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People’s Picks: Jake Blount

I've spent a great deal of time sifting through old recordings of Black vocal music over the past two years. Fond as I am of our instrumental performances, there's a special magic that happens when we reach for harmony together without an established chord structure to guide us. The frequent ambiguity of the lyrics in these old recordings forces listeners to find meaning elsewhere in the music, offering a glimpse of the history embodied by our traditions. The ways in which we fill in those lyrical blanks may reveal a great deal about our own relationships with the songs and their subject matter. My love for those strange intervals and poorly defined calls and responses inspired this playlist, which includes no instruments whatsoever (except, depending on your definition, work implements) and is made up wholly of unaccompanied songs and poetry. I hope you enjoy it.