Bok, writer-musician unite

Posted Sept. 19, 2011, at 9:23 p.m.

CAMDEN — Writer and folk musician Scott Alarik will present his novel “Revival” and performing music at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 6, at the Coffeehouse at the Camden Public Library. Alarik will be joined by Gordon Bok for an evening of songs, stories and readings from Alarik’s folk music novel. Admission is $10 at the door.

Alarik said he was honored, but not surprised, when Bok agreed to take part in the Camden show. “I covered folk music for the Boston Globe for over 20 years, and I honestly don’t think New England has produced a better folk singer than Gordon Bok. But he is also one of the most gracious artists I know, always willing to shine his light on other people’s art. That’s rarer than you might think, but folk music has always been a community garden to Gordon, a shared legacy. I tried to capture that spirit in ‘Revival,’ because I think it’s a crucial thread that connects the best modern folk music to the old songs that were passed from singer to singer, generation to generation. Folk music is still folk’s music, everybody’s music.”

For the past 25 years, Alarik arguably has been a prolific and influential folk music writer in the country. He covered folk for the Boston Globe, contributed regularly to public radio, including seven years as correspondent for the national news show “Here and Now,” and wrote for many national magazines, including Sing Out, Billboard and Performing Songwriter. From 1991 to 1997 he was editor and principal writer for the New England Folk Almanac. In 2003, his first book, “Deep Community: Adventures in the Modern Folk Underground,” was published.

Now, Alarik has written “Revival,” the first novel set in the folk world of the 21st century.

“Revival” is set in Boston’s modern folk scene and is being embraced as no New England book in memory. The Harvard Square Business Association officially named September Revival Month in Harvard Square.

Bok will swap songs with Alarik, who will offer readings from the book. Bok is a fan of “Revival,” calling it “just about the warmest, most nourishing book I’ve read,” he said. “Such deep lessons in loving, and so well told; it sticks to me like a layer of skin. It has the authenticity of Ruth Moore’s books about the Maine coast; there’s a great authority based on experience and accomplishment. No one who hadn’t walked the walk could have written this book. I love being let into a world like that.”

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