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Location: Lafayette, Indiana, United States

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Oh it was a funny little thing...

Ah, folk music. I think it's a bit of a love/hate relationship for me. I love Bob Dylan from the early '60s to today... but at the same time I greatly prefer his songwriting after he started to stray from the typical folk song structure. I respect Woody Guthrie's work and his great importance as a songwriter, both in the folk music scene and outside it- but at the same time it's not a body of work that I can find myself truly appreciating. Much the same logic stands true for me when considering Springsteen's latest foray into the area, We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions. I listened to a few of the tunes on the album, thought to myself "yeah, he's definitely on it. I see why he's getting all the raves with this one" and will probably never listen to a bit of it again. But hopefully you're not here in hopes of catching some folky Boss tracks, because that's not what I'm rambling about here.

What is folk? Allmusic defines it as "simple, acoustic-based music that spins everyday events and common people into mythic status." But with so many years passing since the peak of the folk music movement in the '50s and '60s, it seems that more and more musical styles and artists that would not typically be considered of the folk genre could be grouped as such according to this loose definition. Is it an element of political topics that could also be considered important to folk music? This limitation or at least definition makes a lot more sense to me than just putting forth the fact that songs are acoustic-based and of a storytelling nature. Adding to this query, we've also come to determine a seemingly ridiculous segmenting of this individual category- urban folk, progressive folk, folk-pop, and let's not forget "anti-folk." Right.

I recently stumbled upon a compilation album of "underground folk" songs selected by Devendra Banhart (you know, the "folk" artist) and while I've only listened to it passively, it's got some great tunes that are light and lo-fi, but at the same time worthwhile listening. Some of the more well-known artists present include Iron & Wine, Joanna Newsom, CocoRosie, Antony of Antony & the Johnsons, and Devendra himself. Many of the songs have a timeless quality both in their instrumentation and in the vocal styles themselves. The album, The Golden Apples Of The Sun, was released as a 1,000 copy limited edition given away free with Arthur magazine in 2004. If you like songs that can be described with words like "understated, haunting, and sincer" there's a good lot of tunes to be enjoyed here...

And since it is limited edition and out of print, I really don't have a problem with sharing the whole album if anyone's interested. Just leave a comment if you'd like it...

Vetiver- Angels' Shame

Joanna Newsom- Bridges and Balloons

Six Organs of Admittance- Hazy St.

Iron and Wine- Fever Dream


Anonymous noelle said...

the iron & wine song makes my world; thank you so much (:

4:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i'd definitely be interested if you'd put up the golden apples comp. it's more than just dry-old folk to me.

- robyn

7:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

that comp is more than dry-old folk i mean to say. i know where you're coming from. i usually prefer the electric side of say bob dylan or fred neil.

- robyn, again

7:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ooooooooh, if you would consider putting the whole thing up it would be lovely. thanks a bunch!


5:42 AM  
Blogger kc said...

I admire your fortitude. I don't have the patience for most folk-related music. And not to say I hate it, but I rarely like an entire album.

7:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

post that album!!

love and other indoor sports.

2:16 PM  
Blogger jspaceman said...

Already did- check June 15th's entry...

3:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now get rid of all your worries about getting answers to questions you have about life is fun. We've done your work for you and it's all here, ready for the reading.

7:07 PM  

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