Roots & The Next American Music
It Still Moves

American roots music never stops feeding the tree of new American music, even when the branches grow wild.

Fast forward from the Carter Family’s mountain tunes and Robert Johnson’s Delta blues, shape note singing and early Elvis, and the next thing you know you’re listening to Animal Collective and Freakwater, Sufjan Stevens and Iron & Wine.

Music critic Amanda Petrusich went in search of new American music. She found it tangled in the roots.

This hour, On Point: The next American music.

You can join the conversation. What keeps the old sound — of mountain and delta — running through so much new American music?


From Charlottesville, Virginia, we’re joined by Amanda Petrusich, music critic for Pitchfork Media, Paste Magazine, and The New York Times. Her new book is “It Still Moves: Lost Songs, Lost Highways, and the Search for the Next American Music.” Read an excerpt online at Pitchfork.

And from Marlboro, Vermont, is Robin MacArthur. She and her husband form the Vermont-based indie-folk duo Red Heart the Ticker.  You can hear songs at their Myspace page.

Songs featured in this hour:

“Decatur, or, Round of Applause for Your Step-Mother!” Sufjan Stevens (2005)

“Mississippi Boweavil Blues” Charley Patton (1929)

“Southern Anthem” Iron & Wine (2002)

“Poor Orphan Child” The Carter Family (1927)

“Jack the Knife” Freakwater (2005)

“Black Metal Valentine” Califone (2006)

“I Wonder As I Wander” John Jacob Miles (1958)

“Who Could Win a Rabbit” Animal Collective (2004)

“Locks and Bolts” Margaret MacArthur (1995)

“Yellowbird” and “Jackknives” Red Heart the Ticker (2006, 2009)

“Sherburne” Alabama Sacred Harp Singers (1959)

“White Winter Hymnal” Fleet Foxes (2008)

Closing Segment: “Chinese Democracy”

Later in this hour, we also dip into the new Guns N’ Roses album “Chinese Democracy,” and the headlines it’s been making this week. Joining us for that is Brett Milano, a music critic and author of “The Sound of Our Town: A History of Boston Rock and Roll.”

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
Jun 9, 2016

Newly-minted college graduates on the job hunt. We’ll look at who’s hiring, starting salaries, and strategies for landing that first job.

Jun 9, 2016

Europe, India and China, are taking on American tech giants over privacy, monopolies, and more. We’ll look at the global technology pushback against the U.S.A.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Jessica Valenti: ‘Objectification Is About Dehumanizing People’
Wednesday, Jun 8, 2016

“There is some power in laying claim to the word victim.” — Jessica Valenti on the Stanford sexual assault case, and the importance of language.

More »
Why The ‘Roots’ Remake Matters (And What Stays The Same)
Tuesday, Jun 7, 2016

The recent remake of “Roots” on the History Channel makes important changes, Morehouse College’s Stephane Dunn argues. But it also holds true to the original story.

More »
Former Trump Advisor Roger Stone: ‘Trump’s Going To Be The Next President’
Monday, Jun 6, 2016

Longtime political consultant Roger Stone apologizes for his “two martini tweets,” even as he predicts Donald Trump will be the next U.S. president.

More »