I’m toning it down from heavy rock this week for Music Friday and turning to a Scottish folk musician named Bert Jansch. I like lots of different kinds of music, and that includes folk (both old and new). I’ve always loved Neil Young, and I also dig newer folk acts like Fleet Foxes. I stumbled upon Bert Jansch about a year ago and I’ve grown to love him.
Jansch was an incredibly influential acoustic guitarist and singer/songwriter who started out in the British folk scene of the 1960s. Over his lifetime (he died in 2011), he recorded at least 25 albums – pretty prolific! I mean, just take a look at his discography from Wikipedia; it’s massive, including not just his studio albums, but also live albums from his extensive touring, two EPS, and more. I’d never heard of him until last year, but apparently he influenced popular musicians like Paul Simon, Elton John, and Jimmy Page.
I don’t know enough about music and guitar-playing to describe Jansch’s style, but it’s beautiful to listen to. Many of the tracks of his I’ve been listening to are short acoustic guitar instrumentals, and it’s clear he was a virtuoso. I’ve been listening mostly to his posthumous albums of unreleased material and demos, including The Setting of the Sun. It’s just beautiful traditional folk and acoustic guitar that’s great to chill out to.
Check him out!
Here’s a great live video of Bert Jansch playing “Black Waterside,” a traditional Irish folk song. Interesting note: Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin liked this so much that he “borrowed” it, copying it almost note for note and turning it into a Zeppelin tune called “Black Mountain Side.” Without giving any credit! Come on, Jimmy!