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The origins of The Singer Songwriter


For decades, singer songwriters have dominated the music charts, from bob Dylan all the way to Ed Sheeran and his continued success. In this blog I will be talking about the history of the singer songwriter, as well as, what it means to be one today.

Bob Dylan & The Origins of the Singer Songwriter

Despite their global success, the term singer songwriter did in fact come from very humble beginnings, in fact, many people would agree that the term 'singer songwriter' as we know it today can be traced back to folk singers from as early as the beginning of the twentieth century. people like Woody Guthrie and before him, singers like lead Bely and Jimmie Rodgers.

The Anthology of American Folk Music

One of the most obvious pieces of evidence to suggest the influences of folk on the singer songwriters of the nineteen-sixties is an album known as the 'Anthology of American Folk Music' also known as the 'Harry Smith Anthology'. This album (which was released in 1952) was essentially a collection of recordings from all around th United States. The dates of the recordings varied but were roughly between 1925 and 1935. "The Anthology of American Folk Music, edited by Harry Smith (1923-1991),is one of the most influential releases in the history of recorded sound. Originally issued by Folkways Records in 1952, the Anthology brought virtually unknown parts of America's musical landscape recorded in the late 1920's and early 1930's to the public's attention. For more than half a century, the collection has profoundly influenced fans, ethnomusicologists, music historians, and cultural critics; it has inspired generations of popular musicians, including Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Jerry Garcia and countless others'. Folkways (1997).

In fact, in my opinion the release of he Harry Smith Anthology was one of the key moments in the development of the singer songwriter as we know it, as its release sparked a huge wave of interest in American folk music particularly during the mid 50's to early 60's and as a result created a new trend known as the folk revival, it was here that many of the musicians who adopted the title of singer songwriter came from.

George Capon

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