Folk Off

Is it just me, or is “folk” as a descriptive term battling “indie rock” to the finish line of complete uselessness? Take the Monsters of Folk, that indie-singer/songwriter collective which spawned an eye-sore mural on Roosevelt lots of folks bitched about. Their self titled debut leaned heavily on blue eyed soul, ramshackle country rock and E.L.O. style pomp. Not exactly Peter, Paul & Mary, you know? Maybe we can just come to the conclusion that “folk” implies the presence of yearning vocals, strained melodies and the ubiquitous use of acoustic guitars, all elements that will undoubtedly be on display at The River Jones Music Label’s Final Folk Festival, the last festival the local label will be hosting before Modified’s impending change-over. Valley stars What Laura Says will be headlining, with up-and-comers like violinist Tobie Milford, chanteuse Courtney Marie Andrews, the uke-wrecking Michelle Blades, Owl & Penny, You Me and Apollo and more, taking to the Modified’s sagging stage one last time before it pulls an Autobot on us. I’d be hesitant to call any of it “folk,” but I’d wager that there will be more than a few unwashed long hairs in skinny jeans in attendance willing to softly argue with me.
Sun., Nov. 29, 1:30 p.m., 2009
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Jason P. Woodbury is a music and pop-culture writer based in Phoenix. He is a regular contributor to the music blog Aquarium Drunkard and co-host of the Transmissions podcast.