I am overjoyed at the thoughtfullness displayed by all of you! thank you for responding to this recurring question with such renewed vigor!
I'm of the opinion that references made to individual composers show us some of our cultural biases. We are often more concerned with who sang a song, than the song itself. We seem to care more about the personal lives of actors and actresses than the writen role that made them famous. Yet, the reality of folk music is that the song is out distancing the singer/songwriter's persona because it speaks to people all over the spectrum,... ie... not just the "I" of the egoist, or the "them" of the propaganda spinners, or even the "we" of the preachers. The simple fact remains... alot of songs are being written, and only a few of them are really well written (tune, chords, meaning, rhyming, meter, beat etc.... all fit together engagingly)... AND are CAPABLE OF REACHING ACROSS GENERATIONS. My guess is, that this has always been the case. When people 'like' a song because it speaks to them, thats great! when people like a song and try to learn it, thats even better! Best of all is the song all kinds of people sing with.... (because it means well????)
now don't get me wrong, I love to be inspired by great players, absorbing performers, and even melodramatic schlock. entertaining,... all of them! However, the distinction could be made between entertaining, and interesting; or perhaps between the meaningful, and the search for attention. ttr