Local Wire

Final Folk Festival

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, the singer/songwriter collective that spawned an eyesore mural on Roosevelt and that lots of folks bitched about. Their self-titled debut leaned heavily on blue-eyed soul, ramshackle country rock, and ELO-style pomp. Not exactly Peter, Paul and Mary, you know? Maybe we can just come to the conclusion that "folk" implies the presence of yearning vocals, strained melodies, and 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 transformation to an art gallery that will feature less live music. Valley stars What Laura Says will headline, with up-and-comers like violinist Tobie Milford, chanteuse Courtney Marie Andrews, the uke-wrecking Michelle Blades, as well as Owl & Penny and You Me and Apollo, taking to Modified's sagging stage one last time before it pulls an Autobot on us. I'm hesitant to call any of it "folk," but I'll wager that there will be more than a few unwashed long-hairs in skinny jeans willing to softly argue with me.
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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.