By Jonathan McNamara
In the ancient times before Rock had been drawn, quartered and separated into an unrecognizable mass of encyclopedic classification Britannica in proportion; before The Beatles ushered in the first British Invasion; before the very word “rock” was even uttered in a backwater pub by some guitarist who just wanted to impress that hottie by the bar, there was Skiffle.
Modern-day skiffle-prog-pop band Silverlode
Lead by guitars, Skiffle also incorporates jugs, kazoos, banjos and just about anything else lying around that might help carry a tune. Itself influenced by country, jazz and impromptu musical instrument construction, Skiffle was tossed aside by several rock artists after they’d used it to get their foot in what would become the door to rock stardom. Mick Jagger, Jimmy Page even the Fab Four dipped their toes in the skiffle pool before moving on to other things.
Check out this Youtube clip of an extremely young Jimmy Page playing Skiffle.
Skiffle continues to exist albeit on the fringes of music society. Even in the land of the rising sun where crooning Enka is at odds with Hello Kitty pop idols as it streams forth from the fields of karaoke boxes, Skiffle seems to be alive and well.
Like it’s flashier rival rock ‘n’ roll, it too has branched into a multitude of bastardized sub genres. One of these, “skiffle prog pop” is (aside from a mouthful) the genre laid claim to by UK-based Silverlode.
When we at Up on the Sun sent out a request for podcast fodder, we never imagined we’d meet with musicians from across that pond we know as the Atlantic Ocean. Yet, here they are, foreign, fairly well produced and playing Skiffle of all things. Well something that might owe its roots to that primordial music style anyway.
Take a listen to Silverlode’s “Be Still.”
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