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Emerging in the late 1980s/early 1990s, indie folk draws on the acoustic folk influences of singer-songwriters from the 1960s (e.g. Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Joni Mitchell), 1970s (e.g. Nick Drake, James Taylor, Cat Stevens) and 1980s (e.g. Suzanne Vega, Tracy Chapman, Indigo Girls) but freely mixes traditional and contemporary folk music stylistics with alt. country, acoustic blues and jazz, indie rock, electronica, symphonic instruments, and eastern-European influences. Other common elements include reverb-laden vocals, unusual harmonies, postmodern crooning, pensive moods, various kinds of ‘slightly psychedelic’ textural sound effects, and alternating between lush and sparse (even lo-fi) production approaches. Early practioners include Beck, Ani Difranco, Dan Bern and Elliott Smith while, more recently, the genre (closely associated with terms such as "alternative folk" or "new folk") has come to the fore with artists such as Bon Iver, The Decemberists, Grizzly Bear, Fleet Foxes, Sufjan Stevens, Beirut, and Laura Marling. Several linked iMix volumes on iTunes feature the genre: Indie Folk Volume 1, Indie Folk Volume 2, etc. .

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