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Old 10-30-2007, 10:36 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Boston, Massachusetts
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Default You should listen to more roots music.

I know most of the older members are on board but for the younger folk here in the crowd, I'd like to make a suggestion; Listen to more roots music. I'm not one for having pedantic brawls over the empirical definition of "roots music" so for the purpose of this thread roots music will just be any traditional style of music with a healthy amount of acoustics.

Don't get me wrong I love my screeching and feedback; my ambient noise and my Sigor Ros lyrics but I just don't think it can sustain. i've always thought, 'well what if the lights go out and theres no change that the grid will be up and running?" I don't know, maybe that doesn't dissuade you but I'd think about it the next time I bought a ticket to a show. But that argument is wholly just fluff and the brunt of my force lies behind two points: the "honesty" of the music; and the relative ease with which roots makes you more musically worldly.

Let honesty here mean the inability to hide ones blemishes. Theres no distortion to hide behind when you're a trumpet player, and theres generally not much hiding a **** up in that fiddle solo in the bluegrass number. That is to say, musicians are just that. they know what they are doing which generally leads to more exciting ventures but they also know how to recover from a broken string or an unintentional bent note. The music can change nightly by virtue of human error and it leads to some exciting developments.

I'm sure this doesn't much help my cause but Kirk Hammet once said that, in trying to figure out how he nailed a solo once while listening to it in playback that he had actually dragged the string down off of the fret board. While he plays electric most of the time, he's one of the few that knows his instrument well enough.

The other reason I would make such a suggestion is that roots players are generally music fans, not genre fans and the easy switch from folk to bluegrass to jazz to country to tango, to reggae is easier and a lot more subtle that it would seem on the surface. And roots payers are well aware of the pieces of music. They don't listen to jazz and say "this is jazz." They listen and take phrases and movements and codas and breakdowns and weave them into their own work, despite it not being the "jazz" that they were listening to. Once I let my guard down and start to enjoy something beyond Godsmack all those years ago, I was able to appreciate music all that much more.

I don't know, let me hear your thoughts. Especially if I haven't persuaded you.
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Old 10-30-2007, 01:42 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Join Date: May 2007
Location: This Is England
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Nice post. I think a lot of the young ones will still not bother. This is why I love Reggae so much. It is the sound of the street and of their life and dub is a completely organic improvisational technique derived from that. Honesty is the key in roots music, in fact in all music. I can't describe it, but I can hear it in music and that draws me in as much as the obvious liking for music.

“A cynic by experience, a romantic by inclination and now a hero by necessity.”
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Old 10-30-2007, 02:48 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I love jazz, and I always have, and I always will.
I do agree with you that alot of people are unwilling to listen to "roots" music, just because that it is foreign from what they are used to, but in all honesty
I hate bluegrass, and reggae puts me to sleep.

I also realize how ironic that is, because jazz shares alot of similarities with those kinds of music,
they just don't do anything for me.
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