American Roots FYS
In this class we’re going to be doing a lot of speaking and writing about music. Rule Number One of communicating well is: Have something to say! To get you started I’ve listed some words that are commonly use to describe music. But there are many more—try to think of others.
“Authenticity” and Roots Music
In popular speech, “authentic” often means sincere or heartfelt. However, the word has a specific meaning when you’re talking about roots music. “Authentic” means that a performance is close to its historical, musical roots. For example, Lead Belly’s recording of “Rock Island Line” is authentic because Lead Belly is one of the fathers of blues music; however, the most “authentic” version of the song is Kelly Pace’s, since he wrote the song.
Authenticity sometimes depends on the context. Lonnie Donegan’s “Rock Island Line” is not authentic as African American Blues music, but is authentic as British skiffle music—in fact, it’s the song that started the skiffle craze.
We’ll be talking more about authenticity throughout the semester, so stay tuned...