Taylor Swift, Mumford and Sons, The All Girl Boys Choir and many other people are bringing the Banjo back in a strong way.
Taylor Swift’s new song Mean features a strong performance on the banjo and it made me wonder, what’s up with that?
The banjo has been a typically stylized instrument whose sound instantly conjures up mentally challenged hill billies ala Deliverance. Sure, she sings country music but her music is so plastic and poppy that it can hardly be called country. So what’s up with the banjo? Is she trying to be more country or is it something else?
On a rather different end of the music spectrum you have the band Mumford and Sons. They are a pretty traditional rock band who use a banjo. Their music is a bit different in that they actually put depth to their tunes.
Recently while at church I was talking to the highschool aged kids and one of them (whose favorite music is screamo) had said she would love to hear a hardcore or screamo band who use an electric banjo but that she couldn’t find one.
I know of an indie band called the All Girl Boys Choir who have a banjo in their band so I gave the student from church their album. It wasn’t screamo or hardcore and the banjo wasn’t electric, but she loved their tunes.
So all this got me to thinking. What’s up with the banjo? A few years back I noticed the Ukelele was making a big come back and now it’s everywhere. Will we be seeing this with the banjo as well?
I did a bit of an experiment last year with google adwords and did an ad for the All Girl Boys Choir and used the phrase Banjo Rock as a key word. Several thousand people did google searches for indie rock bands with banjos in their music.