This is something that was briefly discussed in another thread that then kind of went pear shaped when it became more about recriminations and axe grinding than free and frank discussion. I thought it was an interesting topic and I'd like to chew it over some more if anyone is interested.
Some people have said, on this forum and elsewhere, that all a recording is is a frozen moment in time (or turning water into ice, as it was recently described). This seems to me to be a downgrading of recordings of folk music to nothing more than a document or a souvenir of a live event: a pale echo of the real thing, which is live performance. I think that's an okayish approach for live albums, but is that really all that studio recordings of folk music should be? Is there not space for them to be valuable artifacts in their own right?
I quite like the approach that some performers take, where the studio itself becomes another instrument and where studio projects are treated as entirely different kettles of fish than gigs. Different arrangements, instruments, textures, vibes can be experimented with and stuff can be tried out that may not be possible without great expense or at least all the right people around at the right time in a live setting. I think that at times - possibly because of adherence to notions of authenticity, simplicity and 'folksiness' - performers in the world of folk might end up producing unneccessarily rudimentary albums that may be authentic, but can also sound a bit dull when their performances are taken away from the live context.
I was going to give a couple of examples but I don't want to unfairly point fingers at individual performers when it is primarily an issue about taste and preference. But as someone who is not in a position to get to gigs as often as I'd like, I don't want to feel I'm getting second best with recorded music.
Is it just me? Should I get my coat?