Friday, November 20, 2009

"Obsessed with roots but founded on uprooting, America has always been characterized by restless internal migration: people are always leaving home to find a better, truer home. In It Still Moves: Lost Songs, Lost Highways, and the Search for the American Music, Amanda Petrusich hits the road too, looking to crack the conundrum of the culture that produced Robert Johnson, Lead Belly and Hank Williams but also Cracker Barrel, Graceland, and Clear Channel. Talking and listening and eating her way across an American landscape as earthy as grits 'n' gravy yet as ethereal as the wraith-like plaint of pedal steel, she finds that the mystery doesn't so much resolve as grow more vivid. In this sharply observed, intensely felt audio-travelogue, "Americana" emerges as not so much a sound or musical genre as an imaginary country, a dream land superimposed over the real U.S.A. Above all it's a fantasy of the South spun by people mostly not from there, a salve for that feeling of hollowness that haunts modern urban existence, a remedy for our aching sense that real life is elsewhere."
-- Simon Reynolds, author of Rip It Up and Start Again: Postpunk 1978-84

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