Did you know that when you download our Music That Matters Podcasts, you keep the songs forever, and that you can take an hour of commercial-free programming with you when jogging in your retro track suit? I know! Itâ€™s great, especially when I hand-select 15 tracks of pure magic and intrigue. Itâ€™ll make you happy, informed, and your beard will grow curly. I promise.
Thatâ€™s right! My first-ever podcast is Music That Matters #37 - “Donâ€™t Call Me Freak: The New Folk” (MP3)
Itâ€™s mostly all new music featuring songwriters of a new folk underground. The press have labeled it Freak Folk. Which pisses off all the artists described as such. And, being of the mind that once you label a scene, you kill a scene, (remember when they called all non-rock music World Music!) I therefore am NOT calling this podcast Freak Folk. Or New Weird Americana, or even the most generic of labels, New Indie Folk. I wonâ€™t even say Psyche Folk. And although the music is not traditional or revival, there is a folk-like character with the guitar strumming and acoustic arrangements. But one common element to my mix is that none of these artists want to be confined or pigeon-holed into categories of genre. True, there are beards, surrealism, and lyrics about nature, but please Donâ€™t Call Me Freak.
Check out these artists:
Like Tom Brosseau, beardless yet on this podcast. A gentle savant-like character living in San Diego from an album about his home state of North Dakota, called Grand Forks. I picked a song â€œHere Comes the Waterâ€ about the great floods of 1997.
Also youâ€™ll hear sisters in their early 20â€™s, who have been know to sometimes wear fake beards - Cocorosie. They lived apart for many years, but reunited in Paris and starting singing and writing together. I selected something from their second album Noahâ€™s Ark â€“ the song “South 2nd St.”
Alela Diane, who currently resides in Portland but originally from Joanna Newsomeâ€™s hometown of Nevada City, California. I picked one from her debut, a song called “Clickty Clack.”
James Yorkston, who really doesnâ€™t fit this scene we are not calling Freak Folk, is in the mix with â€œthe Summer Songâ€ from his latest release called The Year Of The Leopard.
A favorite singer of Bob Dylan back in the day, and Devendra Banhart nowadays is Karen Dalton who does a version of â€œKatie Cruelâ€ from a 1971 lost classic, In My Time.
Also on my podcast, the bearded William Elliott Whitmore who does â€œOne Manâ€™s Shame,” a Seattle band called Pufferfish doing â€œDecoder Ring,” Iron & Wine, bearded, does â€œFree Until They Cut me Down,” Wooden Wand and the Sky High Band aka JAMES TOTH does â€œThe Crucifixion Pt 2.”
The Places, a vagabond of sorts named Amy Annelle who recorded an album Songs For Creeps in producer Brain Beattieâ€™s (Okkervil River) garage in Austin Texas - I picked the song â€œSuch As The Earthâ€.
There are many others too, included a kindred-spirit of this scene, Brightblack Morning Light. From their self-titled CD which has not left my stereo in months. Word has it, they live in tents and one has a huge beard!
You can listen to the KEXP Streaming Archive and listen now to an expanded 3-hour radio version of this podcast, which aired on Feb 7th. The link is good until the 21st. This broadcast captures the entire Folk underground past and present, including obvious influences like Vashti Bunyan, Nick Drake, Bert Jansch, The Incredible String Band, Donovan, and early T Rex.
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