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Putumayo is primarily a world music label; whether the focus is Celtic, African, Middle Eastern, Caribbean, or Latin music, the vast majority of Putumayo's compilations have had some type of world music connection. But American Folk is an exception -- and while this compilation doesn't unearth the sort of delightfully unorthodox things Putumayo has a way of finding (such as Scottish and Japanese artists playing salsa), it is a disc that isn't lacking when it comes to quality. As its title suggests, this 46-minute, 12-track CD spotlights American folk recordings -- specifically, American folk-rock recordings of the '90s and 2000s. Instead of getting into folkies who made their mark in the '50s or '60s, American Folk sets out to demonstrate that folk-rock is alive and well in the 21st century -- and many of the artists are people who emerged in the '80s, '90s, or 2000s, including Patty Griffin, Lucy Kaplansky, Shannon McNally, Josh Ritter, Christine Kane, and Nanci Griffith (who shines on an intimate remake of Bob Dylan's "Boots of Spanish Leather"). Natalie Merchant, meanwhile, is in fine form on her 2003 recording of the traditional "Owensboro," which favors a sparer and more stripped-down approach than most of her recordings with 10,000 Maniacs or her 1995 solo debut Tigerlily. Given Putumayo's history of being ultra-adventurous, it wouldn't have been surprising if they had come up with something by artists who are really pushing the folk-rock envelope (such as Adam Brodsky and Deirdre Flint, two Philadelphia-based anti-folk/folk-rock artists known for their madcap, over-the-top humor). But while American Folk isn't as daring as other Putumayo releases, it's still a worthwhile, engaging disc that paints an attractive picture of folk-rock in the 21st century.
|Label:||Putumayo World Music|
Technical CreditsBob Dylan Composer
Tom Kimmel Composer
Lucy Kaplansky Composer
Jim Bessman Liner Notes
Patty Griffin Composer
Jorge Maldonado Spanish Translation
Natalie Merchant Arranger
Dan Littleton Arranger
Dan Storper Executive Producer
Elizabeth Mitchell Arranger,Photo Courtesy
Peter Mulvey Composer
Christine Kane Composer,Photo Courtesy
Eric Bibb Composer
David "Goody" Goodrich Composer
Nicola Heindl Illustrations,Cover Art
Lori McKenna Composer
Josh Ritter Composer
Shannon McNally Composer
Julien Massardier translation
Jeffrey Foucault Composer