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Of all the genre tags out there, “singer/songwriter” is by far my least favorite. Not only is intended as a specific label while describing literally every musician who writes their own music, it’s also taken on an unfair stereotype akin with coffeeshop folk. Whenever one of my friends says they hate “folk” music, they’re often picturing a hipster caricature with an acoustic guitar playing at a local open mic night.
The reality of folk is far more complicated and interesting. To me, modern folk is about an intimate approach to song craft rooted in organic instrumentation. Sure, you still have the prominence of acoustic guitar and other “folksy” instruments as key elements, along with lyrics usually centering around love and loss. But the genre has long progressed down an “artsier” path, for lack of a better term, expanding its palette with pop, indie, and experimental tendencies. It’s what’s helped change folk from a simple genre for flower children of the ’70s into a beautiful, artistic style ranging from indie folk to chamber folk to freak folk.
Bonniesongs encapsulates this progression perfectly last year with Energetic Mind, an album which relies as much on its indie folk foundation as it does on art rock and indie pop. Her combination of gorgeous, ethereal vocals and compositions as fun as they are adventurous made Energetic Mind one of the most thoroughly enjoyable folk-adjacent albums from last year. Now, she’s preparing a live version of the album, accompanied by a series of sessions videos recorded at Small Pond Studios. We’re stoked to premiere one such performance for “123” below:
How cool is that? With just her vocals and sampling (capped off by a bit of percussion), Bonniesongs creates an entrancing rendition of a standout track from Energetic Mind. To expand on my previous point, it’s the live setting that truly magnifies everything that makes modern folks so great. The ability for a musician to take a small lineup – and in cases like this, just themselves – and produce such a gorgeous, stirring performance is something unique to the genre. If you haven’t listened to Energetic Mind yet, I encourage you to spin it ASAP and watch for more of these videos to make their way online.