Book Review: ‘Revival – A Folk Music Novel’ by Scott Alarik

Scott Alarik Revival cover.jpg

by Matt Watroba, FolkAlley.com

‘Revival: A Folk Music Novel’ by Scott Alarik
(Peter R. Randall Publisher)

Meet Kit Palmer. We’ve all seen her. She’s that nervous young singer/songwriter at the open mic who is clearly better than the rest — you know, bound for the next level. We also know the guy running the open mic. Nathan Warren had his chance at the next level, but the drinking, and the behavior that often accompanies it, stopped him just a little bit short. He’s not bitter, just tired. So sets the scene for Revival: A Folk Music Novel, Scott Alarik’s adventure into the world of fiction.

We recognize the characters in Revival because they are true. Scott Alarik has been an integral part of the folk music community, both as a writer and performer, for several decades. His observations on the music and the people who make it have graced dozens of publications through hundreds of published pieces. He knows the world folk music and he knows that it has never been the backdrop of a work of fiction…until now.

Revival is a multi-tiered love story. As the relationship between Kit and Nathan develops, so does a revival of the love and understanding of the roots and branches of the music. In true symbiotic fashion, Nathan is able to rediscover the power and wisdom of traditional music while passing that wisdom on to Kit. Kit is able to overcome her fears of performing and strengthen her writing by absorbing the wisdom and experience of a guy who’s been there. The result is a well-crafted novel set in the environment of house concerts, recording studios, the back room of the bar, the after-party, the dance — the places that actually make up the contemporary folk music scene.

Interspersed among the various plot lines are stories and insights into the real world of folk music and the craft of songwriting. These observations serve to both lend credibility to the novel, and to make it appealing to lovers of fiction and lovers roots music.

Scott Alarik has discovered something here. The folk music community provides a rich backdrop for fiction. Let’s hope this is the first of many works that exploits that in the best possible way.

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