Folk punk is a genre of music that combines elements of folk
and punk rock
music. There are two distinct types of folk punk
. The first is artists like The Knitters
music musicians who play in a traditional folk
style. There are also modern
artists who perform acoustically in the folk
style, this is the "riotfolk
Like much punk
music in general, folk-punk
tends to be quite political
, most often on the radical
left and anarchist
side of the spectrum. Folk punk
is seen as exploring the legacy of traditional American folk music, which often contained themes of working class solidarity and community resistance facing the encroaching problems of industrialization and modern capitalism. Classic folk songs such as "This Land is Your Land" and "Sixteen Tons" have been covered by folk punk bands.
While the genre has grown greatly recently, much credit to the establishment of folk punk has gone to Plan It X Records of Bloomington, Indiana for helping popularize the sound. Many staple folk punk bands are either currently on the label or have previously had some connection to it. Among these are Against Me! - perhaps the best known folk punk band - although their sound has been moving more and more towards general punk rock and has moved away from the DIY (do it yourself) ethic that is central to the genre. However, some of these bands don't actually have any real relation to (or even sound like) actual folk music. The only relation could be pointed at the use of "obscure" instruments (or instruments hardly used in punk rock) like a violin, banjo, or a mandolin. Other notable folk-punk labels and bands include This Bike Is A Pipe Bomb, Fistolo Records, (Philadelphia, PA) and The Riot-Folk! Collective
Other locations significant to the folk punk scene are Athens, Ga and Gainesville, Fl (the birth place of Against Me!). There are also a few folk-punk acts from the northeast such as Bread and Roses, The Can Kickers, Evan Greer, and Sharp Teeth, all from the greater Boston area. Also, Salt Lake City, UT
has a large folk punk scene with bands such as Bombs and Beating Hearts
, James Miska
. The scene is also taking shape in Toronto, Canada with artists such as Timothy Cameron, and the collective based band PondScum, in DC with artists like Spoonboy and Rachel Jacobs, and Ohio, with the very popular band Defiance, Ohio (also involved with plan-it-x.)
Other significant folk punk artists and bands include ArnoCorps, Erik Petersen, Mischief Brew, xacrox, Chris Fredda, Madeline Adams, The Heroic Livers, bombs and beating hearts, "Defiance, Ohio", Ghost Mice, Saw Wheel, Rumbleseat, Spoonboy, ,Tennessee Whiskey Tots, and the artists involved in the Riot-Folk! Collective.
A symbol commonly used by the folk punk music scene is the anarchy heart. This is similar to the anarchy symbol except that instead of the A being set in a circle it is set within a heart. This symbolises "love is freedom" while the A within an O symbolises "anarchy is order". This may have originated in northern Florida.