Folk Music Origins in the USA

The Folk music in America has no traceable origin because started out from the traditions of the being then from fun or gain. Some folk songs are so old that they are referred to as word of mouth history. Some known folk musicians in America such as Woody Guthrie and Leadbelly speak of tales that do not even feature in any history records. From time immemorial, folk songs have been songs for laborers. This type of music is prevalently used in community-based events and not for profit purposes. Everybody in the communal setting usually understands folk songs and is it open to participation for everyone. Some subject matters coved in Folk songs include battles, satire, civil rights, struggles and hope, work, and even love and romance.

The earliest trace of folk songs were religious songs sang on slave farms as We Shall Overcome. These songs spoke of their troubles and offered hope to carry on. The song was an escape from reality for most laborers to place where they will be free from lots of work and hardship. Folk songs resurfaced in the 20th century in America as laborers fought for child labor laws and long work hours.

Folk musicians and workers assembled in homes, religious places and union houses to memorize songs that will enable them to carry along with the hard living condition and the not so friendly environment. Joe Hill is one of the well-known folk singers of that time. He had to modify some tunes from the Baptist hymnal to feature the struggles that laborers are going through. In the 1930’s, the folk songs were revived as a result of the crash in the stock market and workers were sent out of work and struggled to get the few jobs around. Woody Guthrie, one of the laborers who moved to California to look for suitable employment wrote scores of folk songs this period before he died in 1967.

In 1960’s America was faced with lots of trouble. Unlike the difficulties in the 1930’s that had to do with unemployment and drought, the 1960’s struggles had to do with the battle in Vietnam and civil rights of Americans. Folk Singers in New York and San Francisco assembled in coffee shops and continued from where Woody Guthrie stopped. Some of the prominent Folk Singers of that time were Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, and Joni Mitchell, and the theme of their songs includes; battle, love, and work.

Fold music began to lose its prominence as the USA left the Vietnam War and the Civil Rights movement experienced huge success. Although some folk singers like Cat Stevens and James Taylor continues to preserve the folk culture by singing about religion, politics, and relationships. In recent times, American folk songs have taken off again as a result of the prevalent economic recession experienced in the country, economic classes, and sexual orientation of people struggle for equality among the citizens. Most current fold singers focus on subject matters like sexual equality for people that fall under the LGBT class, including their civil rights and worker protection.