Hey Radioheads! “Don’t Call Me Freak: The New Folk” is still available.

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! It’s great, especially when I hand-select 15 tracks of pure magic and intrigue. It’ll make you happy, informed, and your beard will grow curly. I promise.

Tom Brosseau-Electric Theater.jpg
Tom Brosseau at the Electric Theater in St. George UT – 3/15/06
Photo courtesy of moonty

That’s right! My first-ever podcast is Music That Matters #37 - “Don’t Call Me Freak: The New Folk” (MP3)

It’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 won’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 Don’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 “Here Comes the Water” about the great floods of 1997.

Also you’ll hear sisters in their early 20’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 Noah’s Ark – the song “South 2nd St.”

Alela Diane, who currently resides in Portland but originally from Joanna Newsome’s hometown of Nevada City, California. I picked one from her debut, a song called “Clickty Clack.”

James Yorkston, who really doesn’t fit this scene we are not calling Freak Folk, is in the mix with “the Summer Song” 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 “Katie Cruel” from a 1971 lost classic, In My Time.

Also on my podcast, the bearded William Elliott Whitmore who does “One Man’s Shame,” a Seattle band called Pufferfish doing “Decoder Ring,” Iron & Wine, bearded, does “Free Until They Cut me Down,” Wooden Wand and the Sky High Band aka JAMES TOTH does “The Crucifixion Pt 2.”

The Places, a vagabond of sorts named Amy Annelle who recorded an album Songs For Creeps in producer Brain Beattie’s (Okkervil River) garage in Austin Texas – I picked the song “Such As The Earth”.

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.

Learn more about all our podcasts and subscribe now.

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