Submission Guidelines

Submission guidelines:

We prefer electronic submissions for initial review. It saves postage and the environment. Our preferences in order: (1) Streaming link to full album; (2) single-click download; (3) DropBox. File formats: We use a PC. If possible, please include the liner notes and/or one sheet. Do not send music files as attachments.

Address items to: Editor-in-Chief, Jack Hunter, at with music submissions or general inquiries. As of April 18, 2012, we are no longer accepting unsolicited CD copies to our Baltimore address. Please use e-mail.

We primarily review the following genres: folk, world, and roots. Other genres are fine if they significantly draw from or are a hybrid of one of these genres.

On March 1st, 2012 we only publish reviews of albums released within the last month. We will make some exceptions for independent or local releases, but we will not consider material for a review if it is more than a year old from the date of submission under any circumstances.

Want to write for Driftwood?

Driftwood is looking for writers! People come and go, lives change, and new names and voices bring exciting perspective to music.


1. Are willing to donate your writing. Driftwood is all-volunteer, including your editors. We do not run ads, and we don’t even include Amazon links in the hope that someone will “accidentally” buy something there after clicking on them. We’re completely nonprofit.

2. Are willing to review digital copies of music. The world is changing. Some publicists no longer even get CDs to send out. Postage and gas cost money and CO2. Good music is good in any format.

3. Can write a good review. You can prove this by sending us some samples. Don’t have anything published? Pick a few albums you like and write 200-500 words about it. Then send those to us.

4. Have an interest in folk and world music and the willingness to explore the roots of that music to write knowledgeable reviews.

So what are you waiting for?

Review FAQs, answered by Jack Hunter:

(Q) How do you decide what to review?

(A) Our reviews are chosen, not assigned, although we do highlight the albums we think are an especially good listen. We create a master list of everything we receive at the magazine, which our reviewers can access at any time. We make little listening notes in case they’ve never heard of someone, suggest a review length (although that’s ultimately up to the reviewer), and provide contact information.

(Q) How do I know you received something? How do I know you listened to it?

(A) We will usually confirm receipt if asked. We listen to everything we get, unless it’s blatantly out of genre.

(Q) I’m just a little independent artist. I don’t have a publicist or a label. How do I know I’m going to be treated fairly?

(A) We get a lot of submissions. It’s about 20-40 per week right now including digital submissions. We publish 5-10 reviews a week, and that includes show reviews. We get fancy schmancy press kits with color photos, from people who had good positions at big labels and who have client lists that look like my friend’s CD racks.

But I don’t care about any of that. You want to know what a press release looks like to me before I listen to the music?

[Name] bla bla bla [genre] bla bla bla [link to listen]

The last one is what I care about the most, and it’s the only thing that matters when it comes time to decide if it’s right for the magazine.

About 1/4 of the items we receive simply will not fit what we are looking for for the magazine. Of what’s left, we will only be able to review maybe 1/3 of what we like.

Here’s the secret for independent artists: The odds are against everyone. Publicists and labels might help you get past the slush pile at somewhere like Rolling Stone, but few magazines are anything like that. What they’re really good for is that they simply know lots and lots of media outlets. Simply put, the thing that will make you more likely to get a review is: Submit more places. That’s it.

(Q) What’s the status of my submission/my client’s submission?

(A) If it’s been less than three months, it’s still on our review list. If we decided not to review it, we’ll try to let you know when you ask, but please note that due to the volume of correspondence we receive, we might not be able to reply in a timely manner.

(Q) Let’s say you just told me you weren’t going to review my submission. Can you tell me why?

(A) We have a strict policy that we do not release our listening notes, as that would be reviewing the album. We’re sorry for any frustration this might cause, especially if you’re a publicist trying to tailor your future submissions, but we can’t afford to make exceptions.

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