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What Is Roots Music?

Photograph of the blog post author, Annika Hope

Annika Hope


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The term “roots music” is now used to refer to this broad range of musical genres, which include blues, gospel, traditional country, zydeco, tejano, and native American pow-wow. We are going to delve into this genre of music, see why it is so popular and those who have graced us with their talent. 

What Is Roots Music?

Roots music is a broad term used to describe traditional music genres that are heavily influenced by the musical traditions of a particular region or culture. It often includes folk music, blues, country, gospel, spirituals, and other forms of traditional music. This type of music is typically characterized by its acoustic instrumentation, use of traditional instruments, and often rural or rustic themes. It usually has a strong sense of history and community, and is often passed down from generation to generation. This genre of music is often used to express cultural identity and to provide a sense of belonging to a particular region or culture.

This music originated in the United States, primarily in the Southern region. It is a combination of African American and European American folk music. 

What Makes Roots Music Different From Other Music?

Roots music is typically defined as music that is based on traditional folk music of a particular region or culture. It often has its roots in the music of a particular community or country, and is often performed in its traditional form. Compared to other genres of music, this type of music typically has a slower tempo and a more relaxed feel. It is often seen as a more authentic form of music, as it is often based on the traditional music of a particular culture or region.

Famous Roots Musicians

Some well-known musicians who sing this music include Bob Marley, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, Emmylou Harris, Alison Krauss, Gillian Welch, and Lucinda Williams.

Bob Marley

Emmylou Harris

Gillian Welch

Lucinda Williams

What Skills Do You Need To Sing Roots Music?

To sing roots music, you need a strong sense of rhythm, good vocal control, a good ear for harmonies, and the ability to improvise. You should also have a good understanding of the history and culture behind the music, as well as the musical styles and instruments used in it.

Why Is Roots Music Special?

Roots music is special because it is the foundation of many other genres of music. Roots music has a timeless quality, as it has been around for hundreds of years and continues to be passed down from generation to generation. It is also a form of expression, as it allows people to express their feelings and emotions in a creative way.

Chord Progressions In Roots Music

Roots music often uses a variety of chord progressions and voicings, including major and minor chords, seventh chords, ninth chords, suspended chords, and augmented chords. Common chord progressions include the 12-bar blues, I-IV-V, and the circle of fifths.

What Instruments Are Usually Played In Roots Music? 

Roots music typically includes instruments such as the banjo, fiddle, acoustic guitar, mandolin, harmonica, accordion, Dobro, dulcimer, washboard, upright bass, and drums

Closing Thoughts

There is a lot of history behind this genre of music and it is still as prevalent as ever in the music industry. It must be the broad range of genres, the traditional aspect of the music and the slower tempo? Do you agree and has it made you want to listen to it more? We do hope so. I know it will definitely be joining you. Happy listening! 


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