Roots music and folk music are the songs of the people. I think it is important to look back at the musicians who came before us to understand how their musical contributions helped shape the songs we sing and play.
Alan Lomax was one of the more prolific “folklorists” who helped document and preserve many of the treasures of American and International folk music. For those of you not familiar with Mr. Lomax, check out his Wikipedia Page:
Alan Lomax (January 15, 1915 – July 19, 2002) was one of the great American field collectors of folk music of the 20th century. He was also a folklorist, ethnomusicologist, archivist, writer, scholar, political activist, oral historian, and film-maker. Lomax also produced recordings, concerts, and radio shows in the U.S and in England, which played an important role in both the American and British folk revivals of the 1940s, ’50s and early ’60s. During the New Deal, with his father, famed folklorist and collector John A. Lomax and later alone and with others, Lomax recorded thousands of songs and interviews for the Archive of American Folk Song at the Library of Congress on aluminum and acetate discs.
If you have some time, please check out the vast collection of videos on Alan Lomax Channel on Youtube.