What's New: Roots Department

Here we cover new-releases from the rich traditions of Soul Music, Country Music, Blues & Jazz, along with the traditional folk-musics the world over. We'll tip you off to quality reissues while also checking in with today's torch carriers.

John Coltrane Both Directions At Once

The fact that a session of this quality from an artist of the stature of John Coltrane had remained unheard for over fifty years is astounding. This is Coltrane's classic quartet at the height of their powers, though a little before their stylistic shift into more difficult sonic terrains. And this is some exceptionally well played jazz from 1963, from some of the true masters and innovators of the form, equally enjoyable for those thirsting for unheard Coltrane as those just beginning to learn his work, give this a listen.

Voices of Mississippi recorded by Bill Ferris

Much like Harry Smith's anthology of American folk music, or any of the domestic ethnographic recordings of Alan Lomax, this release documents some of the earliest of William Ferris’ archive of 200,000 recorded pieces of music from the American south. Voices of Mississippi is a new multimedia distillation from that trove, contextualizing some of Ferris’ most essential audio and video recordings from Mississippi, bound together with a 120-page hardcover book.

Abu Obaida Hassan & his Tambour The Shaigiya Sound of Sudan

This anthology of recordings by Abu Obaida Hassan is a rare glimpse into a world of music largely unheard by western listeners. Hailing from northern Sudan, the Shaigiya sound is a hybrid with elements of middle-eastern folk, desert blues, and the call-and-response themes of much traditional African music. Very raw but very fresh. Here's a quick video introduction:

 

Marisa Anderson Cloud Corner

Portland based guitarist Marisa Anderson makes absolutely stunning folk guitar instrumentals. Cloud Corner is full of great fluid playing and raga informed compositions you can just get lost in. This record feels influenced by the mystic and rugged Northwestern wilderness. Sparse accompaniment here, this is a very spare record, and a lovely one at that.

 

Michael Nesmith Magnetic South, Loose Salute, and Nevada Fighter

Most everyone knows the Monkees, but not everyone knows about ex-Monkee Michael Nesmith's second act as a damn good country-rock singer/songwriter. He was the creatively restless one, the one not simply content to be a teen idol, he had ambitions to be a serious songwriter. These three LPs were his chance to spread his wings as an unencumbered artist, and are great for it. Fans of the California twang boom of the early 70s take note.

Buried Country: An Anthology of Aboriginal Country Music

This is a collection of intensely obscure country and folk music recorded in the Australian Aboriginal community. Like many reissues from the Mississippi label, this should appeal to listeners with a taste for pure, honest, and raw lo-fi folk recordings. Very unique sounds here, including some wild didgeridoo playing!