Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Deep Roots

New music at the Library: "Roots" has been used to describe a wide variety of musical styles, but today we'll use it as a way to describe three new, and very different recordings that exemplify the honesty and directness associated with the term 'roots music.' The recordings aren't folk, technically, or country or blues, but they spring from the same well - the songwriting is the thing here, and flashy playing and elaborate production give way to simplicity and authenticity. First is the wonderful Ashes & Fire from Ryan Adams. This recording shows how a great song and an acoustic guitar can still go a long way. Adams has rarely sounded better. Also new is Beauty Queen Sister from the Indigo Girls. If you haven't heard their spare, moving harmonies in awhile, give this a listen - it's a really strong piece with a familiar, yet original folk-rock style. The third in our 'rootsy' trilogy is new work from the Jayhawks. Like the other musicians mentioned, they've been around for quite awhile and evolved a contemporary sound that evokes predecessors like the Burrito Brothers and Dillard & Clark. Mockingbird Time is a wonderful recording that should please fans but would make a fine introduction for those unfamiliar with the band. Classic American music.