Dean of American Balladeers


in I Wonder as I Wander

Published by University Press of Kentucky

Published in print August 2010 | ISBN: 9780813125978
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780813135564 | DOI:
Dean of American Balladeers

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Niles's flourishing career created an extraordinary lifestyle. When he turned 67, he became the “dean of American balladeers.” On October 5, 1946, Niles made his debut at New York City's Town Hall. Niles's performance was an experiment, being scheduled as the debut of a new series billed as “Music at Midnight.” The New York Times review described his performance style, focusing on his eccentric but effective vocal delivery. Niles's participation in the Newport Folk Festival reveals his ambiguous role within the urban folk revival. He was at once on the leading edge of the revival and not really part of it—an eccentric who was simultaneously embraced and excluded as an “original.”

Keywords: domestic life; New York Times; dean; American balladeers; vocal delivery

Chapter.  5542 words. 

Subjects: Social and Cultural History

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