If you ask most casual music fans, they might tell you the 1980s was the decade when folksingers were off hiding away, the genre was sleeping, or it had just disappeared inexplicably - replaced in the mainstream by bubblegummy pop singers and new wave rock bands. But, while mainstream music went to town with the electric synthesizer, there were actually legitimate singer-songwriters stirring up some serious energy in New York's Greenwich Village.
What became known as the Fast Folk crew started out as something called Songwriter's Exchange at the Cornelia Street Cafe in the late 1970s. (Yes, during the disco era.) Eventually, this weekly gathering of serious folksingers grew and evolved into a fiercely independent crowd known as the Fast Folk artists. Learn more about Fast Folk, who was part of the scene, and how they're continuing to influence the direction of contemporary folk music.
Shawn Colvin photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images