Folk Equinox isn’t your Grandpa’s bluegrass music

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With bands like Mumford & Sons and The Avett Brothers, folk music is making its way back into the spotlight, with an evolved sound that would have been unheard of 10 years ago. This new-age folk genre can be found around Provo, with groups blossoming from BYU.

Folk Equinox will take place Tuesday at Muse Music Cafe in Provo with local bands The Lucky Crickets, Mountain Flings, Crazy Old Maurice and The Sinners. These bands blend different types of folk music, doing both covers and original songs. Folk music, while a multifaceted genre with roots all over the globe, is often mistaken for being a western American stereotype.

Alex Vincent, a music major from Matthews, N.C., is a member of The Lucky Crickets. The band, which has been together for three years, started out as a singer/songwriter ensemble at BYU and evolved into a group that performs around Utah. Unlike other genres of music, Vincent believes folk music is deeply rooted in each person and has a sound that many people can relate to. While pop and rock music can seem pretentious, he views folk music as being upbeat and happy, without the need to prove anything to its listeners.

“It cuts all the fakeness out of what we’re used to,” Vincent said. “I find a lot of comfort in listening to things that are not seeking for people to like it but it’s just rooted and feels good.”

Mark Geslison, artistic director of the Folk Music Ensemble, enjoys seeing the progression of folk music. He views the raw ideas of musicians as a way to keep music interesting and allows for it to be more approachable. Geslison thinks listeners have an inherent desire for music with a natural and spontaneous sound.

“Folk music is one of those things that follows a  natural tradition,” Geslison said. “They call it a passing down of generation to generation of songs and tunes and that literally still continues. It’s very broad and natural.”

While a passion for many, folk is not usually a genre musicians are trained in. Although classical symphonies are playing instruments that can cost tens of thousands of dollars, folk music groups can find high-quality products in a more accessible price range. This, along with the broad range of folk’s sub-genres, leads it to be less restrictive to both artists and listeners.

Brandon Riggs, another member of The Lucky Crickets, agrees that folk music is experiencing a change from the “do-si-do” of the past. While Riggs and The Lucky Crickets still play music that people can get “buckwild” to, it’s not a hoedown in the traditional bluegrass form.

Riggs, a graduate from BYU, teaches a folk ensemble class that focuses on songwriting. He believes that because the form of folk music is not strict, it allows for more creativity than other groups. Each member of a folk music group can bring their own past influences and interests, leading a band to have a dynamic sound.

“With folk music you’re playing music from your heart,” Riggs said. “Because folk music is much more free it’s more organic than a lot of the other genres of music. it’s all coming from the heart and soul of every individual of each group.”

The Folk Equinox starts at 8 p.m. and costs $6.

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