Jeb Loy Nichols: A journey into 'Cosmic American Music'

While making The United States Of The Broken Hearted with Adrian Sherwood, Jeb Loy Nichols mentioned Gram Parson’s concept of ‘Cosmic American Music’, the melting mix of musical genres that constitutes a uniquely American sound. Nichols had in mind a music that floated in the American air, a music as primal and damaged as the people who were nourished by it. If America was a country built on violence, Cosmic American Music was both its soundtrack and its apology. A music made of dislocated visitors and homesick wanderers. A music that disregarded national purity and replaced it with a new purity of hope. Gospel, jazz, blues, country, soul, hip-hop – music that was rooted in the soil, beauty, money and chaos of America. An ecstatic music that reached for the eternal but stayed rooted in the hard fought present. A music that shamelessly, like a good neighbour, borrowed and shared, that didn’t recognise borders. The sound of a people trying to make sense of a senseless world.

Jeb Loy Nichols - Big Troubles Come In Through A Small Door

from The United States Of The Broken Hearted, 2022

Bruce Langhorne - No Further Need

(from The Hired Hand (OST), recorded 1971, first released in 2004)

Ralph Stanley - I Am the Man, Thomas

(from Cry From The Cross, 2005)

Chuck Berry - Havana Moon

(Chess Records single, 1957)

Gary Bartz NTU Troop - Celestial Blues

(from Harlem Bush Music - Uhuru, 1971)

The Staple Singers – When Will We Be Paid

(Stax Records Single, 1969)

Rahzel - Southern Girl (feat. Erykah Badu)

(from Make The Music 2000, 1999) 

A Tribe Called Quest - Excursions

(from The Low End Theory, 1991)

Sun Ra - Mystery, Mr Ra

(from Ra To The Rescue, 1984)

Leon Thomas - The Creator Has A Master Plan

(from Spirits Known & Unknown, 1969)

Dudley Perkins - Funky Dudley

(from Expressions (2012 a.U.), 2006)

Smokey Robinson & The Miracles - Tracks Of My Tears

(from Going to a Go-Go, 1965)

Shuggie Otis - Inspiration Information

(from Inspiration Information, 1974)

Tony Joe White - Homemade Ice Cream

(from Homemade Ice Cream, 1973)

D'Angelo - Chicken Grease

(from Voodo, 2000) 

James Brown - Take Some, Leave Some

(from The Payback, 1973) 

Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee - People Get Ready

(from Sonny & Brownie, 1973)

Dan Del Santo - Money Is Their God

(from Off Your Nyash, 1990) 

Jerry Lee Lewis - The Revolutionary Man

(from Southern Roots: Back Home to Memphis, 1973)

Taj Mahal - Satisfied 'n Tickled Too

(from Satisfied 'n Tickled Too, 1976) 

Larry Jon Wilson - Where From

(from Larry Jon Wilson, 2008)