Alan Lomax was an American ethnomusicologist, best known for his extensive field recordings of folk music collected with his father John throughout the twentieth century. Through the American Folklife Center, I’ve recently discovered a comprehensive, online, digital archive of over 5,000 hours of of Lomax’s recordings. I’d invite you to check it out: http://archive.culturalequity.org/
It’s an astonishing amount of material. He collected songs from the Deep South to the mountains of West Virginia, to Europe, the Caribbean and Asia. The archive provides all of Lomax’s recordings from the 1930’s to the 1990’s along with liner notes about the locations and performers.
I love getting lost in this site and though they are all modest, single track live recordings, I’m always amazed at how compelling they sound. I always seem to learn something as well.
Even though Lomax was a musician himself he took great satisfaction in discovering all of the great music that was happening in people’s every day lives. He explored the small town churches, and speakeasy’s, the front porches and back parlors, the schoolyards and street corners. He is greatly responsible for helping to document and inspire the shape of post civil war American Folk Music.
I think Lomax is a beautiful example of how being aware of the everyday creativity happening around us all the time can bring joy and insight to our lives.
Below is a playlist of songs that have resonated with me in the past month. I hope they bring more joy to your life. Thanks for listening, MMM
Included are songs by: LOW, The Beths, WITCH, Dead Kennedys, Young Jesus, Open Mike Eagle, Pino Palladino, Brian Eno, Bill Callahan, Sun’s Signature, L’epee, Ultra Orange, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, S.G. Goodman, Electralane, Wilso, Beastie Boys
(Subscribe to get a new playlist every 1st Monday of the month. Click on my user link or search: Major Matt’s 1st Monday on Spotify to cruise past playlists and discover more music.)