Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Good for the wheat...

Folk music fans have a bit of a reputation for stuffiness. You know the stereotype: traditional types with their knitted sweaters, mildly greasy hair and wanton beards, sampling their real ale and designer-brand ciders, as they debate which artists are worthy of inclusion in the genre, and frowning upon artists who dare deviate from the traditional form and venture into, say, the pop or rock realm. From the American folkies who booed an electrified Dylan at Newport in '65, to Brits still recovering from Richard Thompson's 80's and 90's daring recording adventures, they can often come across as a rather sour and exclusionary bunch.

How refreshing then, to discover Woven Wheat Whispers , a site that dares to celebrate and promote all manner of folk and related music.

Although a newcomer to the digital download scene, Woven Wheat is quickly earning a reputation as an artist-friendly service that embraces all manner of styles. Genres currently listed in their catalogue include Celtic folk, Strange folk and Pre-folk alongside the Traditional and dance/Ceilidh acts. Actually, I'm not sure that I fit into any of their categories, but they let me tag along anyway.

Ian Southworth and Mark Coyle are the fine gents responsible for the Woven Wheat Whispers venture and deserve credit for their efforts in making their site a useful and entertaining one for the artist and listener alike. The largely upbeat and warm community forum is a welcome respite from some of the more morose and frosty ones out there (you know who you are), and they have a player that enables you to have a listen to the artists in their catalogue as you browse. Off you go then...Forum

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