Tuesday, April 11, 2006

The Roots of Music

Some time last year I watched the Martin Scorsesie documentary on the Blues. What was interesting to me was the attention they brought to the chasm that existed between gospel and blues music. To many Christians in the south the Blues was the devil's music. It came to be associated with voodoo, sex, and low morality. I thought it was interesting to me because the jump from blues to black gospel was never very far in my mind. In fact I think that much of what has been said in blues music has been more honest and more earthy than in many other forms of music. As I've grown older I've come to have a much deeper appreciation for roots music. I also have come to see that blues, gospel, and country music have much more in common than we normally think. I guess this is one reason why the music I write is so all over the place because the bounds that have traditionally been placed there around genres aren't as obvious to me. For example yesterday Micah, and Ben and I were practicing for some upcoming gigs and i pulled out a song called At The Crossroads that I wrote about 3 and a half years ago. Originally i recorded the song as a bit of an appalachian bluegrass type of a song in the vein of say the Oh Brother Where Art Though soundtrack. As we practiced the song and everything took shape, I would say that it had some very noticable elements of blues, gospel, and bluegrass in it but with a little more sauce on it being that it is approached in almost a rockabilly manner. All that to say that the song just seemed right that way. It's not a matter of trying to mix all of these things together but just that I love all of these rootsy styles of music and they seem to mix naturally to me.

It's kind of like alot of the food that I like. There's a local chain of restaurants in New Orleans called Zeas. My favorite dinner there would be Thai Ribs with a side of Roasted Corn Grits, and Red Beans. Who would have thought that you could make Thai Ribs, much less serve them with grits and red beans, but it works some kind of well. Sure I love alot of modern music but the more I make my journey through music the more I develope a love for the roots of music and the more I see the connections in it. Roots music reminds me of the place where music should come from. The old blues, and gospel, and spirituals, and blue grass and so on was music written not to sell albums, but to deal with life in all of its pain and joy. Right now I'm listening to an album by Mississippi Fred McDowell called Amazing Grace. This album is a beautiful mixture of gospel spirituals and delta blues. Sure the recording is pretty rough but the music is authentic and honest. It would do musicians a lot of good to frequently visit redcordings like this.

1 comment:

randall said...

Now you just need to do us all a favor and record At the Crossroads and put it on your MySpace. I love blues/gospel/bluegrass, especially combined ;)!