What’s behind the Music

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In his article “Forgetting the Roots: Does it Matter Who Makes Folk Music?” Taylor Coe explores the importance of history for folk musicians and how their creation stories can influence their effect on listeners. Some prefer a little more Strictly Bluegrass when it comes to Americana music.

“Sometimes the music wins—sometimes ‘authenticity’ doesn’t matter. For instance, I’m not bothered by the fact that Gillian Welch was raised in Los Angeles in a middle-class household. Her brand of Americana is just as striking to me as that of Loretta Lynn, who grew up as an honest-to-God coal miner’s daughter in West Virginia. Even though their origin stories are starkly different, I feel that their music boils down to the same comparative essence. Authenticity be damned, their music has got the stuff I’m after.”


Caroline Kangas calls both Seattle and San Francisco home (though she currently resides in the latter). She recently received a mouthful of a liberal arts degree from the University of San Francisco and can be found selling pirate supplies at 826 Valencia or wandering the streets with her diva of a french bulldog, Elle. More from this author →