Jorma Kaukonen

While ’60s San Francisco bands the Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane were best known as exponents of “psychedelic” rock, those groups drew much of their musical depth from the immersion of key musicians in archaic folk and blues styles. Here, Airplane guitarist Jorma Kaukonen has committed an archaic revival of sorts, not unlike what he was doing on those early Hot Tuna recordings. But instead of old Delta blues, this repertoire evokes the Great Depression with covers of tunes by the Delmore Brothers (“Blue Railroad Train,” “Blues Stay Away From Me”), Jimmie Rodgers (“Waiting for a Train,” “These Gambler’s Blues,” “You and My Old Guitar”), Clayton McMichen (“Prohibition Blues”) and more. The first-rate backing band—mandolinist/fiddler Sam Bush, Dobro player Jerry Douglas, banjo player Béla Fleck and bassist Byron House—gives Kaukonen enough breathing room to shine. A topnotch, low-key gem.