Folk or Not

Is is Folk or not? Is it Folk or perhaps just something hot? A continuing discussion at Folk Alley, and I’m sure within the folk community, is how to define Folk music. In 2006, two recordings started a lot of conversations about folk – one from Bruce Springsteen and the other, Bob Dylan’s latest. Bruce, a rock icon and Dylan a folk hero – both are nominated for Folk Grammys. If it wasn’t for his role in the ’60s Folk scene, would Dylan still be embraced by the folk community? Springsteen’s genius as an arranger on the Seeger Sessions shines and his live performance is inspiring.

Last night I attended a performance by singer songwriters Lyle Lovett, John Hiatt, Joe Ely, and Guy Clark. I was with a group of people who might have a difficult time explaining what musical genre defined the evening. I’m sure a few of my mates might have defined it as country, but others I’m sure would not assess the performance in quite the same way.

What recent releases do you think fall outside of the Folk genre that are passed on as a folk recording? Is Modern Times a folk release or just a name that is accepted by the folk community – so as long as there are no screaming guitars then ok, it’s Dylan who can argue with Bob.

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