This is what’s making me happy today…
Ann Powers over on NPR’s All Songs Considered turned me on to this. And turned on is right. Jazzed up. Knocked out. Normally, in the past, this kind of roots music didn’t appeal to me, but I think Gillian Welch kind of opened my eyes/ears to being more receptive to what I had dismissed as “country” in the past. This new alt bluegrass and roots music is amazing stuff. New and old, deeply American, but in a way that is authenticate and interesting. The racial dimension of Carolina Chocolate Drops is also compelling. So much of what we take as American music comes out of this weird amalgam of Irish folk music and slave music that grew out African and Afro-Caribbean folk and native sounds. As the LA Times described it, they “underline the connections between American bluegrass and folk with the genres’ little-known ancestry in Africa.” And later that met up with Klezmer and Jewish music, when the other stuff hit New York and the songwriters and musicians working there, so many of whom were Jewish, starting working with it.
That’s the real American experience right there: Irish and British immigration, poor Irish getting off the boat and going straight into the maw of the American Civil War and ending up in Appalachia, slavery, Eastern European immigration in huge waves at the beginning of the 20th Century. And it led to jazz, blues, r&b and rock. And then to alt bluegrass.
That’s what I like about America. That’s what people around the world like about America. Mitt Romney is the other America: lazy, stupid, arrogant, complacent, greedy, loud, utterly self-absorbed, contemptuous of other people and other cultures, convinced that there is still a Manifest Destiny entitling people like himand his friends to get rich off the despoliation of the planet, and the exploitation and emiseration of others.
- Carolina Chocolate Drops, “Genuine Negro Jig” – on Amazon
- Carolina Chocolate Drops | A Modern Take On A Traditional Sound – official site
- Carolina Chocolate Drops : NPR
- Carolina Chocolate Drops – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia