Black Dirt Music is a state of mind as much as it is a genre or sound. While its origin runs deep in the rich soil of the Midwest, its influence reaches far beyond the confines of the cornfields. For centuries Midwesterners have worked their fingers to the bone on farms and in cities, enduring brutal winters, showing resilience and tenacity. And for centuries we've tried to make sense of our lives and surroundings through community and music, singing songs of love and loss and carrying on in this journey.
The term "roots music" has traditionally been used to describe the blues, folk, bluegrass, and old time music that led to the development of jazz and rock & roll here in America. This style of play coupled with Midwestern ideals like simplicity and honesty make the music accessible and uniquely Black Dirt. Examples of artists that embody the vibe are diverse and range from legendary folk singer John Prine to americana pioneers Uncle Tupelo. Prine worked as a mailman until he was discovered, and to this day delivers a raw, honest look at life while never taking himself too seriously. Uncle Tupelo melded country and rock & roll together singing songs about the working class struggle with a punk rock attitude. Distinctly different sounds, yes, but equally in line with the values at the core of this movement.
Indeed, the name comes from the color of the soil in the heartland, but you don't have to be from the middle of the country to enjoy or even play Black Dirt Music. You just have to dig where it's coming from.