For as long as it’s existed, the American roots music industry has co-opted Black music into a package to be marketed and resold, defanging or erasing perspectives deemed too threatening along the way. Banjo player and fiddler Jake Blount resurrects these deep musical strains on Spider Tales, his debut record out now from Free Dirt Records.
Named for Anansi—the great trickster of Akan mythology—Spider Tales features fourteen carefully chosen tracks drawn from Blount’s extensive research of Black and Indigenous mountain music. The result is an unprecedented testament to the voices paradoxically obscured yet profoundly ingrained into the Appalachian tradition. Blount is joined by his musical peers Tatiana Hargreaves, Nic Gareiss, Rachel Eddy, and Haselden Ciaccio on the album, which was produced by Jeff Claus and Judy Hyman (The Horse Flies). Altogether, Spider Tales is a beautiful, masterfully performed, and thematically intense first statement into the transforming canon of American roots music.
Jake was featured with Libby Weitnauer in The Christmas Revels in Cambridge in 2019 as part of the group Tui.
“Direct, accessible and thought-provoking throughout… Spider Tales is an instant classic.” – Jude Rogers, The Guardian (5/5 Stars)
“What a wonderful, vivid, slightly roguish, and quite powerful collection it is.” – Ann Powers, NPR
Goodbye, Honey, You Call That Gone
Where Did You Sleep Last Night
Old-TImey Grey Eagle
Blackbird Says to the Crow
Brown Skin Baby
Rocky Road to Dublin
The Angels Done Bowed Down
Beyond This Wall
Mad Mama’s Blues