The ArtsCenter's fifth American Roots Series | Music Feature | Indy Week
Pin It

The ArtsCenter's fifth American Roots Series 

This season's roster

click to enlarge Ruthie Foster
  • Ruthie Foster

While not exactly bar-fight fodder, the question "What is roots music?" can still spark lively discussions. The Carrboro ArtsCenter's American Roots Series—which begins its fifth season under the passionate oversight of Tess Mangum Ocaña Friday—suggests that the answer requires a big tent. Sprawling even, as in it needs to be able to shelter blues, bluegrass, Cajun, folk, gospel, honky-tonk, old-time, rhythm & blues, the rustic end of the singer-songwriter spectrum, Sacred Steel, swing and zydeco—not to mention hopped-up hybrids of two or more of the above.

And don't forget soul music. The centerpieces of the last two Roots Series were shows featuring soul singers, one truly legendary and the other making a strong case for the title 45 years after first hitting the road. In 2006, it was Mavis Staples demonstrating roots music's breadth with soaring versions of "Will the Circle Be Unbroken," "The Weight" and "I'll Take You There." Last year was Bettye LaVette's turn to testify, with a show-stopping take on John Prine's "Souvenirs," her grandest cross-genre moment and certainly one for The ArtsCenter ages.

Ruthie Foster gets my vote for this year's crown jewel. Foster, both Texas-born and based, spins a lively but unforced mix of blues, gospel, folk, and—that's right—soul that makes her something of a poster artist for the series. And from Nappy Brown and Holly Near to Billy Joe Shaver and series regular Leon Russell, she'll be surrounded by plenty of others who'll offer their own articulate answers to that big roots question.

  • Ruthie Foster gets my vote for this year's crown jewel.

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in Music Feature



Twitter Activity

Most Recent Comments

Rusted Root has remained authentic and less worried about being cool. Their ability to stay true should be celebrated! And... …

by sojo18 on Wait, Rusted Root has a legacy? (Music Feature)

I went to Duke in the early 90s, and worked at Brueggers Bagels on 9th St. every morning while I …

by Anne 1 on A Requiem for David McKnight: Prodigy, Journalist, Politician, Homeless Street Musician (Music Feature)

I sincerely hope the statue happens and want there to be a link / address for donations!

by Barefoot Shane on A Requiem for David McKnight: Prodigy, Journalist, Politician, Homeless Street Musician (Music Feature)

A fine story but one correction: Pattie and I were not married in the 70s when we performed with David …

by Jack Le Sueur on A Requiem for David McKnight: Prodigy, Journalist, Politician, Homeless Street Musician (Music Feature)

Yes I will miss him and his music. I did not know about his run for Senate, but it makes …

by where's the beef? on A Requiem for David McKnight: Prodigy, Journalist, Politician, Homeless Street Musician (Music Feature)

Comments

Rusted Root has remained authentic and less worried about being cool. Their ability to stay true should be celebrated! And... …

by sojo18 on Wait, Rusted Root has a legacy? (Music Feature)

I went to Duke in the early 90s, and worked at Brueggers Bagels on 9th St. every morning while I …

by Anne 1 on A Requiem for David McKnight: Prodigy, Journalist, Politician, Homeless Street Musician (Music Feature)

© 2017 Indy Week • 201 W. Main St., Suite 101, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation