Sunday, March 18, 2007

It all starts here

I have deep love of Appalachian culture forged during four years of living in central Ohio, in the foothills of the Allegheny mountains (one of several mountain ranges that make up the Appalachians.)

Despite the fact that I generally dislike modern country music (too much silliness and musical simplicity), I have to admit that I do love some of the old bluegrass and American roots music that inspired it. It was an interest in these that led me to Netflix The Carter Family: Will the Circle be Unbroken, a PBS/American Experience documentary about the first family of Appalachian music.

Their story is as compelling as anything you would see on Behind the Music, with themes of heartbreak, innovation and the trappings of celebrity. The fact that many of these mountain songs have been preserved for the ages is due to Carter family patriarch A.P. Carter's love of music and tenacity in collecting and recording it. But his drive to preserve the music he loved so much lost him everything else he loved. It's really a remarkable story, with an amazing soundtrack.

For a good introduction to all things Carter Family, this CD does a nice job (or so sayeth the AMG.)

And while we're on the subject of things I love related to American roots music, try this movie (and corresponding soundtrack), just named to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's list of the Definitive 200 albums, this CD, or this CD.

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