Kim Ruehl is a folk music writer whose writing has appeared in Billboard, West Coast Performer, and NPR. These songs are often so poignant, honest and timeless, they become enmeshed in the culture and are known by just about everyone. What's the Difference Between Folk and Acoustic Music? Typically, folk music, like folk literature, lives in oral tradition; it is learned through hearing rather than reading. It’s “Wreck Of The Old 97″ recorded in 1927. Conversely, the Persian term mūsīqī-ye maḥallī (“regional music”) emphasizes the distinctions in folk music style and repertory among different areas of Iran. By using LiveAbout, you accept our, Americana Music Artists and Recommended Listening. With the onslaught of popularity achieved by Americana bands like Mumford & Sons, the Lumineers, and other up-and-comers, Americana has become a vogue genre among young hipsters. How Is Folk Music Different from Country. "Contemporary music that incorporates elements of various American roots music styles, including country, roots-rock, folk, bluegrass, R&B and blues, resulting in a distinctive roots-oriented sound that lives in a world apart from the pure forms of the genres upon which it may draw. American folk music originated in the late 18th, 19th, and early 20th centuries as the result of the interaction of people from different traditions, from necessity, and from marketing. Often, topical folk songs address social and political issues such as work, war, and popular opinion, although not all folk songs are topical or political. While acoustic instruments are often present and vital, Americana also often uses a full electric band.". The concept applies to cultures in which there is also an urban, technically more sophisticated musical tradition maintained by and for a smaller social, economic, and intellectual elite in cities, courts, or urbanized cultures. The term folk music and its equivalents in other languages denote many different kinds of music; the meaning of the term varies according to the part of the world, social class, and period of history. Several indie labels are reliably releasing great Americana music these days, including Red House Records, Ramseur Records, Rounder Records, Anti- Records, Bloodshot Records, Signature Sounds, and many others. Generally, “folk music” refers to music that broad segments of the population—particularly the lower socioeconomic classes—understand, and with which they identify. Americana began as a radio format in the 1990s, which wasn't the beginning of the style of music but rather a benchmark in the definition and discussion of the style--a discussion which has been kept vibrant by the Americana Music Association and publications like No Depression and various blogs such as,, Some of the most popular and influential Americana artists include: If you're interested in listening to Americana, we recommend starting with these albums: Americana musicians, like those in so many other areas of folk music, tend to build their bands around acoustic and electric guitars. She is also the Community Manager for the folk music magazine NoDepression. The collection is composed of Anglo-American and African-American secular and sacred music, ethnic music of indigenous peoples (Native American and Hawaiian), ethnic music that has developed into important American musical sub-cultures (Tejano and Cajun) and the folk music revival of the 1960s. What Exactly Is Folk Music? Traditionally, folk music performers were amateurs, and some folk songs were literally known to all members of a community; but specialists—instrumentalists and singers of narratives—were important to folk communities.

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