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In this musical road trip, Petrusich (staff writer for Pitchforkmedia.com and author of Pink Moon) lights out into the country to discover what constitutes American music and the ways that it influences the music that has come to be known as Americana. Much like famed musicologist Alan Lomax-the man instrumental in introducing Delta blues to the world-Petrusich searches high and low, from Memphis and Nashville to Gainesville, Fla., and New York City for the many strains that compose the chorus of American music. In a narrative that is often humorous, Petrusich discovers the usual suspects-Lomax, Harry Smith and Smithsonian Folkways, Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger, Elvis, Robert Johnson-but pulls out most of the shopworn stories about them. Moe Asch, for instance, who started Folkways Recordings in 1948 (later bought by the Smithsonian in 1987), famously turned down both Bob Dylan and Joan Baez, saying that they were both just singers that didn't have anything to say. Asch's label was so significant to the development of American music that Dylan has since commented that, early on, he had "envisioned myself recording on Folkway Records." For all her excursions into various regions of the country and various musical styles, however, Petrusich's conclusion that American music reflects the landscape from which it springs is disappointing. (Aug.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.