Now that the site is live and I’ve told the story behind how it all started, it’s a good time to focus on the music. Other than being the inspiration for this blog, what exactly is roots music?
This is where it gets interesting. It’s not just one type or genre of music. Rather, it’s a term that encompasses a group of genres. We can think of it as an umbrella under which several styles of music fall, especially when it comes to American music. According to the PBS series, “American Roots Music“, the term of the same name includes blues, bluegrass, Cajun, gospel, traditional country, zydeco, Tejano, and Native American. For as different as these genres are, they all have one thing in common. Their songs provide a glimpse into the culture, identity, and lived experiences of the groups from which they originate.
Throughout the decades, roots music has taken on different forms and has given birth to sub-genres like Americana and alt-country. I plan to focus on roots music in its truest form, but I’m also leaving it open to some interpretation. I believe the term can be applied to traditional music of other countries. The traditional music of Scotland and Ireland, for example, has been a tremendous influence on American music. We can’t examine roots music without discussing its very own roots.
And this leads us to another spot where roots music and travel intersect. What better way for me to learn and share about roots music than by traveling to the places where it developed and is still very much a part of the local identity? I’ve got a few trip ideas in mind, some that I’ve been dreaming about for years. I imagine others will come to light as I begin to take off on this musical journey.