Fresno Folklore Society

A Non-Profit Corporation for the Traditional Arts

Fresno, California

Artist Profile


    Alan Hubbart


OLDIES BUT GOODIES or back to the days of Anarchy:


Aunt Lindell was the inspiration for Alan Hubbart to learn American folk music.  Aunt Lindell loved to sing, as did most of her many brothers and sisters, Alan's aunts and uncles.  Alan himself began playing guitar and singing at the age of 14.


I asked Alan which folk artists most inspired him and he said, "The Library of Congress!"  He applied his fabled intellect to folk music and leaned as much as he could about its history.  Sing Out! Magazine was one of his main sources.


Alan learned how to fingerpick the guitar with a group of like-minded fellows--Sam Williams, David Lane, and Linda Halk's brother.  He recalls listening to concerts given by the original Fresno Folk Music Club.  Jon Adams was one of his favorite performers of that time period.  Alan Hubbart began performing in 1975.  His first gig was for the Fresno Folk Music Club at a small club at Maroa and Weldon, a building that is now a day care center.  Lang Russell was also playing that evening. 


Alan became President of Fresno Folklore Society in 1981, and served for about three years.  Alan, what was your greatest accomplishment as President?  "I kept it running and I mediated fights!"  His favorite out-of-town group during his tenure was Any Old Time String Band.  He also fondly remembers the First Camp Out at Susan Peckinpah's ranch, which occurred during his Presidency. 


Asking Alan if he had anything further to add about his Presidency, he quipped, "It was a thankless task!"  What is your advice to the next president?"  I asked.  Alan replied, "Remember, remember everything!"  And do you have a parting comment?  "Come to Sweet's Mill!"


I remember Alan chairing all Folklore Society meetings with a smile.  He managed  to keep things moving, avoid controversy, dispel tension, and produce an all around feeling of fun, harmony, and camaraderie.  Everything that needed  to get done got done, but without a log of infighting.  Alan made it look easy, but leading a nonprofit arts organization is very difficult, and Alan administered the club with a lot of savoir faire!


I always enjoyed the smoothness of Alan's singing voice.  He performed a lot in the early days of the Fresno Folklore Society, often solo, but at other times with Billy Mercer, Glen Delpit, or the Whiskey Creek String Band.  The Olympic Tavern was his venue of choice.  Alan also has other talents pertinent to the Folklore Society.  He can dance, and he can act and he has great wit.  He was a mainstay in the Christmas plays and the Atomic Antics, often being the leader in the "Folksong Army," which performed in a lot of Tom Lehrer parodies.


Alan has been unable to play guitar since his stroke (Alan contracted cerebral vascilitis and high blood pressure in 1988 followed by a stroke in 1994 which paralyzed his right side).  He still attends every concert.  "I love em," says he.  He then made a point of saying, "Losing my ability to play didn't alter my love of music."


Alan is a very determined individual and plans to keep improving his physical situation.  Much of his paralysis of has right side has improved spontaneously.  He can now use his right side, he just has "to be sure it works."  He insists on keeping mobile.  In fact, this interview was delayed a month because he broke a rib climbing up in his trees and trimming them.  His project for this year is to play the guitar again, and I for one am looking forward to that!


Reminiscing during this interview reminded both of us that the Folklore Society is beginning to become a long-lived institution.  The Fresno Folklore Society will be 25 years old in 2002!  Alan and I both agreed we should have a very large concert party.  I asked him for his wish list of performers and he replied, "David Strong, Jon Adams, Harry and Cary, and Kenny."  My own wish list would be a reunion of any band or group that was performing during the birth of Folklore Society.  It would be a hoot! 

Sue Beevers



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