What Does Folk Rock Mean in Music?

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Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


What does folk rock mean in music? This term is used to describe a type of music that combines elements of folk and rock. Folk rock usually has a strong acoustic guitar base with drums, bass, and light keyboards. The lyrics are often about personal, social, or political topics.

Origins of Folk Rock

Folk rock is a musical genre that developed in the 1960s. It combines elements of folk music and rock music. This type of music originated in the United States and the United Kingdom. Some of the earliest folk rock bands were The Byrds and Simon and Garfunkel.

The British Invasion

The British Invasion was a mid-1960s cultural phenomenon in which rock and pop music acts from the United Kingdom and other aspects of British culture, became popular in the United States and significant to rising counterculture on both sides of the Atlantic. The term has been used to describe similar explosions of popularity of musical genres in other countries.

The American Folk Scene

The American folk scene of the early 1960s was very diverse, with a wide range of artists from different backgrounds and influences. The term “folk rock” was coined in 1964 by bloggers to describe the music of artists such as Bob Dylan, The Byrds, and The Animals, who were all influenced by traditional folk music but were also experimenting with elements of rock ‘n’ roll.

The popularity of folk rock surged in the mid-1960s with the release of Dylan’s album “Bringing It All Back Home,” which featured electric instruments on some tracks. This album, along with others by artists like The Byrds and Simon & Garfunkel, helped to bring folk rock into the mainstream.

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, folk rock continued to evolve with the addition of elements from other genres, such as country (The Flying Burrito Brothers) and psychedelia (Jefferson Airplane). This period witnessed the birth of some of the most iconic figures in folk rock, including Neil Young and Joni Mitchell.

Despite its popularity, folk rock was largely overshadowed by other genres in the 1970s, such as disco and punk. It made a resurgence in the 1980s and 1990s thanks to bands like R.E.M. and Nirvana, who incorporated elements of folk into their alternative rock sound. Today, folk rock is enjoying something of a renaissance thanks to artists like Fleet Foxes and Bon Iver.

The Sound of Folk Rock

Folk rock is a musical genre that emerged in the 1960s. It is a blend of rock music and traditional folk music. Folk rock usually consists of acoustic guitars, drums, and bass. The electric guitar is sometimes used as well.

The Electric Folk Sound

Folk rock is a genre of music that emerged in the mid 1960s. It combines elements of folk music and rock music, and is often characterized by a distinctive backing sound created by electric guitars, bass guitars, and drums.

The sound of folk rock can vary greatly, depending on the artist or band. Some folk rock bands have a very “rock” sound, while others have a more acoustic or even country-influenced sound.

Folk rock became popular in the 1960s, and was often used as a way to protest the Vietnam War and other social issues of the time. Some of the most well-known folk rock bands include The Byrds, Simon and Garfunkel, Buffalo Springfield, and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young.

The Country-Rock Sound

The country-rock sound is a unique blend of country music and rock & roll that became popular in the late 1960s and early 1970s. This type of music typically features electric guitars, drums, and bass, as well as traditional country instruments such as banjos and fiddles. Country-rock songs often have a strong focus on storytelling, and they often deal with topics such as love, heartbreak, and loss.

The genre got its start in the late 1960s when artists like Bob Dylan and The Byrds began experimenting with different musical styles. Dylan’s 1966 album Blonde on Blonde is often cited as the first true country-rock record, while The Byrds’ 1968 album Sweetheart of the Rodeo is considered one of the most influential records in the genre. In the 1970s, country-rock continued to evolve with artists like Neil Young, The Eagles, Gram Parsons, Emmylou Harris, and Linda Ronstadt helping to lead the way.

Today, country-rock is enjoying a resurgence in popularity thanks to artists like Lady Gaga, Kacey Musgraves, Miley Cyrus, and others who are bringing a new energy to the genre. If you’re looking for a sound that’s both nostalgic and modern, then be sure to give country-rock a try!

Key Artists in Folk Rock

Folk rock is a music genre that combines elements of folk music and rock music. Folk rock originated in the United Kingdom and the United States in the mid-1960s. Key artists in folk rock include Bob Dylan, The Byrds, Simon and Garfunkel.

Simon and Garfunkel

Simon and Garfunkel were an American folk rock duo consisting of singer-songwriter Paul Simon and singer Art Garfunkel. They were one of the most popular folk rock groups of the 1960s and are best known for their hits “The Sound of Silence”, “Mrs. Robinson”, and “The Boxer”. Simon and Garfunkel’s died down in the early 1970s, but they reunited for a successful reunion tour in 1981.

The Byrds

By the mid-’60s, folk music had undergone a major transformation. electric guitars and other amplification had been introduced, and a number of artists had begun to rock out while retaining the music’s acoustic instrumentation and traditional-based melodies. One of the first and most successful bands to come out of this new folk rock sound was The Byrds.

The Byrds were a band from Los Angeles, California, that formed in 1964. The original lineup consisted of Jim (later Roger) McGuinn on lead guitar and vocals, Gene Clark on drums and vocals, David Crosby on rhythm guitar and vocals, Chris Hillman on bass and vocals, and Michael Clarke on drums. The band’s early sound was heavily influenced by The Beatles and Bob Dylan, as well as traditional folk music.

The Byrds’ debut album, Mr. Tambourine Man, was released in 1965 and featured their signature sound: jangly 12-string guitars, close harmonies, and Dylan-esque lyrics. The album was a massive success, reaching #1 on the Billboard charts and spawning the title track (which reached #1 on the singles chart). The follow-up album, Turn! Turn! Turn!, was also a success, reaching #3 on the album charts and yielding the hit single “Turn! Turn! Turn! (To Everything There Is A Season).”

The Byrds continued to release successful albums throughout the rest of the 1960s, including Fifth Dimension (1966), Younger Than Yesterday (1967), The Notorious Byrd Brothers (1968), Sweetheart of the Rodeo (1968), Dr. Byrds & Mr. Hyde (1969), Ballad of Easy Rider (1969), Untitled (1970), Byrdmaniax (1971), Farther Along (1972), From a Distance: Best of The Byrds 1992], Live at Carnegie Hall 1971], Live at Royal Albert Hall 1971], there’s also another album called Untitled/Unissued which is live recordings from 1969 & 1970)

The band underwent numerous lineup changes over the years but maintained a consistent sound throughout their career. In 1973, after releasing fifteen albums, The Byrds disbanded. In 1988, McGuinn, Crosby, Hillman reunited for an album called Back from Rio; Clarke died in 1993 but his successors were Jerry Garcia ,Syd Barrett , Syd Barrettsky , Derek Bailey ,and Graham Bond . more recently in 2000 they recorded an album called “There And Back Again” with guests such as Brian May , Jack Bruce , Steve Winwood ,and Peter Frampton

Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young

One of the most successful and influential folk rock bands of all time, Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young was formed in 1968 by four highly talented and well-established musicians: David Crosby, Stephen Stills, Graham Nash, and Neil Young. Though each member had already found success in other musical endeavors (Crosby as a member of The Byrds, Stills with Buffalo Springfield, Nash with The Hollies), it was with CSNY that they reached the height of their powers, both creatively and commercially.

The foursome was only together for a few years – from 1968 to 1974 – but in that time they released four studio albums (the first three of which went to Number 1 on the Billboard charts) and toured extensively. They were also highly active in the political realm, using their platform to speak out against social injustice and the Vietnam War. Though they are no longer active as a band, the members of CSNY have continued to work together on occasion over the years, most recently reuniting for a series of concerts in 2014.

The Legacy of Folk Rock

Folk rock is a genre of popular music that originated in the United States and Britain in the mid-1960s. The style is a hybrid of folk music and rock music. Folk rock is a distinctly American genre that is often seen as an outgrowth of the folk music revival of the early 1960s.

The Influence of Folk Rock on Other Genres

Folk rock was a major influence on the development of American pop music. It introduced elements of folk music into the rock idiom and helped to pioneer the use of electric instruments and amplification in popular music. Folk rock also helped to shape the musical styles of subsequent generations of artists, including the country-rock and alt-country movements of the 1970s and ’80s, and the Americana genre that emerged in the 1990s.

The Resurgence of Folk Rock in the 21st Century

The early 21st century has seen a resurgence in the popularity of folk rock music. This is likely due in part to the success of bands like The Lumineers and Mumford & Sons, who have brought the sound of folk rock back into the mainstream.

Folk rock combines elements of traditional folk music with the energy and guitars of rock ‘n’ roll. The result is a genre that is both accessible and appealing to a wide range of listeners.

While folk rock was initially popularized in the 1960s by artists like Bob Dylan and The Byrds, it has since undergone something of a renaissance in recent years. Thanks to the success of contemporary artists like The Lumineers and Mumford & Sons, folk rock is once again enjoying widespread popularity.

If you’re looking for an introduction to the genre, start with some of the most popular folk rock songs of recent years. You can’t go wrong with anything by The Lumineers or Mumford & Sons. But there are plenty of other great bands out there worth checking out, too.

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