Stick In The Wheel – Follow Them True

stickinthewheelI don’t know when it happened, but at some point, people started playing folk music in order to get laid. It’s very recognizable when it happens, as it happens to all genres of music. In the ’90s it was cool to play grunge music. So, play some tunes about how much pain you feel and off come the baggy shirts and out come the tits and dicks. Before that there was protest music. Sing about oppressive society and “the man” bringing you down, and off come the tie-dye t-shirts and out come the tits and dicks. Before that, there was classical music. Compose a symphony, a concerto or two, and off come the white wigs and out come the tits and dicks. But I always found it confusing when it came to folk music. But there it was: David Gray sings a couple of panty peelers, Bon Iver sings about some skinny chick, and then Mumford and Sons claim rockstar sexual power by playing the fucking banjo. Grow a beard. Learn to half-play a bizarre instrument. Get laid. After this came a long line of terrible sounding folk music. The morals were wrong. The ideas were reused. It became generic, overdone, formulaic, pandering, bucolic garbage.  

As soon as you hear this album you’ll understand that this isn’t that kinda music, even though it’s sexy as hell. Scrub out everything you expect from a folk album and what’s left over is this. It brings back what folk was all about. It’s angry. It has a memory. It brings up dreaded tales of people fucked over long ago. And each time the song is sung it’s not just so people remember what happened, but to rekindle the fire of protest in the soul. Then the next song goes against everything I know as folk again by including a computer pitched shifting vocal. Somehow, it’s fucking awesome. The next is a solo sung composition. Other ones have the guitar licks similar to Zeppelin. This album doesn’t let you settle. But by God is it one of the most exciting and daring folk albums I’ve heard in years. Those thickly britished voices singing harmony, and lyrics so historic they feel made of stone, have given me a new hope for the genre. And by simply making this album, it puts in their place all those other groups playing folk in order to get laid. By simply existing, this music creates a dividing line between what this is and what other folk is not. This album has some of the strongest heart and soul I’ve heard from a folk album in a long time. It’s fucking daring, scary, and beautiful. It’s what folk was always meant to be.   


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