“I think there is a song out there to describe just about any situation.” (Criss Jami)
A friend and long-time loyal blog follower recently sent me a 30-Day Song Challenge meme in the hope that I couldn’t resist taking the challenge and blogging about it. Here’s Day #30 – A Song You Want to Share: Down by the River, The War and Treaty.
A few years ago, I received some sort of electronic message from My Daughter Diandra that probably said something to the effect, “I think you’ll like this.” “This” was the below video of a duo going by the name of The War and Treaty singing Down to the River. “Like” badly understated the impact of that song. My Lawd. Some kind of spirits moved through my body as if I were being healed of diseases I had yet to incur. I wept. I may well have even spoken in tongues but couldn’t hear myself over my headphones.
A little research indicated that this married duo of Michael and Tanya Trotter were Americana artists. Uh, OK, after listening to the rest of their EP Down to the River, I suppose there are enough hints of folk, country, bluegrass and southern gospel to be called Americana. But what I heard a lot more of was something like a duo of Aretha Franklin and Ray Charles with traces of Ike and Tina Turner, and a dash Delaney and Bonnie. In other words, a lot of soul, blues, black gospel and blues-rock that occasionally veered into country and bluegrass.
Whatever their genre, the important thing is this – while their influences may remind you of others, the collection of those influences make them sound like nobody else.
Their debut album Healing Tide came out in 2018 to much critical acclaim. I hear they put on a great live show, too. I missed one at The Kennedy Center due to inclement weather but the Center aired the show via live stream, so I got to see them perform, anyway, and they were amazing.
Alas, Day 30 brings me to the end of this incredibly fun daily challenge. It would have been fun even if nobody took the time to follow along but clearly it was more fun knowing you were out there on the interwebs following along. If you found my semi-autobiographical musings amusing, that makes me happy. If you discovered one piece of music which interested you that you wouldn’t have found out about otherwise, that’s an additional return on investment.
But wait!!! With all the live shows I’ve been to, it would be unthinkable to leave without an encore. So light those cell phones and start chanting, “More Musings! More Musings! More Musings!”. There might be a few extra items left on the set list. 🙂
(and B-sides, and demos and alternate versions . . . .)
 Perhaps this song is a vaccine against COVID-19.
 And in the interest of transparency, Americana is not my lane and I’ve never really been able to figure out from the few Americana artists I like (Carolina Chocolate Drops, Civil Wars, Rhiannon Giddens) what makes something Americana, anyway.
 They cite Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, Johnny Cash and Nina Simone, among others. In addition to those, reviewers/critics also often cite Ike and Tina Turner; Wilson Pickett and Otis Redding for him; Etta James and Janis Joplin for her.