Stumbling on folk musician Coyote Grace reminds me of an image of masculinity I have always loved, and the one I have been dancing around though I have forgotten about it. The archetype I am thinking of is the folk singer.
The folk singer can be radical, like me. He can be a fighter, and organizer. He feels the stories of others deeply, and collects them, as Utah Phillips said, and scatters them around wherever he goes. In fact, also as Phillips said, he has a social responsibility to do such. The stories want to move, they want to be told, and told well. He puts enormous value in the thoughtful communication of experiences, lessons, ideas and histories.
The folk singer inevitably has the tools of his trade with him, or nearby. A banjo, a guitar, a mandolin. Perhaps a drum, a harmonica. Or something more exotic.
He works, and often his music is informed by the jobs he takes to support it. The folk singer is always at work, he always has an ear open and is ready to make someone laugh or feel the possibilities of life with a story.
His clothes are work clothes: he wears a simple t shirt sometimes. Boots often. Jeans, or wool trousers, or maybe corduroy if he’s feeling luxurious. Shirts are often button-up, with collars. They might need some ironing. While the folk singers is a performer (of storytelling) like I am a performer (of gender), he does get on with his life aside from that. He might like a particular vest more than he likes his clothes to match every single day. He might want to wear that old hat more than he wants to look perfectly clean cut. But he appreciates a well-tied tie, and may keep his shirt tucked in. He wears those dorky big wireframe glasses. I don’t know what it is about string instruments that make people want to wear them, but if he wears glasses they are inevitably wire-rimmed.
The folk singer might be physically strong, through genetics, or hard labor, or dedication. He may just as likely focus all his power and agility into the muscles of his throat, his chest, his hands. The hands are rough from the use of his instruments. He touches his lovers with care, or not. He charms many with his songs and stories and uses he own guidelines to decide which offers to take. The folk singer’s vocabulary is extensive enough to say what he wants, but he is never excessive in his words. They are just the tools he uses to build his stories.
Old Man Luedecke
(Actually I’m somewhat embarrassed at putting something so silly up for public viewing but I am going to swallow my pride and do it anyway. That’s what blogs are for, as I understand it.)