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Putumayo Explores American Roots Music

Read on for a chance to win a 9-CD set of Putumayo’s American-themed titles, including American Blues and Jazz, many of which are available at Whole Foods Market stores. Dan Storper is the CEO and Founder of Putumayo World Music.

Just in time for our country’s July 4th birthday, Putumayo is releasing two new CDs — Bluegrass and Cowboy Playground. Each represents a piece of America’s extraordinary musical legacy. Although Putumayo has become best-known for its world music collections, I’ve long been a fan of blues, jazz, folk and bluegrass. Since moving to New Orleans in 2004, I decided to fully explore the roots music of America. These titles represent some of the results of my explorations.

Cowboy Playground Saddle up for a fun collection of classic cowboy songs for buckaroos of all ages! The legend and lore of the Wild West holds a strong allure for kids and grown-ups alike. Whether it conjures up images of cowboys riding ponies across the wide-open range or singing songs by the campfire, music of the old West represents a great American tradition that holds a timeless appeal. Cowboy Playground is a galloping collection of songs by artists such as Western music stalwarts Riders in the Sky and Don Edwards. Children’s cowboy music star Buck Howdy sings his funny tall tale tune “Pecos Bill” while classics include “Home on the Range,” “Whoopie Ti Yi Yo,” “Don’t Fence Me In” and “Happy Trails.”

When I played Cowboy Playground for my 7-year-old son William’s class, I was surprised how this New Orleans group of 1st graders started singing along naturally even though they didn’t grow up with Roy Rogers and Dale Evans.

Bluegrass This engaging collection features many of the genre’s most renowned artists along with exciting new discoveries. The album is Putumayo’s first venture into the world of bluegrass and offers insight into the variations within the genre, from the mesmerizing vocals and skillful instrumentation of Alison Krauss and Union Station to Railroad Earth’s contemporary newgrass sound. Then there’s the lively stylings of legends David Grisman and Jerry Garcia alongside the soft, contemporary sounds of Andrea Zonn with Alison Brown. The inimitable Sam Bush brings his beloved mandolin playing to “Diamond Joe.” The album closes with a rendition of the gospel favorite “I’ll Fly Away,” performed by a variety of talented artists.

You can listen to tracks from the album here. As I worked on these collections, I was struck by how natural they sounded whether I was driving through the Smoky Mountains in Tennessee, the back roads outside of San Antonio, the bayous of Louisiana and even in our New York City office. America’s roots music is experiencing a revival and it’s great to see young musicians and fans revisiting this music that was created in an earlier time. Do you love American roots music?

Who is your favorite artist or classic American roots song? Tell us in the comments below for a chance to win a 9-CD set of Putumayo’s American-themed titles. Comment by July 7th for a chance to win. We’ll choose one comment at random to receive the CDs.

The fine print: No purchase necessary. Promotion ends July 7, 2012, 11:59 PM CDT. Must be a legal resident of the US or Canada (except in Quebec, where it is void) age 18 or older to participate. Taxes on prize, if applicable, are the responsibility of the winner. Employees of Whole Foods Market, Inc., are not eligible. Void where prohibited.

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236 comments

Comments

Debbie says …

Oh I think my autistic son would love this music! He only likes the old school tunes, dixieland, jazz, and big band. Maybe I won't have to listen to jingle bells over and over again any more!

Deb C says …

These CDs are great! I like Allison Krause ...

Irene Gamarnik says …

I was never a big fan of Country/bluegrass music, but once I started listening to Bluegrass Country on 105.5 FM in Washington, DC I began developing a taste for it. Love how the music flows.

wing chau says …

I never listen to this music.so it may be my first chance to listen

Sarah says …

I can't get enough Willie Nelson!

Cindy Baker says …

These are great. Thank you for all your work putting these together.

Veronica says …

"This Land Is Your Land" by Woody Guthrie an American roots favorite!

Lynn M says …

What's not to love? The Fourth of July, apple pie, and classic American tunes. I've always loved the way that bluegrass strings come together, and enjoy listening to Alison Kraus, Tony Trischka, and classics such as Flatt & Scruggs. When my children were younger, we listened to Putumayo CDs for children and it would be great to add this set to our collection.

Pam N says …

I am excited to hear these new CD's. My family is from eastern Tennesse and I love the Blue grass sound. My favorite version is Elvis with I'll Fly away. Living here in Colorado I enjoy the sounds of the West. I remember listening to Roy Rogers when I was very young. These new CD's will continue to be classics for future generations.

Janey Garcia says …

Bill Monroe - Grandaddy of Bluegrass! I was fortunate enough to see him live at a blue grass festival back in the 1990's when I was first introduced to Bluegrass and I've been hooked ever since.

Rita Johnson says …

My mom, who has Alzheimers, loves this music. It's what she grew up with in the South. Yep, she would definitely get the music. The other folks who have Alzheimers where my mom is would love it, too. They would all share in the bounty! Between sweet cherries, delicious water and beautiful music...if the folks could win the three, you don't have a clue as to how happy they would be with these wonderful things!

hello5 says …

love to sing along to all these songs!

CS says …

I've borrowed the occasional Putumayo CD from the library...would be great to own the set!

Agnes says …

Jerry Garcia. Love all things Putumayo!

Suzanne says …

When I think "American Roots" of music I want to hear B.B. King or Muddy Waters.

Catherine Potter says …

I love Woodie Guthrie! He's a great example of the roots of American music. Songs of more simple times that help us remember how the U.S. of A. got started and grew!

Brenda G says …

This music reminds me of my Grandfather who would have been 100 years old yesterday and was from Thornhill, Tennessee. He worked for the WPA and then went north to work in the auto plants in Michigan but never forgot his roots with this music.

Dee says …

"American Roots" always makes you want for more. Just love the CD - it is one of a kind.

Eliezer Pennywhistler says …

First off, you have to separate the actual musicians who passed down their traditions over the centuries, from recordings. There are so many musicians one could name. I'll mention just two - Doc Watson, who was adamant that he was a rockabilly musician on electric guitar before he was "discovered" as a folk musician; and Bill Ochs - the Jewish pennywhistle and uillean pipes player from New York who taught me to play ... and love ... Irish music. As to recordings, it pretty much all starts with "The Anthology of American Folk Music" - eighty-four American folk, blues, Cajun and country music recordings from 1927 to 1932, compiled by Harry Smith from his personal collection of 78 rpm records. The anthology became the touchstone for the American folk music revival in the 1950s and 1960s. Had this not happened, American folk, blues, Cajun and country music would have essentially disappeared from the world.

drew says …

I am a fan of American roots music. My fave artist is Woody Guthrie.

Mike V says …

Pete Seeger is a legend.

B Bohard says …

I love blue grass harmonies and lyrics. My first exposure was while still in college, an album called 'Old And In The Way'. While not as familiar with Cowboy, there are a couple of cool songs my dad sang to the kids when we were growing up, one of which was 'Home on the Range' I'm not at all sure we learned the real words, but we wailed driving down the road on family trips in that overcrowded station wagon. I would love to learn more.

Vicky says …

I really enjoy listening to American roots music and my favorite artist is Dolly Parton. I think she writes great songs and has a beautiful voice. I especially like her bluegrass songs from the mountains of Tennessee.

MH says …

I love bluegrass and folk music--and so does my four-year-old. I don't have a particular favorite artist, but I know better than to try to get the kid away from a guitar performance! We're looking forward to a festival next week and would love to have the Putumayo CDs in our collection.

Su Coulsby says …

I was born in the 40's & listened to Woody Guthrie, & then as a young adult til now i have SOenjoyed his son, Arlo! My have song they do is "This Land Is Your Land" It ALWAYS makes me smile! :)

Alice says …

I like any player who plays dobro.

Lauri says …

Hey, I'm with Alice on the dobro! Loved the Kingston Trio music my older brother played growing up...which led to Bob Dylan then T.Monk and on and on. Rich history, banjos and foot-tapping tunes --especially with Grisman..magic fingers!

Donna says …

Playing Putumayo recordings always creates such a great environment to relax enjoy life.

joan hersh says …

i love ginny hawker, who sings primitive baptist church music

Ashley says …

love these cds

Claire says …

I'm a 4/5 teacher, and sharing this amazingly significant music with my students is something I try to do on a regular basis. Putamayo has been my go-to source for a long time!

Christine says …

I rely on putamayo to compile works by great artists to keep me on a well rounded musical diet!) Would love to win a collection of cds!

kathy flanery says …

Love this music, used to go to Wheatland, bluegrass festival in Michigan. I looked forward to it all year long!!!

Ashley M says …

I love Alison Kraus and Union Station. I would love to hear Putumayo....as my cousin as started introducing me to the genre. We would have a blast listening to this!

Jeff says …

Wow! What an opportunity!: these CDs and music are great! I have been hooked since the very first release.

dave says …

we love james taylor!

Andrea M says …

what a great CD to listen to on the front porch; I'm lucky enough to have the summers off, so i like to plan simple, romantic evenings with my boyfriend

Migdalia Pizarro says …

I would have to say Arlo Guthrie - a fellow Brooklynite, homegrown and raised.

Joe Rocha says …

Hank Williams. "I'm so lonesome I could cry"

Ana McKinney says …

Without a doubt my favorite song would always be Pecos Bill. My mom used to sing the Spanish version to me and my brothers when we were little and I would love to learn the English version to sing it to my baby!

Sacha Wilson says …

I especially enjoy folk music, and classic rock, but love to kick back and relax with some bluegrass from time to time. I especially enjoy The Dillards 1963 album Back Porch Bluegrass...loved 'em ever since seeing them as the Darlings on Andy Griffith.

AnneMarie says …

Allison Krauss is great and I really like Putumayo. Too many greats to choose a favorit

Jolene says …

I love bluegrass music and especially going to bluegrass festivals. It makes me want to get up and dance. Love Putumayo music CD's as well.

sandra gann says …

I have always been of fan of bluegrass music...we always go to the outdoors bluegrass music in fairdale, ky...which has all local artists...I absolutely love allison krauss and union station....I saw them when they were in Louisville also....bluegrass is my favorite and i would absolutely love to win this cd....thank you!!!!!!

Olivia Singleton says …

Taking up piano and ukelele at an "advanced" age, I find plinking out the notes to such classic American songs as "Red River Valley," "Skip to My Lou," "I've Been Working on the Railroad" and so many more to be very rewarding. There is beauty and simplicity to the tunes. By the way, I have an extensive collection of Putumayo titles.

Brandii says …

Listening to American Roots and Bluegrass music lifts my spirit and warms my heart. I have been a fan of Putumayo ever since I bought Zydeco music. Love it.

Deborah says …

Omigosh. Who don't I like? Doc Watson was a favorite. Woody Guthrie was one of the first I listened to. Burl Ives is fun for the children (young and old). Love mountain music. Exquisitely clear vocals, plaintive fiddles, banjos, and throw in some clogging and I call that a good time.

lori mooney says …

Love me some Woody Guthrie and its his Centennial of his birthday! Many folkie festivals and tributes planned. Hope to see Whole Foods at some of the events!

Melinda says …

Feel the music in your bones, tap your toes and swing along. As a dance teacher in public schools ....Putamayo helps my students learn about all kinds of people and their music.

Bonnie Margolis says …

YIPEE KI YO KI YAY !!!! I sure hope I win !! I love Putumayo compilations !! I love American Roots music...and am hard pressed to choose one artist. It's a toss between Blues and Country ....I love Jimmie Rodgers and Otis Spann...amongst others.

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