Black Crowes, Devendra Banhart, more contribute to Song of America

A host of respected and Grammy winning indie artists have contributed to Song of America, a unique 50-song, three-CD set designed to tell the history of our country through song, from 1492 through modern times.  

Featuring a diverse array of artists including Folk Family Robinson (Black Crowes), the Blind Boys of Alabama, Devendra Banhart, Martha Wainwright, Andrew Bird, Janis Ian, Marah, Old Crow Medicine Show and more, the collection spans the folk, blues, rock, R&B, country, classical and hip-hop genres.  An ambitious but beatifully realized project, the three CDs deliver up gorgeous music as well as many interesting historical tidbits.

 

The collection is the brainchild of former U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno and artist/songwriter/producer Ed Pettersen.  Reno, who appropriately is pretty well acquainted with our nation’s history (lawyers have to learn a thing called precedence), does not take any credit for the musical direction of the set.  Pettersen, the man behind The New Punk Blues of Ed Pettersen, headed up the production team and was in studio with many of the artists, recording between New York and LA.  Some beautiful gems were also delivered by the artist’s themselves, such as Harper Simon’s makeover of Yankee Doodle and Janis Ian’s haunting "Johnny We Hardly Knew Ye".   Not to mention Marah, who delivered probably the rockingest version of "John’s Brown Body" you’ve every heard.  The overall sound quality of the compilation is equally impressive, thanks to the mic techniques and co-production of Bob Olhsson, former Motown engineer and audio expert extraodinaire.

CD sales benefit non-profit organizations which promote the preservation of our musical history and the teaching of history through music, including the Voices Across Time project of the Center for American Music and The Society for American Music, Folk Alliance, and the Sing Out Resource Center.

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