Roots / Pop Crossover: "Rolling In The Deep" by Adele

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Jul 202011

After three different people suggested I check out Adele, including my wife, I figured it was high time. “Rolling In The Deep” is a powerful song. It starts out with lone voice that sounds like it’s been lost in the wilderness for a little too long, surrounded by an ominous kick drum. From there her gospel inspired voice pulls the music into an amazing power-pop ballad.

Friends have asked, “Is this the sort of song you would play on your show?” Is it roots music? If I had to analyze it, I’d probably say no. If I put this song in a rotation with 10 other songs and asked you to pick the one that doesn’t fit with the others, this song would stand out like a sore thumb. At the end of the day, I’d classify it as a roots/pop cross over.

But that’s only if you analyze it and insist on labeling it. Fact is, this song has such a powerful, moving, inspiring feel to it, I’m happy to play this on Taproot Radio.

And if it inspires a few people to want to explore roots music, cool. Here are a few roots music suggestions I have for people who like Adele’s “Rolling In The Deep”:

Cave Singers:
Adele’s song immediately reminded me of “Dancing On Our Graves” by The Cave Singers. This is song has similar instrumentation, but it’s much more ominous.

Mavis Staples:
Mavis Staples’ music with The Staples Singers is icon of the sixties era civil rights music, putting a sound and identity to the combination of spiritual and political change. She’s still making music these days and her latest CD brings her gospel sound a little more to the forefront while still making it accessible to mainstream audiences.

Candi Staton:
Another icon of soul music from the 60’s, she continues to make beautiful soulful music. I love the beautiful haunting title track from her 2006 release His Hands.

JJ Grey and MOFRO
Lastly if you want a good pop song full of power chords that taps into that soulful vibe, you can’t go wrong with JJ Grey and MOFRO. This is the video from their 2010 release, “Georgia Warhorse”

Ray Wylie Hubbard:
Finally, I have to include Ray Wylie Hubbard. It’s a stretch to go from Adele to RWH, but like Adele he is able to capture that spiritual, gospel, soul feel in the base of his music and then build on top of it. Here is is song “Rabbit” which not one of the more popular Ray Wylie Hubbard songs, but it fits well with Adele’s song and, well, it’s one of my personal favorites.

Mavis Staples Wins Best Americana Album at the 2011 Grammys!

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Feb 152011

I avoided last night’s Grammy’s for fear I’d see Justin Bieber on screen and have an aneurysm. So I didn’t find out until later. But I’m really glad to hear that Mavis Staples CD, You Are Not Alone won best Americana album at the 2011 Grammys. That’s a well deserved award. Here’s a link to my review of the CD. You can hear samples of the You Are Not Alone on iTunes.

You Are Not Alone by Mavis Staples

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Sep 222010

Put your hands on your radio and feel the power! (or speakers, or ear buds). Sweet Jesus! Mavis Staples gives you the good news as only she can on her latest CD, You Are Not Alone. She knows exactly how to phrase each line of the song for maximum impact and it’s enough the convert even the coldest secular heart, or at least get them to tap their toes. But seriously, you don’t have to be into Gospel music or even a Christian to appreciate and enjoy this CD. It’s chock full of guest appearances from the likes of Jeff Tweedy who gives the songs an edge with his grindy guitar work. Mavis also sings songs written my some guest artists, including a Randy Newman song called “Losing You” which is turns out to be a perfect show case for Staples’ voice. Other highlights for me are “Don’t Knock,” “You Are Not Alone,” and “Downward Road.”