Folk feelings

Latest posts by Ed Park (see all)

I was fascinated by this letter from (in lieu of interview with) the singer Cass McCombs, which led me to this song, “County Line,” well worth a listen, not least for some surprising/familiar/great Lennonish inflections.

From the letter:

The greatest art of any era comes from anonymous sources. The Folk who sacrifice themselves by passing on what has been taught to them so that it will live. In this sense, the future is Folk. We must not sell out our Past, but teach the Future. This is how I relate to influences, that Bob Marley, Kurt Cobain, Jerry Garcia, John Lennon, Darby Crash, Merle Haggard, Ritchie Valens, etc. are all 20th century figureheads for Folk feelings, Folk heroes, and the entire 20th century was an exercise in Celebrity. What if someone said that in the future we will return to the Folk, that Celebrity will be an impossibility by virture of technology? Well who knows and who cares.

(Via Stereogum)

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  1. Avatar Michael wrote:

    With all due respect, money isn’t bullshit; it’s a way for artists to eat and pay rent and get married and have babies and get medical care. It’s what allows them to do art. Not love or fans or respect or exposure. Money.

    All the influences that this feller mentions came into his consciousness courtesy of money. The problem isn’t money, it’s artists refusing to come up with a workable alternative to the corporate methods of production and distribution. Giving stuff away isn’t a solution, it’s a form of denial. Musicians and certain types of writers can pretend otherwise because they make their money via performance, or merch, or patronage. But somebody’s got to pay sometime, and as somebody deeply interested in artistic freedom, I think artists must stop this self-destructive, anti-art attitude about money.

    If EMI hadn’t thought they could make money off the Fabs, and invested a lot of money in doing so, The Beatles would’ve been a great little band my insurance agent saw once in Hamburg. To deny the importance of money in this reality is to ensure you’ll be controlled, and possibly destroyed by it. See: Apple.

  2. Avatar Anonymous wrote:

    The intelligent point in this letter is that rock music is basically playing the role of folk music in terms of its accessibility, relevance, and appeal. The stupid point is the money is not compatible with art line of thinking that Michael already deconstructed.


  3. Go, Michael! You make sense. But I like the way he slipped “Ritchie Valens” in among those other names.

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