Better Late Than Never


March 03, 1991|By Elizabeth Large

Kenn Roberts wears a T-shirt that reads "You're only as old as the music you sing," but in his case that's not quite true. Yes, his music is folk music from the '60s. Kenn is a member of the Hard Travelers, a folk group that broke up three decades ago to pursue more conventional careers -- and then got back together five years ago.

So although you might argue that the members of the Hard Travelers and their music are somewhat middle-aged, that's not how staff writer Patrick McGuire and various music critics see it. Other "folkies" from the '60s may have done their songs to death, but the Hard Travelers' music has a freshness to it that only comes when you haven't been singing together for 30 years.

It was this freshness that first got Patrick interested in the Hard Travelers' story. He'd heard them on the radio off and on since they'd gotten back together, and he was struck by the fact that they've only been getting better.

"What also attracted me to them," he says, "was the idea of guys in their 50s still having a dream -- a dream usually associated with people in late teens or early 20s. The other thing that impressed me was the sense of hope you get from their music, from the tone. Even if you don't like folk music, you couldn't listen to it and feel anything but hopeful and upbeat."

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