Very basically put, coffeehouses or coffee places are cafes that enable social interaction and a comfortable working environment. Several years ago, before Starbucks became as common place as McDonalds, a friend introduced me to the idea. We visited his favorite hang-out, a place surrounded by your usual strip mall inhabitants; however, this coffeehouse was a little different. It was filled with artists, musicians, and furniture not unlike that which you may find at a friend’s house. The whole atmosphere felt like you were visiting a friend’s home with the added bonus of being able to order any type of coffee and a small performance stage (they sometimes featured live music from local artists).
Coffeehouse as a Musical Genre and
The Wikipedia definition states that “the coffee houses provides social members with a place to congregate, talk, write, read, entertain one another, or pass the time, whether individually or in small groups of 2 or 3” .
One of the most popular and universally known examples for a coffee house is Starbucks. You get comfortable chairs and sofas, wireless internet connection and the self-service method that allows you to pretty much act like you are in your own office or living room. The music is also chosen accordingly. The genres vary from jazz to soft-rock, from alternative to blues. But the playlists are almost always made up from songs that are relaxing enough not to interrupt your work and/or conversations but they are not so slow and monotonous that will make you feel sleepy.
Because it is becoming increasingly common to gather in coffee shops either for social or work-related reasons, the music played at these establishments started to be categorized as a genre on its own. To be precise, the coffeehouse genre is more of a combination of all the genres that can be played in a coffee house.
Pay attention to the music that plays when you are hanging around at your favorite coffee shops. You will also notice the genre is being openly used and given as an option when you are browsing through online radio stations. In fact, Yahoo! has an online station that plays only these songs. It is called The Coffeehouse. The slogan is “get real variety with an edge but never lose the vibe” . This station relevantly suggests that its listeners might also enjoy alternative and rock stations.
10 of the Most Played Coffeehouse Artists
Below are 10 of the most frequently played coffeehouse artists when it comes to online radio and the actual cafes:
1. Ben Harper is an American singer/songwriter born in California. His musical genres include alternative rock, folk rock and blues rock. His lyrics, music and videos often reflect the California elements: beach, sun, sand and surfing.
2. Joshua Radin is also an American singer/songwriter who is famous for his acoustic rock and slow songs. His songs are frequently played in the TV drama series Grey’s Anatomy and independent romance films.
3. Death Cab for Cutie is in fact featured in the same movie soundtrack as Joshua Radin, and that is how I discovered them both. Death Cab for Cutie is an American indie rock band that got its name from the 1967 song called Death Cab for Cutie.
4. Coldplay is one of the most commercially successful and critically acclaimed (alternative) rock bands. Many of the songs feature piano played by singer Chris Martin, accompanied by his ever soothing voice. This English rock band was formed in 1997, in London.
5. R.E.M is an American alternative rock band formed in 1980. The band produced some of the biggest hits in the 90s with their songs Losing My Religion (from the 1991 album Out of Time) and Everybody Hurts (from the 1992 album Automatic for the People). The band is still active and considered to be one of the best alternative rock bands.
6. Crowded House is an Australian band fronted by Neil Finn, the band’s singer/guitarist/songwriter and creative brain. Formed in 1985, Crowded House is one of the most respected alternative rock/pop-rock bands. The band split up in 1996 and got back together in 2006. The band’s older and new songs, along with Finn’s solo work are among the favorites of coffee houses. You might remember The Crowded House hits such as World Where You Live, Don’t Dream It’s Over, Four Seasons in One Day and Into Temptation.
7. Lenka is an Australian pop singer and songwriter who released her hit single Trouble is a Friend in 2008. Her pop is not exactly mainstream, however.
8. John Mayer is an American singer/songwriter/musician. He has been in the music business since 1998. His songs’ genres mostly include folk rock, blues rock, soft rock, soul and acoustic rock. He plays many instruments including guitars, piano, guitar synthesizer, omnichord, vibraphone and percussion.
9. KT Tunstall is a Scottish singer/musician who released her first album in 2004. Her preferred genres are blues, folk and alternative rock. She plays the drums, guitars, flute and the piano.
10. Snow Patrol is an Irish alternative rock band formed in 1994.Their music is mostly categorized as alternative rock and indie rock. Their first album was released in 1998.