Indie folk is a fairly ubiquitous genre that is growing increasingly appealing to the hipster in all of us. Offsetting alt-rock, the mellow simplicity is a calm escape that’s seemingly easy to understand and easy to listen to.
Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan, John Prine and Simon and Garfunkel were part of a folk revival with effects still trickling down to what’s playing through our headphones now. But at the core of folk, regardless of the year it is released, are oral histories.
“Glenn Tipton” from Sun Kil Moon is a story about a donut shop and a metaphor about a serial killer; The Lumineers’ “Angela” is about a woman leaving town and finding a new home; “La Belle Fleur Sauvage” is just one chapter in the novel that is Lord Huron’s Strange Trails, an entire offering about a man in love with a girl named Lily and the climb toward the end of the world.
While every song is arguably a story in some way, folk songs are unique in that their sole purpose is telling stories. The omnipresent and rewardingly challenging symbolism is for us to decode, but they’re followable campfire tales that leave your brain rattling.
While this theme and purpose was developed by folk's forefathers, folk artists today are continuing it en masse with an overwhelming number of players trying to capitalize on the power of delivering a message.