Roots Music: An American Journey
No mere historical survey, Rounder's four-CD box offers a broad and insightful perspective on American roots music, showcasing traditional music styles and then watching them evolve toward the future. Interesting juxtapositions are everywhere, which is what you expect from America's premier folk label. Check out Tish Hinojosa's endearing fusion of Spanish and pop melodies on the beautiful "Hey Little Love," in contrast to the Blazers' harder-edged Tex-Mex approach on "El Año Viejo." Or Béla Fleck's scintillating virtuoso display of instrumental bluegrass, "Crossfire," in contrast to Alison Krauss & Union Station's pop-bluegrass fusion on the chilling ballad "Every Time You Say Goodbye" and J. D. Crowe & the New South's pioneering "newgrass" approach to "Long Journey Home." Cajun, folk, blues, hard country, and gospel are similarly plumbed for past-present-future connections by an all-star lineup of Rounder artists, including the Persuasions, Mississippi Fred McDowell, Hazel Dickens, Joe Ely, Boozoo Chavis, James Booker, Sleepy LaBeef, Rhonda Vincent, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Marcia Ball, Beausoleil, Johnny Adams, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Slaid Cleaves, IIIrd Tyme Out, and the Klezmer Conversatory Band, among many others. At journey's end, it all feels right. Good roots, after all, spread far and wide.