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World Music CD Reviews North American

VARIOUS ARTISTS

By Robert Seiden
Published February 17, 2006

THE ROUGH GUIDE TO THE MUSIC OF THE APPALACHIANS
World Music Network

Appalachian music began as the genre “old-timey,” drifting out of mountain hollows and back porches. It was religious and folksy, played by blacks and whites, and told a good story about life’s ups and downs. Bluegrass evolved out of old-timey when the rural music was influenced by the popular music of 1900-1930s and brought to a wider audience through touring bands and radio. Both old-timey and bluegrass are explored on this Rough Guide musical tour. This survey focuses mainly on bluegrass performers who started in the 1960s and ’70s, however, it is sprinkled with older performers such as Ralph Stanley, Joe Thompson and Doc Boggs. Artists such as Peter Rowan and Del McCoury learned their chops with the Grandfather of Bluegrass, Bill Monroe. Rhonda Vincent keeps it soulful and real with her multi-threat playing and bluesy vocals. The most modern performers on the disc, including Tom Adams and Tony Rice, incorporate elements of jazz and improvisational jams into their tracks. For newcomers to the genre, as well as existing fans, this disc is an excellent introduction to Appalachian music.