I learned most of these songs from recordings that were made in the 1920s and 30s in the southern United States. That time and place produced the music I’ve found most inspiring, ever since I first heard Mississippi John Hurt and Skip James when I was just starting to play guitar. Later, I discovered Jimmie Rodgers, The Mississippi Sheiks, Clarence Ashley, Hambone Willie Newbern, Frank Hutchison, Clarence Greene, Elizabeth Cotten, Merle Travis, and Doc Watson, all of whom were "sources" for these performances. At some point I started wondering what the old time tunes might sound like on my Gretsch electric guitar and thus the idea for this record came about....
The album title is taken from Franklin Roosevelt's Rural Electrification Act. Pun aside, it is also fitting, since that depression-era legislation affected many of the folks who made and listened to this kind of music. Besides, it was a federal government program that helped a lot of people the big power companies weren't inclined to help on their own -- something worth celebrating in an age of privatization and warnings about the “menace of socialism.”
I am pleased and honored to be working again with Angelynn Grant (she designed three of my previous CD releases). Her design pays tribute to Lester Beall, who created an amazing series of posters promoting the rural electrification effort that seem to me to be a perfect combination of tradition, simplicity, and modernity. The CD package includes newly digitized archival photography and reproductions of Beall's original posters.
"Inventive interpretations of mostly pre-war blues. One of the best roots records of the year." - Joe Farara Host of Fancy Eatin' Table, WJSC Johnson City, VT
released June 23, 2015
Peter Keane: vocals & electric guitar
Recorded & Mixed by James Stevens at EAR Studio in Austin, Texas
Mastered by Jim Wilson, Jim Wilson Mastering, Longmont, Colorado
Designed by Angelynn Grant
Recorded January 13 and 26, 2015