5 Reasons Why Folk Music Is Popular Again

by Gary Pini
Folk music is back. Bands like Mumford & Sons and The Lumineers, and singer-songwriters like Passenger (né Michael Rosenberg), Jake Bugg and Laura Marling are selling a ton of records and performing for big crowds. The music's sub-genres are endless and sometimes ridiculous: freak-folk, techno-folk, Americana, punk-folk, psych-folk, etc. This fall also sees the release of the Coen brothers latest film Inside Llewyn Davis, loosely based on the life of '60s Greenwich Village folkie Dave Van Ronk.

So what's causing this resurgence? Here's 5 reasons:

1. Give peace a chance. After years of war in Iraq and Afghanistan, many people are ready for a pull-back, and folk music has a long history of protest and reflection. Not that we expect to see Mumford & Sons at a sit-in. A love-in? Maybe.

2. No Molly required. Unlike EDM, folk music sounds better with pot. The tempo even drops below 128 bpm!

3. Hipsters need music to go with their artisanal cocktails and locally-sourced kale salad. And vinyl isn't just about nostalgia.

4. The lyrics can speak to adults too. There's more to life than Britney Spears' questions ("You want a hot body?") and Justin Bieber's hypotheticals ("I could be your Buzz Lightyear").

5. A real drummer sounds better than a drum machine. Even Daft Punk uses one now. Now how  about taking some dobro lessons, everyone?

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