As a songwriter, I’m often asked: “What kind of music is it”? For music sites, social media and other mainstream online venues, I need to check a box in order to NOT be put in the wrong place or be categorized as country music online. This leaves me having to choose among Alt Country, Americana Music, Singer/Songwriter, Folk or Acoustic for lack of an appropriate box to check.
This music has its own box. If I had to give it a title I’d call it American West Music. The internet has given independent music artists, such as myself, the opportunity to be heard regardless of category. That’s the good news. How people find those of us that don’t slot neatly into a pre-existing cubbyhole, however, still presents a considerable challenge.
The frontier of the web is ever changing and how it’s navigated is left to the explorer, many of whom need those neat little signposts to organize their journey. Still, for me, Whitman told it like it is 150 years ago: “A heroic person walks at his ease through and out of that custom or precedent or authority that suits him not. Of the traits of the brotherhood of writers, savants, musicians, inventors and artists, nothing is finer than silent defiance advancing from new free forms. In the…craft of art…, he is greatest for ever and for ever who contributes the greatest original practical example. The cleanest expression is that which finds no sphere worthy of itself and makes one.” -Preface, Leaves of Grass
So I’m lookin’ forward to the web catchin’ up to Walt.
As an artist, do you find the need to invent a category of your own? Do you see the ever-evolving internet adapting to new genres of music? If so, how?