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Chapter four of Rock and Romanticism: Blake, Wordsworth, and Rock from Dylan to U2 is “Digging at the Roots: Martha Redbone’s The Garden of Love: Songs of William Blake,” pp. 51-64, by Nicole Lobdell, Visiting Assistant Professor of English, DePauw University.
Nicole Lobdell in “Digging at the Roots: Martha Redbone’s The Garden of Love: Songs of William Blake” conducts a song by song analysis of Martha Redbone’s Roots Project’s The Garden of Love: Songs of William Blake. Redbone and her band set a selection of William Blake’s poems to American folk music, the blues, Native American chants, and Southern gospel to explore not only Redbone’s own “personal heritage and musical roots but also a collective musical history between Blake’s England and Redbone’s America.” In doing so, Redbone either creates, invokes, or discovers what Lobdell calls “Appalachian Romanticism” and engages “Blake’s poetry through memory, eulogizing what has been lost to time and progress, and celebrating, through sound and lyric, what remains.” Lobdell demonstrates how Appalachia shares musical, cultural, and socioeconomic roots with Blake’s England, and how Redbone’s reaching out to Blake overcomes the temporal and geographic displacement between the two figures to discover how their art “originates from a common inspirational source.”
Check out the iTunes playlist for this chapter.