Roots rock

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Roots rock is rock music that looks back to rock's origins in folk, blues and country music. [1] It is particularly associated with the creation of hybrid subgenres from the later 1960s including country rock and Southern rock, which have been seen as responses to the perceived excesses of dominant psychedelic and developing progressive rock. [2] Because roots music (Americana) is often used to mean folk and world musical forms, roots rock is sometimes used in a broad sense to describe any rock music that incorporates elements of this music. [3] In the 1980s, roots rock enjoyed a revival in response to trends in punk rock, new wave and heavy metal music.

Rock music is a broad genre of popular music that originated as "rock and roll" in the United States in the early 1950s, and developed into a range of different styles in the 1960s and later, particularly in the United Kingdom and in the United States. It has its roots in 1940s and 1950s rock and roll, a style which drew heavily on the genres of blues, rhythm and blues, and from country music. Rock music also drew strongly on a number of other genres such as electric blues and folk, and incorporated influences from jazz, classical and other musical styles. Musically, rock has centered on the electric guitar, usually as part of a rock group with electric bass, drums, and one or more singers. Usually, rock is song-based music usually with a 4/4 time signature using a verse–chorus form, but the genre has become extremely diverse. Like pop music, lyrics often stress romantic love but also address a wide variety of other themes that are frequently social or political.

Contemporary folk music the genre that evolved from folk music during the 20th century folk revival

Contemporary folk music refers to a wide variety of genres that emerged in the mid 20th century and afterwards which were associated with traditional folk music. Starting in the mid-20th century a new form of popular folk music evolved from traditional folk music. This process and period is called the (second) folk revival and reached a zenith in the 1960s. The most common name for this new form of music is also "folk music", but is often called "contemporary folk music" or "folk revival music" to make the distinction. The transition was somewhat centered in the US and is also called the American folk music revival. Fusion genres such as folk rock, folktronica, and others also evolved within this phenomenon. While contemporary folk music is a genre generally distinct from traditional folk music, it often shares the same English name, performers and venues as traditional folk music; even individual songs may be a blend of the two.

Blues is a music genre and musical form which was originated in the Deep South of the United States around the 1870s by African Americans from roots in African musical traditions, African-American work songs, and spirituals. Blues incorporated spirituals, work songs, field hollers, shouts, chants, and rhymed simple narrative ballads. The blues form, ubiquitous in jazz, rhythm and blues and rock and roll, is characterized by the call-and-response pattern, the blues scale and specific chord progressions, of which the twelve-bar blues is the most common. Blue notes, usually thirds, fifths or sevenths flattened in pitch are also an essential part of the sound. Blues shuffles or walking bass reinforce the trance-like rhythm and form a repetitive effect known as the groove.

Contents

History

Bob Dylan Bob Dylan in November 1963.jpg
Bob Dylan

In 1966, as many rock artists moved towards expansive and experimental psychedelia, Bob Dylan spearheaded the back-to-basics roots revival when he went to Nashville to record the album Blonde on Blonde , using notable local musicians like Charlie McCoy. [4] This, and the subsequent more clearly country-influenced albums, John Wesley Harding (1967) and Nashville Skyline (1969), have been seen as creating the genre of country folk, a route pursued by a number of, largely acoustic, folk musicians. [4] Other acts that followed the back to basics trend in different ways were the Canadian/American group the Band and the California-based Creedence Clearwater Revival, both of which mixed basic rock and roll with folk, country and blues, to be among the most successful and influential bands of the late 1960s. [5] The same movement saw the beginning of the recording careers of Californian solo artists like Ry Cooder, Bonnie Raitt and Lowell George. [6] The back to basics tendency would also be evident in the Rolling Stones' Beggars Banquet (1968) and Exile on Main St. (1972), the Beatles' The White Album (1968) and Let It Be (1970), [7] the Doors' Morrison Hotel (1970) and L.A. Woman (1971), as well as the Grateful Dead's Workingman's Dead and American Beauty albums.

Psychedelia Subculture of people who use psychedelic drugs

Psychedelia is the subculture, originating in the 1960s, of people who use psychedelic drugs such as LSD, mescaline and psilocybin. The term is also used to describe a style of psychedelic artwork and psychedelic music. Psychedelic art and music typically try to recreate or reflect the experience of altered consciousness. Psychedelic art uses highly distorted and surreal visuals, bright colors and full spectrums and animation to evoke and convey to a viewer or listener the artist's experience while using such drugs, or to enhance the experience of a user of these drugs. Psychedelic music uses distorted electric guitar, Indian music elements such as the sitar, electronic effects, sound effects and reverberation, and elaborate studio effects, such as playing tapes backwards or panning the music from one side to another.

Bob Dylan American singer-songwriter, musician, author, and artist

Bob Dylan is an American singer-songwriter, author, and visual artist who has been a major figure in popular culture for six decades. Much of his most celebrated work dates from the 1960s, when songs such as "Blowin' in the Wind" (1963) and "The Times They Are a-Changin'" (1964) became anthems for the Civil Rights Movement and anti-war movement. His lyrics during this period incorporated a wide range of political, social, philosophical, and literary influences, defied pop-music conventions and appealed to the burgeoning counterculture.

A roots revival is a trend which includes young performers popularizing the traditional musical styles of their ancestors. Often, roots revivals include an addition of newly composed songs with socially and politically aware lyrics, as well as a general modernization of the folk sound.

Country rock

Dylan's lead was also followed by the Byrds, who were joined by Gram Parsons in 1968. Earlier in the year Parsons had already recorded Safe at Home with the International Submarine Band, which made extensive use of pedal steel guitar and is seen by some as the first true country-rock album. [2] The result of Parsons tenure in the Byrds was Sweetheart of the Rodeo (1968), generally considered one of the finest and most influential recordings in the genre. [2] The Byrds continued for a brief period in the same vein, but Parsons left soon after the album was released to be joined by another ex-Byrds member Chris Hillman in forming the Flying Burrito Brothers. Over the next two years they recorded the albums The Gilded Palace of Sin (1969) and Burrito Deluxe (1970), which helped establish the respectability and parameters of the genre, before Parsons departed to pursue a solo career. [2]

The Byrds American rock band

The Byrds were an American rock band formed in Los Angeles, California in 1964. The band underwent multiple lineup changes throughout its existence, with frontman Roger McGuinn remaining the sole consistent member. Although they only managed to attain the huge commercial success of contemporaries like the Beatles, the Beach Boys, and the Rolling Stones for a short period in the mid-1960s, the Byrds are today considered by critics to be nearly as influential as those bands. Their signature blend of clear harmony singing and McGuinn's jangly twelve-string Rickenbacker guitar was "absorbed into the vocabulary of rock" and has continued to be influential.

Gram Parsons American singer-songwriter

Ingram Cecil Connor III, known professionally as Gram Parsons, was an American singer, songwriter, guitarist and pianist. Parsons is best known for his work with the Byrds and Flying Burrito Brothers. He also popularized what he called "Cosmic American Music", a hybrid of country, rhythm and blues, soul, folk, and rock. He recorded as a solo artist and with the International Submarine Band, the Byrds and the Flying Burrito Brothers. His relatively short career was described by AllMusic as "enormously influential" for country and rock, "blending the two genres to the point that they became indistinguishable from each other."

<i>Safe at Home</i> 1968 studio album by The International Submarine Band

Safe at Home is a 1968 album by country rock group The International Submarine Band, led by the then-unknown 21-year-old Gram Parsons. The group's only album release, Safe at Home featured four of Parsons' original compositions rounded out by six covers of classic country and rock and roll songs made famous by the likes of Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, Merle Haggard, and Hank Snow. Described as "hippie and hillbilly in equal measure", the album helped to forge the burgeoning country rock movement of the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Country rock was a particularly popular style in the California music scene of the late 1960s, and was adopted by bands including Hearts and Flowers, Poco and New Riders of the Purple Sage. [2] Some folk-rockers followed the Byrds into the genre, among them the Beau Brummels [2] and the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. [8] A number of performers also enjoyed a renaissance by adopting country sounds, including: the Everly Brothers, whose Roots album (1968) is usually considered some of their finest work; former teen idol Ricky Nelson who became the frontman for the Stone Canyon Band; Michael Nesmith who formed the First National Band after his departure from the Monkees; and Neil Young who moved in and out of the genre throughout his career. [2] One of the few acts to successfully move from the country side towards rock were the bluegrass band The Dillards. [2]

"Hearts and Flowers" is a song composed by Theodore Moses-Tobani and published in 1893 by Carl Fischer Music.

Poco American country rock band

Poco is an American country rock band originally formed by Richie Furay, Jim Messina and Rusty Young. Formed following the demise of Buffalo Springfield in 1968, Poco was part of the first wave of the West Coast country rock genre. The title of their first album, Pickin' Up the Pieces, is a reference to the break-up of Buffalo Springfield. Throughout the years Poco has performed in various groupings, and is still active.

New Riders of the Purple Sage American country rock band

New Riders of the Purple Sage is an American country rock band. The group emerged from the psychedelic rock scene in San Francisco, California, in 1969, and its original lineup included several members of the Grateful Dead. Their best known song is "Panama Red". The band is sometimes referred to as the New Riders, or as NRPS.

The greatest commercial success for country rock came in the 1970s, with the Doobie Brothers mixing in elements of R&B, Emmylou Harris (a former backing singer for Parsons) becoming the "Queen of country-rock" and Linda Ronstadt creating a highly successful pop-orientated brand of the genre. [9] Members of Ronstadt's former backing band went on to form the Eagles (made up of members of the Burritos, Poco and Stone Canyon Band), and emerged as one of the most successful rock acts of all time, producing albums that included Desperado (1973) and Hotel California (1976). [9] Country rock began to fade in the late 1970s in the face of punk and new wave trends.

The Doobie Brothers American rock band

The Doobie Brothers are an American rock band from San Jose, California. The group has sold more than 40 million albums worldwide. They have been active for five decades, with their greatest success in the 1970s.

Emmylou Harris US-American country singer

Emmylou Harris is an American singer, songwriter, and musician. She has released dozens of albums and singles over the course of her career and won 14 Grammys, the Polar Music Prize, and numerous other honors, including induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame. In 2018 she was presented the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

Linda Ronstadt US-American singer

Linda Maria Ronstadt is a retired American popular music singer known for singing in a wide range of genres including rock, country, light opera, and Latin. She has earned 10 Grammy Awards, three American Music Awards, two Academy of Country Music awards, an Emmy Award, and an ALMA Award, and many of her albums have been certified gold, platinum or multiplatinum in the United States and internationally. She has also earned nominations for a Tony Award and a Golden Globe award. She was awarded the Latin Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award by The Latin Recording Academy in 2011 and also awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award by The Recording Academy in 2016. She was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in April 2014. On July 28, 2014, she was awarded the National Medal of Arts and Humanities. In 2019, she will receive a joint star with Dolly Parton and Emmylou Harris on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for their work as the group Trio.

Southern rock

Although the Southern states had been, as much as anywhere, the birthplace of rock and roll, after the decline of rockabilly in the late 1950s, it was not until the early 1970s that a distinctive regional style of rock music emerged. [10] (This was despite some successful bands from the region, a major contribution to the evolution of soul music in the Stax-Volt records company and the existence of the Muscle Shoals and FAME Studios). The founders of Southern rock are usually thought to be the Allman Brothers Band, who developed a distinctive sound, largely derived from blues rock, but incorporating elements of boogie, soul, and country; combining hard rock instrumentation and rhythms with accented vocals and Duane Allman's slide guitar. [10]

Soul music is a popular music genre that originated in the African American community in the United States in the 1950s and early 1960s. It combines elements of African-American gospel music, rhythm and blues and jazz. Soul music became popular for dancing and listening in the United States, where record labels such as Motown, Atlantic and Stax were influential during the Civil Rights Movement. Soul also became popular around the world, directly influencing rock music and the music of Africa.

Muscle Shoals Sound Studio

Muscle Shoals Sound Studio at 3614 Jackson Highway in Sheffield, Alabama was formed in 1969 by four session musicians called The Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section who had left Rick Hall's nearby FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals to create their own recording facility. The group closed the Jackson Highway studio in 1979, moving the operation to 1000 Alabama Avenue. The old studio has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since June 2006. It was partly restored in the early 2000s and was sold to the Muscle Shoals Music Foundation in 2013. This group completed a major restoration and the location reopened on January 9, 2017. The Alabama Avenue location ceased operations in 2005 when it was sold to a record label.

FAME Studios

FAME Studios is a recording studio located at 603 East Avalon Avenue in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, an area of northern Alabama known as the Shoals. Though small and distant from the main recording locations of the American music industry, FAME has produced a large number of hit records and was instrumental in what came to be known as the Muscle Shoals sound. It was started in the 1950s by Rick Hall, known as the Founder of Muscle Shoals Music. The studio, owned by Hall until his death in 2018, is still actively operating. It was added to the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage on December 15, 1997, and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2016. The 2013 award-winning documentary Muscle Shoals features Rick Hall, the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section, and the Muscle Shoals sound originally popularized by FAME.

Duane Allman playing guitar at the Fillmore East, June 26, 1971 (late show) Duane Allman.jpg
Duane Allman playing guitar at the Fillmore East, June 26, 1971 (late show)

Of the acts that followed the Allmans into the emerging genre, the most successful was Lynyrd Skynyrd, who with songs like "Free Bird" (1973) and "Sweet Home Alabama" (1974) helped establish the "Good ol' boy" image of the subgenre and the general shape of 1970s guitar rock. [10] They were followed by many other bands, including The Atlanta Rhythm Section, [11] ZZ Top, Black Oak Arkansas, the more country-influenced The Marshall Tucker Band, and Wet Willie, Blackfoot, The Ozark Mountain Daredevils, Johnny Winter, Edgar Winter Group, and the Dixie Dregs. After the loss of original members of the Allmans and Lynyrd Skynyrd, the genre began to fade in popularity in the late 1970s, but was sustained the 1980s with acts like The Outlaws, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Stevie Ray Vaughan [12] & Double Trouble, Pointblank, .38 Special, and Molly Hatchet. [10]

Heartland rock

The term heartland rock was first used in the early 1970s to describe Midwestern arena rock groups like Kansas, REO Speedwagon and Styx, but came to be associated with a more socially concerned form of roots rock more directly influenced by folk, country and rock and roll. [13] It has been seen as an American Midwest and Rust Belt counterpart to West Coast country rock and the Southern rock of the American South. [14] Led by figures who had initially been identified with punk and new wave, it was most strongly influenced by acts such as Bob Dylan, The Byrds, Creedence Clearwater Revival and Van Morrison, and the basic rock of 60s garage and the Rolling Stones. [15]

Exemplified by the commercial success of singer songwriters Bruce Springsteen, Bob Seger, and Tom Petty, along with less widely known acts such as Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes and Joe Grushecky and the Houserockers, it was partly a reaction to post-industrial urban decline in the East and Mid-West, often dwelling on issues of social disintegration and isolation, beside a form of good-time rock and roll revivalism. [15] The genre reached its commercial, artistic and influential peak in the mid-1980s, with Springsteen's Born in the USA (1984), topping the charts worldwide and spawning a series of top ten singles, together with the arrival of artists including John Mellencamp, Steve Earle and more gentle singer/songwriters such as Bruce Hornsby. [15] It can also be heard as an influence on artists as diverse as Billy Joel, [16] Kid Rock [17] and The Killers. [18] Though various Heartland rock acts had sustained success through the 1990s such as Tom Petty, Bruce Springsteen, The Wallflowers, and to a lesser extent, the BoDeans and Los Lobos, Heartland rock's commercial prosperity and general popularity began to fade away as early as the early 1990s. As rock music in general, and blue collar and white working class themes in particular, lost influence with younger audiences, heartland's artists turned to more personal works. [15]

1980s revival

The term "roots rock" was coined during the mid-'80s. A number of key bands were defined as cow punk, punk rockers who played country music, including Jason & The Scorchers from Tennessee, Dash Rip Rock from Louisiana and Drivin N Cryin from Georgia, but the centre of the cow punk movement became Los Angeles, thanks to bands including the Long Ryders, Tex & the Horseheads, the Rave-Ups, Lone Justice and Rank and File. Also part of this trend and enjoying some mainstream success were Gun Club, Chris Isaak, John Mellencamp, BoDeans, and Los Lobos. [19]

In addition the alternative country movement, producing such figures as Sheryl Crow, Steve Earle, Lucinda Williams and Uncle Tupelo, can be seen as part of the roots rock tendency. [20] [21] The movement began to decline in popularity again in the 1990s but produced some bands like Son Volt, Wilco and The Bottle Rockets. [22]

After disbanding Dire Straits in 1995, lead singer Mark Knopfler has largely returned to a roots-rock sound across his nine albums. [23]

See also

Notes

  1. P. Auslander, Liveness: performance in a mediatized culture (London: Routledge, 2008), p. 83.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 V. Bogdanov, C. Woodstra and S. T. Erlewine, All music guide to rock: the definitive guide to rock, pop, and soul (Backbeat Books, 3rd edn., 2002), p. 1327.
  3. R. Shuker, Popular Music: the Key Concepts (London: Routledge, 2005), p. 235.
  4. 1 2 K. Wolff, O. Duane, Country Music: The Rough Guide (Rough Guides, 2000), p. 392.
  5. V. Bogdanov, C. Woodstra and S. T. Erlewine, All music guide to rock: the definitive guide to rock, pop, and soul (Backbeat Books, 3rd edn., 2002), pp. 61 and 265.
  6. B. Hoskyns, Hotel California: The True-Life Adventures of Crosby, Stills, Nash, Young, Mitchell, Taylor, Browne, Ronstadt, Geffen, the Eagles, and Their Many Friends (John Wiley and Sons, 2007), pp. 87-90.
  7. V. Bogdanov, C. Woodstra, S. T. Erlewine, eds, All Music Guide to the Blues: The Definitive Guide to the Blues (Backbeat, 3rd edn., 2003), pp. 1322-3.
  8. P. Buckley, The Rough Guide to Rock (Rough Guides, 3rd edn., 2003), p. 730.
  9. 1 2 N. E. Tawa, Supremely American: popular song in the 20th century: styles and singers and what they said about America (Scarecrow Press, 2005), pp. 227-8.
  10. 1 2 3 4 V. Bogdanov, C. Woodstra and S. T. Erlewine, All music guide to rock: the definitive guide to rock, pop, and soul (Backbeat Books, 3rd edn., 2002), pp. 1332-3.
  11. "Atlanta Rhythm Section". Discogs.
  12. "Southern Rock Meets Texas Blues When Stevie Ray Vaughan Joins Skynyrd For "Call Me The Breeze"".
  13. R. Kirkpatrick, The words and music of Bruce Springsteen (Greenwood Publishing Group, 2007), p. 51.
  14. G. Thompson, American Culture in the 1980s (Edinburgh University Press, 2007), p. 138.
  15. 1 2 3 4 "Heartland Rock", Allmusic, archived from the original on 13 February 2011.
  16. J. A. Peraino (30 August 1987), "Heartland rock: Bruce's Children", New York Times, archived from the original on 13 February 2011
  17. A. DeCurtis (18 October 2007), "Kid Rock: Rock n' Roll Jesus", Rolling Stone, archived from the original on 13 February 2011
  18. S. T. Erlewine, "The Killers: Sam's Town", Rolling Stone, archived from the original on 13 February 2011
  19. V. Bogdanov, C. Woodstra, S. T. Erlewine, eds, All Music Guide to the Blues: The Definitive Guide to the Blues (Backbeat, 3rd edn., 2003), pp. 493, 564, 670, 723.
  20. M. Dutton, True to the Roots: Americana Music Revealed (University of Nebraska Press, 2006), p. 18.
  21. P. Fox, B. Ching, Old Roots, New Routes: The Cultural Politics of Alt.Country Music (University of Michigan Press, 2008), p. 7.
  22. P. Buckley, The Rough Guide to Rock (Rough Guides, 3rd edn., 2003), p. 1169.
  23. "New troubadours: Folk, roots rock & Americana". www.msn.com. Retrieved 2015-11-11.

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