Roots Music

One Track Mind: Bruce Springsteen, “Hey Blue Eyes” from American Beauty (2014)

One Track Mind: Bruce Springsteen, “Hey Blue Eyes” from American Beauty (2014)

There’s a moment, just when you get comfortable with the idea that this is a paean to home, love and hearth, when Bruce Springsteen sharply widens the lens. All around this couple, despite the illusion of a cocoon of safety and of love, there are troubles, there are questions, there is cruelty and death and misfortune.

Across the Great Divide: The Band, “Mystery Train”  from Moondog Matinee (1973)

Across the Great Divide: The Band, “Mystery Train” from Moondog Matinee (1973)

Coming as it did during a fallow creative period for the Band, the covers-focused Moondog Matinee could be fairly seen as a placekeeper album — an aperitif before the next statement of purpose. But it wasn’t without its moments of creative and emotional spark

One Track Mind: Leon Russell, “Big Lips” from Life Journey (2014)

One Track Mind: Leon Russell, “Big Lips” from Life Journey (2014)

Leon Russell makes a bold return to “Big Lips,” originally featured on 2008′s In Your Dreams, and uncovers something randier, rawer and all together rascally along the way.

Chuck E. Weiss – Red Beans and Weiss (2014)

Chuck E. Weiss – Red Beans and Weiss (2014)

I’ll say it right now: Red Beans and Weiss is the perfect album for the year 2014.

Jesse Winchester (1944-2014): An Appreciation

Jesse Winchester (1944-2014): An Appreciation

So, have all your passionate violins play a tune for a Tennessee kid …

‘Pretty raw, and pretty fresh’: On the first-take genius of Stax stars like Otis Redding

‘Pretty raw, and pretty fresh’: On the first-take genius of Stax stars like Otis Redding

The wonder, in listening to ageless sides from Stax Records stars like Otis Redding, was how often they came from one-take performances. Too, these songs were typically written just days, or even hours, beforehand.

‘All of it blended together’: Garth Hudson remembers the Band’s beginnings ahead of London Music Hall of Fame induction

‘All of it blended together’: Garth Hudson remembers the Band’s beginnings ahead of London Music Hall of Fame induction

Garth Hudson receives a rare moment of individual recognition this weekend, as the endlessly inventive co-founding multi-instrumentalist in the Band is inducted this weekend into the London Music Hall of Fame.

Across the Great Divide: The Band + Emmylou Harris, “Evangeline” from The Last Waltz (1978)

Across the Great Divide: The Band + Emmylou Harris, “Evangeline” from The Last Waltz (1978)

There could have been no more perfect moment for Emmylou Harris’ timelessly lonesome sound to intertwine with Rick Danko’s and Levon Helm’s, as the Band relays the horror of a riverboat settling to the bottom of Big Muddy.

Nickel Creek – A Dotted Line (2014)

Nickel Creek – A Dotted Line (2014)

Nickel Creek formed in 1989 when Sean Watkins was just 11 years old. By the time 2007 rolled around, the trio, which also includes Sara Watkins (fiddle, vocals) and Chris Thile (mandolin, vocals), took an “indefinite hiatus.” Despite the fact that this shocked many fans, it wasn’t that surprising. The band had already walked countless miles together. With an eternityRead More

Across the Great Divide: Remembering Richard Manuel (1943-1986)

Across the Great Divide: Remembering Richard Manuel (1943-1986)

For a brief moment, as the Band’s career officially got underway on 1968′s Music from Big Pink, Richard Manuel held the spotlight completely. “Tears of Rage” was enough to convince anyone of his anguished genius.