In Defense Of Folk (Hold the Yodelers)
When you hear the word "folk," what comes to mind? Maybe a colorful, full skirt, or a bunch of old men dancing around in strange, feathered hats.
In other words: too frightening to handle.
The thing is, though, folk at this precise moment does not mean the same thing as it would if one might chance upon it in the dictionary.
Folk, or rather, Indie Folk, is an often overlooked and underrated musical phenomenon, that, in fact, is now a burgeoning genre.
Are you in disbelief? It's true: the banjo and the mandolin are making a comeback, but not in the old bluegrass-festival-way where people sell moonshine and are brimming with frolicking, naked families.
Indie folk is present and ever growing in such a subtle way that you might not even know you're listening to it.
Take Mumford and Sons, for example. They're a very popular band: more specifically, a very popular indie folk band. Didn't know they dabble in folk? Well, you're not alone.
Because we're waist-deep in the age of Pop and Dance Music, most people simply lump the vest-wearing Brits into the Rock or Alternative category. Nevertheless, they stand firm as "old souls" and are forerunners in the resurgence of indie folk: a group that includes artists such as Bon Iver, Fleet Foxes, and even Bright Eyes (at times).
Mumford and Sons' foot-stomping, banjo-plucking sound touched every corner of the San Pedro Harbor last Spring, and be assured, there were no gap teeth or horses to be seen. The band, along with Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros and Old Crow Medicine Show came together at the end of the concert and sang together onstage. Marcus Mumford, lead singer and front-end of Mumford and Sons, said to the audience, "This is what we've been doing for the entire tour. On our train rides, we just get together, grab whatever instruments we can find, and just have one big jam session." Just imagine Britney Spears or T-Pain saying the same thing.
This is what music is about, and what listeners want to hear from their music idols. You don't want to hear Jimi Hendrix say that his headband is Givenchy or Cher thank the heavens above for the discovery of Autotune.
The audience wants to know that the people who deliver music are always making music, and loving every minute of it.
Indie folk hits somewhere deep inside, and elicits from you a visceral human reaction that can't be ignored. Hearing the beauty and collaboration of pure vocals over an acoustic instrument is simply and naturally beautiful, and should not be forgotten in the wake of computer-made Dubstep or House.
This doesn't mean that you should undermine any genre of music--of course, one person's Debussy could be another's Metallica--but folk is a different, calming musical experience that should not be swept under the rug.
So do not fear the bearded bass players and the long skirted fiddlers; they may just be the one thing that rips out from you an undiscovered, foot-stomping folly.
Reach Natalie here.
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