“On top of being wildly intelligent and knowledgeable, he’s also a killer musician and it’s an incredible combo.” – Rhiannon Giddens
A powerfully gifted musician and a scholar of Black American music, Jake Blount speaks ardently about the African roots of the banjo and the subtle, yet profound, ways African Americans have shaped and defined the amorphous categories of roots music and Americana. His 2020 album Spider Tales (which was named one of the year’s best albums by NPR and The New Yorker and earned a perfect 5-star review from The Guardian) highlighted the Black and Indigenous histories of popular American folk tunes, and revived songs unjustly forgotten in the whitewashing of the canon. Blount’s 2022 album The New Faith is a towering achievement of dystopian Afrofuturism and his first album for Smithsonian Folkways. The New Faith is spiritual music, filled with hope for salvation and righteous anger in equal measure.