Folk Remedy

March 09, 2000

Adam Brodsky is on a mission and will stop at nothing to destroy folk music as you know it.  Relax, you'll thank him for it later.

Brodsky's not shy about his intentions, and he certainly doesn't mean to hurt anyone. "Folk Remedy" even comes equipped with its own caveat:  "If ears begin to bleed, discontinue usage and administer Gin Blossoms immediately." Consider yourself warned.

Brodsky is a practitioner of the growing genre of anti-folk, which is pretty much exactly what it sounds like. Brash, irreverent and full of attitude, anti-folk seeks to ignite a little of that revolutionary spirit, if not action.

But in point of fact, Brodsky's sharp, wordy brand of anti-folk isn't as much revolutionary as it is reactionary.  Borrowing heavily from Bob Dylan in both stylistic convention and brazen attitude, "Folk Remedy" is a return to the days when folk meant something, with a little postmodern sensibility and a little vulgarity thrown in for good measure.

What Brodsky is out to destroy isn't necessarily folk music.  Rather, it's that hippy-dippy, "let's explore our feelings" stuff that somehow got mistaken for folk when all the real folkies (read Dylan, Guthrie, Baez, et al.) died and/or made themselves irrelevant.

Brodsky's a versatile songwriter, he's a skilled wordsmith, and yet some of his best numbers are his shortest, like the quickie-relationship-sum-up "6 Months" and the 30 second history of the universe, brilliantly titled "All." Perhaps the best piece of the album is "Unmitigated Freakshow," where he takes friends, family, the record business and even himself to task in the kind of bitter recrimination you just never see anymore.

And that's Brodsky's biggest strength. "Folk Remedy" mines the past for the stuff that we forgot was such an integral part of folk music, real folk music, music for and by the folk, the people, you, me and everybody. He doesn't always hit his mark, but he gets it right more often than not, and it sure does feel good when he does.

Adam Brodsky will perform live on WBRS on Wednesday, March 22.

Brandeis Justice

updated: 17 years ago