Illustration: Gareth Arrowsmith

Whether we like it or not we are children of capitalism.  We awake each morning to find that our world has…changed from yesterday.  As we simple folk meander through ethereal dreamscapes, the capitalist machine is busily chugging away.  The tabloids conjure fresh trivial scandals that are about as newsworthy as ‘AN EFFIGY OF JESUS FOUND IN A POTATO’, advertisers construct fresh and exciting ways for us to part with our money while the rahreedy fingers of the mutant SiCo corp moulds and projects their subservient ‘pop-stars’ into every crevasse of the mass-media until they trespass our very subconscious.  Even the NME, the long-since bastion of the ‘thinking-man’s’ choice of musical literature, constructs ‘cool-lists’ to help us filter-out those meddling artists who were just ‘so…last…year’.

In the early 1960’s, the principles of ‘folk’ music culture were based around a rejection of what was felt to be a particularly pollutant, capitalist-influenced musical hegemony.  Popular music commentator Keir Keightley describes it as, ‘emblematic of all that was wrong with modern life: soulless songs and suspect success, manufactured teen idols and manipulated masses.’  Hmm…not much has changed then.  However, dear reader, fear not.  As we, the perceptive and individualistic members of society, hold our umbrellas aloft to shield ourselves from the barrage of banal that rains down from the heavens, there is a resistance spawned from the grass-roots.  The ideology of our cause?  To detail the culture of the people, for the people.  It seems folk/roots/acoustic aficionado Graham Holland is also privy to this notion as by April of 2008, it became personally clear that a proficient platform for the contemporary folk underground was needed and taking matters into his own hands, he created the LIVERPOOL ACOUSTIC website.  Primarily to be used as a “central resource for acoustic music events in the Greater Merseyside area,” it’s encyclopedic thoroughness goes even further in assisting “musicians looking for acoustic gigs or open mic events, lovers of acoustic music who just want to go out and listen to real music in its rawest form and promoters who run their own events wanting to keep up to date with the scene.”  In other words, its serves as a one-stop-shop database for every folkie remotely interested or active in the scene.  Whereas other genre-specific sites may treat their content with hyperbolic claims to sell the site or the artists, Liverpool Acoustic is less crass than that.  Is that the idea or is that just the ‘folk’ way?  Graham Holland explains…“I’m a firm believer in the old mantra ‘Content is King’ and aim to provide quality content that the visitors want to see. That’s not to say I don’t hype the website from time to time, but I try to be fair to everyone who approaches me with a request for publicity.”

“I'm a firm believer in the old mantra ‘Content is King’ and aim to provide quality content that the visitors want to see. That's not to say I don't hype the website from time to time, but I try to be fair to everyone who approaches me with a request for publicity.” Graham Holland, Liverpool Acoustic

Liverpool Acoustic’s ‘cool-list’ is a little less contrived, shall we say, offering an alphabetic rundown that profiles all the major troubadours making waves in our region.  For Graham, it’s an exhaustive “labour of love.”  Having suckled on the folk bottle from an early age, absorbing the likes of Ewan MacColl, Jacqui and Bridie, and Leon Rosselson, he now feeds with it.  From co-hosting the open floor poetry and acoustic music event Come Strut Your Stuff for the past 10 years, February 2009 then gave birth to Liverpool Acoustic Live.  As a “natural off-shoot” to Liverpool Acoustic and celebrating it’s two year anniversary next month, The View Two Gallery holds a monthly residence featuring the cream of local talent alongside artists from across the pond.  So who should we be keeping tabs on locally?  “Hannah Peel, Lizzie Nunnery, T-J & Murphy, KCO, and Jessicas Ghost are all from the horse’s mouth.  I’ll throw in The City Walls and The Springtime Anchorage for good measure.”  So there its is.  There’s no duping of the masses here.  No pursuit in affluence, glory or acclaim can replace the crown of creation.  It’s always been the folk tradition to take from, then give back to.  Isn’t that how the equilibrium remains stable?  Like the evolution of the orally-transmitted song, a process stemming from the people, by the people, to the people.  Remember, as we meander through ethereal dreamscapes, the culture-machine is busily chugging away…

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