William Henry “Papa Charlie” Jackson

No wonder they all fall for him! He’s just a red hot papa in a class by himself and it takes a cop or two to hold the mamas back when he struts down the avenue. Papa Charlie sure knows how to sing this kind of Blues. Papa Charlie Jackson (November 10, 1887 – May […]

The Winding Stream: deftly crafted documentary celebrates the Carter and Cash families

Beth Harrington celebrates the Carter and Cash family and its enduring contributions to country, folk and roots music in “The Winding Stream,” an impressively researched and deftly crafted feature that doubtless will find an appreciative audience through exposure in home-screen platforms. Clearly a long-gestating labor of love, “The Winding Stream” boasts among its highlights a […]

Charlie Parr : Extraordinary Performer

Charlie Parr is an American country blues musician from Minnesota. He was born in Austin, Minnesota and spent part of his childhood in Hollandale. He started his music career in Duluth, Minnesota. His influences include Charlie Patton, Bukka White, Reverend Gary Davis, Dave Van Ronk, and Mississippi John Hurt. He plays a custom made Mule […]

Harry Smith and the Anthology of American Folk Music

Sixty-five years ago this year an event occcured which changed the course of American music.  A unassuming man, unknown, with no professional expertise other than his devotion to old 78s of American vernacular music, released to the public the Anthology of American Folk Music. “Had he never done anything with his life but this Anthology, […]

Eilen Jewell : Soulful, Understated Narratives

Eilen Jewell is an American singer-songwriter from Boise, Idaho. “I always felt like I wanted to leave,” Jewell says. “And I remember when I learned the word ‘wanderlust,’ I felt like I finally had a word to describe myself.” Jewell attended college in Santa Fe, New Mexico where she began busking on the streets of Sante […]

The Steel Wheels : Wild As We Came Here

The Steel Wheels are a roots and Americana band, writing and playing music in the closely related but unique styles of blues, bluegrass, old-time music, and fiddle music. Virginia musician Trent Wagler is the lead vocalist and the band’s primary songwriter. Jay Lapp (mandolin, guitar, vocals) had been touring in several bands throughout the Midwest […]

American Roots Music : Three Bands/Artists

American Roots Music, is what I am calling what the three artists make whom I will highlight today. I took the classification from American Roots Music, a 2001 multi-part documentary film that explores the historical roots of American Roots music which, in the PBS film, includes Folk, Country, Blues, Gospel, and Bluegrass.   Common elements are […]