Hidden Music Gems: Global Edition

You may not know that our “global” genre of music CDs incorporates not only great music from around the world, but also great folk music groups from the US. Here are some great albums you can find under Global:

Appalachia Waltz , with Yo-Yo Ma, Edgar Meyer, and Mark O’Connor, which honors the legacy of fiddle and folk music in America. This is just one example of eminent American cellist Yo-Yo Ma’s dedication to folk and global music; he’s also made an album called the Goat Rodeo sessions, collaborating with Edgar Meyer and others, as well as several albums with the Silk Road ensemble, an intercultural collective of musicians, artists, and storytellers, tracing the trade routes and the impacts of the Silk Road, which ran from the Mediterranean to China and beyond.

The Civil Wars‘ self-titled album was the indie folk duo’s second and final, featuring Grammy-award-winning song “From This Valley”. Fun fact: the band’s name was not a historical reference, but actually referred to the battles each of us is fighting within ourselves – based on the quote “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle.” The pair met in a songwriting workshop, and got early success when their song “Poison and Wine” was featured on Grey’s Anatomy in 2009.

Foreverly, featuring Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day duetting with jazz singer-songwriter Norah Jones, honors traditional Americana and folk music as recorded by country icons the Everly Brothers, while remaining true to the singers’ distinct styles. The Everly Brothers recorded Songs Our Daddy Taught Us in 1958, and it was their second studio album. When Billie Joe Armstrong fell in love with the album, he decided to remake it to make more people aware of it, and wanted to add a woman’s vocals to deepen the meaning. It was actually Armstrong’s wife Adrienne Armstrong who suggested he invite Norah Jones to partner with him – and their voices turned out to complement each other perfectly.

Album 1700 by iconic folk group Peter, Paul, and Mary was the band’s seventh album, featuring their last big hit, “Leaving on a Jet Plane” (a John Denver cover). If this cover looks familiar, you might recognize that it’s styled after a promotional photo for the 1967 movie Bonnie & Clyde where the gang held machine guns. It’s an eclectic mix of tracks, standing outside the contemporary trends at the time. As well as the John Denver cover, there’s also a Bob Dylan cover and a song which was eventually turned into a children’s book, “I’m In Love With a Big Blue Frog”. The group itself was a big part of the 1960s folk music revival in the US after their debut album topped the charts for weeks after its release in 1962.

Songs of Our Native Daughters – a collaborative album by four Black female artists highlighting historical issues that influenced black women, using mostly the banjo to echo historically Black minstrel music. Rhiannon Giddens had the original idea for the project, after visiting the  Smithsonian’s  National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. and watching Nate Parker’s 2016 Birth of a Nation, in which she felt the suffering of enslaved women didn’t receive enough focus. She then invited other Black female artists to collaborate, resulting in the final team of Giddens, Amythyst Kiah, Leyla McCalla, and Allison Russell. A major part of the album is devoted to songs about different aspects of slavery and its aftermath.

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