Spider Tales

An incredible example of historically informed, beautifully played old-time music.” - Rhiannon Giddens

For as long as it’s existed, the American roots music industry has co-opted Black music into a package to be marketed and resold, defanging or erasing perspectives deemed too threatening along the way. Banjo player and fiddler Jake Blount resurrects these deep musical strains on Spider Tales, his debut record out now on Free Dirt Records

Named for Anansi—the great trickster of Akan mythology—Spider Tales features fourteen carefully chosen tracks drawn from Blount’s extensive research of Black and Indigenous mountain music. The result is an unprecedented testament to the voices paradoxically obscured yet profoundly ingrained into the Appalachian tradition. Blount is joined by his musical peers Tatiana Hargreaves, Nic Gareiss, Rachel Eddy, and Haselden Ciaccio on the album, which was produced by Jeff Claus and Judy Hyman (The Horse Flies). Altogether, Spider Tales is a beautiful, masterfully performed, and thematically intense first statement into the transforming canon of American roots music.

Spider Tales debuted at #2 on the Billboard Bluegrass Charts, and enjoyed a positive critical reception. The Guardian awarded it five stars and designated it the folk album of the month. Bandcamp selected it as Album of the Day, and it received positive coverage from publications including Rolling Stone Country, Billboard Pride, and AV Club.  It has been featured on numerous podcasts, including Soundcheck.

Selected Press

  •  "Direct, accessible and thought-provoking throughout... Spider Tales is an instant classic." - Jude Rogers, The Guardian (5/5 Stars)
  •  "What a wonderful, vivid, slightly roguish, and quite powerful collection it is." - Ann Powers, NPR
  • "Spider Tales seamlessly ties together multiple strains of Black music, showing listeners in practice that these genres are connected and originate from a common source." - John Morrison, Bandcamp (Album of the Day 5/29/2020)
  • "Jake Blount’s newly released album Spider Tales is an exploration of black folk music that was regularly repurposed and repackaged for white ears while its creators often had their voices erased." - John Freeman & Joseph Hudak, Rolling Stone Country
  •  "On his recently released album Spider Tales, Blount traces the Black and Indigenous roots of Appalachian music and showcases how old-time music spoke truth to power." - Bobbie Jean Sawyer, Wide Open Country
  •  "Equal parts of stunning musicianship and deeply considered scholarship." - Mariana Timony, Bandcamp
  •  "On top of being wildly intelligent and knowledgeable, he's also a killer musician and it's an incredible combo." - Rhiannon Giddens, RTÉ
  • "Spider Tales is an enlightened and alive folk album." - Ellen Johnson, Paste Magazine
  • "Well worth a listen for its provocative, deeply felt—and, yes, accessible—take on the genre." - Katie Rife, AV Club
  • "The new album sways back and forth between instrumental jam sessions and soulful songs about loss and pain, all while flaunting Blount's inherent artistry." - Stephen Daw, Billboard Pride
  •  "Immaculately performed." - Jeremy Gaunt, No Depression
  • "Blount imbues his selections with a raw elemental power." - Pat Moran, Strings Magazine

See additional press below.

     

      Spider Tales

      Jake Blount

      "Spider Tales is an instant classic." –– The Guardian

      "What a wonderful, vivid, slightly roguish, and quite powerful collection it is." –– NPR's "All Songs Considered"

      Featured as Bandcamp's "Album of the Day" on 5/29

      For as long as it’s existed, the American roots music industry has co-opted Black music into a package to be marketed and resold, defanging or erasing perspectives deemed too threatening along the way. Banjo player and fiddler Jake Blount resurrects these deep musical strains on Spider Tales, his debut record out May 29th on Free Dirt Records. Named for Anansi—the great trickster of Akan mythology—Spider Tales features fourteen carefully chosen tracks drawn from Blount’s extensive research of Black and Indigenous mountain music. The result is an unprecedented testament to the voices paradoxically obscured yet profoundly ingrained into the Appalachian tradition. With a history of hardship and resistance coded into the music, Spider Tales brings out centuries of visceral feeling refracted again through the lens of Blount’s own experience as an LGBTQ activist and key figure in an emerging wave of queer roots musicians. The album’s sound is appropriately haunted—spinning through “crooked” instrumental tunes, modal keys, stark songs, and confounding melodic structures—and its lyrics range from despairing to violent to downright apocalyptic. Blount is joined by his musical peers Tatiana Hargreaves, Nic Gareiss, Rachel Eddy, and Haselden Ciaccio on the album, which was produced by Jeff Claus and Judy Hyman (The Horse Flies). Altogether, Spider Tales is a beautiful, masterfully performed, and thematically intense first statement into the transforming canon of American roots music.
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