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Indie folk is a music genre that arose in the 1990s among musicians from
indie rock Indie rock is a genre of rock music Rock music is a broad genre of popular music Popular music is music with wide appeal that is typically distributed to large audiences through the music industry. These forms and styles can be enjoyed and ...
scenes influenced by
folk music Folk music is a music genre A music genre is a conventional category that identifies some pieces of music as belonging to a shared tradition or set of conventions. It is to be distinguished from ''musical form'' and musical style, althoug ...
. Indie folk hybridizes the acoustic guitar melodies of
traditional folk music Folk music is a music genre that includes #Traditional folk music, traditional folk music and the Contemporary folk music, contemporary genre that evolved from the former during the 20th-century folk revival. Some types of folk music may be ca ...
with contemporary instrumentation. The genre has its earliest origins in 1990s folk artists who displayed
alternative rock Alternative rock (also called alternative music, alt-rock, or simply alternative) is a category of rock music that emerged from the independent music underground of the 1970s and became widely popular in the 1990s. "Alternative" refers to th ...
influences in their music, such as
Ani DiFranco Angela Maria "Ani" DiFranco (; born September 23, 1970) is an American singer-songwriter. She has released more than 20 albums. DiFranco's music has been classified as folk rock Folk rock is a hybrid music genre combining elements of folk ...
and
Dan Bern Dan Bern (also known as Bernstein; born July 27, 1959) is an American guitarist, singer, songwriter, novelist and painter. His music has been compared to that of Bob Dylan, Woody Guthrie, Bruce Springsteen, Phil Ochs and Elvis Costello. Brett Hart ...

Dan Bern
, and acoustic artists such as
Elliott Smith Steven Paul Smith (August 6, 1969 – October 21, 2003), known professionally as Elliott Smith, was an American singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. Smith was born in Omaha, Nebraska Omaha ( ) is the largest city in the U.S. sta ...

Elliott Smith
and
Will Oldham Joseph Will Oldham (born January 15, 1970), is an American singer-songwriter and actor. From 1993 to 1997, he performed and recorded in collaboration with dozens of other musicians under variations of Palace (''Palace'', ''Palace Flophouse, Pal ...

Will Oldham
. In the following decade, labels such as
Saddle Creek Saddle Creek Records is an American record label based in Omaha, Nebraska Omaha ( ) is the largest city in the U.S. state of Nebraska and the county seat of Douglas County, Nebraska, Douglas County. Omaha is in the Midwestern United States ...
,
Barsuk Barsuk Records ( ) is an independent record label An independent record label (or indie label) is a record label that operates without the funding of major record labels; they are a type of small and medium-sized enterprise, small to medium-si ...
, Ramseur, and
Sub Pop Sub Pop is a record label A record label, or record company, is a brand A brand is a name, term, design, symbol or any other feature that identifies one seller's good or service as distinct from those of other sellers. Brands are used in ...

Sub Pop
helped to provide support to indie folk, with artists such as
Fleet Foxes Fleet Foxes are an American indie folk band formed in Seattle Seattle ( ) is a port, seaport city on the West Coast of the United States. It is the county seat, seat of King County, Washington, King County, Washington (state), Washingto ...
breaking into the pop charts with albums such as ''Helplessness Blues''. In the United Kingdom, artists such as
Ben Howard Benjamin John Howard (born 24 April 1987) is an English singer-songwriter, musician and composer. His self-released debut EP ''Games in the Dark'' (2008) was followed by two more EPs, '' These Waters'' (2009) and ''Old Pine (EP), Old Pine'' (20 ...

Ben Howard
and
Mumford & Sons Mumford & Sons are a British folk rock band formed in London in 2007. The band consists of Marcus Mumford (lead vocals, electric guitar, acoustic guitar, drums), Ben Lovett (British musician), Ben Lovett (vocals, keyboards, piano), and Ted Dwane ...

Mumford & Sons
emerged, with the latter band promoting the music style through their Gentlemen of the Road touring festivals. The success of acts like Mumford & Sons led some music journalists like Popjustice's Peter Robinson labelling this new British music scene as The New Boring or Beige Pop. In the late 2010s, artists such as
Phoebe Bridgers Phoebe Lucille Bridgers (born August 17, 1994) is an American singer-songwriter, guitarist and producer from Los Angeles Los Angeles (; es, Los Ángeles; "The Angels"), officially the City of Los Angeles and often abbreviated as L.A., i ...
and
Julien Baker Julien Rose Baker (born September 29, 1995) is an American singer and multi-instrumentalist. She has received widespread critical acclaim for her music, which often confronts issues of spirituality, addiction, mental illness, and human nature. In ...
revived interest in the genre. Bridgers cites Elliott Smith as a foundational influence on her sound.


References

{{DEFAULTSORT:Indie folk Alternative rock genres American styles of music British styles of music Indie rock