In an excellent dialogue recently posted at C2What.com, Taylor Hicks again verifies that his next compilation will be more acoustic and organic. So, that begs the question, just what IS acoustic and organic. Well, in the simplest form, acoustic is defined as “music that is not electronically enhanced” and generally refers to guitars. The organic part, to me, simply means natural and not contrived.
Got me to thinking about my favorite acoustic/organic performers. After a discussion of the topic with my buddy, Shrew, we came up with a few examples of what we think epitomize acoustic/organic.
First, there are songs that have been done with heavy instrumentation and tempo and then re-done acoustically. One of the best examples of this, is Eric “god” Clapton’s Layla. Here is the original (written with Patti Harrison as the muse):
and then, there’s the much more palatable “unplugged” version:
Perhaps the most prolific acoustic/organic artist, ever, is James Taylor. James’ sweet tones and heartfelt lyrics have influenced many of today’s artists. One of my favorite James Taylor CDs is In the Pocket, and includes Daddy’s All Gone:
But, I can’t mention James Taylor without thinking of dear, Dan Fogelberg and his mellow tunes:
Leader of the Band
Additionally, many of today’s artists often mention Cat Stevens as an influence, as well:
Many acoustic/organic artists arose out of the 60s and 70s with music that was not only pleasing to the ear, but had a significant message, as well. Joni Mitchell provided several songs that encapsulated some of the feelings of the changing world in the early 70s. Big Yellow Taxi is just one:
The songwriting duo of Kenny Loggins and Jim Messina provided many hits, but Danny’s Song really hit home about what the important things in life are:
And, Gordon Lightfoot brought new meaning to the traditional “love” song:
If You Could Read My Mind
The influence of these early acoustic/organic pioneers is evident in today’s performances. For example:
Thank You, Alanis Morrisette
Keep it Loose, Keep it Tight, Amos Lee
Forever My Friend, Ray LaMontagne
Heart of Life, John Mayer
Even though Johnny Boy’s music has some “electronic” infusion, the acoustical certainly overrides. Basically, the acoustical sound is sharper without multiple instruments competing. It’s simple in melody and showcases the voice.
Perhaps, a little like Jim Croce:
or Bill Withers:
Ain’t No Sunshine
Much of the blues is acoustic/organic, as well, like this tasty sample of Warren Haynes and Derek Trucks:
and the sweet stylings of Leon Redbone:
While I could go on and on regarding acoustic/organic, I figured it would be appropriate to finish up with a couple of acoustic/organic samples from a couple of Beatles.
Mull of Kintyre, Paul McCartney (a Mr. D. favorite!)
My Sweet Lord, George Harrison
There are ample examples of viable acoustic/organic performances to emulate, but I’m pretty sure that Taylor Hicks knows how to “make it do what it do”.