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Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2008

It Still Moves: Lost Songs, Lost Highways . . .

(Faber and Faber), by Amanda Petrusich

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Many words have lost significance through overuse or misuse, and nowhere is this truer than in music jargon. The meaning of "Americana" is at the heart of a travelogue by music critic Amanda Petrusich. The journey takes her to Memphis and the Mississippi Delta, the Woody Guthrie Archives in New York and the homes of neo-hippie "free folk" musicians in New England. Petrusich is a little iffy on the history, often drawing from slapdash sources, but is on solid ground when pondering the meaning of "alt country" and other fractured, factionalized genres and trends of her own era. Much of It Still Moves concerns the search for grit, meaning and authenticity in an increasingly inauthentic world. She stops short of solid conclusions, but her observations are worth the trip.

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