Sunday, January 31, 2010

Lomax-a-Day, Days 30 & 31

I wanted to end the Lomax-a-Day project with a profound statement about the importance of American folk music, but after 31 days of this, I can't quite muster the energy. I can say this: I have barely scratched the surface. This giant, tangled web of songs contains millions of histories, millions of mysteries, and millions of keys to the American identity. I am bound to keep trying to untangle the web in my own way. Or maybe "untangle" is the wrong idea--perhaps to tangle yourself deep into the web is the ultimate goal. I urge everyone who cares about music, who cares about the idea of America, who cares about people telling stories, to do some tangling themselves. Lomax is a good place to start.

I'll let my last two recordings, "Railroad Bill" and a medley of "Careless Love" and "Troubled in Mind," speak for themselves. For the blues, "Troubled in Mind" sure strikes a hopeful tone: "Troubled in mind, I'm blue, but I won't be blue always/ Wind's gonna rise and blow my blues away."

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