Rootsy

J.J. Cale – Really

LP, Shelter Records, 1972 Style: Singer/Songwriter, Roots Rock, Americana Moods: Heartbreak, Sunny, Swagger, Road Trip, Rustic, Rootsy, Mellow, Reflective, Warm, Angsty Musical Qualities: Bluesy, Groovy, Polished

Eli Winter – Eli Winter

ft. jaimie branch, Tyler Damon, Sam Wagster, Cameron Knowler, David Grubbs, Ryley Walker, & Yasmin Williams

FFO: Jim O’Rourke (Bad Timing / The Visitor), William Tyler, Ry Cooder Instrumentals, Gastr Del Sol, Elkhorn, Moon Bros, Appalachian Folk, Leo Kottke, Jack Rose

Sélène Saint-Aimé – Potomitan

Style: Avant-garde Chamber Jazz, Afro-Carribean Jazz, Gwoka

Moods/Themes: Ancestry, Ritualistic, Meditative, Hypnotic, Communal, Rootsy, Poetic, Sombre, Elegant, Flowing, Warm, Mystical

Musical Qualities: Polyrhythmic, Percussive, Acoustic, Repetitive, Improvisation, Technical

Instrumentation: Upright Bass, Bèlè Drum, Ka Drum, Trumpet, Tenor Saxophone, Vocals, Cello, Violin

Sathima Bea Benjamin – Windsong

Personnel: Sathima Bea Benjamin – Vocals; Kenny Barron – Piano; Buster Williams – Upright Bass; Billy Higgins – Drums

Style: Vocal Jazz, Spiritual Jazz, Ballads, Traditional

Vibe: Healing, Flowing, Warm, Airy, Spiritual, Soothing, Sombre, Heartfelt, Elegant, Uplifting, Bittersweet, Intimate, Morning, Peaceful, Reflective, Rootsy, Sentimental,

Musical Qualities: Acoustic, Soft, Improvisation, Slow, Polished, Lyrical, Lush

Sam Amidon – Sam Amidon

Style: Dream Folk, Jazz-Folk, Warped Americana

Vibes: Warm Melancholy, Springtime Reflection, Rootsy, Early Afternoons in the Garden, Dreamy, Intertwined, Heartfelt

Musical Qualities: Lush; Improvised Arrangements; Studio-as-an-Instrument, Melodic, Vocal Fx

Instrumentation: Banjo, Saxophone, Acoustic Guitar, Percussion, Flute, Acoustic Bass, Synthesizers, Piano

Pentangle – Solomon’s Seal

Style: Brit-Folk, Chamber Folk, Jazz-Folk

Vibe: Flowing, Morning, Breezy, Warm, Medieval, Sentimental, Rootsy, Mellow, Pastoral, Uplifting

Musical Qualities: Vocal Harmonies, Acoustic, Traditional, Melodic, Improvisation

Instrumentation: Acoustic Guitars (Fingerstyle), Vocals, Upright Bass, Sitar, Dulcimer, Banjo, Recorder, Harmonica, Electric Guitar, Drums

John Fahey – Volume 2: Death Chants, Breakdowns, & Military Waltzes

Style: American Primitivism, Acoustic Blues, Folk

Vibe: Meditative, Loner, Morning, Rustic, Spring, Spiritual, Pastoral, Bittersweet, Hypnotic, inspiration, Melancholy, Nature, Raw, Warm 

Musical Qualities: Acoustic, Technical, Fingerstyle, Instrumental, Sparse, Progressive

Maleem Mahmoud Ghania with Pharoah Sanders – The Trance of Seven Colors

Style: Gnawa, Spiritual Jazz

Vibe: Ceremonial, Hypnotic, Communal, Ritualistic, Spiritual, Uplifting, Serpentine, Warm, Desert, Tribal

Musical Qualities: Polyrhythmic, Acoustic, Repetitive, Chants, Improvisation, Microtonal

Instrumentation: Guimbri, Tenor Saxophone, Percussion, Group Vocals, Clapping

Neko Case – Blacklisted

LP, Anti- Records, 2002 (2016, RE) Style: Gothic Americana, Alt-Country, Singer/Songwriter Vibe: Bittersweet, Rebellious, Haunting, Western, Passionate, Energetic, Longing, Anthemic, Breakup, Depressive, Heartfelt, Introspective, Twangy, Rustic, Sentimental

Neko Case – Furnace Room Lullaby

Style: Alt-Country, Americana, Singer/Songwriter

Vibe: Bittersweet, Warm, Angsty, Rustic, Heartfelt, Confident, Passionate, Twangy, Love, Breakup, Reflective, Sentimental, Lush, Rootsy

Instrumentation: Electric & Acoustic Guitar, Lap Steel & Pedal Steel Slide Guitars, Fiddle, Electric & Upright Basses, Drums, Vocal Harmonies, Banjo, Mandolin, Organ, Accordion

Moon Bros – These Stars

Style: Americana, Folk

Vibe: Pastoral, Breezy, Sunny, Morning, Rustic, Warm, Rootsy

Instrumentation: Fingerstyle Acoustic Guitar, Pedal Steel, Upright Bass, Drums, Harmonica

Jackie-O Motherfucker – Fig 5.

Style: Mystical Americana, Free Folk, Post-Rock, Drone

Vibe: Haunting, Meandering, Rootsy, Rustic, Nocturnal, Mysterious, Deconstructed, Ragged, Communal, Murky, Abstract, Lethargic, Hallucinogenic, Raw

Musical Qualities: Collective Improvisation, Instrumental (except B1,C1), Loose, Lo-fi, Dynamic, Droney, Noisy, Group Vocals (B1), Harmonies (B1, C1)

Helena Espvall & Masaki Batoh

On this self-titled collaboration, acid folk luminaries Helena Espvall (Espers) and Masaki Batoh (Ghost) create mysterious and earthy interpretations of traditional Medieval, Swedish, Japanese, and Finnish folk songs, plus a Son House cover, an original, and a handful of free improvisations.

Ben Lamar Gay – Open Arms to Open Us

Style: Creative Music, Future Jazz, Organic Beat Music, Pan-Americana, Art Pop

Vibe: Romantic, Sci-Fi, Determined, Triumphant, Colorful, Eclectic, Communal, Futuristic, Groovy, Rootsy, Spiritual, Warm

Musical Qualities: Thematic, Polyphonic, Percussive, Polyrythmic, Percussive, Improvisation, Electro-Acoustic, Progressive

Julius Lester – Departures

Style: Folk, Acoustic Blues, Singer/Songwriter

Vibe: Outsider, Rebellious, Melancholy, Storytelling, Intimate, Philosophical, Personal, Political

Musical Qualities: Acoustic, Sparse, Bluesy, Lyrical

Angels of Light – We Are Him

Style: Gothic Americana, Experimental Folk-Rock

Vibe: Rustic, Creepy, Surreal, Autumnal, Nihilistic, Disturbing, Dark, Bittersweet, Rootsy

Musical Qualities: Acoustic, Rhythmic, Repetition, Vocal Harmonies

Sturgill Simpson – Cuttin Grass – Vol. 2 (Cowboy Arms Sessions)

Style: Progressive Bluegrass, Americana, Singer/Songwriter

Vibe: Energetic, Heartfelt, Rootsy, Communal, Passionate, Sunny, Warm

Musical Qualities: Acoustic, Lyrical, Fast, Technical

Instrumentation: Mandolin, Fiddle, Acoustic Guitar, Percussion, Banjo, Upright Bass

Anne Briggs – Anne Briggs

Style: English Folk, Celtic Folk

Vibe: Flowing, Pastoral, Melancholy, Heartfelt, Intimate, Rootsy, Storytelling

Musical Qualities: Sparse, Acoustic, A Cappella (A2, A5, B1-3, B5)

Califone – Heron King Blues [Deluxe]

Style: New Weird Americana, Warped Folk Rock, Psych Folk

Vibe: Twangy, Cryptic, Mythic, Surreal, Mysterious, Rustic, Mellow, Warm, Rootsy

Musical Qualities: Percussive, Loops, Electro-Acoustic, Rhythmic, Studio-as-an-Instrument, Improvisation

Instrumentation: Acoustic Guitar, Banjo, Percussion, Organ, Piano, Vocals, Electronics, Cello, Electric Guitar, Pump Organ, Bass

Papa M – Whatever, Mortal

Style: Singer/Songwriter, Slowcore, Americana

Vibe: Apathetic, Bittersweet, Breakup, Contemplative, Depressive, Humorous, Intimate, Lethargic, Loner, Love, Melancholy, Mellow, Moody, Personal, Rootsy

Musical Attributes: Acoustic, Sparse, Simple

Innov Gnawa – Lila

Style: Gnawa

Vibe: Ritualistic, Hypnotic, Communal

Musical Attributes: Acoustic, Percussive, Group Vocals, Chants, Repetition, Improvisation

Califone – Roomsound

Style: New Weird Americana??Vibe: Bluesy, Contemplative, Earthy, Morning, Pastoral, Rootsy, Rustic, Psychedelic, Warm??Musical Attributes: Acoustic, Percussive, Rhythmic, Studio-as-an-Instrument, Electronics

Sam Amidon – The Following Mountain

Style: New Weird Americana, Post-Modern Appalachia, Jazz-Folk

Vibe: Autumnal, Earthy, Imaginative, Lush, Morning, Peaceful, Rootsy, Rustic, Warm, Contemplative

Musical Attributes: Acoustic, Melodic, Studio-as-an-Instrument, Improvisation, Progressive, Lyrical

Instrumentation: Fiddle, Drums, Banjo, Vocals, Percussion, Saxophone, Acoustic Guitar, Drum Machine, Percussion, Electric Bass, Organ Synthesizers, Flute

Collaborators: Leo Abrahams, Shahzad Ismaily, Sam Gendel,
Milford Graves, Chris Vatalaro, James Sultan

Hiss Golden Messenger – Haw

Style: Country-Soul, Americana, Singer/Songwriter

Vibe: Passionate, Rootsy, Rural, Spiritual, Triumphant, Uplifting, Warm, Contemplative, Introspective

Lankum – Between the Earth and Sky

Style: Irish Folk Music, Celtic Folk

Vibe: Rootsy, Passionate, Communal, Depressive, Rebellious, Triumphant

Musical Attributes: Vocal Harmonies, Droney, Acoustic

Califone – All My Friends Are Funeral Singers

Style: New Weird America, Alt-Country, Psychedelic Americana, Chamber Folk

Vibe: Rustic, Rootsy, Bittersweet, Psychedelic

Musical Attributes: Chamber, Percussive, Studio-as-an-instrument, Rhythmic, Electro-Acoustic, Loops

Instrumentation: Acoustic Guitar, Banjo, Vocals, Keyboards, Synthesizer, Fiddle, Mallet Percussion, Horns, Electronic Percussion, Upright Bass, Electric Bass, Piano

Anna & Elizabeth – The Invisible Comes to Us

The Invisible Comes to Us is a haunting, modern take on Appalachian and Irish folk songs. Beautiful close-harmonies, banjos and acoustic guitars are juxtaposed with droning atmospheres of woodwinds, Moog bass, pump organ, and euphonium. Guest musicians include Jim White on drums and Susan Alcorn on slide guitar.

Sixteen Horsepower – Folklore

Style: Gothic Country, Americana, Chamber Folk?Vibe: Rustic, Sombre, Murky, Rootsy, Ominous, Loner, Western, Melancholy, Moody, Dark?Musical Attributes: Acoustic Instrumentation (Banjo, Upright Bass, Cello, Acoustic Guitar, Accordion, Piano), Atmospheric, Droney, Slow, Lyrical?Lyrical Themes: Alienation, Religious, Christian, Storytelling

Lonnie Holley – Mith

Style: Experimental Singer-Songwriter, Soul Blues, Psychedelic Soul

Vibe: Imaginative, Bluesy, Cathartic, Conscious, Cosmic, Spiritual, Heartfelt, Passionate, Psychedelic, Rootsy, Bittersweet, Poetic

Lyrical Themes: Existential, Afro-Futurism, History, Racism, Reflective

Musical Attributes: Atmospheric, Lyrical, Improvisation, Raw, Studio-as-an-Instrument

Instrumentation: Vocals, Piano, Synthesizers, Keyboards, Saxophone, Trombone, Percussion

Art Ensemble of Chicago – Full Force

Style: Avant-Garde Jazz, Free Jazz
Vibe: Abstract, Communal, Exploratory, Rootsy
Musical Attributes: Collective Improvisation, Poly-Free Improvisation, Dynamic

Jim White and Marisa Anderson – The Quickening

This impressionistic and contemplative collaboration channels deep American folk roots through free flowing improvisations. The panoramic and sensitive drumming of Jim White (Dirty Three, Cat Power, etc) is a perfect match for Marisa Anderson’s primitivist guitar sensibilities, which feel both immediate and abstract.

Espers – The Weed Tree

Originally released in 2005 on Locust

Drag City Reissue (2020)

Format: LP

Style: Chamber Folk

Vibe: Mellow, Morning, Melancholy, Rootsy, Ethereal

Mike and Lal Waterson – Bright Phoebus

Style: British Folk, Country-Influenced
Vibe: Contemplative, Earthy, Introspective, Melancholy, Rootsy, Rural, Storytelling
Musical Attributes: Acoustic, Vocal Harmonies, Lyrical, Melodic, Simple, Sparse

John Fahey – The Voice of the Turtle

Style: American Primitive Guitar, Folk
Vibe: Rootsy, Eclectic, Raw
Musical Attributes: Acoustic, Lo-fi, Sound Collage, Vignettes, Bluesy, Instrumental

John Fahey & His Orchestra – Old Fashioned Love

Another interesting one from Fahey, side A consists of some amazingly intricate guitar duets with Woodrow Mann, including my favorite Fahey song “Jaya Shiva Shankarah”. Side B takes a strange turn though…halfway through the title track a 10-piece dixieland band kicks for a few tracks of New Orleans-style jazz. The album closes in a more familiar place with a contemplative solo piece that most Fahey fans would dig.

Magnolia Electric Co. – What Comes After the Blues

“Human hearts and pain should never be separate, then they wouldn’t tear themselves apart both trying to fit”. The first album under the Magnolia Electric Co. name touches on the loneliness and depression of much of Jason Molina’s work, but it also contains a fair amount of the hope, light, and perseverance one needs in times of struggle. The musicians here were recorded live in a room by the great Steve Albini, featuring slide guitar, fiddle, and beautiful vocal harmonies from Molina’s band members. With its mix of melancholy Americana, country-tinged rock, and stripped back folk, What Comes After the Blues feels like a continuation of Neil Young’s great ditch trilogy.

John Fahey – Volume 1: Blind Joe Death

Album Information: Released in 1967 on Takoma Records This album was originally released on 100 copies in 1959, but was re-recorded in 1967 for this issue This album is included in the Library of Congress’ National Recording Registry for being considered culturally significant.