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Question: Where does folk music stand now as compared to the ‘60s?

Josh Ritter: Well, it’s, I think of folk music as anything you can sing in the car on the way home.  That’s always been what I think of because that’s—so whether you’re coming back from a Fleetwood Mac reunion concert, or whether you’ve got Mississippi John Herd on, or you know, you’ve got Gillian Welch, it doesn’t matter.  Folk is such a marketing term, you know.  And it’s not—it’s so hard to quantify or classify anymore.  I don’t know.  I mean, I always thought that what I was doing was rock n’ roll with lots of words because I get the feeling when I’m playing that I’m not a part of any sort of—I feel like what I’m playing is rock n’ roll, although I don’t know why.  And there’s no real reason to say that, but I feel that the quietest music can be rock n’ roll—Beethoven is rock and roll.  So, you now, it’s hard to say. 

But I would say that folk music is in the same boat with everybody now.  You know, it’s like in a world where you can go on Facebook and hear millions of people playing millions and millions of songs, and it’s hard to say what the community of music is anymore.

Recorded April 5, 2010
Interviewed by Austin Allen

More from the Big Idea for Thursday, May 06 2010


“Beethoven Is Rock 'n' Roll”

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