"All music is folk music; I ain't never heard no horse sing a song" - Louis Armstrong
When I first brought the idea of this week's blog featuring folk music with Sarah over breakfast today, she asked if there was a better description than "Folk-Rock". I looked it up, there isn't.
Folk is the oldest of North American music traditions that was used for cultural storytelling. It enjoyed a revival in the 1940s and 50s with folk and bluegrass bands using then-modern recording quality to modernize favourites (Tom Dooley, You Are My Sunshine, Etc.) Then the British Invasion of 1960s rock music came and washed it all away...that is almost all of it...
Folk-Rock began as a hybrid of the two genres with artists like Bob Dylan Simon & Garfunkel ushering in a new age of thoughtful words mixed with light beautiful sounds. This gave way to so many more brilliant voices to come up with inspiring music from that point forward, Cat Stevens and Joni Mitchell, Gordon Lightfoot paving the way forward.
So where does that leave us now? So much has happened in this genre, but unlike the glitzy history of rock, pop or R&B music, this tradition remains as disjointed as the cultural traditions it originated from.
Folk Rock is presently defines as "popular music resembling or derived from folk music but incorporating the stronger beat of rock music and using electric instruments". Given this definition, we thought we would roll up our sleeves and attempt to group some of our favourite folk-rock songs into a helpful list of songs for you to plug into your wedding and event playlists.
These are all songs about life and love after all, which are exactly the sort of lyrics and sounds you are likely on the hunt for right now. DO NOTE that tons of these are Canadian artists; after all, we Canadians are nothing if not folksy!
1990s FOLK ALTERNATIVE
Lovers In A Dangerous Time - BNL
Wheat Kings - The Tragically Hip
I Will Remember You - Sarah McLachlin
Strong Enough - Sheryl Crow
You Were Meant For Me - Jewel
Ordinary Day - Great Big Sea
Home For A Rest - Spirit Of The West
32 Flavours - Ani Difranco
Brick - Ben Folds Five
Round Here - Counting Crows
6th Avenue Heartache - The Wallflowers
No Rain - Blind Melon
2000s INDIE FOLK
Jason Mraz - I'm Yours
Young Folks - Peter Bjorn & John
1234 - Feist
Better Together - Jack Johnson
Follow You Into The Dark - Death Cab For Cutie
Save Your Scissors - City and Colour
Suddenly I See - KT Tunstall
Lies (Rebellion!) - Arcade Fire
Flightless Bird - Iron and Wine
Back In Your Head - Tegan and Sara
Piano Blink - Hawksley Workman
Dog Days Are Over - Florence & The Machine
2010s FOLK ROCK
XO - John Mayer
I Will Wait - Mumford & Sons
Ho Hey - The Lumineers
Lego House - Ed Sheeran
Home - Edward Sharpe
Riptide - Vance Joy
Shotgun - George Ezra
Stolen Dance - Milky Chance
Simple Song - The Shins
Wagon Wheel - Old Crow Medicine Show
Don't Wanna Fight - Alabama Shakes
Little Lovin - Lissie