Folk music has gotten some more play in recent days -- thank you, 40th Anniversary of Woodstock -- but, of course, folk comes in many flavors. *Not* just the flavor of the earnest, matchy-matchy folkies of "A Mighty Wind" (hugs, Christopher Guest). Two artists we admire just happen to be landing on Wilshire on the same night. Wish we could see both. Wishing hard.
Tracy Chapman was at the forefront of the late-'80s revival -- or perhaps it was more of a rethinking -- of the traditional folk sound. She was a grrl with a guitar at a time when grrls with guitars were all the rage. (We think they still are and forever will be.) And her GRAMMY-garnering folk vibe boasts an edge, what with her stories and their strong thread of heartache, justice and change. "Talkin' Bout a Revolution" -- you love this song, we love it. She's at The Wiltern on Wednesday, August 19th.
Emiliana Torrini has sometimes been labeled as being in the new wave of folk, but indie folk to be sure. The Icelandic balladeer's slightly retro, highly esoteric, even a tad James-Bond-theme-y work feels off-the-grid-ish. Good off-the-grid-ish, of course. Her MySpace page tells us that she did "Gollum's Song" for "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy. How in Middle Earth did we not know this? We're all about Gollum. And now we know. KCRW presents her show at El Rey Theatre on Wednesday, August 19th.