Interesting perspective on the folk music revival(s) — folk, as the music of the people, should reflect the culture that surrounds it, evolving as the culture evolves. Which I’d argue it has, in all of its waves and revivals post Alan Lomax. Bob Dylan singing “House Carpenter” is hardly trad, and yet still folk; Old Crow Medicine Show singing “Wagon Wheel” is hardly Dylan, and yet still folk.
The reason folk best lends itself to festivals and mixed-bill nights is because it’s such a varied field of expression — from one corner you get the devoted preservationists educating you about the history and origins of this sound, and from the next you get a band reinventing the sound in their own new ways, in a thousand variations — and in total it’s a complete experience.
But it seems evident the concept (and experience?) of plain enjoying a piece of music simply because it sounds nice is utterly alien to this author. An “earnest, uncalculated love of the music itself” is not necessarily naïve, it’s just honest. If I want to hang around playing Irish dance tunes all night or listening to some guys play old-timey banjos and fiddles at Jalopy, it’s because I love the sound and feel and texture and melody and rawness and rhythm. In my blood and bones. That it’s trendy now means there IS a Jalopy Theatre for me to hang around at, and I will enjoy the hell out of it while it lasts.