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Is folk music selling out?

clairerise 13 Apr 06 - 02:40 PM
clairerise 13 Apr 06 - 02:48 PM
Once Famous 13 Apr 06 - 02:57 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 13 Apr 06 - 03:02 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 13 Apr 06 - 03:06 PM
Once Famous 13 Apr 06 - 03:14 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 13 Apr 06 - 03:21 PM
Bert 13 Apr 06 - 03:28 PM
Once Famous 13 Apr 06 - 03:29 PM
Bill D 13 Apr 06 - 03:33 PM
clairerise 13 Apr 06 - 03:37 PM
Anonny Mouse 13 Apr 06 - 03:47 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 13 Apr 06 - 03:48 PM
Effsee 13 Apr 06 - 03:49 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 13 Apr 06 - 03:53 PM
Big Al Whittle 13 Apr 06 - 04:18 PM
dick greenhaus 13 Apr 06 - 04:21 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 13 Apr 06 - 04:23 PM
number 6 13 Apr 06 - 04:34 PM
Bill D 13 Apr 06 - 04:34 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 13 Apr 06 - 04:57 PM
number 6 13 Apr 06 - 05:00 PM
GUEST,Val 13 Apr 06 - 05:06 PM
DougR 13 Apr 06 - 05:23 PM
Big Mick 13 Apr 06 - 06:59 PM
freightdawg 13 Apr 06 - 07:36 PM
GUEST,G 13 Apr 06 - 07:49 PM
GUEST,DonMeixner 13 Apr 06 - 09:01 PM
Uncle_DaveO 13 Apr 06 - 09:20 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 13 Apr 06 - 10:52 PM
number 6 13 Apr 06 - 11:35 PM
Ron Davies 13 Apr 06 - 11:57 PM
GUEST,Art Thieme 14 Apr 06 - 12:25 AM
Barry Finn 14 Apr 06 - 01:45 AM
hilda fish 14 Apr 06 - 02:03 AM
the one 14 Apr 06 - 06:29 AM
The Fooles Troupe 14 Apr 06 - 06:52 AM
GUEST,Whistle Stop 14 Apr 06 - 07:34 AM
Leadfingers 14 Apr 06 - 07:46 AM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 14 Apr 06 - 09:22 AM
Stephen L. Rich 14 Apr 06 - 10:36 AM
GUEST,Tired of "Moondance" though. 14 Apr 06 - 10:45 AM
clairerise 14 Apr 06 - 11:13 AM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 14 Apr 06 - 11:17 AM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 14 Apr 06 - 11:19 AM
number 6 14 Apr 06 - 11:46 AM
dulcimer42 14 Apr 06 - 12:23 PM
GUEST,M.Ted 14 Apr 06 - 12:54 PM
Janice in NJ 14 Apr 06 - 02:20 PM
Stephen L. Rich 14 Apr 06 - 03:23 PM
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Subject: Chord Req: Is folk music selling out?
From: clairerise
Date: 13 Apr 06 - 02:40 PM

i was watching and listening to country music yesterday on tape, from an old CMTV channel. and i came to conclusion that country has sold out and is a very poor replica of what it used to be.

I wonder if folk is going the same way?


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Subject: RE: Chord Req: Is folk music selling out?
From: clairerise
Date: 13 Apr 06 - 02:48 PM

oops. not a chord request.


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Subject: RE: Chord Req: Is folk music selling out?
From: Once Famous
Date: 13 Apr 06 - 02:57 PM

I agree country has "sold out" but people are buying and it's their money.

I say, what's the difference? I don't buy Kenny Chesny records. I listen to WSM-AM radio either on-line or through the static.

Folk music today is hardly folk music. People who call themselves folk singers and then sing a bunch of naval gazing crap that no one has ever heard don't sing folk music. they want to sell records just like everyone else, for the most part.


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Subject: RE: Is folk music selling out?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 13 Apr 06 - 03:02 PM

Folk music is not selling out. The bins at Tower Records are still pretty full last time I looked.


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Subject: RE: Is folk music selling out?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 13 Apr 06 - 03:06 PM

I have to admit, I used to complain about the naval-gazering singer-songwriters who cover themselves under the folk umbrella. Singer-songwhiners is what I called them.

The problem is, labels like I made hide the fact that there are some great writers out there. Woody Guthrie was not a folk singer either, he wrote songs. Check out artists like Johnsmith, Antje Duvekot, Tom Prasada-Rao, Erik Balkey and dozens of others.

It is hard to define what a "sell-out" is. The artists that I know and love have trouble scraping two dimes together but there music hasn't changed to fit some preconceived notion.


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Subject: RE: Is folk music selling out?
From: Once Famous
Date: 13 Apr 06 - 03:14 PM

Ron, but unlike Wooody, can these artists you mentioned ever have any hope of reaching the masses to make a real "folk song?"

I don't want to turn this into another "what is folk music" discussion, but I would compare the writers of such songs as "We all Live in a Yellow Submarine" and "Ohb Bla Dee Bla Dah" as much closer to Wooody Guthrie as a writer of folk music than many others who strive to leave an impression on how artsy and introspective they are.


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Subject: RE: Is folk music selling out?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 13 Apr 06 - 03:21 PM

I think they can. Woody lived in a different time and different circumstances. If Woody were around today, he would probably be a rap artist. (In fact, there is evidence of rap-like lyrics in the Woody Guthrie archives!)

What Woody had in his favor was a few songs that reached attention - by other artists.   The Weavers had a few hits, and of course This Land is Your Land made it into the classrooms across the nation. But it wasn't Woody's records that made him a legend.

I can think of someone like Pat Humprhies who wrote a song called "Swimming to the Other Side" that has caught on in folk circles around the globe.   True, it isn't a hit on Top 40 radio, but most of the "folk" hits that we remember from the 60's weren't either.


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Subject: RE: Is folk music selling out?
From: Bert
Date: 13 Apr 06 - 03:28 PM

I used to consider myself a folk singer but once I started writing and singing my own stuff I realised that the label doesn't always apply.

I often write songs with a kinda folky flavor. When I write personally inspired songs I try to keep them generic and applicable to everyone if I possibly can.

Then I sometimes write stuff which I hope may have some commercial appeal but that's probably wishful thinking. As Martin says I want to sell records just like everyone else. But I haven't succeeded yet and I don't see it as selling out if a song does eventually succeed.

There are some good people out there who are being noticed and they certainly deserve it.

People like "Hot Soup" and "Modern Man" - they are certainly not selling out.


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Subject: RE: Is folk music selling out?
From: Once Famous
Date: 13 Apr 06 - 03:29 PM

They didn't have to be hits, Ron

songs like:

My Ramblin' Boy
Midnight Special
Worried Man
Marching to Pretoria
Early Morning Rain
Bury Me Beneath Willow

and many more, were not "hits" but they reached a lot of people and became folk music, almost instantly. I ask if there is 6 songs that can be named from the last 25 years that can qualify as these.

"Friends in Low Places" comes to mind by Garth Brooks. What else has become instant folk music?


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Subject: RE: Is folk music selling out?
From: Bill D
Date: 13 Apr 06 - 03:33 PM

*wry smile*...as soon as money is involved, someone 'sells out' or writes what they think will 'sell'...and 'folk', just like 'country' becomes just an easy, convenient label....nothing new in this


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Subject: RE: Is folk music selling out?
From: clairerise
Date: 13 Apr 06 - 03:37 PM

on the other hand folk music could become too introspective.

i think theres a fine line between new folk and sold out folk. a lot of folkies resent anything new and thus label is 'sell out'.


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Subject: RE: Is folk music selling out?
From: Anonny Mouse
Date: 13 Apr 06 - 03:47 PM

'Course it's kinda gettin' tough to have a "folk music hit" these days, as other than a few select markets and stations, the vast majority of AM/FM radio is playing the same cruddy songs in never-ending repetition. Maybe sattelite radio is gonna be where it's "at" in a coupla years.

As to country, t'aint nothin' like it was when I grew up with the likes of Patsy Cline, Hank Williams, Buck Owens and more than a few "yodeler" types. Country nowadays is a smooth, beat-driven, homogenized pop sounding bit with so-called C/W artists all over pop music too-like Shania Twain, Faith Hill, Keith Urban, Tim McGraw, etc. etc.


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Subject: RE: Is folk music selling out?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 13 Apr 06 - 03:48 PM

Well, there is a difference between popular and folk music.   Reaching a lot of people is not the true definition of folk music, but I do understand your point as it relates to music from the folk revival.   I do feel that there are songs that have reached a folk community, and in many cases beyond, in the past 25 years.

Six songs that stand out from the last 25 years would include -

From A Distance
Swimming to the Other Side
You're Aging Well
Love is Our Cross to Bear
Luka
Another Train
When I Go
Broke Down
Seven Bridges Road

okay, that is more than 8 - and they might not be songs that everyone is familiar with. Still, I believe these are songs that are representive of the great writers and performers that are working today.   Reaching the largest group of people is not the only way to be successful. Britney Spears can wiggle her ass and sell a million copies, but it doesn't make for a great "folk" song.


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Subject: RE: Is folk music selling out?
From: Effsee
Date: 13 Apr 06 - 03:49 PM

Who are these singer-songwtriters who like watching ships? I think we should be told!!


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Subject: RE: Is folk music selling out?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 13 Apr 06 - 03:53 PM

A couple of typos and we get a visit from Shecky Effsee!   Excussse me!!! :)


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Subject: RE: Is folk music selling out?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 13 Apr 06 - 04:18 PM

selling out?

only if someone's offering to buy it


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Subject: RE: Is folk music selling out?
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 13 Apr 06 - 04:21 PM

Is it possible to stop using the word "great"? It's reached the point where it has less semantic content than "folk"


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Subject: RE: Is folk music selling out?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 13 Apr 06 - 04:23 PM

Dick, it is impossible to stop using the word. What else should would we call outstanding songwriters?


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Subject: RE: Is folk music selling out?
From: number 6
Date: 13 Apr 06 - 04:34 PM

I wouldn't say it has sold out ... 3 examples that come to mind are Gillian Welch, Neko Case and Jim White ... one has to go and search out the new and good music these days.

That is one complaint I have here about the music section in the Mudcat, I wish people would listen to and share more about new artists on the scene ... there have been some posts about Gillian, and that is good to see.

sIx


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Subject: RE: Is folk music selling out?
From: Bill D
Date: 13 Apr 06 - 04:34 PM

I talked to a few 'folk' acts...including Battlefield Band and the duo of Malcolm Dalglish & Grey Larsen...about the way they had changed their basic tone and material...including becoming louder and faster...and had it explained to me that so much of their audience was young and/or college people, that IF they wanted to continue as almost full-time musicians, they had to offer the material that expected.

Some crafty singers do manage to keep some nice 'trad' stuff in, but most real 'trad' is done outside of major concerts and where making money is not a major issue.


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Subject: RE: Is folk music selling out?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 13 Apr 06 - 04:57 PM

I've always felt that folk music was a living tradtion. Until the fiddle was introduced in Ireland, it wasn't part of "trad" music. To me, folk music has always represented time and history. It is a living tradition that needs to evolve or it will die. Music is not meant to be a museum piece.

By my comments, I am not trying to detract from anything that the collectors and musicologists have preserved. Their work is part of the process.

I'm 48 years old. My world is limited. I was very young when the folk revival was taking place. What I have been able to see is a generation of musicians with a deep respect and knowledge of where the music came from, and in turn they were able to create music that reflected that heritage and built upon it. In the 70's and 80's, I felt that songwriters began to loose touch with that background and were emulating the Bob Dylans and Phil Ochs and John Lennons of the world. In the 90s and through today, I am seeing artists that are once again reaching back to learn the styles and heritage and are creating some of the most exciting music I've ever heard.


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Subject: RE: Is folk music selling out?
From: number 6
Date: 13 Apr 06 - 05:00 PM

That's true Ron ... there really is some exciting things happening musically ... the difference is in the marketing ... the old record companies have lost touch .... not the people and the musicians.

sIx


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Subject: RE: Is folk music selling out?
From: GUEST,Val
Date: 13 Apr 06 - 05:06 PM

"Naval[sic]-gazing singer-songwriters" - sounds to me like composers of modern sea chanteys. Definitely part of the Folk Tradition.


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Subject: RE: Is folk music selling out?
From: DougR
Date: 13 Apr 06 - 05:23 PM

Number 6: the record companies have lost touch? I wonder if that's correct? It seems to me that the record companies record songs that they believe will sell. Haven't they always done that?

Classical music has been able to survive, but just barely. I think folk music of some sort will always be with us too but as to whether there will ever be another "revival" as there was in the 60's is questionable IMO.

And I don't think it's a matter of "selling out". Those who strive to make a living from performing must perform what people will pay to hear. They may be able to work in a few "oldies" along the way, but ...

DougR


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Subject: RE: Is folk music selling out?
From: Big Mick
Date: 13 Apr 06 - 06:59 PM

Listen to Jed Marum's stuff, most especially his second and third CD's, and some of his compilation stuff. By virtue of time it isn't considered folk, but it is wonderful stuff. A great bit of yarnspinnin', and given time will be remembered. I think we confuse commercial success with great writing.

I can remember all the arguments about whether PP&M were sell outs. They really got me interested in folk music, and I always noticed when I went to see them that all the folkies were there. Interesting thread.

All the best,

Mick


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Subject: RE: Is folk music selling out?
From: freightdawg
Date: 13 Apr 06 - 07:36 PM

In addition to defining the term "folk", you also have to define the concept of "sell-out." What totally repulses me about contemporary "country" music is that the sound is completely the same from performer to performer. No one has a distinct sound. There is no "Man in Black." No "Whispering Bill Anderson." No southern crooning of Charley Pride. Everyone is a cookie-cutter reproduction of each other. Same ripped t-shirts, same faded, holey pants. Same vanilla lyrics. Instead of taking on the establishment and saying "This is who I am and I am going to do my music this way" (a la Cash) they listen to the music producers and "sell out" to the machine. Trying to make a buck by using your talents to me is not a sell out. To me, being a sell out has more to do with your soul than your pocketbook.

Doesn't anyone want to express their independence anymore?

Freightdawg


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Subject: RE: Is folk music selling out?
From: GUEST,G
Date: 13 Apr 06 - 07:49 PM

I was a very, well, fairly young person in the mid sixties and spent weekend after weekend engrossed with folk music.

We saw a group in person a couple weeks and I was mesmerized. I think they get listed under 'Americana' but I am not sharp enough to know differences and probably don't need too. The group is called "ANDRIENNE YOUNG AND LITTLE SADIE" and she had a fiddle player, a guitarist, uprught bass and a drummer with 2 snares and a couple cymbals. Loved it! Whose is familiar with opinions, please.

She played guitar and banjo.               Adrienneyoung.com


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Subject: RE: Is folk music selling out?
From: GUEST,DonMeixner
Date: 13 Apr 06 - 09:01 PM

I will maintain till I am reduced to atoms and scattered among the four winds that folk singing has nothing to do with the song but everything to do with the simple act of singing where and when ever you wish. For no particular reason.

Some songs are more suitable for the act of just singing. I doubt we'll ever have anyone do an accapela version of Thriller about the fire as the summer closes. BUt I have heard a simply delicious version of Midnight Train to Georgia done by a fire at the High Falls Leanto
in New Yorks Adirondack Mountains. Sung by some girls that were working out of the Paul Smiths Forestry College.

It ain't the song, the tradition is the singing.

Don


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Subject: RE: Is folk music selling out?
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 13 Apr 06 - 09:20 PM

Ron Olesko said (about the word "great"):

Dick, it is impossible to stop using the word. What else should would we call outstanding songwriters?

I got it! I got it!

Call them "outstanding songwriters"!!!! Now there's a fresh idea, don't you think?

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: Is folk music selling out?
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 13 Apr 06 - 10:52 PM

I think if there were more buyers, there'd be lots of folkies ready to "sell out."

Jerry


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Subject: RE: Is folk music selling out?
From: number 6
Date: 13 Apr 06 - 11:35 PM

They're are buyers Jerry ... there is a movement out there of young performers that are making inroads, preformers that are really in it for the music, lyrics, songs, emotions and life's experiences, not for the golden accolades ... as I mentioned it just insn't going to be found in your local records stores ... where the racks of cd's reflect the 'sellout' ... hell one can't even find a John Hartford cd in the stores around here ... ya have to buy it through the internet ... and that is how this new legion of musicians are doing it .... I have a youg nephew in Toronoto who has been playing 'electric' in bands with some success these last few years ... six months ago he abandoned the 'electric' and now has gone accoustic as a single act. He is not the only one doing so ... us older guys have to encourage these people on ... we all love the past (I certainly do) but I'm just as passionate these days about discovering new 'folk', I prefer calling them accoustic musicians as I was discovering Bert Jansch, John Prine, John Renbourne when I was in my teens. Beleive me we are living in a new renaissance of good accoustic music these days ... I urge all of us old folkies (or whatever we are) to welcome the new in ... who knows, you might find something ya like.

sIx


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Subject: RE: Is folk music selling out?
From: Ron Davies
Date: 13 Apr 06 - 11:57 PM

It's certainly true that "country" these days is just 70's rock under another name. Some of the country singers have even recognized it--in the song called "Murder on Music Row" about that phenomenon. "Someone killed country music/ Tore out its heart and soul/ They got away with murder/ Down on Music Row."

Thank goodness we can still hear the old country songs--on CD, I-tunes etc-----but not on the radio.

At least some of the new "country" songs have good lyrics--"What Part of No Don't You Understand?" , "My Give-a Damn's Busted" etc.--when they're not OD'ing on saccharine sentiments (as distinguished from real sentiment).



Folk-----There is an awful lot of navel-gazing passing for folk these days--but then there are also excellent songs (though I don't know exactly when they were written) by Craig Johnson, for instance, and Mudcat's own Jerry Rasmussen-- for instance, his "Living On the River"--is to my mind a classic that will become part of the folk tradition.


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Subject: RE: Is folk music selling out?
From: GUEST,Art Thieme
Date: 14 Apr 06 - 12:25 AM

I agree with Martin---especially in his first post to this thread.
Nothing has sold out. But it sure is different now than when I was doing what I was absolutely positive was the real thing---the real McCoy. Well, not even Deforest Kelley was the "real McCoy"----he was just THAT McCoy! And now he's dead...

Still I only considered myself to be a folksinger about 60% of time. The rest of the time I wasn't singing folksongs. But I liked those songs too.

As I've said, "The more things change, the more they get different!"----And that is in spite of the way we/I wanted things to be---and how much we/I preferred the old days or the old music or the old morality or that good old time religion!

(It's funny how this all evolves ;-)

Art Thieme

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Is folk music selling out?
From: Barry Finn
Date: 14 Apr 06 - 01:45 AM

"Sold Out"! There are plenty of folk/songwriters/singers that should sell out but it's only folk music after all & it never sold that well to begin with. There are still some standouts writing & singing what I'd call folk music that's top shelf. Buy no means navel gazers or wanna be's, you hear it & you know it. A lot of you folks have been to the getaways in the past few years so look close to home, right here & I think you'll find that it's not sold out, it's not a sell out. If anyone here has heard the songs sung by their authors, the likes of Andrew McKay, George Papavgeris, Alaska Mike & Jed Marum then you already have your answer (& they should make more than just a living wage doing it too). IMHO, there you go, it's alive as a "contempory living tradition" & as a continuum of a "traditional tradition". And no one can tell me it ain't folk!
Barry


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Subject: RE: Is folk music selling out?
From: hilda fish
Date: 14 Apr 06 - 02:03 AM

Aren't navel gazers and wannabe's part of the rich and democratic tradition that is part of both folk and country? I love the navel gazers and wannabe's as much as I love the 'outstanding' and sublime music of the many older, younger and in the middle, the heard of and the unheard of. I love it that people will get up and have a go, often arrogantly, often humbly, often in sheer good humour, often sadly, often driven by grief, or love, often just dreadful, or sublime, or totally abysmal. I love the democracy of it all including the ability to be as judgemental as we bloody well like, or not, depending on mood, education, insecurity, ability, or not. I wouldn't like it all NOT to exist. That would be the worst of all. So let the navel gazers, the wannabe's, the perfectly dreadful, the derivative '70's clones, the 'not really proper folk' and the 'not really proper country' (by the way have you noticed how folk and country are becoming more and more side by side?) exist at least. Where would be without the myriad aspects of our music?


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Subject: RE: Is folk music selling out?
From: the one
Date: 14 Apr 06 - 06:29 AM

may be; BUT WE HAVE NOT.


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Subject: RE: Is folk music selling out?
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 14 Apr 06 - 06:52 AM

Gawd - I'd sell out if someone would buy me...


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Subject: RE: Is folk music selling out?
From: GUEST,Whistle Stop
Date: 14 Apr 06 - 07:34 AM

As in other things, how you set up your research dictates what answers you get. If you go looking for "real" folk or country music on the big corporate-owned radio stations, you're bound to be disappointed. It's sort of the equivalent of looking for a good home-cooked meal at McDonalds; you won't find it there, but that doesn't mean that nobody cooks real food any more.

I think there are probably more good musicians out there -- in all genres -- than there ever were before. But they don't generally make it onto the stations that are pushing Britney, Shania, and similar products.


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Subject: RE: Is folk music selling out?
From: Leadfingers
Date: 14 Apr 06 - 07:46 AM

I cant talk about 'Folk' from any thing but a British position , as i have only spent a couple of months out of forty years in Folk on the other side of the pond . Here in UK , there have ALWAYS been the Navel gazers , as there have ALWAYS been the people who stll sing the 'old' songs , and in many cases play/sing them with a wonderful degree of freshness and enthusiasm . As far as 'Great' songs being written , in the last twenty five years writers like Jez Lowe , Tom Lewis , Eric Bogle , Robb Johnson , and (just in the last few years ) George Papavgeris are writing songs which have become 'regulars' at sessions and singarounds , NOT just in Britain , but in Australia and new Zealand too - AND to a lesser degree over in USA !


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Subject: RE: Is folk music selling out?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 14 Apr 06 - 09:22 AM

Come on Dave, don't be contrary!   Great, outstanding, superb, etc... they are all terms of endearment to artists that we love. The words people use should not be questioned, the meaning behind them should. Personally, I stand by every artist that I called "great".

There are dozens of songwriters I could name, many of them have already been noted here. One thing I have noticed is that many people are mentioning songwriters who are of an older vintage but still making good music today. Unlike most of pop music, "folk" does not have a shelf life. Tom Paxton still writes some great songs as does Bill Staines and Eric Anderson. There are also a number of "under 30's" that are making great music. If you have not heard her, look for Anais Mitchell.


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Subject: RE: Is folk music selling out?
From: Stephen L. Rich
Date: 14 Apr 06 - 10:36 AM

It kind of depends on waht you mean by "selling out". If you're talking about simply knucling under to the commercial aspects of trying to make doing this music as any substantive part of your living, then I'd say that the answer is "Sort of, but not to any destructive degree". The willingness of folkies to use the tools of marketing to push against the mainstream, as it were, has helped to keep this music available to those who want it. There are more festivals and indoor venues than ever. There are more working folkies than ever. There are more people making this music a part of thier daily lives , either by listening or by making music in thier parlors or at social gatherings than ever. The down side (and the reason that I said "sort of") is that it has also resulted in absurd and annoying meat markets like the Folk Alliance conferences, and the promotionally-minded attitude of Folk Alley (the like of which has not been seen since the proliferation of sations on the FM radio band in the early 1970's).   

    If, on the other hand, you mean that the music been completely taken over be commercial concerns the answer is "Of course not....yet." There's the tricky part. As long as we keep in mind what this music is, at its core, what it's for, and what it means to us we'll probably be just fine.

Stephen Lee


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Subject: RE: Is folk music selling out?
From: GUEST,Tired of "Moondance" though.
Date: 14 Apr 06 - 10:45 AM

Don Meixner above had it right: it ain't the song, the tradition is the singing. In my community, bluegrass and country music are the styles that are shared and learned, and when we gather at parties, people know the material. Or the shapes and forms of the material if not the songs, meaning that they can join and contribute. At parties where someone just has to pull out some idiosyncratic pop song, you can feel the energy wane from the room, and hear the diminishment of interest in the playing.

But I've been to parties where a room is devoted to swing/jazz, another to beginning folk (well known, easy songs), and another to bluegrass. The complicated culture of how to fit in among those groups is quite real, and attests to the living tradition of people making music together, whatever the style or genre; it's within reach, and comprehensible to the players gathered. It's a common language shared. The navel-gazing individualism of some writing disallows a group to identify and play it, and after a few minutes it's back to Little Maggie or some such.

I see an important division of topic in the subject of who's recording what and how they're producing/marketing it, and what's being sung in actual situations where people bring their instruments and voices and make music non-commercially.

What's being sung and played at the parties? There's your folk music.

What's on the radio, and in the stores? Maybe it'll be sung at parties down the road somewhere, but it's product on a shelf until that happens.


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Subject: RE: Is folk music selling out?
From: clairerise
Date: 14 Apr 06 - 11:13 AM

I think the biggest danger is when i have seen young people (like myself) come to folk nights and when i sometimes play things which are a tad modern/alternative-folk i have recieved bad reception.

folk should be progressive i think. not stuck in historical mire. i love it when someone comes up with a new folk sound.

i know i posted the question is folk selling out? i don't think it is. but i think the only danger of selling out is not supporting new/fresh talent with a different quirk on folk.


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Subject: RE: Is folk music selling out?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 14 Apr 06 - 11:17 AM

While I respect and agree (to an extent) with both Guest:Moondance and Don, you could take that logic another step and say that Folk music sold out when the first recording was made and when the first person shared a song with Cecil Sharp, John Lomax & crew.

Guests description of a party being diminished when someone in a group brings out a pop song speaks volumes about the people who attend that party. Gatherings are social situations and are unique to the people, geography and the time.   I've been to some brilliant parties where people sang nothing but old rock and roll tunes and had a ball doing so.

Times change and the oral tradition has changed. Technology and advances have changed the way songs and stories will be shared in future generations.

I also have to disagee with a couple of points that Stephen made. The Folk Alliance may appear to be a "meat market", but I honestly believe it is largely responsible for creating and perpetuating all the venues and festivals and gatherings that Stephen spoke of. The Folk Alliance has allowed peers to share knowledge and opportunity. The showcasing that goes on there is just a portion of the activities. It may not work for everyone but I think it is an important alliance that helps keep the music out there.


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Subject: RE: Is folk music selling out?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 14 Apr 06 - 11:19 AM

Very well said Clairerise!   Too often I hear grumblings from the "folk elders" about young people not getting involved, yet at the same time they tend to close doors to anything that doesn't fit their ideas.


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Subject: RE: Is folk music selling out?
From: number 6
Date: 14 Apr 06 - 11:46 AM

I'm with you Ron .... Very well said Clairerise ... very well said indeed.

And Ron ... thanks for mentioning Anais Mitchell. That's what I want to see (more of) here in the Mudcat ... leads to new artists, and also as someone mentioned, new music by the old. ... This is what I came to the Mudcat in the first place ... sharing of my love of music.

People shouldn't feel intimidated by the fact that know one might not like what they want to share ... we all don't have the same taste, and that is good (as hilda fish stated), but we all have one thing in common and that is our love of music.... This is what I came to the Mudcat for in the first place ... my love of music.

There has been mention in this thread about Jed Marum. I wouldn't never have discovered him if it wasn't for the Cat.   

sIx


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Subject: Adrienne Young
From: dulcimer42
Date: 14 Apr 06 - 12:23 PM

Read your message about Adrienne Young and went to her website. There are mp3 files you can listen to exerpts from. I was impressed! I just might have to purchase one of her CDs.


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Subject: RE: Is folk music selling out?
From: GUEST,M.Ted
Date: 14 Apr 06 - 12:54 PM

Folk music is music that people create to amuse themselves. And people never really "create" anything, they really borrow from here and there and mold it to fit the moment. The "selling out" process really is just molding the music to amuse a lot more people, and fit a lot more moments.

The thing is, at that point, you've made a choice to stop having a good time, and to concentrate on making other people have a good time. More profitable, but less interesting.


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Subject: RE: Is folk music selling out?
From: Janice in NJ
Date: 14 Apr 06 - 02:20 PM

I take "selling out" to mean betraying one's fundamental principles for money, fame, power, social position, or other material advantage. By that definition, some living folk musicians who have never sold out include Dar Williams, Pat Humphries, Sandy Opatow, Jay Mankita, Utah Phillips, Bernice Reagon, Holly Near, Jean Ritchie, Ronnie Gilbert, Odetta, and, of course, Pete Seeger. I will also include Joan Baez. but I know many will disagree.


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Subject: RE: Is folk music selling out?
From: Stephen L. Rich
Date: 14 Apr 06 - 03:23 PM

Ron,
you are quite right about the good done by Folk Alliance. It does, indeed, perpetuate and encourage festivals and venues. My comment about the meat market does not diminish or deny that. Folk Alliance is both enabler of venues AND a meat market. One does not negate the other. Each make the other possible.

Stephen Lee


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