle, Keith Sykes, Eliza Gilkyson, The Roches, The Lovell Sisters, and many more.

We also encourage you to be in Memphis on Wednesday for all of our Pre-Con events including special intensive workshops: Trad University and Song School, Opening Party Exhibit Hall Sneak Preview, Special Feature Shows, Private Showcases, and our annual Folk Alliance Honors and Lifetime Achievement Awards.

Folk Alliance Mission: Folk Alliance International exists to foster and promote traditional, contemporary, and multicultural folk music, dance, and related performing arts in North America. The Folk Alliance seeks to strengthen organizational and individual initiatives in folk music and dance through education, networking, advocacy, and professional and field development.


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Alexandra Felgar