Friends Who Folk are a duo of musical comedians and comedic musicians — Rachel Wenitsky and Ned Risely.
Their music borrows the sound — perfectly pitched harmonies accompanied by simple guitar — and storytelling aspect of traditional folk ballads. But their songs tell more contemporary tales about wallowing in “Step Mom” after a breakup:
Or how to protest like a millennial:
Or how to take a break from the anxiety-rich hustle and bustle of New York City:
They started Friends Who Folk after bonding over a love of Joni Mitchell’s more obscure folk songs. “The thing that made us laugh the most,” Ned Riseley says, “was that we both knew a lot of the words to “‘Ladies of the Canyon.’”
“We’re genuine huge [folk music] fans,” Wenitsky says. “And we wanted to write music and write comedy and also sing. And we wanted to write music that sounded like real music so that we could stretch that muscle that we were both craving.”
Friends Who Folk perform three songs and talk to Kurt Andersen about the writing process and the backstory to their song “Patti LuPone.”