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Folk or Not?

GUEST,Phil - ATC 10 Sep 09 - 11:46 AM
the fence 10 Sep 09 - 11:57 AM
GUEST,Arthur Stiffy 10 Sep 09 - 11:58 AM
Cleverthreads (inactive) 10 Sep 09 - 12:01 PM
GUEST,Phil - ATC 10 Sep 09 - 12:13 PM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 10 Sep 09 - 12:17 PM
Spleen Cringe 10 Sep 09 - 12:20 PM
GUEST,Arthur Stiffy 10 Sep 09 - 12:26 PM
frogprince 10 Sep 09 - 12:33 PM
Santa 10 Sep 09 - 05:49 PM
GUEST,Phil - ATC 10 Sep 09 - 07:23 PM
Jack Campin 10 Sep 09 - 08:09 PM
michaelr 10 Sep 09 - 09:28 PM
sing4peace 10 Sep 09 - 09:35 PM
GUEST 11 Sep 09 - 01:47 AM
GUEST,Phil - ATC 11 Sep 09 - 04:06 AM
Tug the Cox 11 Sep 09 - 07:07 AM
Howard Jones 11 Sep 09 - 07:29 AM
GUEST,Steve Sullwold 11 Sep 09 - 09:22 AM
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Subject: Folk or Not?
From: GUEST,Phil - ATC
Date: 10 Sep 09 - 11:46 AM

Hi all

Sorry if this seems like a bit of self promotion - it really isn't I promise, more a request for some views.

I'm the percussion player for a Berkshire roots band called All Things Considered - www.myspace.com/atcuk

We've recently released our first album and I've obviously been booking gigs to promote this.

My dilemma is knowing where we sit musically, in what genre or style. Many people have labelled us as a folk band, which is great - however when approaching folk clubs for possible performance slots many have come back saying we are 'too contemporary'.

I was wondering when the word folk morphs in to something else? At what point does an act who people say sound like a folk band become too contemporary? We are completely acousitc - not an electric instrument in sight, however our lyrical style doesn't come from the tradition at all, favouring personal original lyrics.

Any views on where you think we are genre wise would be most welcome. When you're talking about your own project it's always difficult to be objective - however having been a regular reader of this forum I know the folks on here will hopefully be able to offer an unbiased opinion - not of the musical content or performance (I'm not asking to have our material reviewed), but of the style and genre.

Any help would be much appreciated.

Cheers

Phil

www.myspace.com/atcuk


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Subject: RE: Folk or Not?
From: the fence
Date: 10 Sep 09 - 11:57 AM

enjoyed listening to the tracks on myspace. Adding a few traditional folk songs, and some not so traditional folk songs would probably make a bit of a difference. Balancing things out so to speak.


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Subject: RE: Folk or Not?
From: GUEST,Arthur Stiffy
Date: 10 Sep 09 - 11:58 AM

"We are completely acousitc - not an electric instrument in sight, however our lyrical style doesn't come from the tradition at all, favouring personal original lyrics."

Hi, you've clearly provided the answer to your own question.

The more stringent mudcat hardcore UK trad folkies will read that and probably not even bother listening
to your 'my space' music;

let alone consider booking your band for their local 'Folk' club.


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Subject: RE: Folk or Not?
From: Cleverthreads (inactive)
Date: 10 Sep 09 - 12:01 PM

Like the fence, I thoroughly enjoyed listening to your music. A nice balance in the playlists is aways a pleasure to listen to.
I'm waiting for the "Who Defines 'Folk'???? " and "The Folk Process" crowd to descend on this one, I hope they don't, of course, but the chances are....


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Subject: RE: Folk or Not?
From: GUEST,Phil - ATC
Date: 10 Sep 09 - 12:13 PM

Thanks for the comments so far - knew I could rely on the folks on here for some quick answers before I leave the office!

Like I said - it isn't for promotional purposes that I've posted this, although I'm very glad some are liking what they hear. I've wondered long and hard how to catagorise ourselves when writing press releases etc, and its the fact we've been turned down by folk clubs, yet been billed and reviewed as a 'folk band' that is the confusing thing here.

Ref: GUEST,Arthur Stiffy - You're right, I may have answered my own question, but is that the case across the board? I honestly don't care if people read that statement and don't listen - they are well within their right to do so and that comes down to personal preference and taste.

However, does it mean that because we don't have any trad material (something we're looking in to currently 'the fence') that we're not considered folk and so therefore cannot be considered for a club?

Does that same logic apply to festivals - as within the next month or two we'll be putting press packs out to all the festivals, like many other artists do at this time of year - will this be a waste of our time targeting the folk festivals?


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Subject: RE: Folk or Not?
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 10 Sep 09 - 12:17 PM

You're looking for a label for marketing and promotion. Lot's of people tell you that you sound like Folk. Others say that you sound too contemporary for Folk. What about "Contemporary Folk"?


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Subject: RE: Folk or Not?
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 10 Sep 09 - 12:20 PM

Can't listen at work but will do when I get home. However, in the meantime, if you don't want to call yourself folk or indeed don't play folk, howzabout "acoustic music"? You can always point to a few influences on your promo material...


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Subject: RE: Folk or Not?
From: GUEST,Arthur Stiffy
Date: 10 Sep 09 - 12:26 PM

Thorny questions of genre/marketing definition aside.
I've just listened to a couple of your tracks
and now make a practical suggestion that you contact the booking organizer @

Burnham-on-Sea Folk Fest & Ritz acoustic club

http://www.folkfest.co.uk/

I attended this festival last weekend and am well aware of their support
for diverse 'folk/roots' oriented performers;
and consider your band to be a strong contender for a Saturday night
at next years Festival.


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Subject: RE: Folk or Not?
From: frogprince
Date: 10 Sep 09 - 12:33 PM

Phi, you might want to consider moving to the U.S.; you might be easier to market here, at least within the nitch market that still exists for folk. (Yes, I'm speaking with tongue in cheek, but I think with an element of truth).

Over here, I guess the billing for you would be "contemporary folk and folk rock". Whatever anyone calls it, you sound good to me; I'd book you if I were in a position to. I just might order an album.

I do find your lyrics tend to run to what gets castigated as "naval gazing". Don't throw out the material on your web page, but how about adding "an old fashioned love song" or two, and maybe something that's primarily light humor, to shake up the mix?


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Subject: RE: Folk or Not?
From: Santa
Date: 10 Sep 09 - 05:49 PM

Not all folk clubs insist on traditional material, so you needn't rule out folk clubs because the ones you've contacted so far were unsympathetic. Many clubs are open to contemporary work.

I would normally expect to find a range of material at a festival, so you should have many opportunities there.

It probably would help to find sympathetic organisers (and potential audiences) if you had some kind of "label" for what you do, however vague and ill-defined.


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Subject: RE: Folk or Not?
From: GUEST,Phil - ATC
Date: 10 Sep 09 - 07:23 PM

Thanks very much indeed, all your comments and advice are greatly appreciated.

I should say that even though we have been turned down by some folk clubs, there have been folk evenings that have booked us and do promote the more contemporary side of the genre - so I think it would be a case of, as you say looking them up.

Cheers


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Subject: RE: Folk or Not?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 10 Sep 09 - 08:09 PM

I would suggest not assigning yourselves to any specific genre - insisting WE'RE FOLK, WE REALLY ARE is just going to piss people off and make them start looking for excuses not to listen to you. As other people here have said, many (perhaps most) folk clubs don't insist on the people they book doing any very specific genre of music.

I would also suggest finding something other than MurdochSpace to showcase your stuff. No way in hell am I ever going to look at your site there. It just makes you look like a spotty-teenager garage band if you use that rather than a proper site of your own.


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Subject: RE: Folk or Not?
From: michaelr
Date: 10 Sep 09 - 09:28 PM

Crow Sister nails it with "Contemporary Folk". "Contemporary Acoustic" may also be a possibility.

Jack Campin, I share your feelings about Murdoch and his empire of shite, but you are mistaken if you believe that MySpace is populated only by "spotty-teenager garage bands". Just about everyone who's anyone has got a MySpace page these days.

Cheers,
Michael


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Subject: RE: Folk or Not?
From: sing4peace
Date: 10 Sep 09 - 09:35 PM

I've seen a lot of folks who fall into your category describing themselves as "Americana".


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Subject: RE: Folk or Not?
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Sep 09 - 01:47 AM

Crow Sisters suggestions are good.

Since you write your own material, "Original Acoustic" might also do.

Good luck
Ernest


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Subject: RE: Folk or Not?
From: GUEST,Phil - ATC
Date: 11 Sep 09 - 04:06 AM

Thanks a lot for the continued suggestions, it's given me a lot to think about, and has all been extremely helpful.

I've found 'contemporary acoustic' seems to be too broad a term, as we've used that in the past, although quite honestly that is probably the one that best defines us. Maybe I'm looking for the ideal tag, like 'contemporary acoustic' or 'contemporary folk' - however as has been suggested, the possibility of labelling us as acoustic music, with influences ranging from folk to Americana etc could be better.

Like I say, lots to think about and I'll be putting all your kind suggestions to the rest of the band for continued discussion.

Ref: Jack Campin - I appreciate your issues with Myspace, believe me I don't shout from the roof tops that we have a Myspace page, however as a tool to use with promoters and people who want instant information on a musical act, I still find it cannot be beaten. The ability to be able to listen to an artists material, read some biog info, look at pictures, video footage and a list of gig dates all on one page is a pretty useful tool, whether you agree with the situation or not.

We do have an official site, however due to my original discussion point, I needed to provide something where our material could be sampled to answer the question. Had I listed our official site, the chances are I wouldn't have got such a helpful response. I also didn't want to turn this in to a self promoting post - I needed the help, and have received it, hence submitting the single most useful link for people to comment on the post in question.

As Michaelr suggested, the majority trying to forge, or indeed who already have a career in music, in whatever genre you care to think of, probably has a Myspace presence. In the era of free internet advertising, I actually think its foolish for an up and coming act like us not to - whatever the ethics may be.


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Subject: RE: Folk or Not?
From: Tug the Cox
Date: 11 Sep 09 - 07:07 AM

How about 'A bit like Folk unless you're a purist'.


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Subject: RE: Folk or Not?
From: Howard Jones
Date: 11 Sep 09 - 07:29 AM

"Folk" is too broad a term to allow easy definition, which is why at any time there is usually at least one thread discussing what is and what isn't folk. For some people, what you do is "folk", for others it isn't.

I would suggest you look at the sort of guests a club has booked in the past to get an idea of whether your music would suit them or not. Every club is different.


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Subject: RE: Folk or Not?
From: GUEST,Steve Sullwold
Date: 11 Sep 09 - 09:22 AM

I have found from my experience that some clubs or venues cater to traditional music only, some coffeehouses to a mix, some to singer/songwriters and other venues to a particular crowd that frequents that place. There are no specific rules.
Traditional people seem to shy away from people with their own material unless they are known personally to them. I have a friend who ran a venue in New England who noticed that bluegrass and folk audiences were mutually exclusive, and couldn't get over it.
What wins out is talent and sticking to it: paying dues. In the meantime, you can enjoy your music and share it with whoever. Get known as being people who are willing to show up going anywhere to play and cultivate connections.
Good luck.


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