Deep Roots Reconsidered
A friend of mine thought he was Norwegian for the longest time. His family had a rough sketch of a tree, a list tracing modern branches back to their Viking roots in Scandinavia. After a trip to a few archives abroad, the family discovered that they were in fact Germans. But the roots they had felt so strongly coursing through their Bavarian blood didn’t just wither up and die. Instead, the family committed to their adopted heritage full force. I like to think of Americana music in a similar fashion. You don’t have to be from rural Missouri or Kentucky to know a thing or two about string music. And a born-and-raised straphanger in New York City can still be a country music queen. This week, reconsider the roots of our Americana tapestry by re-examining Gillian Welch’s Boots No. 1: The Official Archival Bootleg, Taj Mahal’s funky Labor of Love and new records from Paul Kelly & Charlie Owen and Muriah Rose. Can you trace each album back to its many roots?