Putumayo Presents American Folk
First Appeared in The Music Box, August 2005, Volume 12, #8
Written by John Metzger
Two years ago, the Putumayo label paid tribute to the tradition of the blues by assembling an assortment of contemporary artists who have continued to extend the genre’s vast legacy. Although the set hardly could be considered comprehensive, it did provide insight into the current happenings within the scene. Its latest compilation Putumayo Presents American Folk attempts to do the same for the customs of folk music, and in situating well-known artists, such as Natalie Merchant and Nanci Griffith, alongside lesser-known troubadours, like Peter Mulvey and Christine Kane, it largely achieves a similar level of success. From the crystalline blues of Jeffrey Foucault’s Don’t Look for Me to the country-tinged shadings that keep Shannon McNally’s ethereal Pale Moon aloft and from the Nick Drake-meets-Bob Dylan mannerisms that resonate through Josh Ritter’s You Don’t Make It Easy Babe to the reflections of Richie Havens' socially aware, soul-blues style that lurk within Eric Bibb’s Judge Not Your Brother, there is nary a dud among the collection’s 12 tracks. In fact, after listening to Putumayo Presents American Folk in its entirety, one is left with the overwhelming impression that today’s folk music scene is as rich and vibrant as it ever has been. ½
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2005 The Music Box