The folk revival of the 1960s is often the starting point of attraction with the style for many contemporary folk fans.
There were a lot of things combined to influence the folk music revival of the 1960s, but there are three major influences. One; during the early 20th Century, folklorists headed out across the country in hopes of documenting the musical styles traditional to various communities. Two; the release of the “Anthology of American Folk Music” featured artists ranging in banjo playing and folk-blues recordings. It exposed this style of music that was native to be heard around the country. Three; the work of Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger and “Almanac Singers “in the 1940’s and 50’s helped create groups that spun off an influence of interesting songwriting during the hard times of the 1960’s.
A result of the folk revival was the proliferation of bluegrass music and the popularization of old timers’ music. In a lot of ways, there were two schools during the folk revival: the singer/songwriters, who wrote their own words to traditional melodies and in some cases, began writing entirely new melodies; and the old timers, who simply stuck to traditional songs and styles. Many traditionalists believe that writing their own material diluted the very definition of folk music, while revivalists look at it as just another turn in the evolution of the genre.
For many people when they hear the words “folk music,” the first two people that come to mind are Bob Dylan and Joan Baez. They were the biggest stars of the 1960s folk craze. When 19-year-old Bob Dylan arrived in Greenwich Village in January 1961, Joan Baez had long been crowned the “Queen of Folk,” but within two short years, Dylan would ascend the throne as King of this musical monarchy, with the two wowing audiences from coast to coast with their live duets. Both Dylan and Baez did their fair share in the Civil Rights Movement; they both participated on the March to Washington where they both preformed for Jobs and Freedom in 1963. Many of Bob Dylan’s songs are anthems to the Civil Rights Movement. For example, the song “Only a Pawn in their Game” is about the assassination of the Civil Rights leader Medgar Evers. Baez not only sang at the March on Washington but worked closely throughout the early 1960s with her good friend Martin Luther King Jr. marched arm in arm with him in Selma and other cities, sang at rallies in churches throughout the South to support civil rights activists,