When it comes to music the spectrum of genres is endless, but that doesn’t mean that everything is popular. In the last few years, however, folk music has had a spotlight shone upon it, giving the genre an unprecedented rise in popularity.
How have fiddles and big bass drums come to popularity? That’s what this post seeks to explore, investigating how a forgotten style managed to capture the imagination of the general public. You might even be a fan without realising it, just thinking you’ve been listening to pop music – could you be a secret folk fanatic?
We can trace the uprise in folk music back to the early 2000s, where the hyperactivity of the 90s pop scene started to slow down. Much like a rock star after the party’s over, artists started grabbing acoustic guitars and playing more intimate, comforting songs. Artists like Newton Faulkner and Jack Johnson started to wow audiences without a huge studio budget or electric instruments. As is the way with pop music, from these initial hit songs a trend started to grow, along with other artists who quickly found their music getting more and more radio air time. Simple acoustic songs hadn’t been this popular since the height of Bob Dylan’s fame.
Art forms are always mutating and changing with time, and this acoustic music was no different. All it took was a few talented individuals to put their spin on things to change the sound of pop music. One such person was Laura Marling: her singles Ghosts and New Romantic were slow burners, but she eventually became so popular that she drove up folk sales by 20 per cent in 2011 compared to 2010, reports NME
One band that you may have heard being played endlessly on the radio is Mumford and Sons, who have achieved success on both sides of the Atlantic with their banjo-led sound. These two acts alone defined the folk revival, serving as an antithesis to what could be seen as the gaudy and artificial electro-pop songs of the early 2010s – there’s an audience who yearn for something warmer and more homely.
So you’ve got your new drum kit from http://www.ebay.co.uk
and you’re ready to dig into your country roots for some folk inspiration, but maybe you should hold on before you look for a fiddle player to jam with. There’s been a number of ‘fad genres’ that have seen a spike in popularity thanks to a particularly talented act representing it. In the early 2000s, Il Divo, the opera-singing quartet, introduced classical music to a new audience who jumped at the chance to add some culture to their collections. Later on in the decade, blues guitar records saw a spike in sales after the world was introduced to worldly-wise Seasick Steve. This is not to say that any of these artists lack integrity – they’re all masters of their art – but in an industry driven by the next big seller don’t be afraid to walk you own path, as a listener or as an artist.