Guest Post in The Spectator: “The Folk Heard ‘Round the World”

Hey everyone. This blog is looking pretty sparse, because I’ve been cruising the Great White North. I’m still delightfully off the grid, but decided to pull out the ol’ laptop (which I’ve been lugging in my suitcase for no reason up until now) and post a guest blog I did recently for The Spectator. It’s the oldest continuously-published English language newspaper in the world, so I was quite honored to be asked to contribute. I decided to do a bit of a comparison between English folk artists and American ones, because I do sometimes feel like a translator–I can say ‘hella’ with NorCal enthusiasm and ‘bloody’ with British vigor. (I actually would feel idiotic saying either of those things, especially ‘hella’. For the record, we don’t all say that up here.)

Here’s an excerpt from my guest post, which has an accompanying Spotify playlist(!), and is called “The Folk Heard ‘Round the World”. Read more by clicking the link at the end.

If Anglophilia had a twelve-step program, I’d need it. On the surface, I seem like a normal Californian: I say things like ‘awesome’ and ‘dude’, eat copious amounts of sushi, and consider the derisive term ‘San Francisco values’ high praise. But my not-so-deep, not-so-dark secret is that my heart is stuck in England – and so are my headphones.

I listen to that newfangled ‘new-folk’, that nebulous category of acoustic-ish music that’s been pouring out of the UK and reviving international interest in banjos. The funny part about my addiction is that the lines between the UK and the US are increasingly blurred; SPIN Magazine even claimed that Mumford & Sons are ‘leading the charge’ in the ‘New Americana Revolution’. These artists are as attuned to my country and its traditions as I am to theirs.

Which leads me to this playlist. The truth is excellent folk is coming from everywhere nowadays and whether Mumford & Sons are leading any sort of revolution is open to debate. Though my interest started with England, there is definitely a dialogue between musicians on both sides of the pond (spring’s Railroad Revival Tour, with Mumford & Sons, Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros and Old Crow Medicine Show, is a prime example).

For this Spotify Sunday, I’m taking advantage of my place in the middle of these two worlds. I’m hoping to be your new-folk guide and translator, helping you navigate the good old United States. (Read more.)


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