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Goodbye, Steve Earle

oldtownschool on September 03, 2013 16:10

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    The Vaults of (Roots Music) Heaven: Chicago’s Old Town School of Folk Music Unlocks the Lost Gems and Wild Creativity of its Live Archives

    Venerable vernacular music institution releases 127 live tracks by the best in American and global music from last half century.

    On stacks of cassettes, reel to reel tapes and digital audio tapes lay the history of American music. There were local legends and major icons, global musicians and indie rockers. Some captured beautifully from the board, some gleaned quietly from the dusty archives of a radio station, the recordings held wildly creative decades of sound from Chicago’s Old Town School of Folk Music, a roots-music touchstone for nearly 55 years. And no one had heard them.

    Joan Baez and Donovan, Big Bill Broonzy and Ella Jenkins, Pete Seeger and Taj Mahal, Martin Carthy and Steve Earle, Doc Watson and Mahalia Jackson: It was a literal who’s-who of folk, gospel, country, bluegrass, blues, and world music, caught in hours of exciting performances. But someone had to put the pieces together—all 127 tracks worth—and someone had to clear all the rights with 85 different artists.

    They succeeded, against odds that would have stopped others in their tracks. Live From The Old Town School (Old Town School Recordings; release: December 13, 2011) reveals not only the venerable institution’s storied start, but its role in the recent infusion of new energy into the roots music world, with everyone from Toumani Diabate and Oumou Sangare to Andrew Bird and Lila Downs.

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