Roots Music

Robbie Robertson, with Neil Young + Garth Hudson, “Soap Box Preacher” from Storyville (1991): Across the Great Divide

Robbie Robertson, with Neil Young + Garth Hudson, “Soap Box Preacher” from Storyville (1991): Across the Great Divide

“Soap Box Preacher” rewarded those who’d waited in the hopes that Robbie Robertson’s solo career could conjure that old Band magic again.

Rickie Lee Jones, “Jimmy Choos” from The Other Side of Desire (2015): One Track Mind

Rickie Lee Jones, “Jimmy Choos” from The Other Side of Desire (2015): One Track Mind

‘Jimmy Choos,’ the lead track off the first album of original Rickie Lee Jones material in 10 years, sounds both familiar and different.

The Old Ceremony + R.E.M.’s Mike Mills, “Fall Guy” from Sprinter (2015): One Track Mind

The Old Ceremony + R.E.M.’s Mike Mills, “Fall Guy” from Sprinter (2015): One Track Mind

As the Old Ceremony joins together with several musical heroes, “Fall Guy” emerges as a fizzy moment of old-meets-new alchemy.

Bill Wyman, “What & How & If & When & Why” (2015): Something Else! sneak peek

Bill Wyman, “What & How & If & When & Why” (2015): Something Else! sneak peek

Bill Wyman’s “What & How & If & When & Why” doesn’t sound anything like is his earlier laid-back rootsy fare – to say nothing of the Rolling Stones.

Levon Helm, seen in this 1970 file photo, a singer and drummer for the rock group the Band, has died, April 19, 2012 at age 71. (Los Angeles Times/MCT)

Levon Helm’s essential Band songs: Gimme Five

Born on May 26, 1940, Levon Helm is known today as a country proselytizer, an inventive interpreter and a one-of-a-kind drummer. It all started right here.

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Los Lobos’ Kiko was a mysterious, completely transfixing triumph

Released on May 26, 1992, ‘Kiko’ is still, by any measure, Los Lobos’ most unusual album. That’s what lures me back, again and again.

Warren Haynes, “Spots of Time” from Ashes and Dust (2015): One Track Mind

Warren Haynes, “Spots of Time” from Ashes and Dust (2015): One Track Mind

Free of the expectations surrounding the Allman Brothers Band and Gov’t Mule, Warren Haynes emerges with a sound both familiar and new.

Joe Ely, May 23, 2015: Shows I’ll Never Forget

Joe Ely, May 23, 2015: Shows I’ll Never Forget

Rivers, highways, coyotes, border crossings, and the wide night sky all played a part in Joe Ely’s resonant Lone Star travelogue.

Rick Danko, “Tired of Waiting” from Rick Danko (1977): Across the Great Divide

Rick Danko, “Tired of Waiting” from Rick Danko (1977): Across the Great Divide

As with much of 1977’s ‘Rick Danko,’ “Tired of Waiting” feels loose and personable, but an added bit of funk gives it no small amount of grit.

Amy Helm, “Rescue Me” from Didn’t It Rain (2015): One Track Mind

Amy Helm, “Rescue Me” from Didn’t It Rain (2015): One Track Mind

This, quite clearly, is a labor of love, and every element speaks to Amy Helm’s steely focus on making the album she always wanted to make.