Monday, November 5, 2012

Music Monday: Exploring American Folk Music

This is first installment of Music Monday a new feature that will (hopefully) appear weekly. Every Monday we will highlight a book, author, or subject from our American Made Music Series. First up: Exploring American Folk Music by Kip Lornell. 

All music is folk music – I ain’t never heard no horse sing a song.
                                              -        Louis Armstrong 

Exploring American Folk Music: Ethnic, Grassroots, and Regional Traditions in the United States reflects the fascinating diversity of regional and grassroots music in the United States. Here Lornell covers the diverse strains of American folk music—Latin, Native American, African, French-Canadian, British, and Cajun—and offers a chronology of the development of folk music in the United States. 

The book is divided into discrete chapters covering topics as seemingly disparate as sacred harp singing, conjunto music, the folk revival, blues, and ballad singing. It is also among the few textbooks in American music that recognizes the importance and contributions of Native Americans as well as those who live, sing, and perform music along our borderlands, from the French speaking citizens in northern Vermont to the extensive Hispanic population living north of the Rio Grande River, recognizing and reflecting the increasing importance of the varied Latino traditions that have informed our folk music since the founding of the United States. 

Another chapter includes detailed information about the roots of hip hop and this new edition features a new chapter on urban folk music, exploring traditions in our cities, with a case study focusing on Washington, D.C. The book also introduces readers to such important figures in American music as Bob Wills, Lydia Mendoza, Bob Dylan, and Muddy Waters, who helped shape what America sounds like in the 21st century. 

Exploring American Folk Music also includes helpful sections at the end of each chapter with up-to-date recommendations for “Suggested Listening,” “Suggested Reading,” and “Suggested Viewing.”  

One such listening suggestion at the end of Folk Revival chapter included the album Grateful Dead: Fillmore East April 1971. Which is all the excuse I need to link to "Casey Jones." Happy Music Monday.

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