What do you listen for?
When I hear something I especially like on Folk Alley I will go to the song listing and rate it. I do not do it for every song I hear because I do not have the time or inclination to do that, but I do feel the urge to respond sometimes. I seldom go in to issue a negative response on anything, although I have once or twice if there was something that really bothered me. Again, it has to make me feel the urge to respond.
So what is it that makes me respond one way or the other to a song? I am most attracted to the song and individual delivery. While I appreciate excellent musicianship, my criteria is more focused on the song. I have been a musician myself since I was a child so I do understand the need for proficiency with your instrument. There are certainly some performers who are breathtaking in their technique, but the music and the song is my focus, not the fabulous musicianship of the sidemen, so if it is showboating in a way that takes away from the song it leaves me cold. I realize I am different than many people on this. It sometimes amazes me when crowds will go nuts for some dazzling display of showboating that really has only marginally supported the song. Guitar players are usually the worst about this. I distinguish a guitar-player from a musician based on how they support the music. That said, it is not usually so much a problem with material I hear on Folk Alley, I am really talking about live performances where this happens with great regularity.
So what do you think? What moves you in the music? Do you appreciate simple arrangements in accompaniment to a song, or do you need to be dazzled?