Alan Lomax was a great American folklorist and archivist of song and spoken word. He traveled the world with his recording devices and a camera to record music in “natural” settings: churches, bars, front porches, prisons. Over 17,000 of his recordings just went online and are available for anyone to hear.

I am the Music Designer of Mood’s bluegrass programming, so I went straight for the recordings of Flatt and Scruggs playing “Wabash Cannonball” at the Newport Folk Festival in 1966. Like an audio time machine, the rawness of the recording transported me. I couldn’t stop exploring: boogie woogie piano, guitar blues, acapella spirituals, along with the shouts, the room sounds, the mistakes… authenticity.

After sampling my favorite genres of music, I took a leap and clicked on a genre I’d never heard of. I discovered Kabardian is a Russian culture. The music had accordions and drums and voices singing in a language I don’t know, but with harmonies that are universal. On to Seville in 1952 for flamenco music accompanied by the clapping and heel clicks to add to that feeling of being there.

Country music is my specialty here at Mood. I find the music for Nashville USA, Country Music One, Bluegrass, Pickup Country and more. The Alan Lomax collection includes music from Appalachia, Scotland and Ireland, and the Deep South, which all contributed to country music, but no “true” country music. But, then, it also points up to me the wide range of country music. We certainly have come a long way from Tom Paxton’s “Git Along, Little Dogies” in 1961 to Florida Georgia Line’s “Anything Goes.”

I passed the site information to my co-workers. The depth of their knowledge in world music is massive. It all contributes to our ability to find the right music and create that feeling of inspiration and interest when working with our clients around the world. Popular music and folk music changes, grows, and transforms and we learn from the past to appreciate the future.

– Submitted by Janice Williams, Music Design