Sunday, January 10, 2010

RIP Tim Hart

In honour of the Steeleye Span guitarist who passed away recently, here's the band in their prime - a favourite of mine as a kid. Reminds me of those long car journeys on holiday...

Watching that video, it's funny to think that for a long time folk-rock was considered by the indie cognoscenti as deeply uncool, with it's obsession with beards, flutes, Morris dancing, ridiculous clothes, et al. Yet somehow in the last decade, the presence of Devandra Barnhart, Espers, Tunng and tons of others have brought focus to the genre again and made it passably trendy - something that's obliquely addressed in this article by Simon Reynolds on the return of the beard in guitar music. Many of these artists (even if some haven't explicitly said it) have seen their music as essentially a reaction to the blandness of MTV pop music, which is somewhat ironic given that folk rock was essentially the pop - as in popular - music of it's time; the music of the people rather than the ruling classes or the monarchy. As such, it had the potential to be a truly revolutionary medium in feudal Britain and elsewhere, which is easily forgotten when viewing with cosy, rose-tinted ironic amusement videos such as above or other 70s footage of bearded folkies (and let's not even mention The Levellers...oh damn, I have).

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