Every year, Dr. Lawing brings several Appalachian and folk-inspired musicians to Davidson for a concert series. This year, as a part of this series, Dr. Lawing invited Jake Blount to perform. And boy was it a treat!
Blount specializes in Black and indigenous music from the southeastern United States. He also has a degree in ethnomusicology from Hamilton college, has toured internationally, presented research at Yale University, and was the first black man to win the Traditional Band category of the famous Appalachian String Band music festival. Blount’s musical repertoire focuses heavily on tunes written by indigenous and black artists and also explores his journey as a black man, queer man, and folk artist.
As you might have noticed in the title, I put “New” in quotes. I did this because, while Blount is revolutionary in the way he brings minority stories to the forefront of Appalachian music, the stories he is telling aren’t new. Fiddle players like Blount have existed for generations, but it is only in recent times that they have begun to be acknowledged. This ties back to my vision of The New South. New is inaccurate because the revolution will change our interpretation of the past. We aren’t creating a brand new history. Blount changed the way I saw Appalachian music, but all he did was tell the truth.
His debut album, Spider Tales, can be purchased here: https://jakeblount.com/home