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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
GUEST,harvey andrews Singer/songwriters: Hard to Classify? (26) RE: Singer/songwriter's: Hard to Classify? 18 Apr 05

Mike this is a very difficult one, as you can see from the request for folk clubs in England thread that specifies a dislike of S/S.
When I started it was a badge of honour worn by people as diverse as McColl, Tawney, Paxton,McTell, Ochs etc, all with a knowledge of tradition but all dedicated to expanding its boundaries to include the modern day. I think this group still wears the badge with honour. Then, over the years, the introspective angst s/s appeared and the listener found them singing songs that expressed little of universal value or experience directly into their guitar's sound hole and then through to their navel. They've gradually eroded the good name that the previous generation worked to establish.
Now we're all tarred with the same brush and singer/songwriter is a badge of boredom as far as too many people are concerned. However, when they get to make the effort and see a Jez Lowe,Mike Silver, Pete Morton,Artisan etc they are usually hooked.
The only answer is to build up your audience from those who approach your work without prejudice. If it's good and outward looking and shows knowledge of what has gone before you will soon have a following.
In many ways, market forces rule in music as in everything else. Give 'em what they want and they'll buy it. The folk audience is very specific in what it wants and what it doesn't want, so study the work of the writers that world accepts and see if you fit. If you don't, no amount of pleading will get them to open the door to you no matter what you call yourself.
I've never called myself anything else but a singer and songwriter because that's what I do. In a way it's like racial prejudice, if you're a black doctor and save the life of a convinced racist you'll still not persuade them to stop judging the book by the cover!

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