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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.