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Baker's Dozen

Friends Of Mine: Rachel Aggs' Favourite Music
Stephanie Phillips , February 24th, 2021 10:14

Rachel Aggs takes Stephanie Phillips through the albums that made her the musician she is today, from Smokey Robinson to Robyn, Mahotella Queens to Sleater-Kinney. Portrait photo by Stephanie Gibson


Jake Blount – Spider Tales
This is the most contemporary record, despite it being very old music, because it came out last year. I wanted to include it because I grew up playing English and Celtic music. My dad started playing the banjo when I was in my 20s and he started getting really into American music, like bluegrass and folk. I also was starting to listen to some of this music and more recently my mom also learned the double bass, so we have a band together, me and my parents. We play Appalachian old time folk, which is the music that Jake Blount plays.

I wanted to include this album because I don't have many full albums that are good examples of this music. In a similar way to Eliza Carthy, Jake Blount does a good job of playing this super old music in a way that feels contemporary.

Something that I find really inspiring about Blount is he and a few other musicians currently are doing a really good job of talking about American folk as Black music, which has been really wrongly perceived as white people's music.

When people try to put music into these boxes that are often racialised it makes it less accessible to people who don't look how you would imagine a folk musician to look. Because I'm mixed race, I really enjoy things that contradict a binary way of perceiving cultural things, like a mashup. I think that's what Jake Blount and musicians of his ilk are doing. They're saying things aren't as clear cut as you may have been taught.