“The North Star Grassman and the Ravens” by Sandy Denny

In September 1971, Sandy Denny — on the heels of an incendiary contribution to “Battle of Evermore” from Led Zeppelin‘s upcoming fourth album — released her first solo record, The North Star Grassman and the Ravens.  It carried with it the strength and grace of her previous efforts, and featured many of the musicians with whom she … Continue reading “The North Star Grassman and the Ravens” by Sandy Denny

“Kashmir” by Led Zeppelin

Consider Blueshammer.  Fictional, yes, short-lived, definitely (seconds at most).  Daniel Clowes and Terry Zwigoff made no bones in their film Ghost World (from Clowes’ graphic novel) about white blues musicians — that is, Blueshammer — who drowned out the source of their inspiration through sheer volume, and the thoughtlessness of the fans who followed them.  It’s … Continue reading “Kashmir” by Led Zeppelin

“A Spoonful Blues” by Charley Patton

While John Fahey was working on the set of songs that included “Sunny Side of the Ocean,” for The Transfiguration of Blind Joe Death (1965), he was completing his master’s thesis in folklore at the University of California at Berkeley, the first biography and analysis of the work of blues guitarist/singer Charley Patton.  It was published in … Continue reading “A Spoonful Blues” by Charley Patton

“On the Sunny Side of the Ocean” by John Fahey

Beginning in 1959, John Fahey’s “Blind Joe Death” excursions for solo acoustic guitar were the first to radically reconsider traditional blues and old-time music, extending by personalizing what Harry Smith did with the Anthology of American Folk Music (1952): rather than mythologizing what at that time was a largely unknown recorded legacy, as Smith did, Fahey … Continue reading “On the Sunny Side of the Ocean” by John Fahey

“Oh wie nah ist der Weg hinab” by Popol Vuh

In the last few years, David Eugene Edwards has taken Wovenhand — soundstreamsunday #85 — in an increasingly heavy direction, towards drone metal underpinning an utterly unique and dead serious frontier circuit preacher mysticism.  The drone as tribal, the ancient tool of ascension to the Common One, and so Wovenhand’s thunderous droning riffs on 2012’s Laughing Stalk … Continue reading “Oh wie nah ist der Weg hinab” by Popol Vuh