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Basic Folk Debate Club: Performance vs. Authenticity

Jun 8, 2023

Basic Folk Debate Club: Performance vs. Authenticity

Welcome to Folk Debate Club, our occasional crossover series with fellow folk-pod Why We Write! Today, to discuss Performance vs. Authenticity, we welcome our panel of guests: music journalist and former singer/songwriter Kim Ruehl, Isa Burke (Lula Wiles, Aoife O’Donovan), illustrious male folk singer Willi Carlisle, musician and Basic Folk guest host Lizzie No, and yours truly, Cindy Howes, boss of Basic Folk.


In music (and life), there is debate over authenticity versus performative. On stage, in written music, online and in person: what is the artist going for? Realness or entertainment? It doesn’t seem that simple. There are many examples of artists who do both very well and I think the best art is created at the intersection of the two.

There is no question: it’s hard to pull off. We want to try and break down what each of these elements is in music, how to achieve each and what is more important: to perform a personality or just be your genuine self?

Photo Credit: Sam Kassirer (Isa Burke); Cole Nielsen (Lizzie No); Rich Amory (Kim Ruehl); Joseph W. Brown (Willi Carlisle)

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Basic Folk Debate Club: Performance vs. Authenticity