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Spotify Playlist of the Week

Michael Quick

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“Folk Yeah”

Folk music, or more specifically Indie Folk, is an interesting genre of music, often thought of as being quiet and associated with hipsters and other artsy types. And it is quiet and peaceful for the most part, but also has great depth, capable of being melancholic, sickeningly sweet, or just plain depressing.

Hozier is featured on Mike’s Spotify Playlist of the Week (AP photo)

Hozier is featured on Mike’s Spotify Playlist of the Week (AP photo)

I have this theory that when Mumford & Sons rose in popularity in the Top 40s scene, they brought the attention to other Folk, and Indie Folk acts, thus increasing their popularity as well. Although this is just conjecture on my part, it seems logical as I noticed more Indie Folk acts being played around this time.

The first piece I want to talk about is the cover of “The Boxer,” originally by Simon & Garfunkel, but performed by Mumford & Sons (and others). One of the most memorable parts of this version of the song is Jerry Douglas’ lap steel parts that permeate the piece. While busy at times, his lines never detract from the song as whole, and, at the end of the song specifically, he has some really interesting licks that are vaguely reminiscent of traditional Indian music.

If anyone is familiar with the movie, or play, Once, they will recognize “Gold,” by Interference. This song features a sparkling twelve string guitar that plays steadily throughout the piece. What’s really different about the piece is the fact that it’s in a compound meter (for the most part) but Glen Hansard (the songwriter/guitarist/singer) incorporated these syncopated rhythms that occur at different points in the song. These are somewhat unexpected to the listener, but I feel as though they add interest to the piece and keep the listener engaged and on their toes.

Finally, I feel obligated to talk about Hozier, as he is the champion of the Indie Folk music scene of today. His popularity has skyrocketed since I first heard “Take Me to Church” on the radio around a year and a half ago. He is a wonderful songwriter, as I feel is especially evident in the track “Cherry Wine.” This piece is incredibly simple, just a single guitar part and Hozier’s haunting voice. The guitar part isn’t even all that complicated, but it captures interest because Hozier isn’t simply strumming chords to sing on top of, he’s actually pedaling a bass note while simultaneously playing the same melody that he is singing. “Cherry Wine” is also a great example of how Indie Folk music can be so melancholic because, while the song is incredibly beautiful at first listen, when the listener actually pays attention to the words it has this bittersweet undertone to it.

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Spotify Playlist of the Week