Why Dolly Parton’s “Jolene” is a modern ballad and CocoRosie’s genre-bending session that blew my mind, tonight on Folkadelphia Radio

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CocoRosie by Rodrigo Jardon
CocoRosie by Rodrigo Jardon

At her recent concert at the International House, Norwegian musician Susanna (of the Magical Orchestra) performed a chilling rendition of Dolly Parton’s “Jolene,” trading in the familiar guitar riff for dark piano chords. Inspired by its universality, a quality that grants many ballads and tunes timeless, Folkadelphia will be focusing on “Jolene” and playing back a few diverse covers of this classic song.

This week’s Folkadelphia Session will literally blow minds. We’re pleased to premiere an in-studio recording from music chameleons CocoRosie. On Tales of a GrassWidow, their most recent and fifth album overall, the band synthesizes the electronic with the acoustic, blending the organic and the man-made, the futuristic with the antiquated to create a wholly unique sound that can only be identified and compared to the band itself. Featured prominently in our session are beatboxing, hip-hop beats, and buzzing electronics – sounds not normally associated with folk music, but, as always, we stress the quality and importance of CocoRosie’s songwriting and musicianship, regardless of the medium or methods they use to convey their message. Keep an open mind and open ears, and I think CocoRosie will hook you in.

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