interview. The future of Folk is a Diamond. Charlie Diamond

"I have a punk rock background, so it reflects in the music. Hard, fast strumming, and a sense of not belonging"
5 December 2023

By Ella Gaynor

A change is coming. A movement is starting. Don’t be one to stall. The phone is ringing loudly now, just pick up the call. There is a new poet in town who has become New York City’s “Pied Piper of Dreams”. The future of Folk is a Diamond. Charlie Diamond!

Dreams are the driving force for Charlie Diamond. Based in New England and originally a firefighter, Diamond doesn’t let the job get in the way of his ever-budding career in music. His latest track New York’s Been Good To Me, recorded in one take, late at night on a MacBook, is a testament to Diamond’s drive to create something special. And this new track is something special alright.

A Diamond trademark, the skilful harmonica intro is the artist’s spin on Bob Dylan. Indeed, New York’s Been Good To Me is suffused with old-school energy, a testament to a bygone era of artists trying to make it big in an indifferent city. Though the story of the struggling city artist is constant, as prevalent today as ever, Diamond’s new track speaks to the iconic generation just gone – like Dylan and, another of Diamond’s inspirations, David Bowie. New York’s Been Good To Me is an instant classic. You could be forgiven for thinking you recognise it, but Charlie Diamond is delivering it to you fresh.

Charlie Diamond is old-school too, saying he feels closest to his dreams when sleeping under the stars. It’s no surprise that he often sleeps in the back of his pick-up after a gig, with his best bud, Jupiter the English Mastiff, for company. Wherever Diamond goes, Jupiter goes too. Diamond has confessed to gigging pretty much anywhere he can stand with his guitar. It’s that free-wheeling mindset that gives New York’s Been Good To Me its weight of meaning. Diamond’s vocals compliment his intermittent bursts of harmonica beautifully, there’s a bounce to his nasal twang, and his voice is powerful when his lyrics demand it. 

In the true spirit of Charlie Diamond, this is a track for a road trip, with the windows rolled down and no particular destination in mind.

We sat down with Charlie Diamond to ask him more about himself, his latest track, and what’s to come for the artist next.

I have a vision for the future of Folk music. Somewhere along the lines of a David Bowie “Ziggy Star Dust” feeling with a big live show, synthesizers, and glam!

What do you want people to take away from listening to your music? 

Always take the risk. Follow your heart and trust your gut!

The phrase “Pied Piper of Dreams” evokes a sense of enchantment. Can you share the story behind this title and how it reflects your approach to your music and artistry?

I always envisioned going from town to town and entrancing people with music. Being someone that people follow and listen to with vast imagination.

The phrase ‘The future of Folk is a diamond’ has an intriguing ring to it. Tell us more…

I have a vision for the future of Folk music. Somewhere along the lines of a David Bowie “Ziggy Star Dust” feeling with a big live show, synthesizers, and glam!

How has New York City influenced your sound and style as an artist, particularly in the folk genre?

It’s made it more organic, homely, relatable, and in the moment.

The lyrics “A change is coming” suggest a transformative period. Can you elaborate on the themes or messages you aim to convey through your music during this pivotal time?

Wrote this on the road when I had a lot going on in my life and there was a lot going on around me in the world. Overall, I hope it conveyed that we all go through stuff, but when we can do better there is a silver lining.

The mention of a ringing phone in your text adds an interesting metaphor. What does it symbolize, and how does it tie into the overall narrative of your musical story?

The world is changing and it is expanding. The mysterious undercurrents of life direct us all in our own directions towards that change and growth. You just need to listen to the wind and pay attention to the signs. The world is calling you. All you have to do is pick up the phone!

The reference to being the “Pied Piper of Dreams” implies a sense of leading or guiding. How do you hope your music guides or resonates with your audience on a deeper level?

Everyone wants to feel a part of something and to be a part of something. A family, a cause, a group, friends, something bigger than themselves. I hope the music helps people stretch and dream and sets their imaginations on fire.

The concept of Folk as a “Diamond” suggests rarity and preciousness. How do you bring a unique perspective to the Folk genre, and what sets your music apart?

I have a punk rock background, so it reflects in the music. Hard, fast strumming, and a sense of not belonging. Being an outcast. Going against conformity. Be yourself to the utmost irregardless of what others think.

Can you provide insights into what listeners can expect from your upcoming projects and how you plan to continue evolving as the “Pied Piper of Dreams” in the future?

I have 2 albums I have recorded. “From One Place To The Next” was done last year and “A New Poet In Town” was recorded this year. I have a 3rd album written and ready to be recorded with more of a punk vibe, slightly darker, with a sort of vampire story behind it.