Words: ROBIN MUMFORD
The greatest scruple I have with modern music is the dying light of folk-rock and country-rock. However, this never used to be the case. They were both genres that I impetuously tabulated alongside old men in checkered flannels that sit at the bar, hunched forward, dreary-eyed, drinking whiskey from the same goblet as the night before.
But as time progresses, so does the mind. Tunnel vision no more, my senses are now in dismissal of the prior confounding present within the rustic, homespun guitar riffs that entertain cigarettes and straw in mouth imagery.
Rather, in my playlists, there lies a catalogue of unheralded songwriters and musicians, among those of the past that have been buried beneath the rubble of change. Bob Dylan, The Byrds, The Mamas & the Papas, to more contemporary responses like Bon Iver and Taylor Swift. Though not championed, these are all artistic minds that deserve to be on their own perch of musical prowess.
They tell stories of wear and tear, liberating and putting into words life on the road. The freedom. The amnesty. They are tales that last forever. At heart, it takes a special, gifted mind to prosper at folk and country music. Though it knows no bounds to the cliché love spiel that most modern music still relies on, folk and country burrows deeper into life’s true meaning.
Living in the present but never forgetting the past is a sentiment popular in the company of the genre’s best-loved troubadours. Music that you can hear through a fuzzy projector, by taking a trip down memory lane over a smoky polaroid, or gazing beyond a vermillion sunset.
Truthfully, it is not through own free will that my love for this side of music has been embroidered recently. Of course, there’s always been a part of me that has wanted to live within the chimes of freedom with no stress but what to do with my day.
But when you start to feel, that is when you begin to affix. Folk, country, Americana - it is music for the heart, for the soul, and it becomes appurtenant the more you feel appurtenant to the romantic fables unearthed within the lyrics.
It is because of her that I have absorbed the plaintive literary of Noah Kahan and Zach Bryan. It is by way of her that I flutter between fantasy and truth. She adds purpose to the dusty old tracks that lead to the next storybook adventure these musicians set about conceptualising.
What proves the genre’s existence should not be knocking at death’s door is its pertinence. We are all on a journey, and luckily for I, this one has just begun. But it is because of songs like “Something in the Orange” and “New Perspective”, alongside the person, that folk and country bears weight. They speak to us, they relate to us, and they place the journey of life at utmost importance above anything else.
Ultimately, the banality of life being about the journey rather than the destination is true. And another song that fits the reckoning of all I have said above is The Tiger Moths’ latest release “Dreaming Of Yesterday.”
With a couple of EPs already behind them, the five-piece Americana-inspired London rock band are prepared to step up another gear as they close in on their debut full-length album ‘When Sunshine Departs’, due for the summer.
‘Dreaming Of Yesterday’ is the lead single from the creation and epitomises a tumultuous time for the band - the pandemic years. It is a song borne out of a longing for the past and reflections on what might have been. It is also about weathering hardship, and, ultimately, hope for a new tomorrow.
Involving a visceral amount of despair, loss, perseverance, and the intangible folk/country characteristics of the essence of time and hope, wrapped neatly in a package of late-60s and early 70’s Americana soundscapes that help to procure nostalgia, the track ebbs and flows through four minutes of imperishable mileage.
Just as I start my new adventure, The Tiger Moths are also starting theirs. They may have released their first demos in 2017, but if anything has been proven throughout this, it is that time is endless, opportunities abundant, new beginnings by the truckload.
Folk and country music is for the realists. Those who dream of what’s to come, while never forgetting the pain and lessons of the past. If life is one long and winding road, this genre of music offers a diversion; a trail off the beaten path where imagination and human quintessence runs wild.
It is thanks to The Tiger Moths, among a host of other storytellers, that the grim reaper should stay far away from music of their ilk. Noah Kahan, Zach Bryan, Lumineers, Vance Joy. Add this lot to that company and you have a melting pot of creatives for the long-term.
Unturned pages, down-facing leaves, roads that lead to somewhere nobody knows. I for one am excited. Uncertainty, ambition, and the longing to feel. Folk and country music is eternal.