Roz Larman took over the helm of FolkScene, widely considered one of the preeminent folk radio shows in the U.S., following Howard’s death in 2007. With her at his side as co-producer, he had hosted and steered the program since its first broadcast on February 3, 1970. With the support of her son Allen and his wife Kat, as well as program engineer Peter Cutler, she continued the tradition that he had established – presenting a weekly program of traditional and contemporary music that aired Sundays at 6 p.m. on KPFK and at various times on other stations. Several collections of the show’s in-studio performances were released on Red House Records.
James Lee Stanley recalls first meeting Roz and Howard Larman at McCabe’s Guitar Shop in Santa Monica. “They came to a show of mine before I had a record deal,” said Stanley. “We hit it off immediately, and they invited me to be on their show. Through the years and through the various labels, I was on the show probably 20 times. [It was] always fun and always ended too soon — as did Howard’s life. With him gone, Roz took over the whole show and carried the torch. She played whatever music she thought was valid, and her home was a monument to music.”
The veteran performing and recording artist recalled: “She went through thousands of CD’s to find music that resonated for her. I have a button that reads, ‘If Roz likes it, it’s folk music.’ She knew her audience and she knew that if she liked it, they would like it. FolkScene turned us all on to so much music that we might have missed in this corporate world.”
Stanley also recalls how years after meeting the Larmans, he bought a house in the [San Fernando] Valley that turned out to be just blocks from where Roz lived. I started calling her when I was at Trader Joe’s to see if she needed anything,” he said. “I checked on her whenever I was off the road. I became her handyman and one of her go-to guys in an emergency.”
Roz was “like a sister to me,” he said. “I don’t believe her space will be filled by anyone else. There’s a piece of my heart missing and it’s in the shape of Roz Larman.”
Dan Navarro, best known for his work with the acoustic duo Lowen & Navarro and the Grammy-nominated song “We Belong” (as sung by Pat Benatar), views Roz and Howard Larman as “simply the heart and soul of West Coast folk, the music, the scene, its very presence.”He noted that, through the years, “Their Pacifica radio show … presented practically everyone in folk-roots-singer-songwriter music, from legends like Tom Paxton, Loudon Wainwright, Jackson Browne, Kate Wolf, Tom Waits and the McGarrigles, 1980’s keepers-of-the-flame like Bill Morrissey, John Gorka, Cliff Eberhardt, Shawn Colvin, to genre crossers like Peter Case, Dave Alvin and Lucinda Williams, to relative newcomers like Antje Duvekot, Dar Williams and the DittyBops, and hundreds more.”
Continued Navarro: “Their blessing could, in a single stroke, engender unshakable credibility in artists whose folkiness could be considered marginal or tenuous. That was our experience in Lowen & Navarro. Indeed, as was uttered more than a few times, if Roz liked it, it was folk. Such was her taste and gravity. While we know the circle of life and art and community will continue to turn, the void Roz’s passing leaves can simply never be filled.”
Allen Larman, Roz’s son, has announced on the program’s website (www.folkscene.com) that “Folkscene will continue as a collaboration between longtime program engineer Peter Cutler, Deborah Hand-Cutler, Kat Griffin and myself. We plan to bring you the same quality programming that Roz and Howard brought you, which will include new interviews, live concerts and all of the latest new releases.”