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Low-down, dirty, depressing [bluegrass+country+blues] = ?

zhen_roguezhen_rogue Registered User regular
edited November 2007 in Help / Advice Forum
I'm looking for recommendations on a genre of music I would love to listen to, but know absolutely nothing about.

Best I can describe, is a cross between blue-grass and southern guitar blues.
It's almost always in a minor key, and slower-paced.
Vocals are rare, it's more instrumental.

I usually pick up bits and pieces of this music style in movies, where it's simply instrumental "background" music when the lead character enters say, a swamp setting.
Or, enters a dusty, deserted border town.
Or, is working manual labor in a georgia chain gang.
You get the idea.

While this music has a bit of a southern "twang" to the main melody, it is most certainly NOT "country" or "country western".
It's not "southern blues" either, as that's a genre all in itself (e.g. muddy waters).
It is also not pure blue grass, as songs like "man of constant sorrow" are a bit too "happy" and "vocal" for what i'm looking for (but it's close).

Can anyone make me a bit smarter about this genre?
Perhaps an actual name, or even artists/albums that I can check out?

Thanks in advance for any leads.

zhen_rogue on

Posts

  • FandyienFandyien But Otto, what about us? Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    I know you said vocals weren't preferred, but check out the Fat Possum Blues II. It's a collection of incredible old blues from famous black artists, and most of it, I beleive, was recorded from 1920-1940. The most notable present is R.L. Burnside, but some the other stuff is absolutely heart-rending.

    Also, obtain some Skip James. I don't think I've ever heard someone put as much feeling into a voice as he does in "Shake 'em on Down".

    Fandyien on
    reposig.jpg
  • zhen_roguezhen_rogue Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    Thanks for the awesome suggestion on R.L. Burnside.
    I also adore the blues, specifically delta blues, and have never listened to any of his work.
    I was able to find a few sample clips of his songs online, and I have to say the music I was originally looking for is very similar - the background/intro guitar work on "skinny woman" for example is damn close.

    While it's not quite the genre i'm after, it's still on order from amazon. :)

    Please keep the suggestions coming!

    zhen_rogue on
  • zhen_roguezhen_rogue Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    zhen_rogue wrote: »
    Best I can describe, is a cross between blue-grass and southern guitar blues.
    It's almost always in a minor key, and slower-paced.
    Vocals are rare, it's more instrumental.

    I usually pick up bits and pieces of this music style in movies, where it's simply instrumental "background" music when the lead character enters say, a swamp setting.
    Or, enters a dusty, deserted border town.
    Or, is working manual labor in a georgia chain gang.
    You get the idea.

    While this music has a bit of a southern "twang" to the main melody, it is most certainly NOT "country" or "country western".
    It's not "southern blues" either, as that's a genre all in itself (e.g. muddy waters).
    It is also not pure blue grass, as songs like "man of constant sorrow" are a bit too "happy" and "vocal" for what i'm looking for (but it's close).

    I've done some more research, and so far I can add the following:

    -This music can be heard in the HBO series "Deadwood" opening montage/theme, especially during the scene where whiskey is being poured into the shot glasses.
    It can also be heard during many of the commercial bumper tracks.
    If you own the DVD series, it can be heard at the main menu.
    EDIT: snippit from amazon:
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/music/wma-pop-up/B00076YPUI001002/105-3086286-2882025

    -This music can also be heard often during the old sci-fi movie "They Live", with Roddy Piper.
    Whenever he's walking around town, down on his luck, alone, beat up, they have this elusive style of music playing

    -I've listened to Tony Rice, which is definitely too bluegrass and too vocal/happy/major key.
    Not it.

    -I've listened to Yonder Mountain String Band, which was also WAY too bluegrass/folk, vocals/happy.
    Not it.

    I'm surprised that this entire genre of music is so hard to pinpoint - anyone else have ideas?

    zhen_rogue on
  • EggyToastEggyToast Jersey CityRegistered User regular
    edited November 2007
    I think the larger problem you're having is trying to find an album or artist that does the feel of music you're looking for exclusively. It sounds like you're essentially looking for a mix of old-style Western, some older Folk, and some older Blues. But among all of those genres, any artist I can think of will typically have a mix of stuff.

    For instance, Country Blues is a form of acoustic blues. Stuff by Leadbelly is notably depressing but quite old, and as was common in the time, a mix of folk standards and gospel music is abundant.

    The other problem is that finding acoustic music with no vocals is always a chore. Either it's a film score (in which case there's usually only 3 or 4 pieces, and that's it), or there's some dude singing. I wouldn't be surprised if you end up digging around iTunes to find specific pieces.

    EggyToast on
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