Elvis Costello – Singer/Songwriter?

For a while now, I’ve been mulling the question, “Why do we associate the term singer/songwriter with folk music?” Technically, doesn’t any artist that sings what he or she writes fall into that category? Not just lone acoustic guitar players. So, can Elvis Costello‘s new album, The Delivery Man, which was created around a narrative theme and involves social issues and struggles with morality, be considered a folk record even though it’s all pumped up with electric guitars and drums? Emmylou‘s on it, so’s Lucinda Williams. What about somebody like Marc Cohn who writes deep, soulful songs that are a perfect fit for the folk repertoire, until they get all hopped up in the hopes of selling them to a general public too antsy for acoustic? Where is the line drawn? Straight down the middle of artists like Richard Shindell and Bob Dylan who go both ways when it comes to electrifying their guitars? The jury is still out.

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