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Noni
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xx What is American folk?
« Thread started on: Sep 25th, 2016, 2:24pm »

I tried to look this up and more confused then ever.

My assumption so far, is a mixture of different genres. Am I right?
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Noni
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xx Re: What is American folk?
« Reply #1 on: Sep 25th, 2016, 5:09pm »

Surprised!, no response?
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xx Re: What is American folk?
« Reply #2 on: Sep 25th, 2016, 5:37pm »

When I think of American folk, I think of names like Pete Seeger and Woody Guthrie – and that’s just a tiny tip of the iceberg, because a lot of American folk repertoire are songs that were written in the mid 1800s to the 1920s by performers whose names are long forgotten and now credited as “Traditional.”

I think you’re also correct in suggesting there is a lot of crossover - elements of blues, jazz, spiritual, country, and who knows what else – maybe Celtic or bits of other stuff that came from overseas.

I don't consider myself a folk music fan, though I am quite fond of a number of artists from both North America and the UK who have either re-reworked and re-recorded those types of songs or been greatly inspired by that genre - Bob Dylan being an obvious one.


« Last Edit: Sep 25th, 2016, 5:39pm by Witchwood » User IP Logged

Noni
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xx Re: What is American folk?
« Reply #3 on: Sep 25th, 2016, 10:06pm »

Thanks Witchwood!.. smiley

The reason for this question was on Prog/archives site, the Eagles were classed as American folk , which to me sounded rather strange to me.
« Last Edit: Sep 25th, 2016, 10:07pm by Noni » User IP Logged

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xx Re: What is American folk?
« Reply #4 on: Sep 26th, 2016, 06:28am »

I can imagine the difficulty on sites like ProgArchives to label bands that are more hybrid than anything.

I put the Eagles in the same category as The Flying Burrito Brothers and Poco - bands that played a mix of country-tinged rock/pop.

But I suppose for the people who run ProgArchives, labelling the Eagles as American Folk adequately does the trick since it establishes the band is from the US. there is some country/folk influence in their music, and they are not progressive rock.
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xx Re: What is American folk?
« Reply #5 on: Sep 26th, 2016, 10:09am »

American Folk music covers a fairly broad range of styles and genres, but it all relates to one specific theme, music that is inherently American in origin.

The Eagles come from a music lineage that incorporated American country music with modern pop and rock, but I think classifying them as "American Folk" is a bit of a stretch. I think a group like The Band is probably much closer in influence and style to more traditional American Folk, and most of those guys are Canadian. grin
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xx Re: What is American folk?
« Reply #6 on: Sep 26th, 2016, 11:53am »

on Sep 26th, 2016, 10:09am, HENRY wrote:
and most of those guys are Canadian. grin


and so are Neil Young and Gordon Lightfoot, who also seem to fit into this category.

The Wild Mountain Thyme is one of these classic American folk songs, that Witchwood was referring to. It was covered by Joan Baez, who offers quite a natural rendition of this song but also by the Byrds, who gave it their usual jingle jangle treatment with some extra strings on it.

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xx Re: What is American folk?
« Reply #7 on: Sep 26th, 2016, 12:56pm »

on Sep 26th, 2016, 11:53am, slowdancer wrote:
and so are Neil Young and Gordon Lightfoot, who also seem to fit into this category.

The Wild Mountain Thyme is one of these classic American folk songs, that Witchwood was referring to. It was covered by Joan Baez, who offers quite a natural rendition of this song but also by the Byrds, who gave it their usual jingle jangle treatment with some extra strings on it.

Well, "folk" music isn't in itself American. Everyone has some form of native singer/songwriter.

The lines get very blurred when attempting to make these types of definitive distinctions.
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xx Re: What is American folk?
« Reply #8 on: Sep 26th, 2016, 1:10pm »

Probably this term will be confusing for a lot of non-Americans who think that the traditional North American music is country. I myself didn't know for a long time about these so called "old songs" which preceded country music. In turn, I've seen Americans referring to European traditional music styles as "European country music" (or more specific as "German country music", "Austrian country music" etc. which is a misnomer if you refer to our traditional music since there is really a country music scene here too who adapted American country music and put German lyrics on it. It's one of the smallest niches in music history though.)
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xx Re: What is American folk?
« Reply #9 on: Sep 26th, 2016, 1:24pm »

on Sep 26th, 2016, 1:10pm, Schrottrocker wrote:
Probably this term will be confusing for a lot of non-Americans who think that the traditional North American music is country. I myself didn't know for a long time about these so called "old songs" which preceded country music. In turn, I've seen Americans referring to European traditional music styles as "European country music" (or more specific as "German country music", "Austrian country music" etc. which is a misnomer if you refer to our traditional music since there is really a country music scene here too who adapted American country music and put German lyrics on it. It's one of the smallest niches in music history though.)


Folk and country music are really two completely different pairs of shoes, although American Country music probably has its folk roots.

Even Germany has its genuine folk music, which has nothing to do with Helene Fischer for instance.

« Last Edit: Sep 26th, 2016, 1:27pm by slowdancer » User IP Logged

Noni
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xx Re: What is American folk?
« Reply #10 on: Sep 26th, 2016, 7:17pm »

This has cleared a few things up! smiley

Wonder what other new genre we can come up with.
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xx Re: What is American folk?
« Reply #11 on: Sep 26th, 2016, 9:50pm »

on Sep 26th, 2016, 7:17pm, Noni wrote:
This has cleared a few things up! smiley

Wonder what other new genre we can come up with.


Trance Hop. I don't know what it is. A friend told me about it.
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xx Re: What is American folk?
« Reply #12 on: Sep 27th, 2016, 10:16am »

on Sep 26th, 2016, 9:50pm, rael1974 wrote:
Trance Hop. I don't know what it is. A friend told me about it.


Whatever it is, it sounds like a bastard crying "Kill me!" laugh
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xx Re: What is American folk?
« Reply #13 on: Sep 27th, 2016, 9:00pm »

on Sep 27th, 2016, 10:16am, Schrottrocker wrote:
Whatever it is, it sounds like a bastard crying "Kill me!" laugh


laugh
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xx Re: What is American folk?
« Reply #14 on: Oct 3rd, 2016, 7:43pm »

Folk music can be from any cultural background. Historically it was transmitted orally (as opposed to having written notation) and often the original composer was unknown. Musicians were either self-taught or apprenticed under a master, as opposed to going through a more formal schooling program.

American folk music thus covers a huge and diverse swath. Some of it certainly has roots in European folk, but African folk music is an important basis for music in the South. Appalachian folk and bluegrass marries the two, with fiddling styles and melodies taking their cue from Irish and English folk with the banjo coming from African folk music. Wild Mountain Thyme, mentioned above as an example of American folk music, is actually Scottish in origin.

American country music also evolved out of both European folk traditions and African-American ones (the blues being an example of a folk music). So given that The Eagles were very country-influenced, you could make a very stretched argument that they come out of the American folk tradition.

All that said, when most North Americans refer to folk music, they are typically referring to a more narrow tradition that hearkens back to Woody Guthrie, Leadbelly, continues through Pete Seeger/The Weavers, continues through Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, and so on. I would even argue that someone like Ani DiFranco inhabited a more contemporary version of the genre for part of her career. The music is primarily acoustic guitar based and is strongly steeped in social-political issues.
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