Roots & The Next American Music

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It Still Moves

American roots music never stops feeding the tree of new American music, even when the branches grow wild.

Fast forward from the Carter Family’s mountain tunes and Robert Johnson’s Delta blues, shape note singing and early Elvis, and the next thing you know you’re listening to Animal Collective and Freakwater, Sufjan Stevens and Iron & Wine.

Music critic Amanda Petrusich went in search of new American music. She found it tangled in the roots.

This hour, On Point: The next American music.

You can join the conversation. What keeps the old sound — of mountain and delta — running through so much new American music?


From Charlottesville, Virginia, we're joined by Amanda Petrusich, music critic for Pitchfork Media, Paste Magazine, and The New York Times. Her new book is "It Still Moves: Lost Songs, Lost Highways, and the Search for the Next American Music." Read an excerpt online at Pitchfork.

And from Marlboro, Vermont, is Robin MacArthur. She and her husband form the Vermont-based indie-folk duo Red Heart the Ticker.  You can hear songs at their Myspace page.

Songs featured in this hour:

"Decatur, or, Round of Applause for Your Step-Mother!” Sufjan Stevens (2005)

“Mississippi Boweavil Blues” Charley Patton (1929)

"Southern Anthem" Iron & Wine (2002)

"Poor Orphan Child” The Carter Family (1927)

"Jack the Knife" Freakwater (2005)

"Black Metal Valentine" Califone (2006)

“I Wonder As I Wander” John Jacob Miles (1958)

“Who Could Win a Rabbit” Animal Collective (2004)

"Locks and Bolts” Margaret MacArthur (1995)

“Yellowbird” and "Jackknives" Red Heart the Ticker (2006, 2009)

“Sherburne” Alabama Sacred Harp Singers (1959)

“White Winter Hymnal” Fleet Foxes (2008)

Closing Segment: "Chinese Democracy"

Later in this hour, we also dip into the new Guns N' Roses album “Chinese Democracy,” and the headlines it's been making this week. Joining us for that is Brett Milano, a music critic and author of "The Sound of Our Town: A History of Boston Rock and Roll."

This program aired on November 26, 2008.


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