Various Artists

Roots Music: An American Journey

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Over the course of their 30-year career, Boston's Rounder Records has amassed an amazing catalog of recordings drawing on just about every American musical tradition you can think of. Known primarily as a bluegrass and folk label, Rounder has also released (both under their own imprint and through subsidiary labels like Heartbeat, Bullseye Blues, and Philo) numerous albums by Cajun, old-time, reggae, contemporary folk, zydeco, and blues artists. Roots Music is culled from the catalog of the Rounder imprint itself, and its four discs veer wildly from the hardcore fiddle tunes of Norman Blake and the old-timey singing of Suzanne Thomas to the raucous Cajun two-steps of the Balfa Brothers and D.L. Menard, and from there to the elegant conjunto stylings of Los Pregoneros del Puerto and the Texas country-rock of Jimmie Dale Gilmore. It's a pretty unusual compilation that has the old-time string band the Freight Hoppers rubbing right up against legendary New Orleans pianist James Booker, but then, that's the kind of label Rounder has always been. Roots Music is a fitting and aptly titled tribute to this American treasure.

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