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  #16  
Old 05-04-2015, 02:39 PM
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Chicago Sandy Chicago Sandy is offline
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When I was rebooting my solo career back around Y2K, what is referred to today as “indie folk” was called “alt-folk.” IOW, freer-form, acoustic (including plugged-in) guitar-driven, unconventional (for the time) strum/picking patterns, chord forms & progressions, song structure--and usually performed by singer-songwriters under 30. Lyrical subject matter usually barely differed from that of “original classic folk” or rock, for that matter.

“Indie” came into vogue when Labelmageddon began--even famous artists were being dropped by their labels, and a folkie of any stripe signed to a label (s)he didn’t own or wasn’t a co-op/collective/“boutique” was a rare breed. It signaled a “bleep-you, Establishment, we don’t need no stinkin’ label” attitude that resonated with people sick of paying top dollar for filler-laden major-label albums, as well as with the (free) Napster generation. More and more rock acts, especially college-radio-oriented, decided to forego chasing label contracts as well. Remaining labels got wise to this, and started slapping the “indie” label on similar-sounding acts in their one-to-three-deep subsidiaries’ stables regardless of genre (as well as calling anything using primarily acoustic instruments or harmony vocals “folk,” which caught on with the music press & radio as well). The apex of this phenomenon was when no-longer-label-affiliated Warren Zevon’s “The Wind” (his brilliant, swan song rock masterpiece of an album) was nominated in and won the Grammy for the “Best Contemporary Folk Album” category. By then, and thereafter, very, very few winners of that Grammy (later folded into the single descriptor “Folk”) could be called “folk” in any sense of the word.

To me, any folk act not signed to a label--whether alt-folk, original classic or even trad--is “indie.” So I find the “indie” label in folk less meaningful than I do in rock.

Then there’s “Americana.” It’s one of those you can’t really define by descriptors, but more by examples of artists and songs/recordings. More of an “I can’t tell you what it is but I know it when I hear it.” (an expression that is the late Justice Potter Stewart’s legacy).
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  #17  
Old 05-04-2015, 02:42 PM
Psalad Psalad is offline
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I really really like indie folk (and other indie forms).

To me, it just means folk music that is not tied to traditional form and/or traditional lyrical content. There were a lot of rules around folk... I don't like rules.
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  #18  
Old 05-04-2015, 02:45 PM
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Originally Posted by philjs View Post
To my mind, "indie" is a hold-over from "independent," meaning the artist didn't have a record company contract...in the large sense it had nothing whatsoever to do with the type of music being played except that "indie" artists tended to be outside the mainstream (ie. they wouldn't make a record company any money).

However, I think that the term is now meaningless because the "buy-tunes" model (instead of buy an album or a physical product) means that everyone is "indie." Very (very) few artists have record contracts these days and even many of those that do pay for their own recording in order to maintain control of their catalog. I'm sure, too, that in the minds of the record company's it's a case of "why buy the cow, when you can get the milk for free?" (why contract to pay for the recording when you can just take a slice of the releasing pie?)

Phil
I think there is also a sonic element to indie ___ music., aside for the label vs. no label. Wilco I consider to be indie rock, even if they are signed to a major. They have a particular sonic element, not sheen, a bit low fi.
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  #19  
Old 05-04-2015, 02:51 PM
Flying Orca Flying Orca is offline
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Well said, Sandy. I would add that the "folk" label itself has undergone considerable revision in the past several decades. Originally the term referred to the musical version of "folk art" - traditional, untutored in the formal schools, rarely original but never the same from one sample to another. Then people performing with styles and instruments associated with folk music started to concentrate on original writing, and the instrumentation broadened with the introduction of the electric guitar. A modern folk festival such as Winnipeg's (which is widely regarded as one of the best, and one which I've attended as a performer, as a patron, and as a volunteer) will showcase an amazing diversity of music, some of it very modern in approach with samplers and beats and manipulated sound, some of it very traditional in instrumentation and material.

The term seems to have a very loose meaning these days - sometimes it just seems to mean "mostly acoustic" or "played on instruments associated with folk music", but I've seen what I would call rock or country bands headline a folk festival to ecstatic welcomes.
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  #20  
Old 05-04-2015, 02:54 PM
Flying Orca Flying Orca is offline
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Originally Posted by Psalad View Post
Wilco I consider to be indie rock, even if they are signed to a major. They have a particular sonic element, not sheen, a bit low fi.
I'd say that's the old alt thing (in this case, alt-country) rather than a manifestation of "indieness"... which I would trace to punk's influence on popular genres. Where the DIY/punk ethic crossed tracks with country, you got alt-country; ditto folk.
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  #21  
Old 05-04-2015, 02:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Flying Orca View Post
Well said, Sandy. I would add that the "folk" label itself has undergone considerable revision in the past several decades. Originally the term referred to the musical version of "folk art" - traditional, untutored in the formal schools, rarely original but never the same from one sample to another. Then people performing with styles and instruments associated with folk music started to concentrate on original writing, and the instrumentation broadened with the introduction of the electric guitar. A modern folk festival such as Winnipeg's (which is widely regarded as one of the best, and one which I've attended as a performer, as a patron, and as a volunteer) will showcase an amazing diversity of music, some of it very modern in approach with samplers and beats and manipulated sound, some of it very traditional in instrumentation and material.

The term seems to have a very loose meaning these days - sometimes it just seems to mean "mostly acoustic" or "played on instruments associated with folk music", but I've seen what I would call rock or country bands headline a folk festival to ecstatic welcomes.
I think the act that changed the definition of “folk music” from its “folk art” roots was the Weavers--the first famous “folk” artists with classical vocal (Ronnie Gilbert) and even theatrical (Pete Seeger) experience, not to mention college educations. Nowadays, modern “folk” and “Americana” music is full of musicians with classical conservatory instrumental training, and even musical-theatre degrees!
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  #22  
Old 05-04-2015, 02:58 PM
Flying Orca Flying Orca is offline
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Originally Posted by Chicago Sandy View Post
I think the act that changed the definition of “folk music” from its “folk art” roots was the Weavers--the first famous “folk” artists with classical vocal (Ronnie Gilbert) and even theatrical (Pete Seeger) experience, not to mention college educations. Nowadays, modern “folk” and “Americana” music is full of musicians with classical conservatory instrumental training, and even music-theatre degrees!
Yes, I agree, along with the likes of Woodie and Utah - the guys who took traditional forms and used them as the scaffolds on which they built their own material, inspiring the next generation (hello, Robert Zimmerman!) in the process.
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  #23  
Old 05-04-2015, 03:11 PM
smurph1 smurph1 is offline
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Can you provide an example or 2? One man's Indie is another's mainstream. For example, is Leslie Fiest Indie? Is Ron Sexsmith?

Ron Sexsmith is great.. Is he Indie folk? I dunno.. He kind of defies definition.. but I've only heard one of his recordings so maybe I have a small sample..
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  #24  
Old 05-04-2015, 03:19 PM
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Larry Pattis Larry Pattis is offline
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So they are "Indie" musicians?
You can define or categorize them any way you please.

They are musicians who typically have their own record labels. A couple of them are actually on folk-labels that have nothing to do with what most consider the Pop music record industry, of course...independent labels, if you will.

I have my own label, Guitar Odyssey. You can put me, also, in any category you please...

...it doesn't really matter. You can also create a "Larry Pattis channel" on Pandora, and I will benefit from that...as would most of my friends. My stuff is also on iTunes, Spotify, and nearly all of the digital download or streaming services.
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  #25  
Old 05-21-2022, 02:40 PM
rogatsby rogatsby is offline
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I love indie rock! Here is a cover of In the Aeroplane Over the Sea by Neutral Milk Hotel. Guitar is a Martin D-35, played with a ton of restraint lol.

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  #26  
Old 05-21-2022, 06:25 PM
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First: Contrary to the penchant for trying to pigeon hole and labeling of genre's in the big scheme modern folk music is not really new..
Second while some thing's change some things do not.
Without getting to political lets just say that some of things that were issues in 50's and 60's are still problems and haven't changed all that much.
As far as "slaying dragons" perhaps it depends on where one looks or perhaps it has evolved into keen observation as opposed to "protest"


Here are couple pretty good examples of insightful "contemporary observations"



I've posted that Gorka video here, as well! I like it much more than the "album" version. Such a great song.

What I wish we had were more artists willing to challenge the status quo, lyrically. Protest music. Folk, with a purpose. That said, I like all forms of "folk", modern, and "past".
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  #27  
Old 05-21-2022, 10:39 PM
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Was nice to see Larry posting again but this is a zombie thread from 2015!
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  #28  
Old 05-22-2022, 04:44 AM
Murphy Slaw Murphy Slaw is offline
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Seems like only yesterday.
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  #29  
Old 05-22-2022, 06:25 AM
rokdog49 rokdog49 is offline
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Originally Posted by rogatsby View Post
I love indie rock! Here is a cover of In the Aeroplane Over the Sea by Neutral Milk Hotel. Guitar is a Martin D-35, played with a ton of restraint lol.

Reminds me of stuff I heard dudes doing in the sixties and sorry, but not in a good way.
To each his own of course.
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  #30  
Old 05-22-2022, 06:40 AM
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Larry Pattis Larry Pattis is offline
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Was nice to see Larry posting again but this is a zombie thread from 2015!


🤣

Still vertical.
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