YouTube is a great source of recordings of live acoustic music. There are a bunch of channels dedicated to filming musicians in different locations, some in studios, some in random bedrooms or outdoors in parks.
Sure, music that’s recorded in studios is nice, but live acoustic performances have a spontaneous rawness that can be lost in the hours of overdubs often involved in studio recordings.
When I started recording in the eighties, audio recording equipment pretty much sucked. Or at least the gear that I had access to. It was big and expensive, microphone choices were pretty limited, and the digital stuff didn’t sound good.
With the shrinking of electronics and the huge range of inexpensive microphones that are available today, it’s possible to get a great sounding recording with a portable digital recorder (or a phone) and a few cheap mics. Of course the engineer still needs to know how to record, and above all, the performance has to be good.
Here’s a list of some of my favorite channels that post videos of acoustic live music performances. They’re mostly focused on indie folk. Tiny Desk (from NPR Music) seems to be the most well known of the bunch, but the others are well worth a listen also. It took me a while to find these channels, so perhaps this list will be useful to someone else. I’ll add more as I come across them. Check them out to hear some inspiring performances.