This new compilation from the "world music" Putumayo label is a modern "folk festival" in a CD case (actually an ecologically-safe cardboard digi-pak since Putumayo supports social causes). Somewhere this summer nearly all the singers and musicians included on the disc are performing at a folk festival somewhere in the US.
Like nearly all of their terrific releases, this is a "sampler" of artistes who record for other labels and most of these tracks come from releases from 2002 through 2005. The concept of these discs is to: 1) introduce listeners to artists they are not familiar with (by including a few whose names they would recognize and 2) to make some money with a portion of the proceeds going to a worthy cause. This time the beneficiary is America's Second Harvest - The Nation's Food Bank Network.
I enjoy these samplers - and this one is no different - because I always find someone new to me. This time it's Robinella (the band whose leader is named, well, Robinella!). In small print under "Licensing Credits" in the bound in liner note booklet you can learn the source of each track along with the label's website address. I've known of banjoist Alison Brown for years but the produced picked a rare track with Brown on acoustic guitar, which can be both a positive and negative or listeners seeking more of Brown's instrumental work. Putumayo carried the "world music" label to its liner note booklet as well with everything printed in French and Spanish as well as English. This means the notes on each track are short, though somewhat informative. Personally, I wish they would list the supporting musicians for the tracks included. They too, deserve credit.
Many of the artists in that overused word "Americana" come from Texas, especially Austin. My favorite Texas artist is Teri Hendrix, who is represented, not only by "Prayer For My Friends" from her album The Ring, but wrote "Hole In My Pocket", sung by the soulful Ruthie Foster on the final track. The album's programmer got it right when he placed this song at the end. You'll be singing the chorus long after you turn off you CD player!
So, take this for what it is - another great introduction to some artists - and carry the journey further. You've heard of Norah Jones (who is her as part of The Little Willies) but you might find yourself now seeking out the Old Crow Medicine Show or, hopefully, discovering the multi-talents of Terri Hendrix!