Folk is People
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Folk is People

Jacksonville, FL | Established. Jan 01, 2012 | SELF

Jacksonville, FL | SELF
Established on Jan, 2012
Solo Americana Folk




"Blaze of Glory"

story by NICK McGREGOR
Stacey Bennett is the busiest musician in Northeast Florida. It's hard to objectively quantify such a statement, but consider the facts: In just the last 18 months, she and her band have toured the nation, played South By Southwest, sold out the Blue Jay Listening Room, secured airplay for the 2016 album on 140 college radio stations, said goodbye to two band members, added a retired Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra concertmaster to the lineup, and planned a (literal) marathon of a new songwriting experiment. And still, Bennett says she's in "a kind of a lull-writing, tearing up the paper, rewriting."

Folio Weekly: So a lull for Stacey Bennett means a standing Friday evening slot at Seachasers Lounge through June, a regular lunchtime gig at Hemming Park, a spot on the bill at Songbook Jax's upcoming female singer-songwriter showcase at Blue Jay ... how do you it?
Stacey Bennett: I'm finally getting the hang of not being told what to do-or having so little time to do it in-but I've found [I] still have to make a schedule for all the different projects I have going on. The stakes are higher. It's so much more personal. When I worked my last job, I did the best I could every day, and then I went home. Being a musician isn't a 40-hour-a-week job. If you see me at the gym, I'm writing lyrics while on the elliptical. This is a matter of success or failure. There's only person who can contribute to that-and that's me.

Speaking of running, what can you tell us about your next project?
I don't want to go into too much detail, but I'm a runner. It's how I relax. I recently signed up for my first marathon, and I'm doing it by myself, so I thought, "Why don't I do something comparable to a marathon with songwriting?" My plan is to write 33 songs in 33 days-a song every day, no matter if it's terrible or awful. I'm going to keep an online journal about the process and my mentality: Am I writing from isolation, mania or happiness? I want to document the experience of a writer.

Have your recent solo shows at Seachasers been good practice for that solitary endeavor?
I've never been one to play cover music, but I'm taking different songs that are not the typical ones you'd hear at a sportsbar and making them my own. Locally, I mostly play in my Murray Hill/Riverside/Downtown comfort zone. So playing at Seachasers in Jax Beach for a totally different crowd-not the artsy crowd-has given me new insight into how I play music. Every song I test out, I'm watching everybody's eyes. And taking everything very personally.

Which is how you treat Folk Is People, a big band but decidedly your band. Have the recent departures and additions affected you personally?
Our fiddle player left for Nashville and she's doing very well. Bob Judalena is leaving for Tallahassee to get his master's degree in fine arts. I'm very happy for them. As for the new members, you never know how they're going to jibe on tour. You want somebody who understands the concept of a band being run as you would any other business. You have a responsibility to conduct yourself in a professional manner, and it has been difficult to find people in Jacksonville who have that same vision. This isn't a party band. That said, getting Philip Pan, the retired concertmaster for Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra, and our new drummer Robbie Knox, in the band has been phenomenal. We really lucked out with these guys.

You mention touring. What did Folk Is People's 2017 trip around America teach you about the modern music industry?
It gave me a lot of insight into the reason why not everybody is a musician and not everybody goes on tour. It's one of the most complicated endeavors as a DIY band. You're trying to sell yourself to music rooms and bars-and they're trying to sell alcohol. They don't care how good of an act you are-they want to know how many people will come to your shows. Or how many Facebook friends and Instagram followers you have. It's frustrating; two years ago, I was this pie-eyed kid excited about having so much time to do what I want to do. Now, I'm a little more pessimistic. I'm writing press releases, stalking people on social media, and telling people how good we are. You have to form relationships to have a competitive advantage as a band. I didn't expect to be doing that when I started playing music.

How valuable, then, are local listening rooms like Blue Jay to the evolution of a DIY musician's career?
Blue Jay Listening Room is a gem. I didn't know what it was at first; Cara Burky actually contacted me and said, "Hey, I think you'd like to play here." I looked into it and thought, "Wow-what a concept." When she told me she was going to sell tickets for $20, I thought no one would come. I did a lot of hard work promoting our first show and it still made my heart gallop. Then we had 100 people willing to pay $20, sit down, and be present as we played our songs. That was really cool. Jason Honeycutt is doing a lot Downtown to get more people into The Elbow, which leads to more people willing to pay us to play music-not asking us, "How many tickets can you sell?" So many musicians rely on these gigs. I rely on these gigs. Playing music isn't a hobby. And even if it is a hobby for some people, it's a very expensive one. - Folio Weekly

"Folk is People Release New Video"

Local group Folk is People have just released a new music video for their single, “Crocodile.” The whimsical video was directed by Keagan Anfuso, who has worked with the group in the past. Anufso’s unique style creates a funny and light-hearted approach to, “the discomfort most bands experience at least once when playing for an audience that is less than enthusiastic about the performance.”

As the video plays out, the crowd of old timers eventually begin to listen and pay attention to the band before busting out some quirky dance moves into a full-blown dance party. Stacey Bennett, the group’s frontwoman, said the song is as close to a love song as you’ll ever get from her. “Crocodile” is a tune Bennett wrote for her wife early in their relationship upon receiving unsolicited negative responses from friends and family regarding the couple’s relationship.

Watch the video here:

Follow the band on these networks to stay up-to-date on what they’ve got going on. If you like what you hear, support them!

You can find more work from the video’s director here. - Void

"Folk Is People’s Stacey Bennett on Loud Guitars, Homophobia in the South, and Reading Ronda Rousey"

Folk Is People’s Stacey Bennett on Loud Guitars, Homophobia in the South, and Reading Ronda Rousey
October 26, 2016 by Meeghan Kane Leave a Comment
folk is peopleFolk Is People is singer/songwriter Stacey Bennett’s full-time gig, and she’s killing it. On her new album, The Devil Always Comes, there’s a raw clarity in her voice, with a bit of a yodel here and a growl there, that carries over some pristine indie folk pop. It’s loud, jangly, hopeful music, even when it’s sad and angry. The album came out just YESTERDAY, and Bennett was kind enough to talk to me about writing these beautiful songs, the very real challenges of living in the South, and reading Ronda Rousey.

Where are you from? Where are you now?

I am originally from the Northern Virginia/DC area. I have lived in Jacksonville, Florida, for almost eleven years.

Tell me about the music you make.

I describe my music as sounding like indie rock married a folk song and started a pop punk band. Each song is different from the other so it is hard to nail down a specific genre. They all begin as folk songs and then my love for loud guitars takes over. This new release, The Devil Always Comes, is a very conceptual piece and very personal to me. It depicts the inner dissonance created when we reflect on the bad parts of ourselves while attempting to reconcile past deeds with the present pursuit of virtue.

Does living in the South impact your music?

Absolutely. Most of what I write is autobiographical and I would say much of this album is a response to certain experiences I’ve had while living and working here. From my perspective, this is not a place that prides itself on cultural competence. One issue that I deal with regularly is homophobia. A few times, people have been blatantly hateful towards me, but it is mostly subtle disrespect. After my wife and I were married, I had a coworker who would only refer to her as my “friend” regardless of how many times I corrected him. We all pick up on cues that are outside of our awareness but somehow manage to surface. Sometimes the only way I can articulate experiences is through writing music, which by the way is not cheaper than therapy.

folk is people iiWhat are your hopes for your music?

My greatest hope is that I can positively impact people’s lives by creating art that is relatable to others and relevant to the human condition. I write from a place of vulnerability and I hope to encourage folks to be more open and authentic in their lives and interactions with others. Music and art is phenomenal in that it can connect people who wouldn’t typically interact.

Where will you go and what will you do next?

I will be doing a lot of touring to promote the record. My main goal right now is to build up our regional following.

Where are you headed on tour?

Folk is People has a Southeast tour lined up after the holidaze.

Who do you listen to?

I typically listen to an eclectic mix of artists. I am attracted to musicians who have mastered the art of songwriting (at least in my opinion). My current playlist is a mashup of Shovels & Rope, Tegan and Sara, Bright Eyes, Florence and the Machine, and Jason Isbell.

folk is people iiiWho inspires you?

People make fun of me for this but I am very intrigued with Ronda Rousey. I read her book, My Fight/Your Fight and was inspired by it. Her story was the final push I needed to quit my job and put myself out there. I have always lived with this fear of failure and rejection, like many other people do, but that fear was preventing me from being happy and doing what I love. I still have those fears but I have come to terms with the fact that failure is a necessary part of success and some people will not like my music. It happens.

Any favorite Southern women?

Cary Ann Hearst of Shovels & Rope is one of my favorite southern songwriters. She is so incredibly talented, nice, and funny. I had the pleasure of opening for them a few years back and I was doing my best not to fangirl her.

Any other Southern women or non-binary or trans Southerners making music that we should know about?

In Jacksonville: Robi Rutenburg (Four Families, Insel, The Little Books), Geexella, TOMBOi, and Laura Shannon (Wise River). - Auntie Bellum

"Folk is People is Back"

Two years ago, local indie rockers Rick Grice and Stacey Bennett put their independent-minded duo Folk Is People on hiatus. That was a big loss for Jacksonville, as the band’s 2012 debut That Was Then was catchy, and thorny, full of propulsive, breakneck folk songs played with a propulsive buzz, imbued with Bennett’s powerful voice.

Even though Bennett became a bit of a “ghost” (her word) while she finished her master’s degree, that creative urgency was still a-brewin’. And now, with a video-release show this week, and an album-release party in October, Folk Is People is back — albeit in pared form.

Folio Weekly caught up with the endlessly energetic Bennett to get the scoop.


Folio Weekly: So what the heck have you been up to for the last two years?
Stacey Bennett: Folk Is People has been on hiatus, but it was very important to me to revive this project — of all my projects, I’ve felt most connected to [it]. So I’ve been holed up in my house writing and finishing my master’s degree, while Rick has focused on his recording studio, Endangered Wise Men Studios, and his band, Speaking Cursive. He is producing Folk Is People’s newest full-length, though.

When the band started, you were teaching full-time. Is that still the case?
Folk Is People is [now] my full-time job. I thought I would have more time for sleep and other human activities when I kicked my 9-5 job to the curb to pursue music. Ironically, I’m busier than I have ever been — but it’s the exciting kind of busy.

Tell us more about your new song and video, “Bury Me in Virginia,” which you debut on Sept. 15 at Rain Dogs.
The song is awkwardly autobiographical. I wrote it in about 10 minutes with a banjo and a kick drum. It started it off as satire but ended up being a very existential piece. When I was seven, my grandmother passed somewhat suddenly, and my mom bought several burial plots in Culpeper, Virginia, so we could be buried next to one another. It’s an eerie sort of comfort visiting her resting place, knowing that’s where I will spend my final decades as organic matter. How many people can say they’ve stood on their own grave?

That’s heavy.
It is a very sobering experience — it makes me reflect on my purpose. If I left this planet today, what was my contribution? Hence my decision to focus full-time on creating music. I felt like I was becoming incessantly mediocre, which resulted in a kind of self-abhorrence.

The video feels much more joyful. What was it like filming with director Keagan Anfuso?
Brainstorming and filming [that] was both fun and challenging, assuming those two things can coexist. I worked with an incredible team of brilliant, wonderful humans, and the concept began with a tarot card that my best friend made for the song. The unique thing about the video is that, while it seems to be a somewhat comedic depiction of the song, it is very reflective of my current circumstance. Toward the end of the video, my character surrenders to the concept of Death, a representation of change and transformation. However, the act of surrendering in this case is in regard to acceptance, not defeat.

Your new album drops in October. Are all the songs as reflective of your current state?
A few of the songs are a culmination of pieces and parts I started over a decade ago and completed within the last several months. However, most of the songs are hot off the press. I literally finished writing them in the studio.

Rick isn’t in the band anymore, but he’s producing the album. Will it sound like past Folk Is People?
This album will be somewhat of a surprise to fans. It’s slightly edgier and more diverse than the earlier Folk Is People release. I write very honestly and from a place of vulnerability, which has been a constant. Instrumentally, the new record is a mashup of indie subgenres. Every song is unique from the others.

What inspires you to write that way?
Ideas come to me at random. I’ve written songs in the car, at coffee shops, and have even dreamt about chord progressions. I have about six notebooks going right now [in which] I jot down lyrics or notes. I take turns losing them, essentially rendering them pointless. [But] my songs are extremely personal — I write about experiences. It’s important to tell a story and I’ve found that people connect to that when listening to a folky-style song. That being said, I’ve been watching a lot of serial killer crime dramas lately and I cannot help but think that paranoia creeps into my psyche and influences my writing.

How pivotal is the Jacksonville music community for you as an artist and a human?
It’s essential for Folk Is People. I have a lot of support from other musicians and artists in the community, [and] I feel very lucky to be a part of it. A lot of local folks have been diligent in assisting with this project — as I said, I was a ghost for two years, and as soon as I mentioned my intent to revive Folk Is People, I was met with encouragement and support from all directions. I remain in awe.

folk is people, stacey bennett, folk music, jacksonville, florida - Folio Weekly

"Jump on the Folkswagon: Folk is People Releases EP, kicks off East Coast Tour"

Before forming the indie folk rock duo Folk is People, Rick Grice and Stacey Bennett had already laid the foundation of their music careers.

Grice grew up in a one-traffic-light town outside of Jacksonville called Keystone Heights and started making music when he was 15. He moved to Jacksonville a few years later and played with different bands. He later started producing music as a soloist and working in Jacksonville and Los Angeles studios.

Bennett was born and raised in Northern Virginia. She became interested in music when she was 10 years old after her mother bought her a copy of “Melancholy and Infinite Sadness” by the Smashing Pumpkins. She learned how to play guitar when she was 12, joined a variety of bands and eventually also became a soloist.

While aspiring to be a musician, Bennett studied political science and psychology at UNF and graduated with her bachelor’s degree in 2009. She is currently a teacher at Edward H. White High School.

“We’re not just boxed into one thing,” Bennett said. “Yes, I love teaching. I’m passionate about it. Is it my dream? Not necessarily. It was at one point. Being a musician has always been my dream, but I think to be a healthy human, you have to have more than just one dream.”

Grice and Bennett met through mutual friends, and after discovering that they both have similar music tastes, they decided to start making music and performing together. They played with several bands, such as Shovels and Rope and Inspection 12, and in a variety of states. The duo finally decided to create Folk is People in January.

“We’re just replications of one another so we argue a lot,” Bennett said, “but I think at the end of the day, our taste and desires for how we want a song to sound fuses.

There was no argument when naming the band Folk is People, which was inspired by the German term “volk,” meaning people.

The duo is holding a CD release party for its EP “That was Then” July 6 at Jack Rabbits.

Folk is People will also be doing an East Coast tour. Bennett said she loves the people in Jacksonville that come to the band’s shows, but it is also cool to experiment and see if Folk is People will be accepted in other places.

The title of the tour and the band’s EP was inspired by past events and relationships.

“Everybody expresses themselves differently,” Bennett said. “I think no matter what if you are just honest with yourself, then whatever you put down on the page will connect to people because I think, as humans, we all want to share that.”

The album features a multitude of stringed instruments. Bennett and Grice can both play guitar, banjo and mandolin. Bennett also knows how to play the harmonica, and Grice can play bass guitar and piano. They experiment making music with other objects as well, including an old leather suitcase, beer cans and mason jars.

“We try to get creative with the sounds and manipulate them after the fact,” Grice said.

Bennett said she and Grice have finished recording five songs so far, but are collectively working on about 20 songs. Since Grice owns a studio, the duo had the advantage of taking its time while producing the EP.

Grice said when recording, bands shouldn’t try to record several songs in a day, but focus on recording one good song.

“One really solid polished song is worth its weight in gold over ten half-ass recorded songs,” he said.

Folk is People will be selling the EP and merchandise at the CD release party. The show will begin at 8 p.m. and include performances by Canary in a Coalmine and Oscar Mike. Tickets are on sale now for $8.

The EP will also be available online July 7 on Bandcamp and on ITunes, Spotify and Amazon within the following weeks.

After the tour, Bennett and Grice plan on producing a full-length album and touring again next summer and perhaps in the winter. The pair will also continue to develop their fan base and connect with record labels.

“We’re super DIY musicians with everything we’ve done to date, from the recording to the designing to the website,” Grice said. “We have no problem doing it by ourselves and building it brick by brick.” - UNF Spinnaker

"Folk is People: Five Songs for Your Crush's Mixtape"

Folk Is People is a Jacksonville-bred musical duo featuring Stacey Bennett and Rick Grice. Their indie folk-rock songs have an unaffected, down-to-earth feel bolstered by personal and discerning lyrics. An album release party and concert for their debut EP, “That Was Then,” starts at 8 p.m. Friday, July 6, at Jack Rabbits, 1528 Hendricks Ave. Canary in the Coalmine and Oscar Mike will open the show. Admission is $8.


1. “All Those Words” by Michael Trent: This is one of our favorite songwriters. His band, Shovels and Rope, is one of our go-to artists while we are on the road. This song perfectly captures what it is like to have a crush on someone, but waiting for the perfect moment to tell them. — Rick and Stacey

2. “Be My Baby” by The Ronettes: This has been one of my favorite songs since childhood. I still get chills when listening to the way her voice breaks up. The album version was the 25th studio take. It was done in 1963 when they had to just throw up two microphones and get the best sound possible. I feel they truly captured a magical moment in time and it blows my mind that it is just one solid, raw, unedited vocal. — Rick

3. “Parachute” by Ingrid Michaelson: One of my biggest challenges as a songwriter is composing an optimistic “love” song. Ingrid does a good job explicating the intricacy and complexity of love’s nuances. What draws me to this song is how she exposes the opposition that most face upon verbalizing said crush. To me, this song is about how a relationship should be more like a secret society of two people who, above all, will safeguard one another emotionally. — Stacey

4. “The Blower’s Daughter” by Damien Rice: This is my type of song. Candid. Obsessive. Melancholy. Rice could sing the alphabet and I would still cry my eyes out. — Stacey

5 “Mrs. Potter’s Lullaby” by Counting Crows: I don’t think it’s any secret that Adam Duritz is one incredible lyricist. Specifically, I think this song really shows off his talent. I love that the verses are deep and full of amazing analogies, whereas the choruses are just a few words of beautiful chorus line. You can tell his mind pulls from so many different places when he writes, truly uninhibited. It’s something I constantly have to remind myself of when writing, and he sets the bar quite high with this one. — Rick - Jacksonville Magazine

"Folk is People at Bogart's In the Fan"

Tonight, Jacksonville, Florida's Folk Is People will be performing at Bogarts In The Fan. They're about midway through their East Coast tour in support of their debut EP, That Was Then. The duo of Rick Grice and Stacey Bennett are best known for their good looks and offensive banter. In addition to possessing morals in which some deem questionable, Folk Is People has an affinity for telling the truth through verse and chorus, accompanied by the humming of a multitude of stringed instruments. Take a listen to their new EP right HERE--it should prove that this is a show worth checking out. - RVA Mag


The Devil Always Comes (Released October 2016)

  • Crocodile 
  • Pyramids
  • Bury Me in Virginia
  • Bloodletting
  • Savior
  • The Devil Always Comes
  • City in the Window
  • Oh! Nola
  • Tidal Wave
  • All the Tiny Parts
  • The Siren Song 
That Was Then EP (Released July 2012)
  • Gift Horse
  • Shapes and Shades
  • Dead & Gone



Folk is People is a Jacksonville-based indie folk band led by singer-songwriter, Stacey Bennett. Their music is eloquently crafted into a melodic blend of stringed and percussive instruments backed by Bennett’s driving voice. Each song is a story meticulously written into verse and chorus.

Folk is People’s first full-length album, The Devil Always Comes, was released October 25, 2016. The record sounds like indie rock married a folk song and started a pop band. It is a conceptual piece depicting the inner dissonance experienced when we reflect on and attempt to reconcile misdeeds in the present pursuit of virtue. Folk is people has opened for international and national acts such as Justin Townes Earle, Susto, Shovels and Rope, and David Dondero. 

"Folk Is People is singer/songwriter Stacey Bennett’s full-time gig, and she’s killing it. On her new album, The Devil Always Comes, there’s a raw clarity in her voice, with a bit of a yodel here and a growl there, that carries over some pristine indie folk pop. It’s loud, jangly, hopeful music, even when it’s sad and angry." -Meeghan Kane, Unsweetened Magazine

"I almost don’t know what to do with Folk is People other than to just enjoy the music. The whole damn thing is just so good I can’t really put it into words. The vocal is clear and captivating, the melody reminds me of a sort of timeless rock sound, yet the composition feels really fresh. The production is great, the lyrics are ponderously complex, and the entire production reminds me something my especially trendy friends would listen to at the coffeeshop." -Ear to the Ground

“catchy, and thorny, full of propulsive, breakneck folk songs played with a propulsive buzz, imbued with Bennett’s powerful voice.” -Nick McGregor, Folio Weekly

Band Members